We recently got a pair of unique bells in the office, a U.S.A. made model from Spurcycle that may be the best bell on the market, and the tiny Roadie from Osaka Bells, which may be the most versatile bell on the market.
By Emily Walley
A bicycle bell goes unacknowledged until needed, and then with a single strike it establishes an impressive safety bubble. Have you ever had a bicycle bell that won’t fit your bars? Or, one where any slight bump causes it to ding unwarranted, but then it doesn’t ding at all when you need it? Between August and September, of 2014, Spurcycle collected an astounding $331,938 through Kickstarter to renovate the bicycle bell.
The result is a stunningly simple, beautifully crafted, U.S.A. made, all metal bell. Tucked neatly in a little sleeve is a raw ($39) or black ($49) bell and two lengths of metal strapping, making it a suitable choice for any size handlebars. Attach the bell to your bars via the appropriate strap and tighten the bolt; no fiddling, no plastic, no rubber spacers. Between top-mount levers and a light, I have trouble fitting any additional accessories on my narrow drop bars, but at only 30mm x 20.5mm the bell fit fine and maintained a low-profile.
The finale is when brass hits stainless, creating a delightful and resounding ding that makes you want to ring it over and over again, and never once did it ding without my actuation. When comparing the Spurcycle to other all metal bells the $49 price tag may seem a little steep. However, in my opinion the Spurcycle is the iPhone of bells, with the added benefit of being made in the U.S.A. One can’t help but acknowledge the smart design and the ding of the Spurcycle Bell.
Watch this great video on how it’s made!
Osaka Roadie Bell
By Eric McKeegan
This is a smart little bell, utilizing a tool-free clamp to attach to a number of different locations. A simple spring mounted plastic ringer strikes a brass dome, resulting in a high clear ~ding~ that seems to cut through ambient noise quite well. The ringer needs a solid flick to get a good sound, so mounting needs to take into account the full throw of the striker.
The mounting is where the $18 Osaka bell earns its keep. The clamp opens up far enough to clap around items up to 8mm in width, and tightens by twisting the brass bell. I was able to mount it to every bike I tried, either around a brake or shift cable, under the rubber brake hood, or clamp to a mountain bike style brake lever.I’m highly impressed this bell can fit any bike that I happen to be riding (and I ride a lot of different bikes) and can be swapped between bikes in less than a minute, without tools.
The simple spring mounted striker isn’t always the easiest to use, and care needs to be taken with mounting location to ensure it can be giving a proper pull and release. A better striker mechanism would make this bell just about perfect. And $18 for a Japanese made bell seems hella reasonable to me. You local shop should be able to order one of these up in brass, chrome, dark chrome, or copper. Buy online from Soma Fabrications.