Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 13th, 2012 at 2:16 pm
Toren Orzeck and his "Orp" bike horn/light.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
Many people ride with bike bells; but the truth is, in the midst of traffic they are not nearly loud enough to be heard inside the cabin of a car or truck. That's a problem that Toren Orzeck of Fuse, a product design firm located in southeast Portland, wanted to fix. "I'm not the best biker," he said when I met him at his shop back in September, "but I love to solve problems."
The "Orp" — which went live on Kickstarter today — is Orzeck's solution. Orzeck is a former designer for GE Plastics and Nike whose brain seems to never stop working. He started thinking about the bike horn idea after the tragic, right-hook deaths of Tracey Sparling and Brett Jarolimek in October 2007. He felt an even greater urgency to solve this problem when, in summer of 2008, the gas-price induced bike boom got him and his employees on their bikes.
"I thought, there's got to be a way to make bikes more visible — or maybe more hearable."
The Orp started as a "super loud bike horn" device, but Orzeck and his team realized they might as well add a powerful LED light to the mix.
The Orp has two sound settings; a 78 decibel "friendly sound" good for greeting friends or warning people that you're about to pass, or a 96 decibel sound for emergency situations. For some perspective, 96 decibels is louder than a subway train at 200 feet away and it's within the range that can cause hearing loss under sustained exposure. The sound itself is a rather unpleasant, high-pitched tone similar to a smoke alarm. You can hear both of the sounds and see a demonstration of the 87 lumen light in the video below:
As you can see, Toren and his team have packed a ton of electronics and circuitry into an impressively small and attractive package. Check out a few more photos below...
The Orp follows a general trend we've noticed lately of bikes and bike accessories becoming more like cars. It's interesting that just in the past week or so, we shared a link to another bike horn on Kickstarter from Loud Bicycle.
What differentiates the Orp from Loud Bicycle or the Airzound (which is the only other loud bike horn I've heard of) is that it has an integrated light, it is significantly smaller, and it has (in my opinion) a much more sleek and modern design (not to mention it comes in lots of neat colors!). The Orp will retail for around $40.
To get the product to market, Orzeck is hoping to raise $90,000 via Kickstarter to fund engineering costs, injection molding tools and other equipment. If successful, Orps will be available in September of next year. See the Kickstarter page to reserve an Orp for yourself and to learn more about this interesting new product.