Remember the good old days when everything was built to last? Now it seems like plastic has taken over, but don’t worry, there is a certain bell company still making products which feel like a genuine piece of mechanical jewelry for you or your kids’ bike.
The Crane Bell Co. is based in Japan, all they make is bells and good ones at that. They are made to a very high standard and it’s refreshing to see something as simple as a bicycle bell being to a proper old-fashioned built-to-last formula.
The Crane Riten Bicycle Bell is one of the better-known designs since it gives that long constant Brrring sound which is loud and resonant. It’s the classic sound that comes to mind when you think ‘I had a bell like that when I was a kid’
The Riten works well on kids and adults bikes, it’s the perfect bell to stand up to the rough and tumble life of kids bikes or on a commuter where you need to be heard in traffic or warn pedestrians.
Crane Riten Brass Bicycle Bell
- Colors: Chrome, Brass, Black, Copper
- Where to Buy: Amazon.com
Fitting and Handlebar Size
The Riten’s clamp uses a two-hole clamp which allows it to fit 22.2mm up to 26mm handlebars. The larger 26mm size is commonly where the handlebar flares up to meet the stem while the 22.2mm size is the diameter where your grips and brake levers sit.
The clamp itself is steel and unclips pretty easily, it uses a single screw to tighten and while the clamps super tough meaning it won’t get knocked around or broken off, you might want to put some tape underneath it in case your worried about scratching your handlebar finish.
On the Outside
The first impression, this bell is shiny and looks old-school. The Brass bell here is uncoated so the dome will change appearance with age, the brass will dull off and form a nice patina. If this isn’t your thing an occasional polish with autosol or metal polish will maintain it’s mirror-like, deep gold finish.
The steel thumb lever is just like I remember of bells from years ago, it’s plated steel and contrasts well against the brass. In the middle lies the stamped, aluminum Crane Bell Co. logo, this hides the center where the threaded insert is attached which allows the dome to screw onto the base.
The bell is quite large, the dome measures 57mm across this isn’t a problem because it just looks so good. The thumb button sits in a fixed position so ideally it’s suited left-handed mounting on your bars.
Under The Hood
I remember as a kid constantly unscrewing the lid of my bell and trying to figure out how it worked. The Ritens just the same, it works by spinning two heavy washers opposite each other which is activated by the thumb lever. The gear winds up the spinner which hits the small depression in the side of the dome.
It’s like looking inside a watch when you unscrew the lid. All the inner working are steel, they are plated to help keep the rust a bay but the very occasional spray with lubricant or a drop of oil will get it moving if it’s left out in the rain.
This is the brass domed version so the dome and the base are both brass. The return spring on the lever as the rest of the parts is zinc plated which will change appearance over time like the brass outer.
Other Crane Bells
The Crane Suzue is the Ritens close relative, sharing a similar dome size the main difference is the strike action. The Suzue is a single hammer type strike vs the Riten’s constant Brring. The Suzue is a hugely popular alternative if you prefer the loud, crisp single chime. All the workings are visible on the outside and it uses the same type of clamp as the Riten.
Crane has a good selection of other designs some are smaller if your handlebar is space is limited.
It’s not usually too exciting to describe a bicycle bells tone but this one is something special. It’s loud. Very loud. Enough for noisy traffic and more than enough for pedestrians and notifying people blocking your path. The best thing is, that loud ring just seems to keep on going.
Holding the Riten in your hand, you feel the weight and think, this is a nice piece of kit. It might cost a bit more (but not much) but it will likely be the last bell you will ever buy, hey and if it’s on your kid’s bike be sure to take it off and hang onto it so they can put it on their kid’s bikes!
Also, check out The Top 10 Best Bicycle Bells for a range of other options.
Thoughts, Comments, Questions? drop me a comment below.