Every now and again, a product arrives at Singletrack Towers which makes us stop what we are doing and just gawp ever so slightly. The Smart Horn and Light from ORP is just one such product. To my untrained eye, I was initially a little sceptical about a bike horn that doubles as a light. I couldn’t help but suspect that it was solving a problem that doesn’t really exist. After all, you can buy a perfectly serviceable bell for a couple of quid and LED lights these days aren’t exactly expensive. However, when Resident Grumpy Mark gave me the Horn, so to speak, I resolved to give it a fair crack of the whip and not let my prejudices cloud my judgement. Sometimes all it takes is an open mind.
Taking it out of the box, I was immediately struck by how light the Horn is, weighing in at under 100 grams. Encased in an Orplasto skin (nope, I have no idea what Orplasto is either but it’s a great name, isn’t it?), the horn clamps securely to both flat and drop bars via a small built in plastic hook and loop arrangement. It’s a little bit fiddly but once on, the Horn is rock solid and stays in position even on the bumpiest of tracks. Comprising a two tone horn and twin 70 lumen LED lights, the Horn is activated by flipping up the “Wail Tail Horn Actuator” (that’s the flippy bit at the back, readers). A gentle push gives a not unpleasant 70db bird like chirrup while pressing and holding gives 96db of what Lloyd in “Dumb and Dumber” would call “the most annoying sound in the world!”. Subtle, it aint! The lights themselves flash when the Horn is activated which means that errant kamikaze pedestrians have another opportunity to know you are there before stepping blindly off the pavement, head staring vacantly at their mobile device of choice then shouting “you could have hit me!” when they realise that road crossing is best done with eyes open and actually stopping, looking and listening!
But I digress. The 70db sound does a pretty effective job of alerting other trail and road users to your presence while the “gnnnnrnrrrrhhhhh!” of the 96db sound is more than a match for headphones and on busy city streets when commuting. Combined with the flashing lights, I found the Horn to be particularly effective at dawn and dusk.
As for the light itself, running off a rechargeable LI-ion battery, I found it to be bright enough to get me home in the event of my main lights running out of juice. It’s not the brightest light on the market but as a commuter light, I reckon it is plenty bright enough and that it does indeed last the full three hours on constant as promised by the manufacturer. I tend to stick to using the Horn and flashing function thus I can get a couple of weeks of commuting in between charges. Charging is taken care of via a USB cable supplied with it. Along with the Horn came the optional REMORP Remote cable which comes in at £14.99. I’ll be honest and initially wondered who would bother with a cable remote for a light on the bars but once I used it in traffic, I was totally sold on the idea. It may seem like no effort to flip the Horn but being able to do so with your hands firmly on the bars is a golden plated good thing in my book. As with the Horn, set up is a cinch as you can wrap the remote around any part of your bars.
So is there anything I would change? I had to think long and hard about this. Available in an array of jazzy colours, you’ll have no problem matching it to your bike. As both a bell and a light, it works extremely well. It has withstood numerous drenchings with no ill effects which is a prerequisite in the monsoon passing for winter this year while it grabs attention in the way that a normal bell simply fails to do. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have tinged a normal bell only to be met with a wall of indifference or been simply ignored and had to resort to a loud but cheery “GOOD MORNING!” Truth be told, the only real improvement I would make is for the louder sound to be changed to that of a Tour De France Klaxon. Now that would be as cool as F***, if you will pardon my French!
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A brilliantly designed and manufactured product that works extremely well. Despite my initial misgivings, it has won me over and to be frank, I’m refusing to give it back!
And just so you know, this IS the most annoying sound in the world.