Whether you out and about commuting to work or riding at the weekend with the kids on shared pathways, sometimes it’s tricky to alert walkers of your presence. Life can be a lot easier with a bell fitted to your bars, from better safety to having cool accessories strapped to your child’s bike, bells these days are more diverse while still doing exactly what they should, Ding!
Not every bell is created equal, there’s still the classic design, old school looking ones but also minimal contemporary models made from a combination of materials. So whatever your riding purpose there’s bound to be something that ticks the box for you.
My daughter and I have been biking together a lot lately and the bell on our town bike is really getting a hammering!
Types Of Bell
According to BicycleHistory.net the first patent for the bicycle bell was confirmed in the year 1887 by a man called John Richard Dedicoat, a British inventor which, to his credit also invented the pencil sharpener. Clever Man.
There are many variations of bells but there are two distinct types you will most likely come across, also they are visually quite different and easy to tell apart.
Hammer/Striker Type Bell
These types of bell use a simple sprung hammer which is usually flicked or pushed then let go to create the chime. The hammer piece is commonly sprung loaded and this allows it to strike then return to its normal position. The ringing mechanism is usually visible on the outside of the bell and some designs allow the bezel to be rotated 360 degrees to allow for universal left and right mounting.
These bells are usually the type found on new bikes since they are relatively cheap and minimal in appearance.
The bell dome itself is usually fixed with a screw or rivet on-top, also it usually not removable like the gear style bell. The domes come in many different colors and the bells themselves are usually very light.
Rotary/Geared Style Bell
This is the type that probably comes first to mind, it’s the classic design with a large, heavier outer dome which can be unscrewed to reveal the inner workings. Usually, they are a single sided design so are placed on the left or right-hand side of your handlebar depending on where the thumb paddle lever sits.
Along with the internal gears, the main difference is the chime they give, they give that classic Brrring sound vs the single Ding of the hammer style bells. The rotary bells are usually louder and better suited for noisier city areas or when your really want to be heard. There is a large selection of dome materials each giving a distinct tone, while a few models are completely metal and will certainly last for many years.
Does It Matter What Its Made Out Of?
The Dome material definitely plays a role in how the bell chimes and how long it keeps ringing, no to mention the volume, after all, you could consider it a tiny musical instrument. Also, consider the body material, a metal body will last longer and resist breaking off or getting damaged but they are a bit pricier.
Stainless Steel, Steel, Copper, Brass, and Aluminum are all common dome materials, if you are after volume try going for a Steel, Copper or Brass Bell, while lighter and more minimal design use aluminum which helps keep the weight down but still give enough volume.
This is one to watch out for, although there are many different shapes and variations of handlebars, the size range isn’t too complex, with mainly two handlebar stem sizes and the diameter where your grips and brake levers slide onto.
Most bells are sized to fit 22.2mm (0.87”) this is the bar diameter that fits your handlebar grips. Where you may run into difficulty is when your bars have limited space or a narrow meaning you have to run your bell inboard towards the stem, where the bar flares out to a bigger size. Also on a road racing bike, you might like to mount it right next to your stem or even over your handlebar tape.
- Most modern mountain bikes and road bikes use a 31.8mm (1.25”) handlebar clamping size.
- Older or cheaper mountain and road bikes will most likely be 25.4mm (1”)
- Kids Bikes use the standard 22.2mm (0.87”) diameter where you normally would fit a bell.
- In most cases, your standard sized bell clamp of around 22.2m will fit most bikes until the bar changes diameter towards the stem.
How To Check If You’re Unsure
There’s nothing worse than buying something and realizing it doesn’t fit! Follow these simple steps to double check if your bell will fit.
Measure you handlebar area where you intend to fit your bell, in this case, I used a tape measure, the bar reads just over 22mm which is normal for the grip/brake lever area, but what if there wasn’t any space to fit the bell? Check closer to the stem…
This is the bigger 31.8mm handlebar size, by doing the same on your bar it will either be this or 25.4mm. In this case, the Knog Oi in the large size would be the ideal fit. Also first on the list, the Mirrycle Incredibell adjustable version help with difficult-to-fit bars.
