The Nautilus pays for itself!

Years ago I was reversed into …… a HGV stopped on a main A road, we and the traffic behind us stopped as well. Then he reversed. Instinct 1 – horn, instinct 2 – bale out, or be crushed. As accidents go, being reversed into is quite a slow affair, time enough then to process the outcome, time enough to let the dread take hold. My step father and I were lucky, trapped by the car behind with nowhere to go, a quick thinking German jumped the line of traffic and drove alongside the tractor unit with his horn blaring.

Role on to yesterday ……. heading back home on the heavily laden Capo. I take a right turn onto a decent section of road I know well. Ahead is a HGV. He’s moving at a reasonable speed and I’m in no hurry, so I settle on the crown of the road about 100m behind. In about 2Km I’m turning left (pic. above), about 75% of traffic turns there …. So it’s quite conceivable this chap will as well. In my mind I’m setting up for the overtake once we’ve settled down after the turn.

We approach the junction doing about 70Kmh and his left indicator starts flashing. A second later I indicate as well. He starts braking and I back off the gas. I’m thinking he’ll shave off 20-30Kmh to make the turn. As you can see from the picture above, it’s a wide open junction with good visibility.

Then things rapidly unravel.

I’m still at the crown of the road, so I can see his mirror clearly …. And the fact that he’s scrubbing off way more speed than I’d anticipated – he’s stopping! I’m now about 30m behind.

He stops …. I stop about 15m behind, in clear view of his mirror. He’s still indicating left.

Then it happens. The engine revs, the reversing lights go on and with a lurch he’s accelerating backwards towards me.

It takes 0.7 seconds to process and react so they say.

14m, 12m, 10m ……..my thumb hits the horn button …… and the Stebel Nautilus sings out. It echoes off the back of the truck and floods through my earplugs, it gets the job done. Sleeping Beauty is awoken from his afternoon siesta by the 139db kiss on his delicate eardrums.

And just like that, the situation is defused, my pulse falls as I ride away and I realise my tongue is well and truly stuck to the top of my desert-dry mouth. The weak knees and tremors take a bit longer to fade away.

Why this muppet did what he did I have no idea, the nearest entrance behind us was about 400m and anyway, the junction is so spacious and quiet he could have turned around easily. I guess I’ll never know what thought was crossing that barren wasteland called his brain.

The question is, would the situation have had the same outcome if I hadn’t recently fitted the Nautilus …..

Just call me ‘Hornblower’!

As an Bike Instructor I’m almost daily pointing out what the Highway Code has to say about the horn:- It’s ‘there to alert others of your presence’. In other words, use it if necessary to avoid a developing hazard becoming a major incident.

When something affects your safety, real or perceived … give a quick double tap of the horn! One long blast just puts peoples backs up, it’s aggressive, a double tap of the button can be an ‘Oi I’m here!’ as much as a ‘Hello, haven’t seen you in a while’ …. it’s ambiguous and inoffensive, but gets attention none the less. It’s a tool – use it if it’s going to help!!!

This is all well and good, if you happen to have a decent horn that is……

So the other afternoon,  there I am, cheerfully taking avoiding action with my thumb jammed on the horn button as my right knee is tickling the driver’s door handle of a VW Golf that not only didn’t stop for a Stop sign …. but jumped the junction at a paint-peeling pace to boot. Not only did she not look, she’s still sublimely oblivious to the impending 350Kg  of lap-Capo heading her way!

In amongst the swerving, braking and tutting …. I realised that the tooting element  wasn’t doing much in the way of attracting attention. Sad to say the toot was more like an ants asthmatic wheeze. My fault really, I said it back in 08 and I’ll say it again, the damn horn that Aprilia fitted has to go!

Back in the relative calm of the barn, I reflect on the moments entertainment and vow by Beelzebub’s butt, I’m not having that happen again in a hurry. I want the horn replaced, improved – something more blessed with decibels. Not quite a wall breaker, more a bowel shaker! There is it turns out, but one horn that fits the bill ….. the fearsome Stebel Nautilus.

So a ‘Nautilus Compact tuning’ in black is ordered from Fleabay and I set about making mounting brackets to fit it where the ABS unit would go if I had ABS, which I don’t. It fits nice and snug in the space below the relays and coils, behind the rear suspension unit and seems to be pretty well shielded from road crap. The existing Grey horn wire behind the headlight, is tapped into, shielded and run back to the new relay. Yes, the horn needs a relay to operate as it draws 18A … that’s a toasty 216w … or 10 sets of heated grips worth of electricity to you sir! And yes, before you ask – it’s protected with a waterproof 20A fuse. So now the existing horn and the new one work in parallel … if one fails, I have a backup!

Of course I’m biased, I think it’s better … but the real test ladies and gentlemen, the definitive before and after toot-test, is for you to decide.  Place your ear close to the speaker … closer than that, close your eyes and concentrate. Can you, discerning listener, tell the difference?

[audio:https://secureservercdn.net/160.153.137.218/f62.25a.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Stebel-Nautilus-Compact.mp3|titles=Std Horn V Stebel Nautilus Compact]