Motorcycle air horn delivers bigger sound from smaller package

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The Shockwave is the latest evolution of Screaming Banshee's two-level air horn(Credit: Screaming Banshee)

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Four years after introducing its first ear-splitting air horn for motorcycles, Florida-based Screaming Banshee has introduced the Shockwave. The new design retains the features of the original, with adjustable dual volume action and pulsating headlight coupling, but offers a bigger sound in a smaller form factor and at a lower price.

The Shockwave boasts an electronic controller that handles a two-level volume system. A tap on the horn button will release the typical 100-dB high-pitched beep, but keep the button pressed for more than 0.15 seconds and the Shockwave produces an intermittent angry sound of over 123 dB meant to alert even the most distracted of road users. If the 0.15-second delay is too long to wait, the Shockwave can be adjusted to deliver the 123+ dB blast as soon as the horn button is pushed.

The warning system can also be extended visually by connecting the horn to the headlight wiring. This way flashing lights add to the vehicle's visibility every time the horn sounds in angry mode. This connection can be made with either the low or high beam, although logic dictates that the latter will make all the difference. Optionally Screaming Banshee offers an extra LED light bar that can take over the task of visually enhancing the horn's effectiveness.

Comparatively the Shockwave (right) is lighter, smaller and simpler to install than the original design (left)(Credit: Screaming Banshee)

Screaming Banshee creator, Peter Olt, initially designed the horn with motorcycles in mind, as two-wheelers are harder to see and come off second best when it comes to road accidents. But with standard car horns usually topping out around the 109 dB mark, there's no reason the Shockwave couldn't add some volume to vehicles of the four-wheeled variety.

The Shockwave constitutes an evolution of the original model, with the electronic circuit now incorporated and protected in the housing of the horn. This newly designed control board has no relays that may fail over time and also includes its own replaceable fuse. The plastic acoustic trumpet is also new, designed in a spiral shape in order to make the horn as compact as possible.

According to the company, the new horn unit is 40 percent smaller and lighter than the previous model, measuring 3.7 x 3.0 x 4.9 in (94 x 76 x 125 mm) and weighing in at 22 oz (624 g). Its installation is supposed to be quite simple – all it needs to be fitted to any vehicle that uses a 12 V horn is a wire to the battery's positive pole, another to a grounding point and, optionally, a third line to the headlight's high beam lead with a tap splice connector.

Screaming Banshee has taken to Kickstarter to raise a modest US$10,000 to help get the Shockwave into production. It's closing in on that target with under a week left to run. The $79 Early Bird pledge level is all gone, leaving $89 as the minimum pledge to score a unit – which is still $10 less than the previous model. If all goes to plan, units will be shipped next month.

We're expecting one of the first Shockwave horns out of the production line to arrive in our mailbox, so will post a hands-on review of the device.

The company's video pitch can be viewed below.

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