Home

Like all good riders I take all the crap off my new bike when I get it home. The wheel and frame reflectors 'naturally' and of course, the bell.

For a retailer, all bikes have to be fitted with a bell before they are sold. But for riders, there's no legal requirement to have one fitted. I'm not making an argument for the law to be changed here, just proffering a personal opinion.

Locally, I only ride quiet country lanes, interspersed by some busier A and B roads. I'm not the speediest on a bike by any means, but I still overtake other road users, be they walkers, horseriders and cyclists. Sometimes I feel it would be worthwhile letting them know I am coming. I've even taken to sounding a short, hard whistle, which is ridiculous when you think about it. I usually say to them something like: "just letting you know I was there" or some other nonsense as I go past.

So the thinking goes, if I'm going to continue making this much effort I might as well fit a bell.

But there's something 'wrong' about having a bell on a bike these days isn't there. When did it become so uncool? And why?

Nevertheless, I think I'm going to give it a go - if I can find a cool enough bell (road.cc buyers' guide dept take note).

No way I'm putting the wheel and frame reflectors back on though. They may be the cheapest, most-effective life saving bits of plastic you can stick on your bike, but that's a step too far!  3

32 comments

Avatar
daffyavfc [11 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Interesting point which I find myself agreeing with  39
When you've lights and other brackets for handlebar technology where do you fit it  3

Avatar
daffyavfc [11 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Interesting point which I find myself agreeing with  39
When you've lights and other brackets for handlebar technology where do you fit it  3

Avatar
nostromo [55 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Well, I'm currently running a quill stem, so it could go to the side of that for easy thumb action ...

But yes, with so much handlebar furniture these days, it's a job to fit everything in and still have space for your hands.

Avatar
Manglier [98 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Avatar
surfingalan [6 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

We have bells on all our bikes road and mountain and I must say they tend to be a waste of time if you're on road. As roads are noisy people don't hear them especially cars, granted that on a cycle path it has worked a few times but mostly people don't hear or ignore it due to iPods and the like. Quite often I find myself shouting "ding ding" to which many people shout "get a bell mate" so I just ride on and ignore them.

My point is I've just changed the handlebars on my road bike and not refitted the bell and guess what , it's made no difference at all to my passage through pedestrians or other road users.
So Ding Ding it is for me….......  39

Avatar
drfabulous0 [409 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

In my experience bells are only of any use on shared paths or in busy towns where the space is shared with pedestrians but not motor vehicles. Also any bell which makes a sound even slightly different to the traditional "ching-ching" is of no use whatsoever.

Avatar
Gizmo_ [1333 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Odd, isn't it. I personally find a traditional 'drrringgg drrinnnnnggg' bell a little too strident, a bit 'get out of my way', and the little 'ting ting' ones that new bikes come with are rubbish. What I want is the gentle, warm 'thunnngg' of a large gong, but I'm fairly sure there are rules against carrying 20kg of suspended metal around.

Avatar
nostromo [55 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Hmm, yes, maybe some more research is required.

But as I pointed out I cycle on some pretty quiet roads mostly so even a 'ting' of a smallish bell might be enough.

Or maybe one of these ....

http://eldergems.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/retrostyle-horn-chrome.png

Avatar
drfabulous0 [409 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Um, yes, I'm sure shouting religious claptrap will make people get out of the way sharpish.

Avatar
giff77 [1191 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Strangely enough I prefer the traditional bell. I find the modern pinger just doesn't attract attention. Whilst not great for traffic, bells are perfect for interacting with pedestrians and other non-vehicular road users. It's down to personal preference. You just need to find a bell with a tone you like, you can also dampen the pitch with a bit of gaffer tape if need be. Bear in mind it's as a warning to others, so a lot are going to be pissed regardless whenever you use it. I think road.cc reviewed a couple but can't find the link.

As for the reflectors I suggest that you defo refit the rear as the current government has slipped in an amendment to powers for PCSO's giving them the powers to fine cyclists for various cycling offences. Not sure if it has reached its final reading but it's there. The last thing we need is a pretendy peeler on a power trip dishing out fines. At least with a regular cop you can usually come to a compromise until you can sort it. Here's the link http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/pcsos-soon-able-to-fine-cyclists-withou...

Avatar
Cooks [490 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

If it's good enough for him...
//westrivercycles.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/stage_6_tdf_2012_o-nev_5591.jpeg)

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... [1111 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I have my 99p bell-with-attached-compass. Poor man's GPS. Don't mock - I found my way to Brighton using that thing (just keep going South till one hits water).

Rarely do I actually use it as a bell though.

