The Hornit dB140 cycle horn was conceived on the mean streets of south London as the loudest cycle horn in the world. As its name implies, it belts out a whopping 140 decibels - 30 more than standard on cars and vans.
It doesn't take any more handlebar space than a typical commuter light, and has a distinctive tone, similar to household smoke alarm. However, the reaction of a multi-drop van driver suggests it can sometimes fuel, rather than displace, danger.
You might be tempted to whip it aboard the bars and thunder through the town, honking at errant rickshaws, transits, taxis, pizza delivery pilots and anyone else blundering into your path, but it's worth taking a few minutes first to familiarise yourself with the unit and its instructions.
Build quality and weatherproofing stops short of great, so I unscrewed the battery compartment and put Vaseline to the AAA battery contacts. In fairness, bar mounting keeps it out of harm's way and ours has shrugged off several Armageddon-esque downpours.
The CatEye pattern mount copes with all handlebar diameters and tightens with a recessed plastic key, which might also prevent a thief swiping the bracket. Along with finding the ideal resting spot for the rubberised silicone switch, this is about as challenging as installation gets. The instructions give helpful pointers and I settled inboard of the right-hand brake hood. Within a few hundred yards and half a dozen prods prods, I'd got simultaneous bibbing and braking down to a fine art.
Loud enough for congested town centres, it's assertive, rather than aggressive, alerting pedestrians to your passage without making dogs howl, babies cry and elderly gentlemen wave their sticks in outrage. It's also perfect for country roads, gently dispersing a gaggle of geese, sheep and an inappropriately playful spaniel.
However, it failed to impact the awareness of some drivers who passed with only inches to spare. The quieter setting is a nice touch, but 100dB rather than 130dB would be more appropriate for shared paths.
Lightweight, practical and extremely loud horn but can also provoke driver aggression.
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Make and model: Hornit dB140 Cycle Horn
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"The Hornit dB140 is the loudest cycle horn on the market. It emits a piercing 140 decibel sound which is enough to alert lorries, vans, buses, cars and even 'in-a-world-of-their-own' pedestrians. Compatible with all styles of bikes, including road bikes, it gives cyclists a way of letting all other road users know where they are and makes cycling much safer".
Agree on the whole but it can also aggravate driver aggression.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
'Road' mode output - 140 decibels
'Park' mode output - 130 decibels
Dimensions and Claimed Weights
Horn: 97mm(l) x 48mm(w) x 36mm(h), 44g
Trigger: 94mm(l) x 18mm(w) x 7mm(h), 8g
Handle Bar Fixing: 32mm(l) x 18mm(w) x 38mm(h), 20g
Batteries: 2 x AAA Batteries, 24g
Generally good, although the silione trigger mount on our sample split within several outings.
107g by my scales
Delightfully simple to use.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
There is no doubting the Hornit's prowess and practicality both round town and on the open road. However, a lower (100dB) setting would've been more appropriate than the 130dB for shared use contexts and in some cases the horn intensified original driver aggression.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Ease of use, low weight and modest dimensions.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing given the design brief.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)