To them, a musical tinkle cuts through the air much better than a raised voice, and sounds less aggressive too. As a result, bell advocates claim they’re warmly received by pedestrians, horse riders and other cyclists.
Bell ringers argue more detailed information, such as “on your right”, can be offered once path users are aware of your presence.
On the other hand, some riders make the case against bicycle bells. Those in the anti-bell corner believe you’re travelling too fast on shared trails if you feel the need to resort to a bell.
A friendly verbal warning should suffice, because you shouldn’t be chasing Strava crowns amid pedestrians and more sedate cyclists, they claim.
But if you are firmly in the bell camp and looking for a stylish and effective way to communicate your presence on a bicycle to other road users and pedestrians, you’ve some to the right place.
There’s also an option to combine a GPS mount and bell that won’t compromise the style or aerodynamics of the best road bikes.
We’ve put six of the best bike bells to the test with varying looks, price points and ‘dings’.
The best bike bells in 2023
- £20.95 as tested
This is a cycling artefact of almost unbelievable visual and aural loveliness.
The chunky nickel sliver (copper/zinc/nickel alloy) bell is assembled in Manchester from parts made in Birmingham and Barnsley and the sound is loud, sweet and pure with a sustain of over 20 seconds.
There are stainless-steel fittings for stem or bar. A custom engraved version is also available should you be happy to spend a little more.
- £12.99 / $14.99 / AU$24.99 / €14.99 as tested
The Electra is available in numerous designs including plain colours, a flying saucer and an ice-cream cone. We went for the RAF roundel/mod design to bring out our inner Bradley Wiggins.
It’s an old-school double-ringer, but the large 5cm diameter metal dome makes it louder than the smaller ones of our childhood bikes.
These bells scored fewer than four stars, but are still worth considering.
Knog Oi Classic
- £16 / $20 / AU$30 as tested
Australia’s Knog has taken a novel approach in creating a bell that is loud enough on the street while taking up very little room on your handlebar.
It’s not as loud as the Lion, but the elegant design delivers a pleasingly pure tone, a long sustain and the large Oi Classic fits to bars from 23.8 to 31.6mm in diameter. Neat, petite.
- £50 / $49 as tested
How expensive for such a teeny-tiny 45g of bellmanship? That said, the all-metal design is straightforward to fit to narrow or wider bars, and though minuscule, the pure note lasts for a while.
It rings for 14 seconds or so, making it one of the longer bongs here. It is for the deep-pocketed style-conscious rider, but it is lovely.
- £10 / $10 / €10.99 as tested
Available in silver (made from aluminium), brass, rose gold or black versions, the 5.5cm-diameter Basil creates a sonorous, suitably loud strike from its lengthy sprung lever.
It has a slightly harsh note with a decent sustain, though you’ll still need a couple of strikes to wake dog walkers from their canine-accompanied concentration-free capers.
Hide My Bell
- £31 / €39.95 as tested
Got a Garmin (or Bryton, Wahoo or Polar) GPS bike computer and want to fit a bell without losing precious bar space? Then this is for you.
The Hide My Bell combines an out-front GPS mount with a standard bell. You do have to pull the bell’s lever upwards to strike it, which takes a little getting used to, but it is an easy-to-fit and effective design.