Avatar
Al__S [957 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Naughty Ribble didn't put a bell in with my bike. So I got one- first priority was that it had to be white to match my frame/bars/bar tape...
I view it as essential. You'll always find yourself at some point on a shared path/bike path/backstreet where there are oblivious pedestrians and slower cyclists blocking your way. A polite ding is better than yelling "oi"- and of course your bike itself should be compliant with the principle of silence; no rattling gears or squeeking bearings.

Avatar
Swami Dave [52 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I've found the ratchet noise from a Hope Pro 2 Evo rear hub is more than enough to alert people to my presence.

Avatar
Dunluce [53 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

It all depends on where you are going to use it. I have to say that for the section of canal path I ride along on my commute a bell is invaluable for letting people know that I am approaching. Other than that I find on main roads I never use it.

Avatar
parksey [343 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Now I think of it, my bike didn't come with a bell fitted, although I would've probably removed it anyway.

Had cause to use a busy shared NCN path for a couple of miles on Boxing Day and just found that a cheery "excuse me" did the job, together of course with keeping to an appropriate speed.

I otherwise tend to avoid shared paths when commuting though, too many pedestrians about who either can't hear (i.e. wearing headphones) or don't care (i.e. local yoofs) that you're coming, bell or not.

I've even witnessed the use of a bell being seen as an act of aggression towards pedestrians, whilst others moan if you don't have one... Seems to really be a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't!

Avatar
BetterNever [10 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I gave up using a bell. Pedestrians either didn't notice, didn't care, didn't know how to react (do they step left or right?), or even found it aggressive as parksey pointed out (the bike equivalent of beeping your horn).

I prefer calling out, either 'on your right' or 'on your left'. Still get plenty of people who don't know how to react, but that to me is the most sensible call, warning people that you're coming and telling them which side you intend to pass them on.

Avatar
PJ McNally [589 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Bell on the seat tube, in my case!

Avatar
paslemeilleur [64 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

We have our work bikes fitted with two bells each. The classic Dutch 80mm ding dong on one side, traditional dring dring on the other. Very useful when signalling, especially on descents. The variety is enjoyable, you can mute them with the palm of your hand if you want to, or ring them together for a hell of a noise; all good for the streets of Croydon. Surprisingly, we've never had any complaints from pedestrians or cars, though the foxes get terrified.....

Avatar
paulrbarnard [182 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I have a bell on my commuting bike. I've had the same one for about 15 years now, it's seen 3 different bikes. It has a smiley face floating in oil and it is also a compass as it always looks to the north. My daughters gave it to me as a fathers day present and I would never swap it for another. Fortunately it makes a very in tune ding.

As others have said though ringing the bell often has no effect at all as walkers tend to be plugged into iPods etch and completely oblivious.

Avatar
dunnoh [197 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

The single ring bell works really well. I have one on my hybrid and I can be 100 yds from people and they hear it. No idea why but they do - just seems to cut through the background noise and as a single 'ting' it doesn't seem to annoy people

Avatar
BBB [295 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I have a loud Hope 2 rear hub and a small ping bell with an o-ring (attaches anywhere in a second).
If none of them have any effect, I use my "enforcer" - 120dB Airzound  16
Although VERY LOUD (even in traffic), with a bit of practice it can be used gently or in a intimidating way, depending on a situation.

Avatar
mbrads72 [163 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
BBB wrote:

I have a loud Hope 2 rear hub and a small ping bell with an o-ring (attaches anywhere in a second).
If none of them have any effect, I use my "enforcer" - 120dB Airzound  16
Although VERY LOUD (even in traffic), with a bit of practice it can be used gently or in a intimidating way, depending on a situation.

Same here, although I find that pedestrians are confused by such a loud sound coming from a bike and tend to look in every direction except the one I want!

Avatar
oddbydefault [81 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Saw some spacer mounted bells in my LBS...

http://www.tredz.co.uk/.System-EX-A-Headset-Spacer-Bell_62128.htm

Avatar
wellcoordinated [201 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Who said bells are uncool? I mean titanium that's always cool - isn't it?

http://www.vannicholas.com/componentsdetails.aspx?id=114

And at that price it really is cool - right?

Avatar
Shades [285 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

If you're going to encounter pedestrians then fit a bell; it's just polite and, if they're not listening, at least you've made an effort to warn them. Not sure why one of the oldest cycling accessories is seen as a bit 'uncool'? Rapha! - make a bell; it'll be on every road bike in the country before you know it!

Avatar
OldRidgeback [2554 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Just taken a pinger type off my son's race bike but I might fit it on my old MTB that I use on-road.

Avatar
RedfishUK [114 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

..very useful on the canal path, especially a couple of bridges coming into Leeds where you can't see oncoming walkers or cyclists..

Avatar
Cyclist [295 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

)))))on your right/left mate-nice one thanks((((( always works for me.

Avatar
daviddb [132 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Father Christmas bought me a Lion Bell Works brass beauty. I am one happy rabbit.

Pages