As a cyclist you often have to “yell” at cars, pedestrians, or even other cyclists to make your presence known. Whether you’re cursing at a car that cut you off or just letting pedestrians know you are passing them, a bike horn is a great way to improve your safety. The Hornit db140 is claimed to be the world’s loudest electric bike horn with a ear-piercing 140dB that ensures people hear you coming. The latest version of the Hornit dB140 now features a universal Garmin style quarter turn mount that makes it easy to attach to bikes or third party out-front mounts. The high decibel output still carries an affordable $34.95 price and uses two AA batteries that are claimed to last upto 12 months with normal use (i.e. six 1 second blasts per day). There are two tones with the horn, a piercing 140dB mode and a more friendly 121dB lower pitch option. Hornit also includes a wired remote that allows you to brake and honk at the same time.
The Hornit dB140 combines an ear piercing 140db horn with a secure Garmin quarter turn style mount.
|Rating||8.3 / 10|
|Measured Weight (in g)||82 (horn + trigger), 22 (road bike mount), 18 (mtb mount)|
|Likes||+ Garmin mount|
+ Remote trigger makes it easy to brake and honk
+ Loud enough to quickly attract attention
|Dislikes||– Uses AAA batteries|
– 140dB mode sounds like a fire alarm
– Lacks visual indicator for current horn mode
|Where to Buy (US)||Hornit|
The Hornit dB140 comes in a compact branded cardboard box with specs printed directly onto it. Inside the box you’ll find:
- dB140 horn
- 2 x AAA batteries
- Remote trigger
- 22-26mm handlebar mount w/ spacers
- 31.8mm handlebar mount
- Instruction manual
Hornit includes multiple spacers for the smaller diameter handlebar mount to accommodate a variety of bike setups.
One of the key features of the updated Hornit dB140 horn is the integration of a Garmin quarter turn style mount that has quickly become a universal mount style for bicycle accessories. That means the dB140 can now be mounted on a variety of third-party out-front mounts on the market such as the Topeak UTF. Hornit even includes two mount options that accommodate 22-26mm handlebars or 31.8mm handlebars which are more common on road cycling drop bars. Both mounts use plastic c-shaped clamps with two allen bolts to securely hold it on the handlebars on or off the road. One nice feature of the included mounts is that they feature a storage slot for the trigger to prevent it from accidentally being pressed while being stored or transported.
FIT & FINISH
Visually, the Hornit dB140 has a distinctive streamlined shape that looks more like a bike light than a horn. The dB140 has a torpedo-like shape with an ellipse cross profile that flattens out in the rear. To help direct the sound forward, the exterior of the horn extends slightly ahead of the horn speaker. Most of the exterior is plastic with a flat black finish and sharp creases along the edges and down the center. There is also a thin rubber bumper that extends around the rear of the horn that provides some protection against falls or rubbing against anything. Branding is limited to Hornit printed on the rear in orange which gives it an understated look.
To control the horn tone, there is a simple rubber button on the rear of the horn. Pressing the button switches it between the trail and loud mode but doesn’t provide any visual indication of what mode is active. To actually activate the horn, Hornit provides a wired remote trigger that connects to the underside of the main body and allows you to place the horn button closer to the brake levers. The remote trigger has excellent tactile feel and uses a rubber strap to attach it to the handle bars. Although this updated Garmin style mount version of the Hornit dB140 is the gen 3 version of the horn, Hornit has kept the AAA battery design. Installing or replacing the batteries requires a screwdriver to remove the cover. We would have liked to see a rechargeable battery with a multi-level battery status indicator to improve usability.
ON THE ROAD
The Hornit dB140 features two horn tones, the ear-piercing 140dB option and a more tame 121dB lower pitched option. Ideally, the 140dB mode would be used on urban roads to ensure cars see you and hear you coming while the 121dB mode would be used on bike trails. Unlike the Loud Bicycles Loud Mini or other bike horns that use actual diaphragms to produce the sound, the dB140’s electronic horn design means that both output modes lack the low frequency tones car horns have. Instead, the 140dB mode has a shrill smoke detector sound which is confusing to hear while the 121dB sounds like an emergency vehicle PA system.
We’d recommend sticking to the 121dB mode which is still loud but has a more natural sound. While it doesn’t exactly sound like a horn, the lower pitch of the mode is easy to identify and will get quick reactions from others around you. Compared to a friendly ding-ding of a bike bell, the 121dB mode may get you some dirty looks from pedestrians. That’s why we wish Hornit had included a nicer ‘beep-beep’ type option for shared trails. Given how loud the 140dB mode is, we also would have liked to see some visual indicator of the current mode selection as there is no way to tell without sounding both versions.
Overall, we found the Hornit dB140 to be a loud and affordable bicycle horn. With the updated Garmin style mount, the dB140 can finally be mounted on a variety of out-front mounts or third party mounts without the need for adapters. It’s also a much more secure and easy to use mounting style that can be quickly installed or removed. Although we can’t confirm that the dB140 is really the world’s loudest bike horn, it’s hard to ignore especially at the full 140 dB horn mode. As with all electric horns, the dB140 doesn’t really sound like a car horn as it lacks the deep low frequency tones. We preferred to ride with the 121dB trail mode which has a more friendly tone. That said, the Hornit dB140 is a very affordable and easy to use horn that can ensure you’re seen and heard on the road or bike trails.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Hornit. The dB outputs mentioned in this review are manufacturer claimed values and have not been verified by the reviewer. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.