The Ultimate Riding Playlist

The Ultimate Riding Playlist

by Cliff John July 16, 2020

The Ultimate Riding Playlist

When you get on your bike, you need to have a great playlist to back you up. Playing good motorcycle riding music will put you in a great mood and add to your experience on the road. There are few things better than zooming down the highway to the sound of your favorite tunes.

You have many options for what you can listen to while on a Harley, but we'll help you narrow down your choices for the best motorcycle riding music. We'll also give you some input on how you can build a playlist you'll be proud to show off to other bikers.

Harley-Davidson Music Playlist

Capture the spirit of the road with a playlist that features songs perfect for bike riding, especially when you're cruising on a Harley. One of the best genres for riding music is rock 'n' roll. For a time, this music category saw in motorcycles the counterculture and freedom that rock was all about.

It's no wonder that in the 60s, 70s and 80s, when rock 'n' roll was still in its earlier stages, many popular bands made songs about biking. The image of the rebel riding their bike wherever and whenever they wanted was perfect for rockers trying to sell the idea of an outlaw counterculture.

As you build your playlist, add these well-known motorcycle riding songs:

  1. "Live to Ride, Ride to Live" by Twisted Sister: Before Twisted Sister really broke out, they released their 1983 album, "You Can't Stop Rock 'n' Roll." They put "Live to Ride, Ride to Live" on the album, a heavy metal banger that's great at getting bike owners excited to hit the pavement. If you're looking to get your energy up when you fly down the road, this is the perfect song.
  2. "Motorcycle Man" by Saxo: When you ride on a highway, you need something that's designed to be played loud. What's better than a heavy metal song that starts with the sounds of a motorcycle's engine revving, approaching the listener and then roaring past before the music starts? "Motorcycle Man" by Saxon delivers the brute force you need for your Harley riding music.
  3. "Motorcycle Mama" by Neil Young: If you're looking for something more laid-back to ride your bike to, you'll want to put "Motorcycle Mama" on your playlist. Premiering on the relaxed 1978 album, "Comes a Time," the song features Neil Young and Nicolette Larson leisurely singing back and forth to one another.
  4. "Midnight Rider" by The Allman Brothers Band: Whether "Midnight Rider" is actually talking about riding a motorcycle or a horse, it still captures the feeling of being an outlaw making their way in the world. Though not as relaxed as "Motorcycle Mama," the classic song from the Allman Brothers' "Idlewild South" album is one of the more laid-back songs on the list.
  5. "Ballad of Easy Rider" by Roger McGuinn: Before the Byrds stopped using the "Ballad of Easy Rider" as a single, the band leader Roger McGuinn recorded the song himself, so it could make it onto the movie soundtrack "Easy Rider," starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. This more subdued track is perfect for days when you just want to ride in peace.
  6. "Freewheel Burning" by Judas Priest: Kick the octane back up with "Freewheel Burning" by Judas Priest. This roaring song will have you putting the pedal to the metal as you fly down the highway. With lyrics about living at breakneck speed, this song will get your adrenaline pumping while you ride.
  7. "Ezy Ryder" by Jimi Hendrix: Likely inspired by the classic movie "Easy Rider," Jimi Hendrix's "Ezy Ryder" is one of the best songs to ride to. With recurring themes of freedom and descriptions of riding a bike throughout the song, many bikers connect with this tune. Let Hendrix's legendary guitar playing guide you on the open road.
  8. "Iron Horse / Born to Lose" by Motorhead: A song dedicated to the infamous Hells Angels' Guy "Tramp" Lawrence, who was the president of the London Hells Angels at the time, should be on your playlist. The lyrics "On Iron Horse he flies / On Iron Horse he gladly dies," make it easy to see why you'd add it if you want to feel like you can conquer the world.
  9. "Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi: The legendary lyrics "I'm a Cowboy / On a steel horse I ride, I'm wanted dead or alive" sung by Bon Jovi are some of the most recognizable lines in all of music. This song will surely have you singing along. It's perfect to listen to if you want to feel like a rock star while riding your bike, bucking the trends and making your way in the world.
  10. "Born to Be Wild" by Steppenwolf: At the top of most motorcycle ride playlists is "Born to be Wild" by Steppenwolf. The way the song personifies biker culture made it perfect for the soundtrack to "Easy Rider," and it's no wonder that it plays during the movie's opening credits.

With these 10 songs, you should have a strong start to your playlist for the next time you ride. There are, of course, tons of other songs that go perfectly with riding your bike, and you should definitely experiment with your playlists.

Many pre-made playlists are available that you can download to your phone or stream. And to help you get started, we created a Spotify playlist of these songs:

How to Build the Best Motorcycle Riding Music Playlist

If you only trust yourself to create the perfect mix of songs, make your own playlist. Good motorcycle riding music varies for everyone, and you might want to take your playlist in an entirely different direction. Whatever your music tastes are, you can build a list that includes all your favorite motorcycle ride songs.

Build a list that includes all your favorite motorcycle ride songs.

To help you create a new song collection, check out some of our top tips for making the ideal motorcycle riding playlist:

1. Choose a Starting Point

The first step to crafting a playlist is finding the central idea behind it. What are you envisioning for the playlist? For example, you could want to tell a story with your songs or have them all follow a specific lyrical theme. Many popular playlists capture a central feeling that continues throughout the ride. 

