Review: ORP smart horn and bike light

Tech light allows riders to be heard as well as seen


ORP - on path

I first learned of ORP’s combination bike light and horn a few months ago while they were starting up from a very successful Kickstarter campaign. The ORP combines two 70 lumen lights with two different horn sounds into one easy to install unit.

ORP – Smart technology

ORP patented SmartHorn™ Technology produces two distinct horn sounds, one a blast with a maximum of 96 decibels and the other a more “friendly hello” sound at 76 decibels. (Watch the video below to hear the actual sounds.) The horn is activated by pushing on the “wail tail”. Push up for the lower horn and push down for the louder sound. The claimed LED output of the lights is 70 lumens for each of the two lights. We did not measure the output ourselves, but this is definitely more of a commuter light to help you “be seen”, than a light to illuminate your pathway in darkness. We used this light on the trail mainly as a sunset ride light…enough to help us see our way out on a climb that we know well while there is still some ambient light.

ORP - retail box

The unit is nice and compact and ORP claims 6 hours of run time with the lights on constant and 12 hours of run time in the strobe setting. The ORP weighs a scant 89 grams and will fit handlebar diameters from 26 to 33mm with the included rubber shim. If you ride in wet weather, the ORP’s electronics are housed in a high impact polycarbonate case that is surrounded by a silicone skin making the product weather and shockproof. We actually dropped the unit a couple of times and had no problems. We did not have a chance to ride with it in the rain (it’s been a pretty dry year here in California).

Installation of the ORP is one of its strong points. You simply stretch the elastic band around your bars and cinch it on. Since it is so easy to remove, you can simply remove it and stash it in your commuter pack and charge it up at your work desk. It is also super easy to switch back and forth among different bikes.

To turn on your ORP, just hold down the power button for 3 seconds and you will hear it “spool up”. It has 4 operation modes: slow blink, fast blink, steady on and horn only (no light). If you activate either horn sound (low or high), the light remains in the same mode but it will flash when you do the “friendly” horn sound and when using the loud horn sound, the lights will stay on for as long as you are holding the horn button down. To power down, simply hold the power button for another 3 seconds and you will hear it “spool down”.

ORP - colors

The ORP is rechargeable and plugs directly into your computer or smart phone power adapter via a USB cable. There is a flashing red indicator that lets you know when the unit is running low and there is a green light to let you know when it’s fully charged. There is also options for a wired remote so that you can mount the horn button closer to the brake levers (either on a road bike or mountain bike), this way you do not have to move your hands to activate the sounds. The ORP has an MSRP of $65 and comes in 7 different colors.

In this video, ORP gives us an unboxing video plus demos of what the two horns sound like (skip to the 1:01 mark to hear the horn sounds)

ORP – On the bike path

We used the ORP on both our commuter bike and our mountain bikes. As a daytime commuting light, the ORP works well and the loud horn is indeed handy and is a better option than shouting. Have you ever had that feeling while you’re riding on the street when a car pulls up alongside you (or you pull up to a car) that they are going to cut you off? In situations like these, the loud horn is perfect; to let off a little blast, just to let them know you are there. You wouldn’t want to yell, especially if they weren’t intending to cut you off, but letting your horn do the warning for you really helps. For commuting after dark, you will want to supplement the ORP with a more powerful head light; we recommend something in the 700 lumen range.

ORP - on

On paved paths, the ORP “friendly hello” horn works well as a bike bell alternative. Again, it helps other riders, runners, walkers know you are coming (as long as they don’t have earphones on, turned up full blast). On the trail, the ORP also works a trail bell. Of course, we never used the loud horn blast on the trail, only the softer sound. One thing we did notice, however, is that the alert itself sounds a bit like someone’s smart phone, not quite as recognizable as the traditional ding-ding of a trail bell. That said, almost any sound is better than no sound, especially if you are rounding a blind corner in a regional park populated with hikers.

One other positive of the ORP is that I put it on my son’s bike while we rode paved paths and he got a kick out using it when we passed other trail users (used in moderation, of course).

ORP – Rating and recommendation

The ORP is a very cool little unit that is relatively inexpensive considering you are getting a commuter light and horn in one package. It is definitely a “to-be-seen” light and not a “night-riding-on-the-trail” light so it works best for the daytime commuter. Combining the loud horn and smart usage of it, the ORP can make commuters safer. It also works well as a trail bell for paved path usage where other riders, runners, walkers are accustomed to hearing an alert.

  • Small and compact
  • Easy to install and move from bike to bike
  • Works well as a commuter light for increased rider visibility
  • Easy to use, easy to charge
  • Loud horn works well to let drivers know you are there
  • Soft horn sounds like someone’s cell phone
  • Light not bright enough for riding in total darkness at speed

The ORP light can be purchased from your local ORP-carrying independent bike shop, a growing list of ORP dealers can be found here. Alternately, interested buyers can call the toll free number on the Torcano Industries website and they will make sure you are taken care of.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

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Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)
About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Portolla Valley roads. Besides being an avid cyclist, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.

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