As an Bike Instructor I’m almost daily pointing out what the Highway Code has to say about the horn:- It’s ‘there to alert others of your presence’. In other words, use it if necessary to avoid a developing hazard becoming a major incident.
When something affects your safety, real or perceived … give a quick double tap of the horn! One long blast just puts peoples backs up, it’s aggressive, a double tap of the button can be an ‘Oi I’m here!’ as much as a ‘Hello, haven’t seen you in a while’ …. it’s ambiguous and inoffensive, but gets attention none the less. It’s a tool – use it if it’s going to help!!!
This is all well and good, if you happen to have a decent horn that is……
So the other afternoon, there I am, cheerfully taking avoiding action with my thumb jammed on the horn button as my right knee is tickling the driver’s door handle of a VW Golf that not only didn’t stop for a Stop sign …. but jumped the junction at a paint-peeling pace to boot. Not only did she not look, she’s still sublimely oblivious to the impending 350Kg of lap-Capo heading her way!
In amongst the swerving, braking and tutting …. I realised that the tooting element wasn’t doing much in the way of attracting attention. Sad to say the toot was more like an ants asthmatic wheeze. My fault really, I said it back in 08 and I’ll say it again, the damn horn that Aprilia fitted has to go!
Back in the relative calm of the barn, I reflect on the moments entertainment and vow by Beelzebub’s butt, I’m not having that happen again in a hurry. I want the horn replaced, improved – something more blessed with decibels. Not quite a wall breaker, more a bowel shaker! There is it turns out, but one horn that fits the bill ….. the fearsome Stebel Nautilus.
So a ‘Nautilus Compact tuning’ in black is ordered from Fleabay and I set about making mounting brackets to fit it where the ABS unit would go if I had ABS, which I don’t. It fits nice and snug in the space below the relays and coils, behind the rear suspension unit and seems to be pretty well shielded from road crap. The existing Grey horn wire behind the headlight, is tapped into, shielded and run back to the new relay. Yes, the horn needs a relay to operate as it draws 18A … that’s a toasty 216w … or 10 sets of heated grips worth of electricity to you sir! And yes, before you ask – it’s protected with a waterproof 20A fuse. So now the existing horn and the new one work in parallel … if one fails, I have a backup!
Of course I’m biased, I think it’s better … but the real test ladies and gentlemen, the definitive before and after toot-test, is for you to decide. Place your ear close to the speaker … closer than that, close your eyes and concentrate. Can you, discerning listener, tell the difference?
[audio:http://caponord.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Stebel-Nautilus-Compact.mp3|titles=Std Horn V Stebel Nautilus Compact]