So let get into it, here’s my list of unique, functional and fun bells.
Cheap But Cheerful Bike Bells
Mirrycle Incredibell Adjustabell
- Aluminum Bell Dome
- Bell Dome Diameter : 34mm (1.35”)
- Fits Handlebars 15mm to 39mm (1.53”)
- Comes in Black and Silver Dome Finishes.
It may be small but the Mirrycle Incredibell dings with enough volume to warn oncoming pedestrians of your passing. Using an aluminum dome, you simply give the lever a flick setting off a loud-enough warning and helping prevent unpleasant surprises to people you pass.
The main body is plastic but the cool feature is the strap-lock adjustment. This means you can pretty much fit it anywhere on your handlebars, outboard or towards the stem or even on a bar end. If you have a drop handlebar road bike, the strap-lock is large enough to easily attach over top of bar tape allowing a discreet but functional alarm located just below you’re hoods, great if your riding in pedestrian traffic, also not getting in the way of your hands.
Left or right mounting is a thing since you can rotate the thumb hammer 360 degrees depending on your preferred side or handlebar layout. To tighten the Mirrycle Bell’s you pull the adjustable strap firmly closed just like a zip tie and remove using a flat blade screwdriver to pick to clip open, nice and simple with no fiddly screws to lose!Check Price
Mirrycle Incredibell Brass Duet Bicycle Bell
- Solid Brass Bell Dome
- Dome Diameter: 33mm (1.3” )
- Fits handlebars with 21.7mm – 24mm (.86 inch – .95 inch ) outside diameter
- Colors: Black, Blue, Brass, Chrome, Green, Orange, Pink Purple
The Mirrycle Brass Duet gets its name from its action, a loud but crisp double sounding chime. Pushing the thumb lever gives the first chime and by releasing it, letting it fall back into place gives the second. The sound is very resonant thanks to the solid brass dome, it has a deeper and richer sounding ring when compared to the adjustable aluminum Incredibell.
The Incredibell comes in a total of 8 different colors and’s one of the most popular bells on the market. Finding a color to complement your ride’s easy, or maybe you kiddy has their heart set on one in their favorite color? Using a slide style striker, the bell’s action stays smooth and silent so you don’t get that annoying rattle or ding when going over rough ground.
The Mirrycle Bell is one side only design, meaning it’s designed to run on the right-hand side of your bars, the bezel doesn’t turn like the Adjustable above, but there is a way around this. You can mount it upside-down on the left which reverses the action using your thumb to work it from under the bar.Check Price
TrendBox Bicycle Bell Set
- Great Value Pack of 6 Assorted Colors
- Aluminum Bell Dome
- Dome Diameter: 35mm (1.4”)
- Fits HandleBars up to 22.2mm (0.9”)
Why buy just one bell when you can get a whole set of TrendBox bells for the same price? Some situations call for more, maybe you’re getting out riding with the family more taking the kids out and about. There are a few bells already, and buying multiple one-offs soon adds up.
With six colors included finding something of appeal should be too much trouble and there’s the low key black if the others aren’t your preference. These Trendbox bells are very similar to ones you find fitted from the factory on many brands, they use a plastic body with an aluminum dome which gives a loud yet pleasant ring.
Fitting is simple, simply flex the clamp open to attach then do up the screw, the bell can be fitted to both the left and right sides since the body rotates to any side and being quite small the bells remain discreet and unobtrusive.Check Price
Kids Bike Bells
Mirrycle Incredibell Jellibell
- See-Thru Bell Dome
- Comes in Blue, Green, Pink, Orange and Strawberry Colors
- Fits bars 21mm – 22.5mm (.83” – 89”)
- Bell Dome diameter: 48mm (1.9”)
The Jellibell’s perfect jazzing up your kid’s bike and there’s a good range of colors available while each colored dome remains translucent. The gears on the inside are also color-coded and move when the bell rings which makes it an interesting little gadget for your kiddies.
The action is different to other bells as you need to turn the entire colored top to strike it, this is great for younger and smaller kids hands as they don’t need to check to see where the striker is, simply pushing the bell with either their thumb or whole hand set’s it off.
