You like music. You use an iPod or other MP3 music player in your car. Or maybe you're really into technology and using a smartphone that also plays music (see Motorcycle Phone Mount Guide).
But what about getting those tunes on your motorcycle? What do you need to consider?
Mounting iPod on a Motorcycle: Planning
The eCaddy mounting kits are far and away the nicest-looking (and highest-quality USA-made!) motorcycle mounts for iPod/MP3.
You get everything you need. Other products require you to adapt the mount or purchase an additional piece that will attach to their hardware.
Leader mounts are NOT made of cheap plastic or rubber molded in Taiwan or China. All base parts are machined aluminum, then chrome plated or anodized a rich black - all by American craftspeople. They simply look amazing!
They are extremely easy to mount. We live by the KISS method, and our products do too.
eCaddy mounts are easy to remove when not in use - no special tools required. Simply remove the Ultra-Security screw (with a hex allen wrench) and slide the device out of the base bracket.
Parts are interchangable. That's important in the fast-changing world of electronics. When you change/upgrade to a new iPod, there's a very good chance you won't have to purchase a whole new mount!
Where to Mount an iPod
There are quite a few options these days:
Handlebar Mounts: this is the most flexible option, because you can position a round-bar clamp anywhere along the entire length of the handlebar. You also have more options, ranging from plastic to stainless steel to ours, which is aluminum (then chrome plated or anodized black). In our experience, you get what you pay for. So if your iPod is important to you, our recommendation is: don’t skimp!
Windshield mounts: this option usually involves a suction cup of some sort. First drawback: suction cup mounts do not provide as many angles as you might want. But an even bigger drawback is the potential for the suction to become loose and disengage with all that road vibration...goodbye, iPod! For that matter, vibration may make the iPod difficult to read.
Tank mounts: We all know about tank BAGS, so I won’t spend any time on this except to note that it is an option (although usually you cannot see your iPod while riding). Tank mounts can utilize suction cups, as well (you already know how we feel about those!). There are also iPod holders with strong magnets sewn in that you can slap on your tank (drawback: potential scratching of your tank).
Switch housing/reservoir mounts: This type of mount utilizes the two bolts that hold your brake reservoir and/or your clutch reservoir. It is popular on Harley-Davidson and Goldwing motorcycles, and can be used on many of the metric motorcycle reservoirs as well. This is a great option for bikes with very little handlebar space available. Just keep in mind that this puts the iPod pretty far away from your eyeballs. Having a tilt/swivel capability (so you can aim that small screen at your eyes) can be important.
Making it Sound Good
In other words, how to get the sound OUT of the iPod and to your ears!
I’m going to focus on the two most common ways to ’broadcast’ your music.
I think everyone knows how these work. Nowadays, you can find speakers that mount on round handlebars, reservoir/switch housing, or embed into fairings/dashes on larger cruisers. The speakers themselves are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can find systems for a couple hundred dollars up to over $1000.
Our recommendation: don’t go cheap or you’ll be disappointed in sound quality. Check the amp requirements and installation instructions. Make sure you can wire the speakers to your motorcycle battery.
The potential drawback: you might not have the room for it on YOUR model motorcycle, or you just don’t want to clutter up what room you do have. Which leads me to...
Motorcycle helmet headsets look and function like a regular headset but are shaped and sized to fit inside a motorcycle helmet. Once installed, you run wires out and down to connect to your iPod. Or you can get a Bluetooth-enabled system and go wireless. (I confess I’m not the one to ask about Bluetooth!)
The advantage to this method is that you aren’t cluttering up your dash area. It’s neat and tucked away inside your helmet. The potential drawback: getting it installed (if you’re technically challenged like I am) and/or troubleshooting could be frustrating and might necessitate additional money investment for installation.
What about Waterproof Cases?
Nothing will put a damper on your music enjoyment like your iPod getting soaked and damaged by rain water.
Our solution? Slip your iPod Classic or iPod Touch into the eCaddy Ultra, a small, waterproof pouch. (Alas, the Nano is so small it’s not cost effective to do the same.) Once in, the Velcro closure secures it in place. And the clear, waterproof cover lets you operate the iPod with no problem.
