Your motorcycle horn is there for a reason, but are you using it enough, too much, is it loud enough or too loud?
How often do you use your motorcycle horn? Do you even remember the last time you used it?
Standard motorcycle horns are usually puny and tinny sounding, nothing like what you would expect from a big and powerful motorcycle.
Check out this video of Bill Davidson with a 1917 model … skip forward to the 25-second mark to hear him blow the horn!
So some riders replace the standard horn with aftermarket units.
That is legal so long as you observe the noise limits in your jurisdiction.
In Australia, the noise can be no louder than 120dB and if you have a gimmicky two-or-more-tone model, the limit is 85dB.
Most available aftermarket horns are legal, but if you fit two, they could be louder than permitted.
To check, you can download a noise meter app on your phone. It may not be extremely accurate but should be a good indicator.
Even if you just fit a horn that is too loud and don’t use it, the fine for an offending horn is up to $400.
But be aware that you can’t use the horn wantonly, for fun or as a way of venting frustration or anger.
In fact, there are big fines in some countries, such as Japan, for using a horn except in a legitimate emergency.
In other countries, such as Italy and India, the motorcycle horn is one of the most important safety devices of any vehicle. Consequently, Royal Enfields and many Italian bikes come with powerful dual units.
In most countries, such as Australia, you can use it sparingly to alert traffic, animals or as part of an anti-theft device.
A short “toot-toot” is a great way of alerting traffic to your presence and a lot less offensive than overly loud exhausts. Plus, the noise is pointed forwards, not backwards like an exhaust, and is an alert tone that drivers will recognise.
But be aware you cannot use the horn excessively such as constantly blowing it as you filter down a long line of traffic.
Your motorcycle horn is also handy for warning animals and birds to get off the road.
I find it is better than those wind-activated supersonic whistles you can attach to your bike.