If you’ve ever ridden a motorcycle you will know that the horn sound is usually pretty feeble at 100db and is more of a squeak pitch rather than a thunderous roar.
However there are aftermarket options that may give you that extra high note and will probably blow the feathers off the local pigeons too but won’t break the bank either.
Any search of your online favourite places will no doubt yield some interesting results for you to choose however there are a couple of things to consider first of all. What is Frequency and what is the Decibel rating?
The frequency (measured in Hertz) is a sound wave cycle completed in one second. A high frequency will complete more cycles per second than a low frequency.
We hear the frequency change as Pitch. It is our ear’s ability to recognise the frequency which is referred to as pitch. The most we can hear is just over 8000Hertz and the lowest can be in the region of 20Hertz however much of this depends on environmental factors and our age too.
Single motorcycle horns are set to a single frequency however there is some adjustability on the rear via a pitch screw that many are not aware of, however the change is minimal. Dual motorcycle horns are preset to a lower and higher frequency usually pitched at the C and D note which give it an overall much fuller sound.
Now the linear volume is measured in Decibels and this relates to how much pressure the sound wave exerts on the environment. The amplitude of the wave…or height of the wave determines the sound volume for the most part.
So when selecting a new motorcycle horn, you’ll be wanting to research what your original horn frequency and decibel rating is, then seek an alternative horn that will surpass your original.
Many rider buy new horns and are quite disappointed by the performance or even by the negligible difference or marked improvement, so knowing what you are buying will be key.
The next thing to consider is that for powerful horns of whatever description, they will probably need to be powered by a separate feed directly from the motorcycle battery via a dedicated relay. Whilst this is a simple process, it isn’t a mere plug and play and is required because the original wiring to the original horn may not have enough dedicated power to make the horn work properly.
The last thing to consider is the horn placement. You may have to make custom brackets to fit the horn or horns to your motorcycle and route the wiring the full length of the bike. The result from this is an ugly set up, especially when dealing with a dual horn system.
So the main challenge will be to try to find a way to make the horns blend in to the frame as much as possible, or some will one fit the high frequency horn from a dual horn system alone.
Whatever you choose, you will face the dilemma of compromising higher frequency and decibel ratings for aesthetics. Some horns will blend seamlessly, whilst others will be the blot on the landscape that will attract geers and sneers from any wayward onlooker.