SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
ORP SMART HORN
The Orp Smart horn combines a five mode, 140lumen, town-friendly light and electronic horn. A concept that could be really good, or deeply disappointing. Thankfully, both have proven really competent.
Following the “blinkie in a silicone blanket” narrative serves to protect the polycarbonate shell and internals from the elements and accidental damage, yet still consumes nominal handlebar space. In fact, I’ve had no qualms about parking ours on my TT bike’s pursuit bars.
It wraps around the bars, anaconda fashion and tethers to a clip protruding from its polycarbonate shell. The stock model is set for standard 26.0 to 31.8 oversized diameters, although the packet contains a smaller clip, complete with shim for 25.4 and even 22.5.
The silicone is less elastic than some and initially showed signs of slight indigestion, when fed oversized bars/extension mounts, though eased out given a week’s porting between bikes, or re/mounting, say when locking up in the street. Weatherproof, in the heavy rain sense, it’s passed my garden hose test with flying colours. Replacements are available, come time they wear out, or you fancy a change.
Look closely and you’ll notice a small, black plug. Pop this off and there’s a port for the Remorp. This is a wired remote, much like those increasingly common on higher power lights, such as Moon Meteor Storm Pro and Moon LX760.
It’s designed primarily with drops in mind, so you can command the horn while cruising on the hoods. For the cleanest, theft resistant, aesthetic, fit it beneath the bar wrap. Once sold as an aftermarket accessory, it’s presently being thrown in free. A moderate press unleashes the 76 decibel tone, longer for the full 96.
The polycarbonate lens is ultrasonically welded to keep the elements out and uses collimator technology for optimal beam projection. Behind, live two 70 lumen Nichia LED diodes, switch cum charge indicator. ORP’s “dynamic sound technology module” - a speaker to me and you - and of course, a rechargeable lithium ion cell.
There are two, one master unit on top, with an embossed light sign and a “wail tail” commanding the horn. Depressing the master for three seconds turns it on, denoted by an audible electronic “swoosh”. From here, successive prods scroll through the light settings to suit. While I’ve found mounting the ORP a bit tricky wearing full-finger gloves, no such issues commanding the switches.
Output is pretty good by contingency and town standards. Perfect for those late summer evenings, where dusk often creeps in unexpectedly. The arc of light is surprisingly pure too, certainly good enough on its own for suburban runs - I’ve had reasonable warning of holes and other hazards that can be tricky to spot through shady sections. In the steady settings, I registered on other road user’s radars at 70-100 metres, less at dusk, when the flashing came into its own.
Peripheral bite, especially with the darker silicone covers, is good, rather than great in steady modes. Used as a primary form of lighting, I wasn’t always sure other traffic had clocked me when tackling roundabouts.
The lowest, though not impotent, setting was something I defaulted to when power conservation dictated - usually when the battery life indicator flicked from green to red. Fast flash isn’t quite virile enough to be classed as, or compete with, “daylight” modes on some super blinkies, such as Moon Gemini. Mind you, it’s not far behind!
That said, consensus suggests I was visible to around 300 metres on a clear night and their pace kept me suitably conspicuous when entering the flow of traffic.
As backing singer to high power rechargeable and dynamo lamps, the slow strobe proved ideal, confirming to oncoming traffic, that I was a cyclist. This also happened to be the most frugal, sipping reserves.
While there’s some deviation, depending on how enthused you’ve been with the horn, I’ve averaged 10 hours 51, 9 minutes shy of the optimum suggested. Pretty favourable when all’s said and done. This dipped to 2hrs 43 in constant but again, competitive enough.
When truly spent, bank on a 2 hour mains charge - tack on another 20 minutes if it’s guzzling from a laptop/tablet. Oh, and being the dominant “android” pattern, someone’s phone charger is bound to fit, should you arrive at work, only to discover the Orp’s low on juice and you’ve left the OEM cable at home.
There are three settings, with two different tones. Pushing the “wail tail” upward unleashes the people and towpath friendly 76db. Make no mistake, it’ll shift jaywalking teens pretty effectively, but won’t make dogs howl, or babies cry. I’ve exercised slightly greater caution around horses, either avoiding its use altogether, or giving a gentle flick from ¼ mile away. Diodes also flash as a visual cue. This setting has been my default for forest trails, country lanes and other, shared use contexts.
At the upper end, I’d wondered whether the 96db tone would prick the consciousness’s that other electronic models couldn’t. A good downward blast is enough to stop pedestrians from wandering into the road and absent minded drivers thought twice before flinging doors open. Yes, I am talking town centres and at rush hour too.
Sure, I wouldn’t fancy my chances with an inattentive skip lorry and bigger vans. Nonetheless, a three second press brought a young woman taking selfies, while behind the wheel back into the moment. Her filthy look and palpable sense of entitlement prompted a second, more genteel flick of the 76db. Both tones are subtly different and distinguishable against the backdrop of competing noise pollution.
The third is also an ADM (Anti Dooring Mode). This, as its name suggests, is designed to alert and prevent someone flinging their door open when you’re filtering through. Reminiscent of an ambulance, the continuous two-tone siren complete with flashing diodes is extremely effective. However, remember to give the "wail tail" a quick prod in either direction to silence it, once you’re out of danger.
The Orp Smart Horn is a really clever concept, exceptionally well executed. It does both of its jobs very competently and represents excellent value for money. It could be all the front light light some sub/urban riders need. The horn’s function is also superior to any other electronic system I’ve used in the past and the tones appropriate for most contexts, too.
Verdict: 4.25/5 Brilliantly executed combination of town/safety light and horn.
PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 2017
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH