Let’s be honest, most motorcycle horns sound a bit pathetic. I’m not really a ‘horn blower’ myself but when I do use the horn on my ZX-10R, I always feel it makes me feel about as intimidating as a field mouse when really I’d like it to sound like a Big Rig truck and frighten the life out of whoever just cut me up.
Most motorcycle horns are around 80dB but the ones in our review can produce up to 130dB. That’s more like it.
According to the highway code (UK), there is no maximum limit for the number of decibels for your horn, but you should note that rule 112 of the highway code states you must not use your horn in a built-up area between the hours of 11:30 pm and 7:00 am. Of course, it’s worth checking any local traffic laws if you’re touring in another country, just in case.
Sound is measured in decibels (dB) and horns often come with this information. If you’re unsure about decibel measurements, here’s a quick example of everyday sounds:
- Normal conversation: 60dB
- Heavy traffic / Power lawn mower: 80 – 89 dB
- Motorcycle: 96 – 105 dB
- Chainsaw: 106 – 115 dB
- Rock concert: 120 – 129 dB
- F1 car: 130 dB
- Gunshot / siren at 100ft: 140dB
What motorcycle horn is right for you?
Horns don’t come in a standard design, the majority of horns on the market are as follows.
Air horns are larger and won’t be hidden as well on a motorcycle frame; install perfectly upright, so the compressor works and be sure to hook the wires up correctly; otherwise, it won’t work.
Diaphragm horns are disc-shaped, rely on an electromagnet and a spring to make a sound and can be installed in any direction; they don’t have a compressor, making it easy to install.
Snail horns are a type of diaphragm horn but have a snail shell design which transfers the sound energy more effectively.
Trumpet horns look exactly like that, mini trumpets and come with two different tones, high and low. When used together, they can sound like a large lorry (extremely loud and very entertaining!).
When installing these horns, you need to make sure they’re positioned correctly to avoid any rain collecting in them; point them down and facing forwards for best results.
Motorcycle horn fitting
If you’re wondering how you can fit a new motorcycle horn to your motorcycle, it doesn’t always need to involve additional relays or wiring harness.
A lot of DIY kits come as plug and play, so all you need to do is remove the existing horn and plug the upgraded horn in and away you go.
If you’re wanting to get a loud motorcycle horn to turn your bike from Roadrunner (meep-meep!) to Road Warrior (honnnnnk!) then check out our top picks for the loudest motorcycle horns below.
You might not get seen but you’ll get heard
The Denali SoundBOMB is an impressive 113dB which is twice the standard motorcycle horn volume, it’s sure to get other motorists’ attention should you need to. The all-black single-piece construction measures 3.5” x 3.4” x 2.5” and has a 5-amp power draw. The compact design and dark colour allow the horn to blend in with your bike. Denali has made this a plug and play item. If you’re unsure if this horn will be compatible with your motorcycle, check out the “features” section on this link, it has a handy list of compatible bikes.
Seriously loud, easy replacement
At 130dB, this universal electromagnetic disc horn packs a punch. It has 5* Amazon reviews, it’s a top choice for motorcyclists. The 12V diaphragm horn has a steel body with a 12.5cm diameter (about the size of a saucer), so it’s quite large. Mounting strap included, it has a 2-spade terminal fitting which will be a standard plug and play for most motorcycles.
Savour the Sound(bomb)
This review isn’t much use if you can’t hear our best pick. Here’s the Denali Soundbomb Mini compared to a stock motorcycle horn.
As well as being louder, the Denali has a much lower tone. It sounds like a truck, which is definitely not what the driver you’re beeping at is expecting, so it’ll only help you get your point across.
You can get the Denali Mini horn here.
Check the dimensions of the horn before purchasing, the last thing you want is a horn that doesn’t fit.
Check road rules to make sure your horn is legal.
Having a rustproof body will make sure your horn lasts a long time.
If you’re after a louder sound, aim for something above the standard dB level, sometimes cheap options are the same as standard factory fitted horns.
Check the installation requirements - if you’re unsure on wiring, your bike shop will be able to fit it for you.
The Cheapest Motorcycle Horn
If you’re just after a straight replacement for your bike’s old horn and you don’t want one that’s too loud, then check out this horn from Sodial it costs around £3. If you want something that’s noticeably louder, go for one of our picks above.
If our selection above doesn’t toot your horn, then why not check out these other sound options.
120dB and a nice low rumble. 11 x 9.5 x 8.5cm universal snail horn. Plug and play fit with two terminal connection to fit most vehicles.
This 115dB high low sounding horn is louder than standard factory fitted horns and has a 12V low power consumption. Waterproof design makes it ideal for use on a motorcycle.
For those who need to be heard! 120dB dual-tone horn. You won’t be missed. A higher power draw of 20 Amps compared to our previous picks, the durable moulded clamp enables it to withstand high-vibration applications.
Thanks to the following websites which helped us research and write this motorcycle horn guide
mos.org / mos_now-hear-this_sound-and-hearing.pdf
courses.physics.illinois.edu / P406POM_Lecture_Notes/P406POM_Lect5.pdf
I don’t measure in cm. So this article is useless.
99% of the world uses metric. Embrace the 19th century, or use google.
“19th century”…? Which part of the 99% of the world are you in?
The Metric system was standardized in 1875 by international agreement, at the “Convention Of The Metre”. 17 countries signed it, including the USA.
So, yeah. 19th Century.