The plastic clip fits around most standard kids bike handlebars and simply flexes open then screws uptight. The Jellibells fine on the left or right of their handlebars since there’s no fixed striker, and while not being as loud as the solid metal type bells it puts out enough volume for use on footpaths and cycleways.Check Price
Newsty Kids Bicycle Bell
- Total of 10 Colors all with the Daisy on top
- Contrasting Dome and Base with Each Color
- Fits Standard 22.2mm bars (0.874”)
- Right Hand Mount Only
The Newsty Daisy Bell has a super bright range of colors all featuring a large daisy flower, using a standard handlebar clamp it will fit most kids bikes and even balance bikes with regularly shaped handlebars. Using an aluminum dome, it rings loud enough even when pushed with small hands.
Check your kids’ bars as the bells a right hand only mounting, the thumb strike activates by being pushed forward in a horizontal motion and inside are spinners which turn giving the bell a longer repetitive chime instead of a single ding.
The base is made from plastic so your child will have to look after it more than an all-metal bell but once they see that great big flower it might just become their pride and joy! Also, this cool little bell could be right at home on an adults beach cruiser, there’s most-likely a color that complements your bikes.Check Price
Spiderman Kids Bike Bell
- Available on its Own or as Part of a Spiderman Seat
- 3D Spider on Bell Dome
- Fits Standard Bars 22.2mm (0.874”)
These ones for all the little superheroes out there. The standout feature of this bell’s obviously the 3D spider sitting right on top of the dome, the dome itself is made from aluminum to keep it lightweight but still give enough volume.
This bell can be bought on its own or as part of a matching set to complete the look. There’s also a protection set consisting of gloves and pads and even an extra horn if the bell alone isn’t enough. The striking action uses a simple hammer type, flick of the thumb and can be mounted on the left or right side of the bars since it’s located facing the rider.
Fitting is standard so most kids bikes will be fine and even scooters and balance bikes will benefit from the extra coolness of the spiderman bell. The main attraction is the bells theme, also it’s relatively cheap so if you have a rough and tumble toddler check out the matching horn, it may just stand up to the extra bump and bruises for longer!Check Price
Vintage/Retro Style Bicycle Bells
Crane Suzue Brass Bell, Lever Strike
- All metal construction, plated striker
- Aluminum and Copper domes also available
- Bell Dome Diameter: 5.5cm (2.1”)
- Fits Bars from 22.2mm to 26mm (1.02”)
Classic in looks and classic in tone, The Crane Suzue Bell is manufactured in Japan using high-quality brass to give a rich and resonant tone when struck. it is one of my absolute favorites not only just because of the way it looks but also because it sounds so good! Heres a quick demo of that tone.
The bell dome is highly polished and uses an acorn style nut to fasten it down, a nice visual touch as well as functional. The lever strike is large and easy to push using a spring to instantly strike the dome when released.
The Crane Suzue Bell uses a two-piece, hook style bracket to attach, there is a small screw to do up but it means you don’t have to remove your grips or brake levers. Also available in copper and aluminum also with their own distinct color natural to their material and unique tone. An all-around beautiful bell!Check Price
Crane Riten Brass Bell
- All Metal Construction
- Brrring! Classic Sound
- Fits 22.2 to 26mm diameters (1.02”)
- See the full review
Another bell from Crane, but this time it’s their awesome Riten gear-type bell. When you think of your classic bike bell from years ago it’s likely that something like this comes to mind. It uses an all-metal body and dome which lasts for years and weathers to a nice patina over time.
This bell is LOUD! heavy traffic? in the busy city? this is the one for you. The thumb lever activates the gears and strikers inside the dome giving a loud and repeatable striking chime. One interesting point is you are able to unscrew the dome from the body to look inside and see how it works. Also since it’s all metal a bit of lubrication may be needed from time to time, a quick shot of silicone spray will do the job fine.
