Just like most compact automobiles, motorcycles run on 12 Volts of power, and installing electrical accessories is usually similar to how you would install them on a car. Installing a motorcycle horn can mean different things, whether you’re installing an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) horn that’s similar to your bike’s stock horn, or if you’re installing something stronger and louder from a variety of horn manufacturers out there, such as Stebel, Bosch, Hella or other more exotic brands and varieties.
- Original horns. There’s not much ado about original horns that come stock with any motorcycle. Chances are, these are weak, tinny and even wimpy sounding, that no one may notice when you send a warning with your horn. There also might be cases in which you need to replace your OEM horn with another one—say, your original one gets broken and you want to put in another one just like it. It’s as simple as removing the original and mounting a new one.
The horn is usually found at the front part of the engine block, near the rear of the front wheels. You will need a Phillips screwdriver to remove the wiring from the horn assembly (or in some cases, just remove it from the socket). You will also need a wrench to remove the horn assembly from the motorcycle’s body. You can then easily replace the original with a similar horn the same way.
- Higher capacity horns. Horns that require a higher current would require additional fixtures, aside from just the horn assembly. This is because the wiring for stock horns might tend to burn, and your electrical system can overload if you just slap in a new, louder horn. For this purpose, you will need to install a relay, which basically connects your new horn directly to the battery while regulating voltage and current. This might add to the cost of the new horn, although it’s usually included in the retail packages for replacement horns.
- Air powered horns. Air powered horns are considered more stylish when it comes to motorcycle use. Firstly, they are quite loud—the sound would seem as if it came from a large truck. You will surely get attention from cars and SUVs around you. Secondly, they are quite a sight to behold. Air horns are called such because of their shape. They look like small, chrome, shiny trumpets.
Air horns cannot just be installed like regular electric horns, though. These are not operated by electricity alone. Instead, you need to install a compressor, which will blow air into the horn when activated. You might also need to install a relay when upgrading to air horns, since the compressor would likely need to draw a larger amount of current than a regular electric horn. Air horns would also be a bit more complicated to install, since aside from mounting, you also need to install tubing from the compressor to the horn itself.
Upgrading your motorcycle’s horn might sound like a tough task. But once you hear that sweet sound of your new, loud horn blaring into your ears (and that of others), it will be well worth it.