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Do I really need Airzound?

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Do I really need Airzound?

Old 02-23-09, 10:10 PM
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duke_of_hazard
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Do I really need Airzound?

I practice vehicular cycling, so rarely have problems with motorists since traffic is relatively light in my neck of the woods. But every 50 miles or someone will do something dumb, i.e honk at me, or pass me unsafely. I like the idea of being able to blow a horn at them when that happens. What do you think, am I better off letting it go?

Of course other benefits would be against stopping cars backing out of driveways and detterant against dogs.
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Old 02-23-09, 10:53 PM
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Old 02-23-09, 10:53 PM
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I wonder how many cars pass you in 50 miles. So that would equate to 1 idiot out of every ___ people you encounter. Ask yourself if you want to provoke the one idiot so that you can feed your pride. It does feel good to feed pride.

A dog deterrent is a good thing to have too, as well as having a way to alert the unaware.
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Old 02-23-09, 11:05 PM
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Old 02-24-09, 12:19 AM
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Originally Posted by JinbaIttai View Post
I wonder how many cars pass you in 50 miles. So that would equate to 1 idiot out of every ___ people you encounter. Ask yourself if you want to provoke the one idiot so that you can feed your pride. It does feel good to feed pride.

A dog deterrent is a good thing to have too, as well as having a way to alert the unaware.
Probably it would be one idiot out of 50 cars. My concern is also cars pulling out of driveways. Does the Airzound hold it's pressure for a week, as I probably would only use it once or twice a week..
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Old 02-24-09, 05:54 AM
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Retaliatory horning is very un-Zen-like.

For driveway backers, I'd rather focus my efforts on braking or avoidance rather than fumbling with a horn that the driver may or may not hear depending on which radio station they have blaring inside their car. The last thing you need to determine whether or not your air horn is properly working is to have it squished under the back wheel of a car rolling over it.
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Old 02-24-09, 05:55 AM
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You mentioned it possibly being a deterrent against dogs. Has anyone noticed dogs turning tail at the sound of the Airzound? If so, that alone would be enough incentive for me to give one a try. On my route at night I typically come across several dogs snarling inches from my heals. I don't like the idea of carrying Pepper spay while riding.
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Old 02-24-09, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by duke_of_hazard View Post
I practice vehicular cycling, so rarely have problems with motorists since traffic is relatively light in my neck of the woods. But every 50 miles or someone will do something dumb, i.e honk at me, or pass me unsafely. I like the idea of being able to blow a horn at them when that happens. What do you think, am I better off letting it go?

Of course other benefits would be against stopping cars backing out of driveways and detterant against dogs.
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Old 02-24-09, 07:33 AM
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I had an airzound for a while. I found that the times I actually needed to sound a warning were exactly the same times I needed to apply both brakes, and couldn't reach the horn anyway. Vocalisations of some description are at least as effective, not so much to cuss them out, but more to let that nitwit looking in the other direction know that you're there, and you don't need to take your hands away from the job of braking. A loud 'OI!' is usually sufficient, I've found.

The airzound only lasted a year or so before failing, and I never bothered replacing it. :shrug:

It is funny to use it to scare the poop out of pedestrians though.

I doubt it'd hold pressure for a week. It says a full bottle has a 30 second charge, so you need to top it up after each time you use it. Otherwise, top it up at least weekly, but you should be doing that with your tyres anyway, so do it then.

If you need more than 30 seconds of horn for your average commute, I'd consider anger management classes.

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Old 02-24-09, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by duke_of_hazard View Post
Probably it would be one idiot out of 50 cars. My concern is also cars pulling out of driveways. Does the Airzound hold it's pressure for a week, as I probably would only use it once or twice a week..
It holds its pressure for months. They do work, but I would restrict use of it to situations that really demand a loud sever honk.
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Old 02-24-09, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Allister View Post
I doubt it'd hold pressure for a week. It says a full bottle has a 30 second charge, so you need to top it up after each time you use it. Otherwise, top it up at least weekly, but you should be doing that with your tyres anyway, so do it then.

If you need more than 30 seconds of horn for your average commute, I'd consider anger management classes.
Mine holds pressure as well as my tires/tubes. The last time I pressured it was early January (it is late Feb as I write this) and it is still holding fine. My only disappointment with it is that there is no indicator gauge... so you do have to check the pressure from time to time.

As far as 30 seconds... that also equates to 30 one second honks. I really would not use it for more than a quick blast.

The main advantage it has is it can be heard over heavy traffic... much better than even a loud voice.

