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Fitting a bell on your bike, especially if you commute along busy city streets, is one of those additions that make you wonder what took you so long.
With pedestrians more likely to be hunched over, furiously scrolling through endless social media posts on their smartphones than actually looking where they are walking, a good bell on your bike is essential to keep everyone safe.
As cyclists we are well versed in the battle of motorist versus rider.
In this article we look at the best bike bells to try to avoid a war between pedestrians and bikes.
- Spurcycle Original (Best Overall)
- Timber MTB Bell (Best MTB Bell)
- Knog Oi Luxe Bike Bell (Best Bell For Road Bikes)
- Portland Design Works Alexander Graham Bell (Best Classic Bike Bell)
- Planet Bike Courtesy Clincher (Best Space Saving Bell)
- Cristin Tang Bicycle Bell (Best Bell For Kids Bikes)
- Kickstand Cycleworks (Best Budget Bell)
15 Best Bike Bells
1. Spurcycle Original (Best Overall)
It is easy to baulk at the price tag for what is, at the end of the day, just a bell. But the Spurcycle Bell is no ordinary bell.
For a start it is a masterclass in understated, elegant design that will fit almost every bike, either horizontally or vertically and once on it will enhance the looks of any bike.
Looks aside, although it is hard to look past them, the bell rings only when you want it to and when it you do it produces a crisp yet lengthy ding. Working closely with bell manufacturer Bevin Brothers has paid dividends.
It looks good, it sounds good and the spring-loaded lever even feels good. Even considering the price tag, you get a lot of bell.
2. Timber MTB Bell (Best MTB Bell)
The Timber MTB Bell has been designed with serious mountain bikers in mind who love nothing more than bombing along trails. Sometimes the blind corners make being seen impossible so the Timber Bell solution is to make sure that you are heard.
The design resembles a cow bell and when the bell is in the “unlocked” position, the bouncing of the bike judders a small metal ball against the bell.
When you want silence, a small lever pulls the ball to the top of the bell and stops the ringing.
3. Knog Oi Luxe Bike Bell (Best Bell For Road Bikes)
The Knog Oi Luxe Bike Bell is a great bell for those that don’t want to be seen with a bell. For road cyclists, keen to maintain sleek aero-lines and an uncluttered cockpit this bell ticks a lot of boxes.
Like its predecessor the unique, wraparound styling remains but there has been massive improvements to the sound. Unintentional sound from rattling has been cut-out to leave just a pleasant ping.
A strip of faux-leather lines the clamp to prevent damage to carbon fibre handlebars. Since it is designed to wraparound the handlebars, there are discrete channels to route brake and gear cables through.
4. Portland Design Works Alexander Graham Bell (Best Classic Bike Bell)
If your handlebars are already full but you still need to attach a bell, the Portland Design Works Alexander Graham Bell offers a unique solution. Instead of a clamp, this bell is attached to a 1000 (1-1/8-inch) headset spacer.
Once attached, the lever can be ergonomically controlled with your thumb and produces a natural, clear ring that resonates long after firing.
5. Planet Bike Courtesy Clincher (Best Space Saving Bell)
The Planet Bike Courtesy Clincher is another bell with an innovative clamp that won’t take up valuable real estate on your handlebars.
Instead this bells clamps securely to any cable housing. Once attached, the dinger can be rotated 360 degrees into the best position for your thumb or fore-finger when riding.
6. Cristin Tang Bicycle Bell (Best Bell For Kids Bikes)
There is nothing ground-breaking about the sound from the Cristin Tang bell, but the fact that it’s striking designs and motifs makes it a great choice for a kid’s bike or your beach cruiser.
With fourteen styles to choose from, it is easy to find a killer accessory for your bike.
The bell is attached to the handlebars using a plastic clamp and two screws so a screwdriver is required for the installation.
The position of the dinger means that this bell is best placed on the left handlebar.
7. Kickstand Cycleworks (Best Budget Bell)
The Kickstand Cycleworks Classic Beach Cruiser Bell comes in a whopping twenty-one bold, high gloss colours making is easy to find the right one to match your beach cruiser.
