By Jerry Smith
Given that the most common threat motorcyclists encounter in traffic—the left-turning right-of-way violator in a car—occurs in front of the bike, and that the majority of a bike’s exhaust sound is directed behind the bike, the only way loud pipes save lives is if you ride backwards. Loud horns, on the other hand, face forward, and are far more effective at waking up oblivious drivers with cell phones glued to their ears. Instead of replacing quiet pipes with loud ones, riders could be shelving their feeble stock horns for loud ones. And when it comes to loud, Rivco’s air horns for Harley-Davidsons really send the message.
The kit consists of two trumpet-style horns on a single bracket, a relay, and a small compressor. A pair of snap-on trumpet covers is included to keep the forward-facing horns from getting clogged with bugs and dirt. All the necessary wiring and air hoses are included, as are crimp-on terminals and zip-ties.
Although the instructions that come with the Rivco air horns could be clearer (they might try using paragraphs) the wiring diagram came to the rescue during installation on a 2005 Road King. After the stock horn was removed, a relay was wired and zip-tied to the Rivco trumpets, the stock horn terminals were plugged into the relay, and the trumpets were mounted to the stock rubber-mounted horn bolt.
Installing the compressor was a simple three-step process: wire the compressor to power through the relay, zip-tie the unit firmly into place and connect the air hose. Because of its compact size the compressor can be hidden from view or attached to a frame tube or crash-bar rail. In our Road King’s case, it fit neatly into an open space in the frame under the front of the seat.
The first time I pushed the horn button to test the Rivcos, everyone in the vicinity jumped. The small compressor spools up so fast there’s no need for a storage tank, and no perceptible lag between the push and the honk. And what a honk—with a claimed 128 decibels, if these babies don’t get your attention, nothing will. The beautifully chrome-plated Rivco trumpets complemented the Road King’s classic look, too.
Rivco air horns fit just about any late-model Harley with a left-side horn. They’re waterproof, require no drilling to install, and use the stock horn button. Suggested retail for the kit is $179.95, which makes them cheaper than a set of loud pipes, and they don’t make noise when they don’t have to.
To order, contact Rivco Products, 888-801-8222, www.rivcoproducts.com.