With the low traffic the OP was mentioning... I probably wouldn't even spend the money. But if you are cycling on fast arterial roads, with lots of traffic and lots of fast lane switchers... it can be quite handy to stop the errant left hook or swooping lane change.

I have the button near my left thumb, and my right hand can still use the front brake. Not a bad combination.

And yeah it does work to clear ipod abusing crowds on the MUP.
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Old 02-24-09, 09:33 AM
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Get a decent bicycle bell. They're loud, noticeable, and can fill a spaced-out driver with the panic that he's about to run over an 8yr old girl, so he/she will instinctively be more careful than he/she would if it was just another annoying cyclist.
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Old 02-24-09, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by bigvegan View Post
Get a decent bicycle bell. They're loud, noticeable, and can fill a spaced-out driver with the panic that he's about to run over an 8yr old girl, so he/she will instinctively be more careful than he/she would if it was just another annoying cyclist.
If the driver is A) on a cellphone or B) has the windows rolled up C) has an Ipod on or D) All of the above they ARE NOT going to hear a bicycle bell. Some of them are so oblivious they cannot see or hear an Ambulance on their back bumper, yes I have seen it happen...more than once.

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Old 02-24-09, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by bigvegan View Post
Get a decent bicycle bell. They're loud, noticeable, and can fill a spaced-out driver with the panic that he's about to run over an 8yr old girl, so he/she will instinctively be more careful than he/she would if it was just another annoying cyclist.
Uh, bike bells may work in some places, but on crowded roads filled with cars... no way.
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Old 02-24-09, 10:42 AM
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I got my Airzound last September and have not refilled it once. It is still going strong. I use it on average once every 2-3 weeks. Yes - blaring the Airzound takes away one hand that you could use for braking, but in an emergency braking situation the rear brake is useless anyways (no traction on the rear wheel in sudden panic stops). So most people have it set up so that they can mash on the front brake with one hand and trigger the Airzound with the other.
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Old 02-24-09, 11:06 AM
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I have been using my Air Zound for about 2 years now. I can not imagine going with out it.

My riding is largely urban, some of which is on arterial roadways 35 to 40 mph. Ironically it is not the 25 mph narrower 2 lane roads with parking on either or both sides that is the problem when cars pass too close. It is the 12' wide, some with shoulders that I can ride on, often when I ride traffic can easily move into the left lane to pass arterial roadways that drivers pass too close to me, often on purpose. When traffic is occupying both lanes the traffic behind me, despite how close to the right I am, will pass anyway, just inches from me.

This is why I bought my Air Zound. I got tired of my throat getting sore from yelling out TOO CLOSE!!! to drivers. The Air Zound prevents me having to yell. Drivers can hear it even with the windows up. 97% of the time when I sound it they move to the left as they are passing, some of them swerve in a jerking motion to the left.

My Air Zound has also saved my hide at an 4-way stop sign controlled intersection where I was heading west, stopped to wait for oncoming and turning traffic. There was a lady in big black SUV, on a cell phone facing south in the left turn lane to turn east. It is her turn and she makes her turn, cuts the corner very short and heads right at me. I hit and held the Air Zound, at the last moment she realizes what she has done and swerves to avoid me.

Another use for my Air Zound is on a MUP. Some of the MUP's have blind corners, I use it to sound off I am coming through in case someone is there I can not see until I get around the corner. I also use it to alert pedestrians that I will be passing. I sound it off far enough back to alert them, but not so close it scares them out of their skin. For some reason certain ethinc groups of people, at least these are the only people I have EVER seen do this, like to take up the entire trail when they take a family walk. There are at least 1 stroller, sometimes a dog, mom, dad, and at least 2 kids walking. Sometimes the older kids are on bikes with training wheels or even roller blades. They are spread out across the trail taking up the whole thing. Because of a language barrier with the ethinc group of people the Air Zound is something universal that everyone understands when it is sounded off.

Another side effect is my Air Zound works well as a dog deterrent. When I have had to use it when a dog rishes at me the dog gets a confused look on its face and stops. If it doesn't I have pepper spray.