The bold colours go well with the eccentric “ding-dong” sound of this bell although fellow beach strollers might think a front door is coming at speed.
It is compatible with 22.2mm handlebars and requires a standard screwdriver to mount.
8. Bike Party Light Up (Best Light-Up Bell)
The Bike Party Bell is two great safety features in one package; a classic-sounding bell and a bright light.
As a bell it works fine and attaches to the handlebar using a plastic mount and a simple screw.
When it is used as a light it can be switched between two modes. The first mode is called color morphing and here the light cycles slowly through each of the bright colors. Alternatively you can stick to just one color.
It is weather resistant to IPX4 and so will keep on flashing through rain.
9. LESOVI Electric Bike Horn (Best Electric Bell)
For something a little different that will absolutely guarantee that you will be heard, look no further than the LESOVI Electric Bike Horn. Instead of the standard ping from a hammer, this bell uses a USB rechargeable battery to produce a shuddering 120dB.
To put that into perspective, a standard car horn is between 100dB to 150dB. Pedestrians and drivers alike will have no problem hearing this electric bell.
There are four different sounds to choose from, some more serious than others.
The switch to activate the bell is separate from the bell itself meaning you can place it exactly where you want it for quick and convenient access on the bike.
10. Nutcase Bicycle Bell
The Nutcase Bike Bell has the sound of a traditional chiming bike bell that wouldn’t be out of place on the busy cycle lanes of Amsterdam but in a modern, bold package.
There are a variety of bold designs to choose from, each of them unique and fun. This would be a great addition to any kid’s bike.
The mount is plastic and uses two screws to secure to standard handlebars.
The thumb activation is ergonomically placed to make it easy to ring on the bike.
11. Lezyne Classic Shallow Brass Bell
The Lezyne Classic Shallow Brass Bell is a simple, disc shape bell with a refined high-pitched sound.
The bell is activated with a quite satisfying spring-loaded hammer that sits far enough away from the bell to prevent any unwanted noise over rough terrain.
It is attached to the bars using a rubber band that attaches to hooks on either side of the mount. It is simple, effective and should help prevent any scrapes to the handlebars themselves.
It also makes this bell versatile and can easily fit a wide range of handlebar designs.
12. Crane Bell Riten Brass Bicycle Bell
The Crane Riten Bell is a classic looking bell with a clear ring-ring tone that seems to resonate for eternity.
The traditional styling goes well with the traditional handlebar compatibility (22.2 25.4mm) and with a 57mm diameter dome it does take up quite a bit of room on the handlebars.
If that is not a problem for you then you are buying a bell with heritage and one of the best chimes on the road.
13. Trigger Bell
The Trigger Bell works without having to move your hands from their natural and secure position on the handlebars.
The clamp allows the bell to be mounted in any location on the bars and in any orientation. For road cyclists, it can even be placed on the drops and still be activated naturally with the thumb.
The friendly tone is bright and, despite the small package, loud enough for all but the busiest stretches of road.
14. Widek Steel Crown Bell Carded
Coming from the Netherlands, the land of 23 million bicycles, the Widek Steel Crown Bell is a classic bell with a large, beautiful chrome dome.
As you would expect from a bell with Dutch heritage, the sound is a renowned cheerful “ring-ring” that is the soundtrack across Dutch towns and cities.
The crown logo adds to the prestige looks of the bell.
15. Ventura Aluminum Compass Bicycle Bell
The Ventura Aluminum Compass Bell would be a great addition to the cockpit of any hard-core bike packer. As well as a simple bell you also get an accurate and easy to read compass.
Having a compass is a real advantage when it comes to figuring out which direction the wind is coming from and planning a cycle route.
Why Use A Bike Bell?
If you do all of your riding out on quiet country lanes or remote trails, you might be forgiven for wondering why any cyclist would ever need a bell.
In fact the free bell that usually comes with new bikes is typically the first thing that is removed from the frame lest it damage your aesthetic credentials at the café stop.
