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Old 03-17-17, 09:02 AM   #1
jrickards
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What do you recommend for a bell?

I have a Filzer DingDing Bell that I'm not too happy with: it makes a decent sound when it rings but the ringer is essentially just a bit of plastic on a metal spring and sometimes the spring gets caught up in itself or its support so I have to fiddle with it to get a dingding out of it and sometimes the need for the warning has passed. There are other bells such as Mirrycle and Knog that seem to use a similar mechanism for hitting the bell but maybe the implementation of their dinger is better, I don't know.

Filzer (left), Mirrycle (centre), Knog (right)


Does anyone have any recommendations? It doesn't have to be different that these style of dinger, maybe the Filzer is just poorly put together, it is the cheapest of these three.
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Old 03-17-17, 09:33 AM   #2
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I'd say get none of those, get a brass Crane bell. The Suzu with a lever striker has the perfect combination of loudness and pleasant tone.

They're also classy and inexpensive. A win on all counts.
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Old 03-17-17, 09:39 AM   #3
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The Portland King of Ding is similar in design to the Crane Suzu bell you recommend and available at MEC here in Canada.
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Old 03-17-17, 09:51 AM   #4
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I have a bell called a "Double Dinger" made by Mirrcycle. IT doesn't look exactly like the one you've pictured above... it looks like the one shown here: https://www.rei.com/product/723519/m...er-incredibell. The trigger does not operate with a spring, instead it rotates around the outer circumfrence.

Pros: makes a perfect "I'm a bicycle" sound..... I mostly use it to say "hello" to people when I'm too out of breath or too far away to use my voice.
Also, you can swing the lever around the bell to any position.

Cons: It's not super loud, but I have a couple louder bells if I want something louder.

I don't remember what I paid for it, but it was very affordable. My friend has one of those all brass bells, and it's loud and (as mentioned above) classy. But it's just a single "ding".
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Old 03-17-17, 09:51 AM   #5
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Really the only 2 I trust are the 2-chime incredibell (not the one-chime one) and the crane brass one. The crane is pretty but mine gets messed up by bar tape and rain, the incredibell always works.
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Old 03-17-17, 09:56 AM   #6
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I have the Crane Suzu on a couple of bikes and they are good. I just bought a Spurcycle bell for my new LHT. They are expensive and I am not sure any bell is worth $50, but they are in a different class than the Crane.
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Old 03-17-17, 10:30 AM   #7
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The Spurcycle bell is the finest I've used. Really expensive, but it may just be the perfect bell.
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Old 03-17-17, 11:15 AM   #8
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Use your mouth. Most of the biped zombies are walking around with earbuds on anyways.
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Old 03-17-17, 11:27 AM   #9
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When I have a bell, I never remember I have a bell. But it was a big goofy Electra ding-dong bell with a peace sign made of flowers, and I liked it.
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Old 03-17-17, 11:33 AM   #10
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Really the only 2 I trust are the 2-chime incredibell (not the one-chime one) and the crane brass one. The crane is pretty but mine gets messed up by bar tape and rain, the incredibell always works.
Yes.
That's the Duet. I have the Duet on a trio of bikes.
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Old 03-17-17, 03:54 PM   #11
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The Spurcycle bell is the finest I've used. Really expensive, but it may just be the perfect bell.
that is really the only bell worth considering. its the only one pedestrians react to in my experience.

If you don't want to spend the $$$ on that, simply yell "on your left" Other bells tend to be ignored.

The only fool proof bike bell I have ever found is loud and squeeky brakes. 100% of the people hear and react to this auditory warning.
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Old 03-17-17, 06:26 PM   #12
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Yes.
That's the Duet. I have the Duet on a trio of bikes.
Two of my bikes have Duets. They make a sound reminding me of a ship's bell. I've been known to use it to announce my arrival and departure from my office.
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Old 03-17-17, 07:30 PM   #13
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Doesn't matter. Cars can't hear any bicycle bell. Nor can most pedestrians, joggers or cyclists wearing earbuds. For those you need an AirZound or similarly obnoxious blaster.

For MUP users who haven't blocked out ambient sounds try a Timber mountain bike trail bell. It can be set to ring continuously or not at all.

I was curious about the Timber and similar mini-cowbells sold on Amazon and elsewhere. So I rigged up my own from some winter holiday jingle bells, ranging in size from golf balls to slightly larger. I used those on one bike for a couple of months until the thin strap wore out and broke a couple of weeks ago. The jingle bells clinked and clanked continuously while riding, varying depending on how smooth or rough the terrain was. If the bells didn't jingle enough while approaching someone from behind on smooth pavement I'd smack the bells with one hand.