The Ultra is then clipped to the mount, which can attach to a round bar, switch housing (Harley, Goldwing) or reservoir (BMW).
The first way to power your iPod is obvious: running it from its own battery. But have you ever wondered if your iPod would run out of power just when you want it most? Here are two ways to avoid this.
Battery Harness (Wired)
This method ensures you’ll never lose power – as long as the motorcycle has power! The drawback is that – yes – you have to run wires. It’s actually not complicated (even I can do it and that’s saying a lot) if you use a simple battery harness kit.
The Powerlet battery harness kits have a plug on one end (more about that in a moment), 48 inches of wire (enough for ANY application), and the battery connectors (plus/minus or red/black) on the other end. These battery harness kits include a regulator built right into the wire, because you can’t have full volts coming from your battery unless you want to blow out your iPod.
Now a note about the “plug” end. There are several common connectors. Most everyone is familiar with the cigarette socket connector. But, as you might be aware, Apple has its OWN plug design (surprise, eh?) and I’d recommend purchasing a battery harness kit specific to Apple.
Power Port: Mount a USB port on your bar or near your dash. Your device plugs in there; the other end is wired to a switched circuit. Details here
About Apple iPod
An extra note about the Apple iPod models might be in order.
The evolution of the iPod has resulted in different forms (models) over the years. Apple started with what became known as the iPod CLASSIC. This is the iconic iPod with the turn-wheel operation. They were very popular and hardy (based on the fact mine is seven years old and still working fine).
Apple progressed to the iPod Nano, which is a miniature version of the Classic. It is quite thin and not very wide. (There was also an iPod ”shuffle” in there somewhere but it was rather short-lived.)
The current “iteration” of the iPod is the iPod Touch, which is identifiable by the touch screen (hence the name, I surmise) that looks like today’s smart phone screens. The iPod Touch is also better able to support additional functions like interactive games, video, etc.
When you consider mounting one of these iPod models on your motorcycle, it is important to know which model you have. Apple has an Identify iPod Model page that helps with this task. It’s a helpful page, and we link to it from each of our iPod-specific motorcycle mounts
Motorcycle iPod/MP3: Which is Right for YOU?
eCaddy Diamond for Apple iPod
The cornerstone of the eCaddy™ Diamond motorcycle mount is the Ultra-Swivel. It provides unlimited positioning ability in three ways. So you'll never have trouble seeing your iPod!
And the Ultra-Swivel is so sleek and slim, you'll hardly know it's there.
The 2-hole diamond shape on the eCaddy Diamond is the perfect fit to the shape on the back of the iPod cradle, giving it a clean, classic look that is unmatched.
If protecting your iPod from rain is important to you, the eCaddy Ultra is the best choice.
The Ultra-Swivel gives the rider unlimited positioning ability so you'll never have trouble seeing your iPod. Yet it's so slender you'll hardly know it's there. (It also means you can mount vertically or horizontally.)
The Ultra Buddy waterproof cover (3-3/8" x 5-1/4") has a clear front that keeps your iPod dry but also allows you to use the touchscreen or wheel.
The Ultra Plate is what holds everything together. Its four holes "mate" to the back of the waterproof cover, ensuring that the iPod will never come loose from the mount. The other side connects to the Ultra-Swivel.
Our Gold Wing mounts attach to the two bolts on the switch housing (also referred to as controls or reservoir). Mounts on EITHER left or ride side. See Gold Wing iPod Mounts.
Motorcycle iPod Mount for BMW
On a BMW, you have two mounting options:
Our BMW bracket fits BMW reservoirs with 1-1/4" spacing and can be mounted on either left or right IF you have the space. See BMW iPod mounts.
If you have round handlebars, you can mount on the bar itself. See the section (below) on Metric Cruisers for details.
Motorcycle iPod Mount for Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Victory and others
We offer round-bar mounts from 1" diameter to 1.25" diameter and in either chrome or black finish. The round-bar bracket can be placed literally anywhere (horizontal or vertical). See all round-bar iPod mounts.
Motorcycle iPod Mount for Can-Am Spyder
Our NEW Can-Am Spyder bracket mounts to the two lower bolts in the center handlebar area of the Can-Am Spyder RT and ST models. Beautiful black anodized finish. See all Can-Am Spyder iPod mounts.