Whatever! – Me So Horny


I have thought for the longest time that if you need to depend on your horn to save your bacon on your motorcycle, you’re doing it wrong – an idea borne out by this Canadian maroon Troy posted on MO last week. In that situation, your horn just sounds like whining. The fat lady in the Kia has already sung, she beat you fair and square, and running to tell the policeman is only going to compound your shame.

In fact due to the nature of almost all motorcycle horns, they pretty much always sound like whining. Mostly your horn is there to beep-beep people ahead of you who don’t wake up when the light turns green, to tell your date you’re there, or to honk angrily while the garbage truck backs over you. Demanding your right to your space on a motorcycle is like a mouse demanding its rights from a cat. I mostly use my horn to beep-beep people somnambulating along in the fast lane as I zip past them, lickety-lanesplit, a polite reminder to quit being such an inconsiderate twat (in the British sense, of course) that happens too quickly for them to retaliate.

Recent events have made me begin to change my opinion. As more and more minority groups have demanded and, surprisingly, gained rights over the last decade (gays getting married, transgender people being allowed to pee, blacks demanding to not be shot, etc.), it’s got me thinking maybe it’s our turn.

Why should the biggest vehicles have the loudest horns anyway? If you can’t spot an 18-wheeler or a locomotive visually, should you be allowed to drive? And if you’re a blind pedestrian, do those huge vehicles need a horn loud enough to blow you out of your socks, given that your overcompensating hearing and vibration-sensing organs are that much more acute? In the case of a train, aren’t the tracks, for one, and the gates and flashing red lights, sufficient evidence for most people to deduce that a very large multi-wheeled vehicle could be coming along?

It’s backward, completely backward. It’s the smallest vehicle with the least chance of being seen that needs the loudest warning device. Along with mandatory heated grips, I may have to move that motorcycles from now on come with more serious horns. Something like a Stebel Nautilus might fill the bill.

Why have we put up with such feeble horns for such a long time anyway? Loud pipes shmoud pipes, they only blend into the general din and give people added incentive to run over us. The whole point of a horn is to tell the brainstem, “Hey! that’s a new loud and annoying sound, what could it be?!”

Turn down your speakers if you click on this at Howard’s Horns.

Turn down your speakers if you click on this at Howard’s Horns.

Now we face an entirely new threat: autonomous vehicles. According to this report, the driver of a Tesla S is the latest victim, driving happily along, according to another account I read, enjoying a Harry Potter movie:

“Tesla says the crash occurred while a Model S was traveling on a divided highway with Autopilot engaged, and a tractor trailer drove across the highway perpendicular to the car. Neither the software nor the driver saw the white tractor trailer, and no brake was applied.”

If the autopilot can’t see a tractor trailer across the road, your motorcycle might as well be an X-wing fighter, and no horn would’ve saved you. Still, it’s the feeling of empowerment that’s important, that you took some action even if your last great act of defiance was to honk your feeble horn.

I’ve scared more than one pedestrian while attempting to make a turn on the Africa Twin and various CB500s. Why, Honda? Why?

I’ve scared more than one pedestrian while attempting to make a turn on the Africa Twin and various CB500s. Why, Honda? Why?

To further complicate matters, it seems as if someone might be colluding with the motorcycle manufacturers to get us off the road one at a time: Lately they’re locating our horn buttons in places which require you to consult the owner’s manual before honking. After placing the horn forever at the bottom of the left switchgear, on a bunch of its newer models Honda and others have begun putting the turnsignal switch at the bottom, and the horn on top of it, resulting in me honking the horn every time I want to signal a turn. (Luckily, I seldom signal, preferring to advise following motorists of my intentions by skidding the back tire or with a series of swerves to get their attention. In the carburetor days, a well-timed backfire was a great way to alert people they were following too close.)

Group tests with new bikes and ones that maintain the traditional horn placement result in a comedy of honks and angry turn signal cancellations at wayward drivers as we swap from bike to bike.

I love everything about the Yamaha FZ-07 except where they put the horn. Once you adjust, though, you can express your displeasure with right blinker and horn in one fluid motion. It’s all a mute point, really, since you can’t hear the FZ’s horn at speed with earplugs in anyway.

I love everything about the Yamaha FZ-07 except where they put the horn. Once you adjust, though, you can express your displeasure with right blinker and horn in one fluid motion. It’s all a mute point, really, since you can’t hear the FZ’s horn at speed with earplugs in anyway.

It just makes me scratch my head and wonder why, and all I can come up with lately is vast right-wing conspiracy. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn the people who suppressed the 200-mpg carburetor are behind hiding the horn button. Motorcycles are really the only thing that stand between self-driving everything else, which means more people driving and burning more fuel, and more profits for Big Oil and Big Electricity. When you can go on a road trip and watch Harry Potter movies, well, there are no more reasons to stay home. (Remind me to patent the glovebox microwave oven and Big Gulp dispenser.) They need to get us motorcycles off the roads first, in the name of safety of course. We mustn’t let them do it.

Thank God the Euros refuse to go gently. The Ducati Multistrada has some of the best switchgear in the business, including being backlit – and they still managed to put the horn where it belongs.

Thank God the Euros refuse to go gently. The Ducati Multistrada has some of the best switchgear in the business, including being backlit – and they still managed to put the horn where it belongs.

My best advice remains the same as always: Ride like you’re invisible. To that I’d like to append, and carry a really loud horn if at all possible. One where you can find the button in a hurry and make the fat lady in the Kia at least wet herself a little bit. Simple pleasures.

Whatever! – Me So Horny appeared first on Motorcycle.com.