It is a different story for riders who have to fight through busy city streets. In this environment a bell is not just useful, it is a necessity.
Whilst pedestrians are wired to be on the lookout for cars, the same cannot be said about bikes.
Attention-grabbing and ubiquitous smartphones have not helped matters and so a good quality bell is a useful reminder that there are cyclists also on the roads.
The ping of the bicycle bell is universally recognised, a hangover from youthful bike rides, and produces an almost Pavlovian response in pedestrians.
As well as cutting through the noise, a bike bell is also a lot less confrontational than shouting at people. That said, just like beeping the car horn, there is bike bell etiquette that every rider should know.
The design of bike bells has evolved and far from being austere and functional, modern bike bells can even enhance the look of bikes.
Bike Bell Features To Look Out For
Volume and Sound
A bike bell is only as good as the sound it makes. This is why it exists, to draw attention and keep everyone safe on busy streets.
This means that the best bells are the loudest ones.
Different bells produce different frequencies (or pitch) and some are more distinctive than others.
Every bell will have its own unique sound; some offer a single crisp ping and others give a distinctive “ding-dong” that will be familiar to anyone who has had to traverse the criss-crossing bike lanes of Amsterdam.
The sound should also be deliberate and the bell should not ring at all when cycling along the road.
Video: Different Bells, Different Sounds
Handlebar Size and Diameter
Since most bells are clamped to the handlebars it is important to check that the clamp is compatible with your bike.
Most clamps will fit standard 22.2mm handlebars.
If you have non-standard handlebars there are bells that use more universal clamp designs and even headset spacers.
If you want a bell that will last you should look beyond plastic clamp designs as these tend to be the weak point.
Bells are a relatively inexpensive bike accessory and replacing a budget option when it eventually breaks is usually not a big deal.
Ease of Use
Bike bells should be easy to install. Once on the bike they should be quick and convenient to ring whenever you need it.
Some riders don’t want to ruin the beautifully smooth lines of their bike with a bulky bell. By “some riders” we mean road cyclists.
Thankfully bell design has taken massive leaps and there are plenty of discrete options that are barely noticeable on the bike.
Which Bells Fit My Handlebars?
To help you choose the right bell for your bike here are some of the most common handlebar diameters:
- Mountain Bikes – 22.2mm
- Road Bikes – Modern drop-bar road bikes typically have a 31.8mm bar at the stem where you will want to install a bell.
- Commuter Bikes – These come in many shapes and sizes so it is worth checking the diameter of the bars on your bike.
- Kids Bikes and BMX’s – 22.2mm
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Install A Bike Bell?
Most bike bells feature some kind of clamp design that attaches to the handlebars. Installation is typically very simple and does not require any special tools.
Where Do You Put The Bell On A Bike?
Ultimately the bell should be positioned on the handlebars for easy and quick access when riding with just the flick of your thumb.
Does The Law State You Must Use A Bike Bell?
There are no specific federal laws that state you must ride with a bell but every state and even municipality has its own rules on the subject.
Georgia, South Carolina, New Jersey and New York have laws in place that mean you cannot ride your bike without a bell. Whilst this is rarely enforced it is something to keep in mind.
In the UK, the law requiring a bike bell was rescinded in 1999 but the Highway Code does recommend its use.
Adding a bell to your bike is a great way to keep everyone on busy city streets safer. As cyclists we have a responsibility to be considerate to our fellow road users and non-more so than pedestrians.
If you can justify the price, the Spurcycle Original Bike Bell is everything you could ever want in a bell. It is a design classic but it doesn’t just relying on its good looks. It sounds great, both loud and crisp, and has a satisfying mechanism with lots of feedback.
For committed road cyclists, the Knog Oi Luxe Bike Bell is a case of out of sight, out of mind. It is discrete and will likely go unnoticed at the café stop.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Kickstand Cycleworks Classic Beach Cruiser Bell is a cheap and cheerful way to be noticed on your beach cruiser. The colours and the “ding-dong” sound are equally bold.