Screaming Banshee Horn System Review
Stock motorcycle horns are often rather pathetic little tooters, and most motorists driving with windows rolled up and the radio blasting won’t even hear your warning cry. The Screaming Banshee is designed to overcome this limitation while still allowing stock horns to beep-beep a pleasant greeting.
Screaming Banshee’s Full Banshee Horn System comes with a single-unit air compressor and horn coupled with Screaming Banshee’s proprietary control unit that, depending upon its jumper switch settings, allows the horn and the high-beam headlamp to pulse or remain on constantly when the horn button is pressed. Furthermore, depending on the switch settings, the air horn and headlamp can either instantly engage or be delayed by 0.15 second. The delay allows the OEM horn to be blipped for short greetings or gentle warnings and—to those who care—comply with DOT regulations.
The Full Banshee Horn System comes with a 120-decibel air horn, a proprietary Screaming Banshee control unit, mounting bracket and electrical connections. We upgraded to a Wolo horn unit for an additional $10, which is equally as loud but has a nicer appearance. The compressor and horn measures approximately 3.5 x 4.5 x 5.0 inches and weighs 1.7 pounds. The control unit measures 3.25 x 2 x 1 inches and weighs about five ounces.
Every bike is different and has its own space considerations, so some fiddling may be required to install the Screaming Banshee. The size of the Wolo air horn didn’t allow placement on Beemer number one or number two. Even on my full-fairing Ducati I had to reposition the primary horn and fabricate a custom bracket. Screaming Banshee does offer a system that splits the compressor and horn with 3 feet of tubing, possibly making some installations easier.
The manufacturer estimates that only an hour is required to install the system, but this assumes that sufficient room is available on a bike and, if so, the installation is quite straightforward. However, there are special considerations. Although the control unit is built to military specs and the circuitry is embedded in resin to protect it against dust, moisture and vibration, I recommend that it be positioned so it doesn’t accumulate water and potentially short circuit either the fuse or the jumper switches. The horn should face downward or backward so it doesn’t swallow water when riding in the rain. I also suggest coating the jumpers and base of the fuse with dielectric grease to prevent corrosion and short circuits. It is advisable to have some 18-gauge wire, crimp connectors and heat-shrink tubing on hand before beginning the installation. However, don’t feel daunted: detailed instructions and a video are available on Screaming Banshee’s website.
At 120 decibels, the horn is much louder than stock and sounds like a Peterbilt bearing down on offending drivers. The flashing high beam does capture the attention of oncoming drivers and those rare individuals who actually use their rearview mirrors. The 0.15-second delay enables a rider to blip the OEM horn politely. This $109.99 accessory could save your life, and that’s a pretty strong endorsement. Ken Aiken
For more information, call (727) 744-6808 or visit screaming-banshee.com.
(This Gearlab review was published in the January 2014 issue of Rider magazine.)