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A roundup of the best bicycle bells

A bicycle bell is the traditional way of letting other road and cycle path users know that you're there and it's doubly useful when there are lots of people on foot about. Bells may not be glamorous, but they're having a bit of a renaissance as accessory makers come up with bells that are more reliable and look and sound better. Let's take a look.

“Where's your bell?!” It’s a line you’ve probably heard many times, usually after you’ve shouted a cheery hello. But do cyclists have to have bells? Legally, a bike has to be sold with a bell fitted, but there’s no legal obligation to keep it on your new bike once you get it home from the shop.

The Highway Code only recommends a bicycle bell be fitted. “Be considerate of other road users, particularly blind and partially sighted pedestrians. Let them know you are there when necessary, for example, by ringing your bell if you have one. It is recommended that a bell be fitted.”

Bicycle bells can be a sensible addition to your bike though, whether cycling along shared-used paths or quiet country lanes with horse riders and dog walkers that might not hear a cyclist approaching.

If you do want to fit a bicycle bell, there are now many choices on the market as plenty of bike brands have responded to the challenge of designing a compact and stylish bell that is highly audible. Here are 12 to consider.

Trigger Bell — £9.99

trigger_bell_-_drop_bar_2.jpg

The Trigger Bell is a small but very well-designed bell that works on a very broad range of handlebars, intended to allow you to work the bell without moving your hand from where it naturally sits to operate the brakes and gears. Effective and good value, it sets a high bar for other bells to reach.

Read our review of the Trigger Bell

Knog Oi Bell — £11.20 - £14

knog-oi-classic-bell-bike-2.jpg

The Oi is possibly the least bike-bell-looking bell ever. Launched via Kickstarter to much fanfare, the Oi bell takes a different tack to the usual bicycle bell design. The wraparound design ensures it's stylish and unobtrusive on the handlebars, and the hammer is easy to activate when cycling along.

Find a Knog dealer

Spurcycle — £49.99

Spurcycle Bell.jpg

Made in the US, the Spurcycle is the second most expensive bicycle bell we’ve ever come across. Like the Knog Oi, the Spurcycle was successfully funded through Kickstarter. It’s an all-metal design with a metal strap fitting to any diameter handlebar and uses a brass dinger to create a sound that the manufacturer says is three times louder than a conventional bell.

We found the ring the ring to be really impressive, clearly cutting through external noise and resonating well after the hammer hits. It even managed to get the attention of people listening to headphones, which is something that doesn't happen too often with a regular bell. According to a sound meter phone app, the ring was consistently between 88-100 decibels, which is certainly enough to get people's attention.

Read our review of the Spurcycle bell
Find a Spurcycle dealer

Crane E-NE Bell — £23.95

crane_e_ne_bell.jpg

This elegant bicycle bell is compact and available in a choice of colours, including matte black, polished brass or silver. It uses a vinyl coated stainless steel band to secure it to any handlebar between 22 and 31.8mm diameter. Crane bells come from Japan and are renowned for their musical tone and sustain.

Bobbin Bell — £12.99

bobbin-bicycles-small-brass-ding-dong-bell-gold-EV263672-1500-1.jpg

Usually sold with Bobbin Bicycles but available to buy separately, this is a classically-styled bell that will suit any vintage town bike. It uses a conventional ring paddle and sounds like a traditional bicycle bell should.

Find a Bobbin dealer

Acor Headset Spacer Bell — £8.42

Acor Headset Spacer Bell

If you don’t have space on your handlebar to fit a bicycle bell, this clever Acor Headset Spacer Bell could be the perfect solution. It simply replaces a 10mm spacer above or below your stem and will fit a 1 1/8in steerer tube.

MKS Aero Bell — £12.99

MKS aero bell.jpg

Got an aero bike and don’t want to fit a bicycle bell because it might generate unwanted drag? Here’s the MKS Aero Bell which has an aero shape. It has a simple aluminium body with a plastic ratchet strap to fit the handlebars. A titanium version costing £35 is also available.

Read our review of the MKS Aero Bell
Find an MFS dealer

BBB Easyfit Bell — £4.25

bbb bell.png

If you want a simple and cheap bell, the BBB EasyFit Bell doesn’t require any tools for installation. Instead, you get a selection of rubber bands to wrap around any size handlebar. At £3.49 it’s one of the most affordable bicycle bells in this roundup. It comes in a choice of colours to match your bike.

