By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Satellite radio has conquered many frontiers in its short life, including the car, home, boat and the handheld “anywhere-you-go” application. Yet another frontier is the motorcycle.
A number of companies are offering motorcycle adapter kits for XM satellite radio. While no Sirius products are yet bike-ready, some suppliers say they are considering offering kits in the future.
XM motorcycle-kit providers include Two Wheel Radio, Leesburg, Va.; Dallas Motorcycle Accessories, Garland, Texas; J&M Corp., Tucson, Ariz.; MH Instruments, Trabuco Canyon, Calif.; and Blitz Safe, Englewood, N.J. Their kits variously mount a Roady2, SkyFi2, Commander or MyFi on the handlebars, gas tank or fairing of a bike. They also interface the receivers either with a stock radio or an aftermarket audio system for a bike. (Several motorcycle brands including Harley Davidson and Honda offer factory radios with front auxiliary input jacks on certain models).
Two Wheel Radio was launched in 2003 by a venture capitalist Rob Martin who, when learning of XM, was so impressed he decided to combine his passion for motorcycles with the new technology.
Two Wheel Radio products are now available through three Harley Davidson retailers in the Virginia and New Jersey areas, but much of the company's business is performed through its Web site. Users choose from kit options for different bikes, but Martin hopes to develop a universal kit to suit about 90 percent of motorcycles in the future. If the rider already has a radio on the bike, a Roady2 plus adapter kit has a retail price of $299.99. If he doesn't have a radio, aftermarket bike audio systems run from $300 to $600 at retail.
Although Two Wheel also offers iPod mounting kits for the bike Martin says he gets few requests. Ideally, he says, the iPod can work well on a bike because users can set it to shuffle play and listen to a virtual radio of their favorite songs (without having to control the iPod while riding).
Dallas Motorcycle Accessories offers a Roady2 kit plus amplified speakers (for bikes without radios) for a suggested retail price of $500 if the user is willing to forgo chrome brackets for the more humble anodized black finish. Prices go up as you add chrome or other options. Dallas is also happy to adapt any handheld GPS system to the bike, with audio for listening to voice guided directions.
J&M offers XM kits for most Harley Big Twins and Sportsters. They run about $300, plus $130 for the XM receiver if the user has a radio at retail. If not, the company's audio system costs another $600. Users can also plug their iPod or other MP3 player into the J&M audio system with the help of a simple mounting bracket, says the company.
Blitz Safe offers XM kits, as well as iPod adapters for BMW motorcycles, and says Honda kits will be available this spring.
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