The Riten attaches in the same way as the Suzue Lever Stike above using a hook and screw type bracket, no grips or brake levers to remove. The striking appearance will complement any classic ride or town bike but the downside is it’s obviously heavier and larger due to the solid construction and quality of chime but the appearance more than makes up for this.Check Price
Pioneeryao Multi-Fit Bell
- Bell Dome Diameter: 30mm (1.2”)
- Muli-Fit Stap Design for 22.2mm and 31.8mm bars
- Copper Brown, Black, Gold and Silver Colors Available
The Pioneeryao Bell is a minimal looking unit using a unique spring style striker. Don’t be fooled by its small size, this bell puts out plenty of volume, the result of the brass captured striker being a loud but clear and sustaining tone that will easily notify walkers or joggers of your presence.
This bell will fit around almost any handlebar, also even over road bike bar tape. Included are two different length stainless steel straps for big and small handlebar sizes, also you get the Allen key to do everything up as well as a rubber strap to stop it moving on your bars.
The Pioneeryao provide you with the retro look but also at a reasonable price, the Black version uses a colored dome while keeping the brass striker unplated to contrast nicely.Check Price
Cool and Unique Bicycle Bells
The Sunlite Windmill Bell
- Single Hammer Chime
- The Blades Turn With The Wind!
- Fun for Kids an Big Kids
I wasn’t sure whether to put the windmill bell under kids or unique bells, it could go in both. Behind the smiley windmill is a regular single strike bell, a single ding when flicked with the thumb.
The windmill works great and spins quicker the faster you go, luckily the blades are not sharp! And I’m sure by adding one of these to you or your kids’ bike it would you or somebody else a smile.
One tip, if you’re fitting it to scooters with small diameter handlebars or other wheeled toys, shim the clamp up to size with a rubber strip or a few rounds of insulation tape for a snug fit.Check Price
KNOG Oi Bell Aluminium Bike Bell
- Two Different Sizes for 22.2mm and 31.8mm Handlebars
- Premium Material Give Rich Tone
- Minimal Design
- 15mm (0.6”) Total Width
The Knog Oi is a unique design approach to your standard bicycle bell. Instead of a traditional dome and striker, the thick, semicircle of aluminum it struck to produce the chime. The design is very minimal and you would hardly notice it on your bars if you weren’t looking closely.
The Oi produces a loud and resonant tone that is also rich and long-lasting. Also integrated into the design are areas which allow your cables to pass through, so the bell can also tidy up cable problems on your bike. There is a total of eight colors available, but be sure to check your handlebar size as there are two different versions, the small 22.2mm, and large 31.8mm. Included in the large size is a shim to size the clamp smaller for backward compatibility.
It may not be the loudest bell on the block but for cruising around at slower speeds and where traffic noise isn’t overwhelming the Knog Oi is a contemporary design that has been well thought out.Check Price
Lexco Bicycle Hamburger Bell
- A Replica Burger for your Bike Complete with Mayo
- Not too Cheesy
- Thumb-Push for Brrring Tone
- Fits 22.2mm bar
Perfect for that person who always seems to be hungry. The Hamburger Bike Bell costs only slightly more than the real thing and the attention to detail is superb. The Sesame Seeds detailed on the bells dome with the Beef Pattie, Lettuce and Mayo all working together to bring the design to life.
On the underside of the Hamburger Bell there’s a two-piece clamp consisting of the body and saddle, this gives enough adjustment to fit standard diameter handlebars or just enough to mount it inboard towards the stem area.
The action is the classic Brrring sound, using your thumb to push and ring the bell backwards and forwards. The durable painted finish will keep it looking fresh and tasty and it would make a great gift for kids or adults. The Burger can be left or right hand mounted with the right side using your index finger to pull the trigger towards you.Check Price
So that’s a wrap, did find a bell that really struck a chord? There’s so many to choose from, the choices are almost endless!
My top 3 are:
- For classic looks and a nice tone to boot also it’s like a piece of bicycle jewelry: Crane Suzue Lever Strike Bell
- For a modern approach, minimal but well designed and thought out: Knog Oi
- For the fun factor, kids and adults: The Hamburger Bell
Do you have your favorite bell design or have you seen one on the list that looks like it might find a home on you or your kid’s handlebars? Leave me a comment below.