Do motorcycles have horns? – Why we don’t use them

Yes, they do have horns. What is important to know is that motorcycles can become very loud without using a button and many motorcyclists feel that it may be unnecessary to use if they can easily get someones attention by blipping the throttle.


In this post, I will explain why motorcycles have horns and why I don’t ever use it. Also, we will have a look at the different types of horns on bikes.

We will discuss the following:

  • Do all motorcycles have horns?
  • Why I don’t use my horn
  • Replacing your motorcycle’s horn

Do all motorcycles have horns?

In most countries, including my own, a motorcycle is required to have a horn to be roadworthy. So yes, all road production motorcycles have horns. Motorcycles have a horn for the exact same reason as cars and trucks; to avoid an accident by phonically signalling another road user to be aware.

But in some countries, horns are used more often. I think it was in Italy where there was a zig-zag road leading up a steep hill. There is no way for you to see oncoming traffic at the corners, and the road was extremely narrow. You had to honk every time you approached a turn, and if there was no response, you could almost-blindly proceed.

It is a fact that horns are necessary to communicate when using public roads, and in some way, it seems weird that we have all this technology available and yet we still use “cave-man language” to communicate with each other. On the other hand, you don’t want to communicate with other people on the road; you only need to say “watch out”, and then go on with your life.

Why I don’t use my horn

As you might have seen in my other posts, I owned a CBR1000RR equipped with a Two Brothers shorty.

It is deafening, and a quick blip of throttle is all I need to get the attention of another road user, although I do make the exception of using the horn for pedestrians.

And before you say anything about me breaking the law (not that it hurts me); my country doesn’t have any vehicle sound regulations for public road users, so it is completely legal. I don’t think that the horn button is too far away, but I don’t feel comfortable putting my hand in a position where I can’t immediately open the throttle in a dangerous situation.

Although blipping the throttle works fine for me, I understand that something like a CBR250 is not going to have the same effect. I tried it once on my girlfriend’s bike and had poor results. In the case where you have a small engine capacity, are restricted to a stock exhaust, or if you have a cruiser that can’t get high rpm’s in a short amount of time; using the horn is most likely the best choice.

Below is a video where I startup the CBR. You will notice how loud it is, even when idling.

Replacing your motorcycle’s horn

Even though your motorcycle might have a horn, you might feel that it’s not doing its job well enough. So let’s have a look at the different types of horns and how to install them.

Spiral horn

A spiral horn looks like a snail’s shell with an opening that allows the sound to be directed. This is not often used on motorcycles but is still a valid replacement for your stock horn.

Flat diaphragm horns

This is the type you probably have on your motorcycle. Not all flat diaphragm horns are bad, and you can easily find a better replacement for the same type. These type of horns are, as the name suggests, flat and saves you much more space than any other kind of horn.

Air horns

Although this type of horn is legal where I live, motorcyclists in countries like the US are not likely to have this type of horn installed as it is illegal in most states. Air horns work by compressing air through a reed (like on a flute) and produces high noise through the vibrations.

Final words

If your bike doesn’t produce a loud enough sound by blipping the throttle without reaching disrespectful high rpm’s, you are better off using the horn to signal your presence on the road. If your stock horn is not good enough, you can easily replace it with an aftermarket horn kit that also comes with instructions.

I always try to keep my articles interesting and informative. And I’m always thankful when they are shared on social media platforms or Pinterest.

Two Motion

I don’t see myself as an expert in every topic of motorcycling but my articles usually relate to new experiences that are relevant at the time of writing.

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