We get it... Riding a bike with a bell reminds you of when you used to ride as a kid and you had a cute little bell on your bike. Bells are a must for any commuter especially for anyone that rides on shared pedestrian and bike paths where you're constantly needing to alert people of your presence.
Fortunately there's some great bell options on the market now that have stylish minimal designs without looking like your trusty old bell you had as a kid.
Should you Buy a Bike Bell?
Short answer - It depends on your commute but yes you should!
Long answer - It's one thing to be seen on the bike through lights and high visibility clothing but there's also being heard while on the bike. Having a bell on your bike is a great way to warn people to your presence when they don't realise you're nearby. We find them especially useful for anyone that commutes on a shared pedestrian and bicycle path where you are constantly surrounded by people and may need to alert them to your presence.
But what about people that spend the majority of their commute on the road and don't interact with pedestrians? We think bells are still useful in these situations as you never know when you'll need it whether that be alerting another cyclist as you over take them or a pedestrian walks out onto the road and you need to alert them that you're nearby.
Considering how lightweight and well designed bells are these days, we think anyone who commutes every day and wants to improve their safety while on the bike should consider adding a bike bell.
What to Look for When Buying a Bicycle Bell?
Buying a bicycle bell isn't rocket science but there's a few things we'd recommend you considering when you're in the market to buy one.
Modern or Old Look?
Modern bells rely on a more electric bell type sound whilst older style bells rely on a ‘ding’ sounding bell. Not really sure what we’re on about? This video below should help.
Most bells have a noise level range from 90dB to 110dB. We obviously recommend the higher the better so you can feel comfortable knowing people will hear you.
Mounting and Handlebar Diameter
With commuter bikes coming in all shapes and sizes these days, it's important to ensure that the bell will fit your handlebar diameter. Generally bike handlebars come in the following sizes:
- Road bikes use a 31.8mm diameter drop bar.
- Mountain bikes which rely on more of a flat bar instead of a drop bar, use a 22.2mm diameter
Bike bells generally come made in two different materials which include aluminium and titanium. Due to the cost of buying and manufacturing titanium, these are more expensive than aluminium based bells. To be honest, we think aluminium bells are perfectly fine but someone with a titanium bike may prefer to buy a titanium bell to make their bike.
Like all things cycling related, it ultimately comes down to how much you're willing to spend when it comes to bells. As we noted earlier in this article, some bike bells are more expensive due to the material used with titanium more expensive than aluminium based bells. But other than that, the cost of bells really just comes down to brands and clever marketing. We'd recommend not breaking the bank and just getting something that looks subtle and does the job without breaking the bank.
Best Design Bike Bell
Knog Oi Classic
Knog are a brand known for their affordable and quality bike lights. No surprises that they have ventured into other areas of the bike market with bells. This time with a shake up on the traditional designs we commonly see.
Built using aircraft grade aluminium with a stainless steel spring that’s corrosive free, the Knog Oi bell will cut through loud traffic noises with its deep and long sounding bell.
The Knog Oi attaches to your bike with a mount over the handlebars which can be tightened with the included Allen key that comes with the bell. One thing we really liked about the way the Knog Oi attaches to the bike is that it can also be used as a way to tidy your cables on the front of your bike.
If pink isn’t your colour, the bell also comes in black, silver and bronze.
Best Budget Bell
BBB Loud & Clear Bike Bell
BBB are a bike brand renowned for their quality and have released this budget friendly bell which is designed using a mix of aluminium and plastic.
The BBB Loud & Clear uses a handlebar mounting system which is tightened using the included Allen key with the bell.
Best Retro Bell
Rockbros Cycling Bell
The Rockbros Cycling Bell is a great option for anyone looking for a bell with a more retro feel to it. Built using a mix of copper and stainless steel make this a durable option.
The Rockbros bell is capable of putting out a lot of noise and holds its ding sound for a solid 5 seconds.
Unfortunately there’s no instructions that come with the bell on how to assemble it but it’s relatively straight forward by requiring you to simply wrap the attachment bands around the handlebars and then thread this band through the bell. From here, simply tighten the screw on the bell to keep it firmly positioned on your handlebars.
We’d recommend adding a bit of oil to the bell upon first using it which will help keep the trigger mechanism nice and springy.
Huirong Bike Bell
Arguably inspired by the Knog Oi bike bell, the Huirong uses a sleek minimal design that doesn’t take up too much space on your handlebars.
The Huirong is designed using a mix of aluminium and plastic.
One of the things we liked about the Huirong bell is the amount of noise this little bell pumps out. Pumping out 90 decibels of sound when dinged, this bell surprisingly puts out a lot of noise for its size and will be loud enough on most busy roads.
The Huirong simply attaches to your handlebars using a handlebar mount strap which is secured in position by screw.
Happy-E Aluminium Alloy Bicycle Bell
The Happy-E Aluminium bell is another affordable bell that was reviewed as part of this article. Designed using aluminium and plastic similar to other affordable bells in this price range, this is a great option for anyone who just needs a bell that’s both affordable and just ‘works’.
While not the loudest bell we reviewed with its 75 decibels, the Happy-E bell still puts out enough noise for you to be heard on busy roads.