What is an AirZound
A big problem on the bike (especially when commuting or cycling in rush hour) is being cut up, being pulled out on or overtaken too closely. The AirZound is a fantastic and immensely loud bicycle horn. Bin that pathetic bell now and get one of these 115 decibel, rechargeable air horns.
Why can I buy an AirZound?
I’ve had my AirZound for over a year now and it has come in handy many, many times. I got my AirZound after researching into horns for bicycles. I commuted 30 miles a day at this point and was planning on making DIY bike horn after being in a few nasty situations that one would of helped. I did some research on the internet and found there were a few options out there. The first solution I found was an electric bicycle horn. The sales pitch sounded fantastic, but I saw a video of a demonstration on youtube and it sounded terrible, so that was a big no-no. A little bit more research and I found the AirZound bicycle horn.
How does the AirZound work?
The AirZound uses compressed air which you can pump in via your bike pump (Schrader valve – the big one). You pump it up to a recommended 80-100 psi. This is done best via a track pump, though with a bit of effort you should be able to get it fully pumped up with a hand pump. When fully pumped it can emit a very loud warning honk and should you decide to hold it down (or use it a lot) you should get about half a minute before it runs out of air. Unless you misuse it (or have an unfortunate ride) you should have enough pressure to last a reasonable amount of time between charges. A couple short sharp bursts normally does the trick and a few light taps can work well as a warning at junctions.
How does it compare to similar bike horns?
The main advantage of using compressed air like this is that you can reuse it. Traditional air horns can only be used once, where as this can be pumped up again and again. The electric ones I have seen weren’t very good and I’d be paranoid that they’d run out of battery power when I needed to use them. Some people I know do use electric ones, but these are wired to dynamos. Again, the connections can become loose and dynamos will slow you down a bit and are a little old fashioned.
When do you use your AirZound?
You may be thinking that you can just yell when something happens…and this is true. I find the advantage of the AirZound is you can give a light ‘warning’ tap when you’re not sure what someone is going to do. If you think someone is going to pull out in front of you, when they shouldn’t, you can give a light tap and this usually stops people from doing anything silly. You can see this in action, with this video clip of mine. Watch the Silver car think about going – two short taps of the AirZound and they don’t pull out in front of me.
Without my AirZound the car would have gone, which would have resulted in me having to do an emergency stop and probably loosing my cool and start yelling. The AirZound saved me having to yell when I wasn’t sure if the car was going to pull out. If you yelled at every single car that might pull out you’d look silly…a light use of the horn and it doesn’t matter and does control situations.
Here is another clip when the AirZound came in handy. Just imagine had I been going down hill and a little bit faster – the AirZound would have saved me going over the person’s car bonnet.
The other main advantage over a bicycle bell or yelling is that the sound that the AirZound makes is much louder and more comparable to a car or Lorry. This means that when you use it people won’t instantly tune it out as someone in a bicycle, which would happen with a bicycle bell. The disadvantage of yelling is that not only will it start to hurt your voice, but it could come across as aggressive. This may cause other problems if you were to meet a ‘Nutter’ on the road. As well as that drawback, I find that yelling has the habit of making me loose my cool and therefore could result in you not being entirely focused on cycling safely.
How does the AirZound attach to my bike?
Now you’ve seen the AirZound in use, and got an idea of just how loud and useful it can be, I’ll tell you a bit more about it. The AirZound comes with a quick release clip which you can put on your bike’s handle bars. You can take the AirZound on and off really easily with this attachment. You can then either put the AirZound in a spare drinks bottle holder, or use the Velcro attachment you get and attach it to your bike’s cross bar. This means you can remove it really easily and take it off when you get where ever you are going.
The only problem with the quick release is that it will only fit thinner handlebars. This is fine for my mountain bike, but not so good for my road bike. However, a couple of cable ties and you can securely attach it to your handlebars. If you’re attaching it to dropped handlebars you may find you’d prefer it on the drop bar like I do, and the handlebar attachment wouldn’t work there. You can see how I have attached the AirZound onto my road bike here. Not being able to use the handlebar attachment on all bikes is a slight disadvantage, however, you can easily fit it to any type of bike and this con is out weighed with all of the safety advantages the AirZound has.
The AirZound is a great piece of kit and anyone who cycles in busy traffic or during week day commutes really should invest in one! The AirZound helps me keep my cool and can help warn people not do anything dangerous. I also find that a blast of it after a close overtake makes people aware that they were too close, along with calming my mood so I don’t fume over it for the rest of the ride. It is easy to pump up and you get a decent amount of use from a full pump. Though the attachment for your handlebars could be better, it isn’t a major disadvantage.
An AirZound is the latest bit of cycling that is vital for commuters. Just like a good pair of bike shoes, the AirZound is something you can’t really afford to live without!