Find a BBB dealer

Nello — £15.73

nello.jpg

Created by a Milan-based designer, the Nello is a magnetic bicycle bell that is apparently capable of emitting 90 decibels of sound with every ring. It’s a pretty little thing and fixes to the handlebars using a magnet and plastic bracket, so it’s easily removed. Unlike most bicycle bells, this one is powered by batteries and there’s no manual dinger, instead, you simply tap the top of the bell.

Upgrade Mini Bell — £10.00

upgrade bell.jpg

Not requiring any tools for installation and not hogging any valuable handlebar space, this bicycle bell uses an adjustable clamp that can be secured onto a gear or brake cable, providing a wide range of fitting positions.

Timber! Bell — £24.99

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The Timber! Mountain Bike Trail Bell, to give it it's full name, makes a pleasant chiming noise all the time. It's designed for mountain biking to alert other trail users, but we can see the Timber! being useful for adventure and cyclocross rides, even round-town where there are lots of pedestrians, or on shared-use paths. It’s unique in that it can be switched off to keep it silent, or “unlocked” via a plastic lever on the top to allow a steel ball to ding in the cowbell-inspired cup. When it’s unlocked the ball will move freely provided you’re riding over rough ground, or if you give the handlebar a shake.

Van Nicholas Bell Titanium — ~£79

van nicholas bell.png

If you want to add a bit of titanium bling to your bike look no further than the Van Nicholas titanium bell. It would go well with a matching Van Nicholas bicycle but we reckon it’ll look good on most bicycles. It’s available in 22.2 and 31.8mm diameters.

road.cc Stay Awesome Bell — £9.99

Cyclists_Stay_Awesome_bell.jpg

Ding a ling! Feel awesome and let other road/path users know you're about with a Stay Awesome bell.

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David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

58 comments

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Fish_n_Chips [562 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

Always ring my bell around pedestrians and no whinge heard smiley

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don simon fbpe [2700 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

Has the Highway Code removed the requirement for a bell?  I'm sure it used to state that we should use either a bell or audible warning...

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felixcat [585 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes

I find that the voice can be tuned precisely to the situation, in volume and message, from a conversational "excuse me" to a stentorian "aaaaaghFeck".  Neither does it need a hand to be diverted from braking.

I once found the chance to address some old men in black returning from chapel via the cycle track, "esgusodwch fi."

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felixcat [585 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes
don simon wrote:

Has the Highway Code removed the requirement for a bell?  I'm sure it used to state that we should use either a bell or audible warning...

The article states the law and the H.C.

The H.C. recommends but does not require a bell.

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ktache [1016 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

Crane riten for me, just got my third, ages beautifully and gives a dring dring which I find more attention grabbing than the ding ding of the simpler bells.  All brass so the tone is lovely.  Not exactly minimalist but I ride big flat bar bikes.

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hirsute [523 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes

Boat horn all the way.

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alexpalacefan [10 posts] 7 months ago
8 likes

I've got a Knog Oi!
Its may be "stylish and unobtrusive" but it's also weak as piss.
Avoid if you can

A

Avatar
rjfrussell [500 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes
alexpalacefan wrote:

Avoid if you can

A

what strange powers does it have, that you might not be able to avoid it?

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hawkinspeter [2761 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes
alexpalacefan wrote:

I've got a Knog Oi!
Its may be "stylish and unobtrusive" but it's also weak as piss.
Avoid if you can

A

I got the titanium Knog Oi! and while it looks okay, the ring is definitely more polite than insistent. My bigger gripe is that the spring has gotten (got) rusty.

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felixcat [585 posts] 7 months ago
7 likes
hirsute wrote:

Boat horn all the way.

I used an aerosol driven foghorn on my tandem for a bit. The effect was miraculous and gratifying.

 

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felixcat [585 posts] 7 months ago
1 like
hirsute wrote:

Boat horn all the way.

I used an aerosol driven foghorn on my tandem for a bit. The effect was miraculous and gratifying.

 

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ClubSmed [743 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

I have got the headset spacer bell from PlanetX and it really does the job. It replaces a 5mm spacer and is a small bell so very unobtrusive.

Having a bell on the stem not only keeps the bar space free for other things (or nothing) it means that you can easily ring the bell with either hand. Also being in a vertical position means that rain on the bell does not dampen it as much as it would (though it still does dampen).

https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/BEPXHSS/planet-x-headset-spacer-bell

 

On the subject of Voice vs. Bell:

If there are multiple pedestrians and they are in conversation then your voice may not cut through their concentration without shouting.

