The Orp Smart Horn combines a three-mode 70-lumen light with an electronic horn, and while I have some minor reservations about the beep, both functions are pretty good in their own right.
The unit itself is basically a blinkie in a blanket fed a course of steroids, though it occupies surprisingly little handlebar space. The outer silicone monocoque comprises a weatherproof housing and bar mount, and it's available in eight funky colours.
All the diodes, circuitry, switchgear and battery are cocooned within a polycarbonate shell, within the outer silicone. It's not waterproof in the absolute sense, but is well protected from the elements.
The Smart Horn's strap hugs standard and oversized diameters anaconda fashion, though thoughtfully a rubberised shim (basically a well-polished strip of butyl with adhesive backing) is provided for old school 25.4mm and smaller. Swapping between bikes while wearing winter weight gloves is moderately fiddly, and chances are you'll nudge the horn's 76 decibel note by accident.
Look closely and you'll notice a little black pip. This is a plug-in for the 'Remorp' extension cable that permits it to be used remotely while riding on the hoods.
A big centrally mounted switch operates the light. A sustained three-second press engages steady, and subsequent prods alternate between the flashing modes.
The quality of output is pretty impressive: constant provides a sufficiently pure beam that's adequate as a standalone for well-lit town riding.
Both flashing modes are visible to around 300m on a clear night. Fast flash has saved my bacon on a couple of occasions, most notably when my tubby tourer's 800-lumen hub dynamo lamp took longer to come alive following a weekend's slumber. Otherwise, the slow strobe seems the most effective companion to dynamos and other 'proper' lighting.
Run times are quoted as 3 and 11 hours – constant and slow strobe respectively – but in practice this will depend on how frequently the horn is used. I've consistently returned between 2hrs 43 constant and 10hrs 47 in flashing, which is still competitive with standard lithium-ion/polymer-fuelled blinkies.
Mains charging took around two hours, which is on par with bog standard blinkies. A red light pulses though the translucent casing during this phase and to denote dwindling reserves, turning green when fully juiced.
The horn is sounded by prodding the 'Wail Tail' lip with your thumb. Down is the more friendly 76db – useful for warning pedestrians, runners and other riders on the trail or shared use paths.
Diodes flash simultaneously for additional presence and the pitch strikes just the right note – perfect for snatching people away from their smartphones yet low enough not to drive Herpes the bull terrier into a psychotic barking frenzy.
Pressing the Wail Tail up unleashes the full 96db, which is piercing and vastly superior to other 'compact' battery-powered models. It's proved audible enough to persuade three moped bandits to bring their front wheels back onto terra firma, deterred an absent minded learner motorcyclist from pulling out into my path, and potent enough to jolt distracted drivers along moderately trafficked suburban streets.
Aside from releasing tension and rousing a sense of discord, it made less impression on SUVs and vans in congested city centres because of competing noise pollution. Again, it's still markedly better than other battery-powered buzzers, but in my experience only 110-decibel air-powered systems produce enough din.
Neat and generally capable combination of horn and safety light but 'beep' is less assertive than air powered designs
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Orp Smart Horn
Size tested: Blue, Horn + Front Beacon Light
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Orp says: "Orp was built to make you more visible by making you hearable. Orp combines a dual-decibel horn and front beacon light within a super-small, super-light, weatherproof and USB rechargeable package. Orp's integral strap makes mounting a breeze for almost all handlebars. All Orps come complete with the Orp Power Kit, a shim for smaller-diameter bars, and are REMORP ready."
Clever, compact combination of lights and horn-vastly superior to most battery powered units but tone not quite assertive enough in really dense traffic.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Friendly sound: 76dB Loud sound: 96dB
LED output: 2 lights @ 70 lumens each (boost to 87 lumens), 120 cone
Battery Life: 3 hours with lights in Constant-On mode, 11 hours in Slow Strobe
ORP weight: 89 g (3.17 oz)
Handlebar Diameter: Orp stretches to fit handlebar diameters 26-33mm. A shim is included for thinner bar diameters.
Housing: Electronics are housed in a High impact polycarbonate case that is surrounded by a silicone skin making the product weather and shockproof
Orp is accident resistant
Two surprisingly good functions.
Easy to operate, intuitive to use.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Orp smart horn combines two decent functions in one and is arguably the embodiment of close but no cigar. The light belts out 70 lumens, which is good enough for well-lit town work, while the flashing snares driver attention at around 300m and makes an excellent complement to dynamo and other main systems. The horn is markedly better than other battery designs I've used and is surprisingly audible. However, while generally effective in moderately trafficked contexts, the beep lacks the same prowess and authority of air-powered models when it comes to bigger vehicles in heavily congested traffic.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Decent lights, user friendly, compact design.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, but while generally impressive, the 96db bleep isn't quite powerful enough for congested urban contexts.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they wanted the combined product and were accepting of the minor shortcomings.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)