For a motorcycle song playlist, you might want to feel unrestrained, independent, relaxed or exhilarated — feelings that many songs can capture. Your starting point can be as unique and creative as you want it to be. Think of it as a way to help you evaluate your music and organize your playlist. If you have a central idea you're trying to implement, it'll be easier to find music since you'll have some criteria to work from.

Part of choosing a starting point will also be about knowing your audience. If you're making the playlist for yourself, you'll only need to take your own tastes into account. However, if you regularly ride with other people who want to listen to your playlist too, you should probably get to know their tastes to make the most popular list of songs. 

2. Browse Through Other People's Playlists

Whether you've found your starting point and are looking for songs or still need to find the central concept, it's a great idea to get a sense of what songs other bikers have on their playlists. Whatever music platform you use, you can likely find user-created playlists on it. Look for motorcycle ride playlists to see what songs are popular and how users have arranged the music.

Another benefit of going through other people's playlists is that you might find new artists or songs. This way, you'll get more variety out of your chosen music while also expanding your musical knowledge. A basic tip you should follow is that, if you notice a song you've never heard before, listen for at least a few seconds to get a sense of whether you like it.

3. Decide If Your Track List Should Be Played in Order or Shuffled

As you select songs for your playlist, you need to decide if you want it played in a specific order or if it's fine for it to be shuffled. If you're trying to tell a story or convey a specific message, you'll probably want to play it in order. This means you'll need to pay attention to where you're placing songs as you add them to the playlist.

A playlist meant for shuffling is usually more about a particular theme. For example, you might have an adrenaline-fueled list that includes your favorite songs for getting pumped up as you ride. Here, the order doesn't really matter. A shuffle-able playlist usually requires less time, since you don't have to worry about it being in the right arrangement.

4. Run Your Motorcycle Ride Playlist by Your Biking Friends

After you create your playlist and start taking it on the road, get the input of your other biking friends. Play it while riding and ask for their feedback afterward. See if anything was out of place and ask if they have any suggestions about the songs. They might even have some extra music for you to add that will make your playlist that much better.

Run your playlist by your biking buddies

A particularly music-savvy friend might help you make your playlists more specific. They could identify songs with particular instruments or chord structures that you could develop a concept around. 

On a more basic level, friends can share their tastes in music, offering new songs and artists they may not have been aware of. You could even have a friendly competition with a friend to see who could make the better playlist for riding, letting your biking group decide the winner.

5. Share Your Playlist and Play It Proudly

Once you feel like your playlist is complete, share it on your preferred music platform, so other people looking for the perfect music for their rides can listen, as well. Seeing the plays tick up can give you a great feeling of satisfaction as other bikers recognize your hard work of building an excellent music selection.

When you take your bike for a spin, play your Harley-Davidson road songs proudly, letting the music add to whatever feeling that riding gives you.

Harley-Davidson Custom Audio

If you have a Harley, you can play your music with even more pride by adding some custom audio systems and products to your bike. Whether you need a dash kit, speaker and amp kit, front audio kit or amplifier installation kit, you can find them at a reputable Harley-Davidson dealer. There's nothing better than enhanced audio for your Harley music. Check out the top products and kits for your bike below:

1. Plug and Play Bundles

Plug and play bundles give your bike a touch screen, amp, a Universal Serial Bus (USB) connection, satellite radio capabilities and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. One popular model, the Sony XAV-AX7000 Plug & Play Bundle W/ Metra 95-9700 Dash Kit, provides plenty of value for your 2014-2020 Harley-Davidson Touring Bike. 

Besides the features listed above, it also has a weatherproof and anti-glare screen. Other desirable qualities include easy installation, Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free calling, a 10-band equalizer and a Dynamic Stage Organizer (DSO).

2. Speaker and Amp Kits

With kits like the Rockford Fosgate 2014+ Road Glide® & Street Glide® 4 Speaker & Amp Kit, Harley bike owners can upgrade the power of their motorcycle's sound system. You get high-performance speakers that are frequency-response tuned to cut through road noise, wind and exhaust to deliver clear sound up to 75 miles per hour (mph). Along with high-quality speakers, you also get an excellent amplifier to improve your sound quality.

Our plug and play bundles provide compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

3. Speakers

If you don't want a full speaker and amp kit, you can still pick up speakers on their own. Products like Rockford Fosgate 6.75" Radio Frequency (RF) 3-Way Full-Range Speakers enable you to upgrade your speakers, delivering better sound at an affordable price. An original equipment manufacturer (OEM) adapter plate comes with these speakers. This model also boasts a FlexFit basket design to guarantee compatibility with even the most unconventionally shaped speaker locations.

Choose Fat Head Cycles for Your Audio and Other Harley Product Needs

When you're looking for parts and kits to upgrade your Harley, you should consider Fat Head Cycles — whether they be for your bike's performance, audio or body.

As a full-service Harley-Davidson repair and customization shop in Thurmont, Maryland, we're fully prepared to assist bikers in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area with various tasks. We provide a range of products in our online store that we can ship in the United States and internationally, and we also offer plenty of in-shop services for those in the local area.

Browse our audio equipment section today to get the most out of your Harley-Davidson music playlist and hit the road with pride. Have any questions? Feel free to contact us.

Contact Fat Head Cycles for your audio and other Harley product needs.

Cliff John
Cliff John


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