If a pedestrian has earphones in then your voice is unlikely to cut through their concentration without shouting.

If a pedestrian is intently watching something on their mobile phone then your voice is unlikely to cut through their concentration without shouting.

If you are shouting then you are likely to provoke a confrontation.

I find it far more effective to use a bell to alert others to your presence and your voice to say thank you as you pass.

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babybat [28 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

I have a copper Crane Suzu bell on my tourer, it looks gorgeous and makes a lovely melodious chime; apparently the different metals all give a slightly different sound. And you can fit it to your stem so it doesn't take up handlebar space. Definitely worth the £15.

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don simon fbpe [2700 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
ClubSmed wrote:

 

On the subject of Voice vs. Bell:

If there are multiple pedestrians and they are in conversation then your voice may not cut through their concentration without shouting.

If a pedestrian has earphones in then your voice is unlikely to cut through their concentration without shouting.

If a pedestrian is intently watching something on their mobile phone then your voice is unlikely to cut through their concentration without shouting.

If you are shouting then you are likely to provoke a confrontation.

I find it far more effective to use a bell to alert others to your presence and your voice to say thank you as you pass.

That's saved me from having to fork out on a bell, thanks. They should have greater awareness and tough titties if they get a raised voice making them aware of my presence. They and their actions are not my responsibility and if they don't want confrontation then they shouldn't be such selfish twats.

Avatar
adpooler [5 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

I have a RockBros bell which is a copy of the Spurcycle bell. Goes ding, job done! Bought it off eBay.

Avatar
ClubSmed [743 posts] 7 months ago
1 like
don simon wrote:
ClubSmed wrote:

 

On the subject of Voice vs. Bell:

If there are multiple pedestrians and they are in conversation then your voice may not cut through their concentration without shouting.

If a pedestrian has earphones in then your voice is unlikely to cut through their concentration without shouting.

If a pedestrian is intently watching something on their mobile phone then your voice is unlikely to cut through their concentration without shouting.

If you are shouting then you are likely to provoke a confrontation.

I find it far more effective to use a bell to alert others to your presence and your voice to say thank you as you pass.

That's saved me from having to fork out on a bell, thanks. They should have greater awareness and tough titties if they get a raised voice making them aware of my presence. They and their actions are not my responsibility and if they don't want confrontation then they shouldn't be such selfish twats.

Now think about your response but change the cyclist prospective for motorist and pedestrian perspective for cyclist.....

"Cyclists should have greater awareness and tough titties if they get a raised voice making them aware of my presence. Cyclists and their actions are not my responsibility and if cyclists don't want confrontation then they shouldn't be such selfish twats"

Avatar
Yorkshire wallet [2363 posts] 7 months ago
8 likes

Pah! Old fashioned technology!

If I want a new bell it will link to my Apple watch, into my Apple phone and into my heartrate meter to sense when I've sensed a danger and ring the bell for me. Total cost including phone and watch £1500 and a job well done. I'm sure one will be on kickstarter any moment.

Or I suppose I could get the £7 one.

 

 

Avatar
kevvjj [429 posts] 7 months ago
5 likes
alexpalacefan wrote:

I've got a Knog Oi!
Its may be "stylish and unobtrusive" but it's also weak as piss.
Avoid if you can

A

Have to agree. Beautifully stylish and unobtrusive design. Terrible exectution on the sound level. I have trouble hearing it myself when on a busy street! Nice when on a quiet shared pathway/bridleway. Anyone with earphones or on the phone hasn't got a hope of hearing this bell.

Avatar
bikeylikey [241 posts] 7 months ago
5 likes
ClubSmed wrote:

 

On the subject of Voice vs. Bell:

 

If there are multiple pedestrians and they are in conversation then your voice may not cut through their concentration without shouting.

If a pedestrian has earphones in then your voice is unlikely to cut through their concentration without shouting.

If a pedestrian is intently watching something on their mobile phone then your voice is unlikely to cut through their concentration without shouting.

If you are shouting then you are likely to provoke a confrontation.

I find it far more effective to use a bell to alert others to your presence and your voice to say thank you as you pass.

