Sometimes blowing a factory or even air horn simply will not get the job done. When you need people to be aware of your presence or kindly move aside so you can pass, only a train horn will do the job right. Despite the name, though, most “train horns” are not actually models used by trains. Granted, some horns sold as train horns are also used by trains, but many of them simply emulate the design principles of a train horn. One of the better models that fits that description is the Viking Horns 101C-3/1007.
One of the more comforting qualities about Viking Horns is that they specialize exclusively in horns and horn accessories. This means that the company lives or dies by the quality of this type of product alone and cannot afford to put out a poor quality product or risk marring their reputation. Thankfully, this is an excellent train horn perfectly suited for many consumer grade vehicles.
This product is a nearly complete kit that will only require you to purchase wiring hardware to be able to mount it and hook it up. Aside from the three trumpets, the Viking Horns 101C-3/1007 also comes with an air compressor, and air tank, a horn button, and the hardware necessary to mount all of the different components.
One area where the Viking Horns definitely keeps pace with train horn products that cost more than ten times as much is with the air tank. At 1.5 gal, or 6 liters, this air tank is comparable to most of the high-end models out there. Moreover, considering that this train horn does not get quite as loud nor have as many trumpets as models costing many times more, that large air tank goes a long way.
Of course, how long depends on how you blow the horn. If you push the horn and simply hold down, the Viking Horns will blast at full volume for about 5 seconds. Then, it will still blast plenty loud for another 5 seconds, though you will notice the sound becoming less true and a bit quieter. For intermittent bursts, you can push it roughly 8 times for 1 to 2 second bursts before the tank gets too low to push the horn.
The Viking Horns 101C-3/1007 comes with a set of three trumpets. Each trumpet is made of metal and plated in chrome to prevent rusting or other damage. It is important to note that you will need a fairly large space just to mount the trumpets–let alone the air compressor and air tank. At just over a cubic foot in area, this train horn is suited more for pickup trucks, SUVs, and other larger vehicles than it is for cars.
In fact, the trumpets are by far the largest part of this train horn. That said, the inclusion of 3 trumpets should clue you into to a few qualities. For one, this will not produce the absolute best sound quality. While the sound will be strong, it will not have the kind of resonance nor will it carry multiple miles like more powerful train horns with 5 trumpets.
This is likely one of the two biggest reasons that you want a train horn. The sheer volume of train horns will provide a bit of additional security when it comes to warning other motorists of your presence. Thankfully the Viking Horns 101C-3/1007 train horn is more than loud enough to let anyone who might be putting you and your riders at risk that they should pay attention to what they are doing.
To put things in perspective, this train horn registers at 149 decibels. Physical pain from sheer volume begins at 125 decibels. A jet engine taking off is only 133 decibels. The closest thing in terms of volume to this train horn is a professional firecracker which is 150 decibels–10 decibels louder than a rifle.
However you look at it, this horn is more than loud enough to alert others to your presence. Just make sure that there are no local ordinances limiting the maximum volume of your vehicle’s horn and never blow the Viking Horns 101C-3/1007 with a person in front of it or you could actually risk rupturing their eardrum–even if you only give it a quick toot.
If there is any component of the Viking Horns 101C-3/1007 that leaves a bit to be desired, it is the air compressor. For one, this air compressor is not made by any noteworthy or reputable brand. That is not to say the makers are disreputable, but chances are it is an OEM model. This is not inherently bad, though some customers have noted the air compressor failing them after extended use.
In terms of the compressor’s specs, it is a bit of a mixed bag. The compressor is rated for 150 psi which puts it on par with most of the other compressors used by other brands–even if some of them opt for the excellent VIAIR brand. However, with a compressor pushing only 16 amps, it will take a bit longer to recharge your horns. After fully exhausting the air pressure, you will need to wait about 2 minutes for the compressor to fill the air tank again.
The setup for this train horn is not terribly difficult, but it is not self-contained either. The biggest knock on this train horn installation is simply that it does not come with proper components to wire it up. That said, those components are neither that difficult to find nor that expensive. Considering that this is actually a shockingly inexpensive train horn, the additional cost and hassle of purchasing a wiring kit should not be much of an issue.
Beyond the absent wiring kit, this train horn does come with pretty much everything else you need to install it. The mounting kit is complete to mount the horns, air tank, and compressor without having to purchase additional hardware. Moreover, there are no reports of the hardware failing, so it should be exceptionally secure–so long as you mount it properly.
While this technically less of an issue for safety purposes, if you are looking to get a train horn for the genuine sound quality, the Viking Horns comes pretty close in general and is by far the truest sounding train horn in its price bracket. Of course, if you want a train horn that sounds perfectly true, you will need to purchase a horn that it actually used for trains. While that might sound like a good idea, the logistics of that endeavor leave us recommending you stick with a “train-like” horn.
Aside from the fact that an actual train horn is significantly larger in terms of the trumpets, air compressor, and air tank, your local ordinances may not even allow you to legally use an actual train horn for your vehicle. If you drive a semi-truck, then you can consider dropping over one to two thousand on a genuine train horn. Otherwise, the Viking Horns should be close enough–and definitely loud enough–to satisfy all but the most demanding and devoted of ears.
For a pickup truck, RV, marine vehicle, or any other large vehicle, the Viking Horns 101C-3/1007 is a veritable steal. At under $200, you will be hard-pressed to find a train horn that can get much louder or produce as true of a sound as this one. Granted, if you are driving a semi-truck professionally, you may want to opt for a more expensive option–but you certainly do not need to. That said, if there is one thing that you might want to upgrade, it would be the air compressor. That is not to suggest that the compressor is of poor quality, but it certainly is not intended to be used with near continual regularity. If you want the horns for legitimate emergency purposes, then the compressor will be fine. If you want to constantly lay on the horn to impress your friends, you might want to upgrade the compressor.