My Air Zound holds about 80 to 100 pounds of pressure. Sure there are days I do not have to us it, there has even been a week that has gone by with needing to use it and it did hold it's pressure. But I imagine, like a bike tire it will bleed or leech air and will need to be recharged if it sits too long. Do not try to use a Co2 gun/cartridge type device to refill your Air Zound though. I found out the hard way because of the valve which tappers in to the very narrow tube and then into the bottle doing so will damage it where the tube connects to the valve. It is too much high pressure too quickly.
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Old 02-24-09, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by aaronechang View Post
I got my Airzound last September and have not refilled it once. It is still going strong. I use it on average once every 2-3 weeks. Yes - blaring the Airzound takes away one hand that you could use for braking, but in an emergency braking situation the rear brake is useless anyways (no traction on the rear wheel in sudden panic stops). So most people have it set up so that they can mash on the front brake with one hand and trigger the Airzound with the other.
You may have your valve set to not let out a large blast. Air Zounds have an adjustable valve on them that controls the amount of air. Yours may be turned down. This also means the sound will not be as loud either.
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Old 02-24-09, 11:18 AM
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Good tip - I will check out the adjustable valve. Although my Airzound as-is is pretty darn loud (makes my ears ring for the next few mins.) If my Airzound is set at the low setting, I shudder to think how powerful the highest setting is.
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Old 02-24-09, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Square & Compas View Post
You may have your valve set to not let out a large blast. Air Zounds have an adjustable valve on them that controls the amount of air. Yours may be turned down. This also means the sound will not be as loud either.
I know I have mine turned down a bit... but even still, it emits quite a loud blast. And it only takes a short blast to make a decent HONK!

For any of you wondering, it sounds a lot like one of those air horns you hear at sporting events or that are used by boaters.
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Old 02-24-09, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Just use the pipes God gave you and curse 'em out.
+1 on using your pipes. I try not to curse (too much). A nice lound "Hey" or "Stop" is very effective. I've had a few people yelling back at me through their car window... I saw you... if you are rolling through a stop sign and you may hit me I will be VERY loud. It helps that I naturally have a 50ft whisper. I have a bell on my bike mostly for the occasional ride on a mup and to conform with traffic law. I don't ever want to be blamed for being run-over because I didn't have a bell. On the mup I usually get people to move asside with a single quick ding. Some people insist on blaring their IPods and those are just impossible to reach with anything short of an air horn from a truck or train. Some of those folks are in their own little world then they are out there.

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Old 02-24-09, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Uh, bike bells may work in some places, but on crowded roads filled with cars... no way.
+1. Bells work okay on the multi-user trails and occasionally against a jaywalking pedestrian, but they're of little use in vehicle traffic.

Not only that, but it's getting tough to find decent bells these days, other than the toy stuff.
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Old 02-24-09, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by aaronechang View Post
Good tip - I will check out the adjustable valve. Although my Airzound as-is is pretty darn loud (makes my ears ring for the next few mins.) If my Airzound is set at the low setting, I shudder to think how powerful the highest setting is.
I think the loudest the Air Zound will go with the valve fully open is 115 decibels. Most normal conversations between 2 people are I think around 50 to 70 decibels. But it is not just the loudness, it is also the pitch and tone which gives the Air Zound it's power and effectivness.

If you have accidentally hit the button inside your house you know how loud it is and as you said that it rings your ears. One time when I was putting mine on the bike I hit the button. My dog was asleep on the floor about 3' from me. It startled her where she woke up, yelped and then started to growl and bark a little. She may have yelped because it might have hurt her ears, or she was startled by it. I calmed her down and apologized to her and she was alright. It also hurt my ears.
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Old 02-24-09, 12:24 PM
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andrelan mentioned traffic laws and complying with such. Be sure to check out your local laws regarding horns on a bicycle. In my city only whistles and sirens are not allowed. Horns are ok as are bells. Your community may be differant. My Air Zound cost about $35.00. Before you invest in one check to see if you are allowed to have one on your bike.
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Old 02-24-09, 01:59 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Square & Compas View Post
In my city . . . whistles . . . are not allowed
Same here, but any idea why? I carry one, and have never gotten in trouble for it, and have found it way more versatile and useful than a horn.

1. easily variable volume (suitable for pedestrians on MUPS as well as cars on 55mph arterials)
2. don't have to worry about keeping it pumped up
3. loud (Fox 40)
4. can be used with both hands on handlebars

I usually just slip it into my mouth approaching areas with significant turning activity, and often when riding past people waiting to turn left across my path or turning right into my path. I also use it as a response to people who honk when passing. For any other situation (i.e. people changing lanes into me, or any other emergency situation where I didn't see anything coming) I just yell "hey".
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Old 02-24-09, 02:07 PM
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I use it on my commuter. I would avoid "retalitory honking". Nevertheless, it is the case that cars can hear me and that it has been useful in a handful of situations.

Note that it is really loud. While there is volume control, by my judgement the lowest setting is still quite loud. However, you can give it a quick tap which helps mitigate the blaring sound when you simply want to give someone a heads up on the MUP.
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