The continuous jingling was remarkably effective yet friendly sounding on the MUP. People who hadn't plugged up their ears would notice and turn to look as I was approaching, and usually smiled. I always slow down and pass as courteously as possible anyway. On the gravel trail it jingled continuously and most joggers/walkers would moved rightward without being prompted. There were still a few who'd remain in the center of the path or go the "wrong" way, but they usually remained consistent in direction rather than wandering around aimlessly.

On one occasion a couple of joggers were two abreast on the narrow paved MUP. The jogger to farthest right heard me and tugged the sleeve of her friend who was blocking the path. As I passed the path-hogging jogger muttered "I heard something jingling but didn't know what the heck it was." So it's not foolproof, even when they can hear it.

But my jingle bell experiment worked so well I'm going to buy a Timber bell.

If I rode more often in heavy traffic I'd get an AirZound. But I wouldn't waste money on another flipper bell, no matter how well designed.

And don't count on any noisemaker short of a Doppler effect horn/siren being effective anyway. Tests have shown people can't even tell the direction or approach speed of a train from sound or vibration. Modern trains and tracks are remarkably quiet and vibration free now anyway, but even with noisy freight trains on older tracks people continue to be struck and killed or injured because they misjudge the distance and approach. Only the Doppler pitch shift has been shown to be reliable for indicating distance, orientation and whether the vehicle is approaching or receding.
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Old 03-18-17, 06:35 AM   #14
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I saw the Timber bell but I didn't figure out how it worked. Hmmm, that's a neat suggestion, I'm going to have to consider it (or maybe a cowbell).
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Old 03-18-17, 09:19 AM   #15
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The Mirrycle are nice for people who do not want to ride a bell with a bicycle attached. J

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Old 03-18-17, 02:03 PM   #16
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I saw the Timber bell but I didn't figure out how it worked. Hmmm, that's a neat suggestion, I'm going to have to consider it (or maybe a cowbell).
There are at least two other similar continuous ringing mountain bike trail bells:
  • One sold by Art's Cyclery -- it's a miniature cowbell and costs only $5. It doesn't seem to have a disconnector to stop it from jingling. Pretty much like my homebrewed jingle bells. When I wanted to quiet them I'd just remove it from the handlebar via a quick release and put it in my jersey pocket or saddle bag.
  • The other is the "Awareness Bell" -- it's pricey, costing $40 -- more with customizing -- but they're handcrafted by one guy and have a beautiful tone, probably the nicest of these three mountain bike bells. The disconnector isn't quite as handy as the Timber bell. You can find a couple of demo videos on YouTube.

Keep in mind these trail awareness bells are only as good as the terrain. They don't ring much on smooth pavement. But I found my homebrewed jingle bells really handy and friendly sounding on the local MUP, where the paved path is basically just a sidewalk -- the seams every few feet were enough to jingle the bells, and the jingling was more noticeable on gravel. But on most paved streets it barely jingled at all -- some folks in group rides thought it was just something coming loose on my bike, not a bell!

The nicest sounding and most distinctive bell I've heard in local group rides is the Sunlite type ding-dong bell. It has two successive tones with each stroke of the clapper. Besides being louder and more resonant than most smaller bells the two tones also seem to help give a better sense of orientation -- position, direction and speed of the bike using that ding dong bell. And they're among the least expensive bells around, although I don't know how well they hold up. The fellow I know of from local group rides who uses one on his cruiser says it's held up well for him.
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Old 03-18-17, 04:19 PM   #17
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All three of my bikes have your basic Bell bicycle bell.

This is your stereotypical zzzzzing! zzzzzing! bell. I had tried some smaller single ding bells, but for me it seems more effective to draw out the sound, and this kind of bell does it. For cars and headphone-wearing obliviots I use my AirZound Airhorn "obnoxious blaster" as CankleCat aptly called it.

However, there are those who also value style, elegance and craftsmanship, and for them there are many different avenues, like the beautiful sounding Crane bells and their kind, or the minimalist single, ding bells. And techies favor their web connected, electronic buzzers.

Whatever you choose, it is very cool that you can hear what they sound like on the web and read reviews and get opinions.
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Old 03-19-17, 05:42 PM   #18
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BTW, again, regarding the trail awareness type bell, before buying the Timber or Awareness Bell, try rigging up your own from stuff you probably already have or can get cheaply.