This seems to assume that a bell is going to be heard better than a voice - the term 'cut through' is used  3 times as if it's a proven given that bells 'cut through' whereas voices don't. I have found the opposite to be the case. A pinging bell is often not heard and I've had to speak in addition. After a 'ping' people will sometimes look up as if trying to ascertain what the ping is and where it's coming from - there are so many pings and bleeps around these days. Is it a phone? Hmmm, no doesn't seem to...whoa, what the hell is that cyclist doing whizzing by without warning...OY!

Voice is far more unmistakable and able to be modulated to fit the situation. After being told off and sworn at for using a bell a few times (e.g. don't ring your effing bell at me you c****) I gave up on bells in favour or 'Good morning!' from a distance, or 'excuse me' a bit louder if they don't hear that. You can't modulate a bell, or make it sound polite. I've never had a bad reaction from a polite vocal request.

Avatar
IHateSummer [18 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

I have something similar to the Acor headset spacer, but it's from Lion Bellworks.

http://www.lionbellworks.co.uk/webshop.php#!/Classic-Bicycle-Bell-stem-m...

It's a thing of beauty, but, unfortunately the pinger jiggles around all the time and if the right phase of the jiggle coincides with one of the rare road surface imperfections that are around, it goes off. I've even done the bendy once in while to try to prevent it, but it stills happens. Maybe I need to modify the mass to change the resonant frequency, or something...

 

Avatar
Spangly Shiny [226 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
adpooler wrote:

I have a RockBros bell which is a copy of the Spurcycle bell. Goes ding, job done! Bought it off eBay.

The RockBros bell is simply a reverse engineered copy of the Spurcycle. Because it uses a brass rather than a nickel brass bell the tone is not as loud nor does it have the sustain of the Spurcycle.  

I know it's VERY expensive but The Spur looks and sounds great on my Ti bike.

Avatar
Deeferdonk [229 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
IHateSummer wrote:

I have something similar to the Acor headset spacer, but it's from Lion Bellworks.

http://www.lionbellworks.co.uk/webshop.php#!/Classic-Bicycle-Bell-stem-m...

It's a thing of beauty, but, unfortunately the pinger jiggles around all the time and if the right phase of the jiggle coincides with one of the rare road surface imperfections that are around, it goes off. I've even done the bendy once in while to try to prevent it, but it stills happens. Maybe I need to modify the mass to change the resonant frequency, or something...

 

 

I have one of these and reccomend it.

Avatar
mirg [6 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

I have the Knog Oi.  It works really well and doesn't take up too much valuable bar space on my daily commuter.

Avatar
don simon fbpe [2700 posts] 7 months ago
1 like
ClubSmed wrote:
don simon wrote:
ClubSmed wrote:

 

On the subject of Voice vs. Bell:

If there are multiple pedestrians and they are in conversation then your voice may not cut through their concentration without shouting.

If a pedestrian has earphones in then your voice is unlikely to cut through their concentration without shouting.

If a pedestrian is intently watching something on their mobile phone then your voice is unlikely to cut through their concentration without shouting.

If you are shouting then you are likely to provoke a confrontation.

I find it far more effective to use a bell to alert others to your presence and your voice to say thank you as you pass.

That's saved me from having to fork out on a bell, thanks. They should have greater awareness and tough titties if they get a raised voice making them aware of my presence. They and their actions are not my responsibility and if they don't want confrontation then they shouldn't be such selfish twats.

Now think about your response but change the cyclist prospective for motorist and pedestrian perspective for cyclist.....

"Cyclists should have greater awareness and tough titties if they get a raised voice making them aware of my presence. Cyclists and their actions are not my responsibility and if cyclists don't want confrontation then they shouldn't be such selfish twats"

I couldn't agree with you more, any person, cyclists included, who act in a selfish way should expect to have a finger of disapproval wagged in their direction, if they don't like it, don't be selfish.

Ignorant cyclists get on my goat too, whether I be riding, walking or driving. I will not, as some may have noticed, shy away from confrontation when someone is in the wrong.

I call out to people when riding, and, on the whole, get positive responses. Those that are going to be belligerent are going to be twats whether I use a bell, call out (shout is such a negative word for calling out), or use a fog horn.

So yes, if you choose to wear headphones, be deep in conversation or watching something, all things that will draw attention from your riding, then yes, expect me to bark at you if reasonable attention grabbing has failked to catch your attention. It is not about you, you are sharing a space, don't be a selfish twat then blame others! But if you want to be a selfish twat, don't complain that I call you a selfish twat either.

