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The Crane E-Ne Revolver bell has a lovely tone, its unusual rotary mechanism means you can fit it wherever on your handlebar suits you best, and it's very nicely made with a machined aluminium clamp and a brass dome.
Japanese bell maker Crane is renowned for the volume and tone of its bells, and the E-Ne Revolver is no exception. When you turn the outer knurled ring it produces a sequence of multiple cheerful ching-ching sounds that are as polite a way of announcing your presence as I can think of, and certainly a lot better than the single 'ping' of many cheap bells with a conventional striker.
The musicality of the Revolver's tone comes from the dome being made of brass, though that's not obvious because it's painted black. Other Crane models are available in less sombre tones, but I think what Crane's doing here is keeping it low-key because this is a bell that lends itself to stealth deployment.
The great thing about this rotary design is that you don't have to prod a lever to make the bell ring, so you can put it anywhere on your handlebar, left or right, above or below. On my round-town flat-bar bike I put it under the bar, next to my thumb, so it's really easy to actuate.
The only thing that limits your placement options is the 25.4mm, 10mm-wide hinged aluminium clamp, which comes with a rubber shim for 22.2mm bars. Crane suggests you just use half of it if you're fitting the Revolver to a drop bar's 23.8mm section, but if you want to fit it by the stem on a bar with a 31.8mm centre, you're out of luck. Crane really needs to offer a version with a 31.8mm clamp.
The clamp's held closed by a single dome head M4 screw that takes a 2.5mm hex key. I'd prefer a Torx head at such a small size – they're less likely to cam out and get damaged – but that's a minor niggle. In fact, to persuade it to fit over the bar tape at the end of my handlebar I fitted a longer bolt with a 7mm hexagon head and that also worked fine.
Given that you can get a single-ting basic bell for two quid, £31.27 for the E-Ne Revolver is undeniably expensive. While there are spendier bells, there aren't many, and they're even more esoteric, like Van Nicholas's £85 titanium bell or the £49.99 US-made Spurcycle bell.
With the Spurcycle you're paying for high-precision US manufacturing (which is why lower-quality Chinese copies are a third the price) and the Van Nicholas bell is titanium with all the extra material and machining cost that implies. The E-Ne Revolver's price comes from its being made in Japan and being, well, generally really nice; it's a lovely thing that Just Works and feels like it'll carry on doing so indefinitely.
Easy-to-use bell with a really nice tone
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Crane Bell E-Ne Revolver – Stealth Black
Size tested: Fits on 22.2, 24.0 and 25.4mm OD bars
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?
It's a handlebar-mounted noisemaker designed to attract the attention of other road users.
A tough bell with a rotary striker.
– Compact 50mm brass dome for a bright and resonant ring
– Aluminum striker and clamp
– Operable from multiple positions on the handlebar. Wheel turns clock-wise or counter-clockwise. Easily click off multiple dings or a single ding
– Fits on 22.2, 24.0 and 25.4mm OD bars
– Stealthy matte black finish
Very nicely made.
Very easy to use, with a friendly tone and loud enough for shared-use paths and the like.
It's expensive, but it's very nice.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It goes 'ching!', people hear it and so realise you're there. Job done.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The rotary mechanism that makes it compact, tidy looking and versatile as far as placement goes.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'd kinda like a polished brass and aluminium one. I don't dislike the all-black colour scheme as such, but options are always nice to have.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The E-NE revolver is undeniably expensive, costing more than even high-end bells such as the Granite Cricket or Canyon Ring Bar End Bell. However, it's cheaper than the CloseTheGap HideMyBell that Anna tested, and has similar stealth credentials if you're crafty about positioning it.
Nevertheless, this is an expensive bell, for your best bike. If that bike has a black frame, black wheels, black bar tape and black, well, everything else, so much the better.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is a marvellous little bell that only loses creds for not having a clamp that allows it to fit next to the stem.
About the tester
I usually ride: Scapin Style My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb,
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.