Saturday I rigged up two Christmas jingle bells side by side with nylon zip ties. One is gumball size, the other slightly larger than a golf ball. Different tones. Using a keychain quick release I hooked the jingle bells next to my flipper type Incredibell knockoff. The three would clatter together on most surfaces, producing three tones.

I video recorded my ride to check responses from folks on the MUP. The combination of three bell tones seemed to get more attention, farther in advance, than the single bell tone I'd been using (with one or more identical jingle bells). In particular I noticed the kidlets on their training bikes and meandering around without looking were much more attentive to the sound -- possibly because it sounded like an ice cream truck or those jingles so familiar to kids from their toys, mobiles over their cribs and play pens, etc.

I knew the wind would obscure some sounds so at one point I set my video camera on a sign post and recorded myself riding by a couple of times. It definitely helps aurally indicate whether a bike is approaching or receding, approximate speed, direction and distance.

To me, on the bike, it seemed plenty loud enough, but from the camera it seemed a bit quieter than I'd like. However that may be due to the bike camera's mediocre audio. I'll try another with a couple of different cameras with better audio.

Mounting would also help. At times the bells were a bit muted by the small handlebar bag I use to hold my phone, spare batteries, etc.

But it's working well enough for my purposes. I could see neighbors in the quiet residential areas I ride looking up from their porches and yards, but they didn't appear annoyed. And it seemed more effective than a single tone bell on the local MUP on a typically busy weekend in pleasant weather.
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Old 03-19-17, 06:25 PM   #19
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i agree that the Incredibell Duet is a nice one, i have that mounted to a couple of bikes and i think peds understand what it means immediately. i just bought a Spurcycle bell for my full suspension build, it is a fine piece of kit. they had a scratch-and-dent sale at the NAHBS so i picked one up, i hope it works as well as it looks and feels. on my dropbar bikes, lacking bar space, i use the Alexander Graham Bell (by PDW) which is also nice and loud, though it takes more than one ring. it doesn't have that double-ding like the Duet.
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Old 03-19-17, 06:34 PM   #20
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[QUOTE=canklecat;19449622]Doesn't matter. Cars can't hear any bicycle bell. Nor can most pedestrians, joggers or cyclists wearing earbuds. For those you need an AirZound or similarly obnoxious blaster.

I actually know someone who has a truck air horn on his bike lol.
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Old 03-19-17, 08:10 PM   #21
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Incredibell Adjustabell. Cheap, loud, fits any bike.

https://www.biketiresdirect.com/prod...FYmIswodLqIOAg
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Old 03-20-17, 09:46 AM   #22
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Your Secret, What kind of handlebar , undisclosed,, prevents me from a good reply.

Other than saying what I bought.
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Old 03-20-17, 10:15 AM   #23
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Your Secret, What kind of handlebar , undisclosed,, prevents me from a good reply.
Other than saying what I bought.

haha that is an excellent point!


I have found yelling works better for car and dumb drivers. On the greenway I say coming up behind you sometimes I ring my bell but sounds very close to an Apple iPhone text sound so I ring it twice and people realize it is not there phone making noise... usually.
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Old 03-20-17, 10:23 AM   #24
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I use the bell mostly to warn pedestrians that I am coming up behind them on the MUP, not to warn drivers who are not paying attention. I yell or stop the bike until I make eye contact with the driver for that. It doesn't need to be super loud for my purpose. When I am running on the MUP and don't have a bell, I just cough and that is usually enough to let a walker know that I am behind them so I don't startle them. I can't remember an instance that I came across someone blocking the whole trail who couldn't hear my bell because they were listening to music. Usually, if they are blocking the trail it is because there is more than one person and they are talking to each other.
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Old 03-20-17, 10:28 AM   #25
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Brass bells are expensiver than the others but they sound so nice, and most of them are adequately loud.

I do like the brrring-brrring type bell that @BobbyG has, but lately, it's hard to find an all-metal one unless I find an antique. The more plastic is used, the less reliable it is.

My bells are installed differently on my different bikes, so I practice after I start rolling. This helps me keep my ringing finger ready for when I need it.

My voice seems like a bad substitute. I can't use it many times rapidly because it wears out, and when a bell suffices, my voice seems overly aggressive. I am trained as a singer and can let out an amazingly loud sound occasionally, and it has saved me, but I don't like to use it often.
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