Avatar
ClubSmed [743 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes
bikeylikey wrote:
ClubSmed wrote:

 

On the subject of Voice vs. Bell:

 

If there are multiple pedestrians and they are in conversation then your voice may not cut through their concentration without shouting.

If a pedestrian has earphones in then your voice is unlikely to cut through their concentration without shouting.

If a pedestrian is intently watching something on their mobile phone then your voice is unlikely to cut through their concentration without shouting.

If you are shouting then you are likely to provoke a confrontation.

I find it far more effective to use a bell to alert others to your presence and your voice to say thank you as you pass.

This seems to assume that a bell is going to be heard better than a voice - the term 'cut through' is used  3 times as if it's a proven given that bells 'cut through' whereas voices don't. I have found the opposite to be the case. A pinging bell is often not heard and I've had to speak in addition. After a 'ping' people will sometimes look up as if trying to ascertain what the ping is and where it's coming from - there are so many pings and bleeps around these days. Is it a phone? Hmmm, no doesn't seem to...whoa, what the hell is that cyclist doing whizzing by without warning...OY!

Voice is far more unmistakable and able to be modulated to fit the situation. After being told off and sworn at for using a bell a few times (e.g. don't ring your effing bell at me you c****) I gave up on bells in favour or 'Good morning!' from a distance, or 'excuse me' a bit louder if they don't hear that. You can't modulate a bell, or make it sound polite. I've never had a bad reaction from a polite vocal request.

That is an interesting perspective and the complete reverse of my experience. On the occasions that my bell was broken and I was having to use my voice I found it not to be anywhere near as effective. I assumed that it was because people tend to think that voices outside of their conversations are directed at other people rather than themselves.

My assumption is based on my recollection of alarm/alert sounds (fire alarm/reversing vehicles/emergency vehicles/Door Bell/FogHorn/Ship Siren/Missile Alert/School break Alarm/Tornado Siren etc) that I have experienced. All of which employ pings/bleeps where as only some of them also include voice. I draw from this information that pings/bleeps are more effective in alerting but voice can be a useful addition.

This is backed up by my experience whilst out walking the dog, I find a bell far more effective in alerting me to a cyclist behind me that a voice.

I also believe that bells can be modulated to be polite or urgent by how far you bring back the hammer to hit the bell and number of hits in rapid succession.

I have also received (unnecessary) abuse for ringing my bell but not as often as I have for using my voice.

EDIT:
I suppose it is also situational. My experience is mainly from my commute which is through a busy park where there is a background noise of voices in conversation so a bike bell cuts through far more effectively than just another voice. Along other routes where the background noise is more likely to be pings and bleeps then I could see that a voice may be more effective. I still maintain that it is more beneficial to utilise both bell and voice.

Avatar
earth [424 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

Where is the Lion bell?  http://www.lionbellworks.co.uk/

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hawkinspeter [2761 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

I'd go for bell over voice for a "please let me through" kind of request. Bells seem to get a better response from people as they generally know what a bike bell sounds like and what it means. (Except for an old deaf couple that refused to respond to my wife and I ringing our bells as we tried to overtake on a cycle path - they were apologetic when they realised we were there).

Voices are better for when shouting is required.

Avatar
davejong [4 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes
Spangly Shiny wrote:
adpooler wrote:

I have a RockBros bell which is a copy of the Spurcycle bell. Goes ding, job done! Bought it off eBay.

The RockBros bell is simply a reverse engineered copy of the Spurcycle. Because it uses a brass rather than a nickel brass bell the tone is not as loud nor does it have the sustain of the Spurcycle.  

I know it's VERY expensive but The Spur looks and sounds great on my Ti bike.

Having just read this:

https://cyclingtips.com/2016/08/a-tale-of-two-bells-spurcycle-vs-the-counterfeiters/

... I couldn't feel good about buying a RockBros bell.

Avatar
jerome [61 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes

Had a clone of the BBB: + it fits below the hoods and can be operated from there with the thumb - the plastic hinge is loose and it can fail to ding if not operated exactly straight => piece of crap

Avatar
Butty [300 posts] 7 months ago
5 likes

Had to do a lot of bell ringing while cycling in Bruge last week, due to big crowds walking on the narrow roads.

Almost all peds made way without complaint, apart from one nationality who would make some sort of sarcastic/unfunny comment and continue to plod on down the road.

Can you guess which nationality that was?

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