Published by Lyn on 28 May 2015
Freewheeling France's mini-cyclists road-tested a pair of multi-coloured Mini Hornit lights – with unsurprisingly loud results.
There's nothing quite like a loud, colourful novelty item to get kids excited about riding their bikes. And the Mini Hornit does what it says on the packaging.
It's loud. It's colourful. And it got my two mini-cyclists excited about riding their bikes. And engaging in any number of non-cycling nocturnal activities. (Composting and taking the bins down became after-dark activities as soon as the Mini Hornits arrived).
We tested two Mini Hornets on bikes and scooters and they were a hit on both.
The units are billed as bike lights for kids but it's the noises (and, at a stretch, the light when it turns green) that are the real focal points.
The Mini Hornit is a scaled down, coloured up version of Hornit's 140-decibel horn, which Richard Peace tested for us here. The original horn claims to be the loudest cycle horn on the market; thankfully (for parents) the kids' version only comes in at 90 decibels (there are quieter modes but it's pointless telling kids about these).
The 'horn' component is essentially a bank of 25 different sounds ranging from helicopter crash noises to burps and farts, UFOs and roosters. There's even an old-fashioned bicycle bell noise.
It attaches to the bike or scooter via two elasticised rubber straps that clip around the handlebars. Our mini-cyclists (3.5 and 7 at the time of testing) had no problems attaching the straps (though 3.5-year-old had to take a short tutorial from his big sister before he got the hang of it).
There are buttons on the top of the body of the light/horn to operate the lights, change the sounds and reset the unit to the 'normal' bell sound. A button at the rear of the unit turns the whole thing on and off (something all parents will want to know about given the devices do not come with ear plugs).
There is also a 'remote controller' that clicks into a headphone-size socket and allows the device to be worked without the kids having to take their hands off the handlebars. This is a really neat feature. (The fact that these 'triggers' are offered as 'replacement' accessories on the official site suggests our 3-year-old mini-cyclist wasn't the first to ever lose or break his).
The Mini-Hornit comes in four colours: pink, blue, red and black, and works with 2 AAA batteries. We found battery life variable, though it was hard to gauge true performance given the steady stream of on-off fire engine and elephant noises that were interspersed with the flashing of the lights during our testing.
The lights were consistent and effective on the bike at dusk and in morning fog, as well as on the bin run after dark (apologies to the neighbours for the noise). We have not tested them in heavy rain, though the product guidance says they are only splash-resistant.
These are nifty little gadgets that have proven popular with our testers, and would make ideal gifts for any discerning mini-cyclist.