Today, I’m doing a review of the RBBell electronic bike horn.   This is a battery powered piezo that beeps when the button is pressed.  Pretty simple.  It’s loud (as in 120dB loud)!  It startled me after accidentally pressing the button during my review video. I can tell already this is going to be effective when I hit the trails.   IMG_1995

I do a fair bit of biking. Most of which is in trails not frequented by hikers.  However, I also do a fair bit of riding on shared trails that a lot of locals and hikers visit.  Being a respectful MTB’er, I currently have one of those dinky bells that makes a ‘ding!’ when I use it.  Problem is… it SUCKS!  Most of the time,  I am ringing this thing and even as I pass most people jump and give me a scowl look (can’t say I did’t try).  It just seems some folks are not very cognisant of their surroundings – and they should be!

So… where does that leave me?  the RBBell.  I decided to go digging to see what is out there.  Oddly, there isn’t much that does not cost an arm and a leg… There’s the Air Zound that uses a water bottle full of pressurized air and a big looking horn. However, I’m not driving a Mac truck and that thing would be trashed after the first set of trails I took it on. There are other bulky electronic units a well, but they cost $60+ CAD.   After doing some digging, I came across the RBBell.  This sucker is small, easy to mount, loud and effective! It uses a 120dB piezo connected to a battery.  All packaged in a silcone mount and battery unit.  It’s easy to use.  Simply push the button for a loud beep that will get anyone’s attention on the road or in the trails. Construction is solid and top quality. Check out my full review video below for more…

Note: Watch out for knock-offs. You can usually tell by the wire connector that is used between the battery and horn. Its a 3-wire cheap connection that would break easily (picture below).

 

How does it perform?

I took the RBBell out for a trail ride.  I’m impressed.  Overall, the unit performed well.  I approached a few casual walkers on the paved path en-route to the trails.  Some seemed to hear it, but others I am not sure.  That said, hikers and casual walkers have an interesting dynamic.  Some will signal they know you are coming and some even move off to the side.  Others will pretend like they did not hear it and do nothing (sort of like a deer in the headlights).  You can tell that they know that you are coming, but they do nothing and keep at what they were doing.  You know this as they are not startled when you ride by.

Pros Cons
  • Loud – 120dB beep sound.
  • The sound is unique enough that people know its not a bird or other animal.
  • Holds tight.  I hammered down some rough rooted downhills and it both the bar and battery units held tight
  • Easy to install / remove.  No tools.  It took me all of 30 seconds to put it on my bike.
  • I found that unit sometimes moved on my bar and I had to pull it back toward my grips.  I had it on the second hole and will try to tighten it up.
  • As with any bell/horn, you have to reach for the button.  This is no different.  Not so much a con.  I’m going to keep this on my bike, but I’m going to mod it but adding a tiny secondary button close to my brake lever or shifter.
  • Battery – its not your standard battery.  Given you should not have to change it often, this should not be a deal breaker.  You can source one at most online retailers for cheap.
  • The wire on the bar unit comes out right where the strap goes around the plastic to secure the unit.  When you connect the two, you have to move the wire out of the way to get it to catch.  This could use a design change with future revisions.  Not a big deal – more of a nuisance.

Specs:

  • 120dB output
  • Range: up to 100m
  • weight: 40g
  • Battery: 12V type 23A (life up to 2 yrs)
  • Water and UV resistant

 

Disclaimer – I am just a guy doing a review. I have no affiliation with the company, and nor am I a professional sound analyst. You are responsible for your safety on the road or in the trails. Don’t assume just because you used this horn that you have been heard – especially around vehicles.    Just remember, Darwin is always lurking.  Ride smart!