Product Recommendations - Motorcycle CB Radios, Headsets, and Antennas
Motorcycle CB radio systems are just that: whole, complete systems, much more than just a radio. In the following, the necessary parts of a motorcycle CB radio system will be identified and described, and appropriate links will lead you to examples of products and additional information. A key element of the system is the radio itself, and there are a number of good options for that, so first here's a look at some selection criteria and helpful features to look for in a motorcycle CB.
Criteria for Selecting a CB Radio:
Brand -- There are several popular and respected brands of CB radios for motorcycles, including Midland, Cobra, Galaxy and Uniden. CB radios for motorcycles are actually just types of handheld or mobile CB radios which have features or connections that work well with motorcycles.
Size -- This is important when you're looking for a CB for your motorcycle. You'll probably want to go with either a handheld that is adaptable as a mobile CB, or a compact mobile CB. Following this section will be some good choices for both types.
Features -- the weather and emergency channels are perhaps two of the most important features when you're on a motorcycle. Especially while you're on a trip, you'll want to keep up with current weather conditions during your ride, and be able to avoid trouble spots while on the road.
Powering the Radio -- CB radios for motorcycles can be powered by either an alkaline or rechargeable battery pack or a power cord. Some radios offer both options. An advantage of the battery-powered units is that there is really no installation, and the unit is easily removable for convenience or security. The disadvantage is the expense and bother of having to replace the batteries, so look for a unit with a Hi/Lo switch to conserve your batteries.
Handheld CB Radios for Motorcycles with Optional Headsets:
The Cobra® HH 50 WX ST is a great handheld CB radio that will keep you in contact with NOAA weather updates as well as other CB radio users. The HH 50 WX ST handheld incorporates Cobra's Soundtracker ® technology for greatly improved sound quality in transmission and reception. Looking for a motorcycle headset that will work with this radio? You will need the headset (RCHS), connector cable (RCS1), and the PTT Button (RCPTT). If you attach this radio to an external antenna, you will need to tune the antenna with an external SWR meter since this radio does not have a built-in SWR meter. Check out the AUSWR meter.
Features instant NOAA weather broadcasts, Dual watch enables user to monitor two channels, all channel scan, selectable high or lower power setting and automatic noise limiter. The Uniden PRO501HH is a handheld CB radio featuring a simple, easy to use design that provides reliable communication. This little unit outputs the same 4 watts as the big mobile radios! It operates on AA batteries or DC power (with the included DC adapter).
Compact Mobile CB Radios:
If you don't need the versatility that putting a handheld CB radio on your motorcycle offers, then you may opt for installing a compact mobile CB radio. You might also look at our article for Compact CB Radios.
The Uniden Bearcat PRO505XL:
The Uniden Bearcat Pro 505XL CB radio is a compact mobile radio that can be adapted to motorcycles much easier than larger units. It's simple to operate and has few features, which may be a good thing for ease of use and safety on a motorcycle. This Bearcat Pro has an instant emergency channel and connections for an external/PA speaker. A drawback is that this unit lacks any weather channels, and there isn't a helmet headset specifically available for this unit.
If you choose an external antenna kit to use with you compact radio, you'll also need an SWR meter to complete your system installation by calibrating the antenna with the radio.
A good CB radio headset system will help you operate your CB more safely while on your motorcycle. The Motocomm motorcycle headset fits the bill nicely for those riders with open face (3/4 style) helmets. It comes with a Push to Talk (PTT) system, and you mount the PTT waterproof control conveniently on the handlebar.
We do offer the following option for certain brands and models of radios: You will need the headset (RCHS), a connector cable (RCS1- for Midland/Cobra radios) (RCM1 for Motorola/Blackbox radios) and the PTT Button (RCPTT).
You don't need an external antenna to use with a handheld CB radio on a motorcycle because you can use the rubber duck/stubby antenna that comes with the radio, however, the performance and range will improve dramatically if you use an external antenna. You can either use an extended range antenna such as the SA2 or attach an external antenna.
If you decide on an external antenna for your motorcycle, we typically recommend a NGP (no ground plane) antenna system such as the FireStik no ground plane CB antenna kit. The 5/8 wave FireStik antenna has a convenient, no tools tunable tip. The kit comes with 17' of no ground plane cable, a 3-way stainless steel mount, and warranties of 5 years on the antenna and a year on the mount and cable. The antenna even comes in black or white. It's hard to go wrong with this kit.
Another NGP antenna kit worth a look is the Everhardt. This complete system is already assembled. It includes an 18' cable pre-tuned from the factory, and a choice of mounts: 3-way mirror, side body, or window bracket mount. No muss, no fuss, this kit could get you on the air in almost no time at all. Of course, make sure to check the SWR to ensure the best performance.
If you don't get an antenna kit, you can get parts separately, such as coaxial cable and mounts. Note that the cable must be a no ground plane cable. Because a motorcycle vibrates, you should use a coax such as RG-58 A/U, RG 8-X, such as the FireStik NGP coax cable. This FireStik has 95% shielding, besting the 90% shield that is recommended for an all-weather installation. Be aware that because the coaxial cable is matched to your NGP antenna as a substitute for your ground plane, you can't shorten it. The drawback is that you'll have to store any extra cable somewhere on the motorcycle; the advantage is that it's easy to install and tune - and it will allow you to communicate while using your motorcycle when you can't do so by using a ground plane antenna. You also can get the type of mount that will work with your planned location.
We hope this information helps you to select some awesome equipment for your awesome motorcycle! Let us know if you have any questions- we are happy to help.