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Should I drill and tap my stem for a bell?

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Should I drill and tap my stem for a bell?

Old 09-05-21, 11:50 AM
  #26  
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Moving that green hole farther forward will reduce the forces on the stem. Risk is likelihood of failure, which many posted above view low, times the consequence which I agree with 79pmooney you are in the critical area there. Drillium cranks all you want but not in the critical chain is the way I see it as well.
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Old 09-05-21, 11:56 AM
  #27  
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I will dig in my heels on this one, and provide a few more counterexamples.
@lonesomesteve 's Frek has the stem drilled for a bell. I believe it is also an SR Custom. He rides a lot and is still alive as far as I know.

Brian Chapman and Peter Weigle have also done it, if their Flickr pages are to be believed. And according to one issue of Bicycle Quarterly, the author asked Nitto about drilling a stem for a cable stop, and was told that was fine. By Nitto!!

A couple of my friends have drilled and tapped stems also. I have never seen or heard of one that has failed due to a drilled and tapped hole.
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Old 09-05-21, 12:16 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
A heresy here. Have you considered aero brake levers to clean up the brake cables? (I wanted aero levers in 1977 when I was doing my long rides as a bike racer. I wanted my palms exactly where the cables came out. When I saw aero in the '80s, I was onboard immediately.)
I actually had aero levers (Shimano RX100) on this bike in its first iteration. The return springs in the levers, the cable bends under the tape, and the old-school Weinmann 750 centerpulls added up to heavy braking effort.

Switching to Dia-Compe 154 levers lightened the braking, provided some handy quick-releases for the brakes (with 38mm tires on 23mm rims, they require a multi-pronged approach to open up enough), and shaved off some weight.

It's hard to deny that the aero levers are more comfortable in that "hoods" position, though, and my small hands would prefer if that position worked well. I've wrung my hands about it ever since.
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Old 09-05-21, 02:10 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I actually had aero levers (Shimano RX100) on this bike in its first iteration. The return springs in the levers, the cable bends under the tape, and the old-school Weinmann 750 centerpulls added up to heavy braking effort.

Switching to Dia-Compe 154 levers lightened the braking, provided some handy quick-releases for the brakes (with 38mm tires on 23mm rims, they require a multi-pronged approach to open up enough), and shaved off some weight.

It's hard to deny that the aero levers are more comfortable in that "hoods" position, though, and my small hands would prefer if that position worked well. I've wrung my hands about it ever since.
I loved those Diacompe release levers. The Grand Compes on my Fuji Pro had them. On my last race on my favorite course, I got taken down 5 miles from the finish. Got up to chase with quite wobbly front rim that was hitting the brake pads. Reaching down for the Campy-like releases on the caliper would have been scary. With those levers I didn't have to. Caught the field and placed. (And had full and normal braking power when I returned to the peloton.)
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Old 09-05-21, 02:52 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
A heresy here. Have you considered aero brake levers to clean up the brake cables? (I wanted aero levers in 1977 when I was doing my long rides as a bike racer. I wanted my palms exactly where the cables came out. When I saw aero in the '80s, I was onboard immediately.)
I still remember my first ride with aero levers, after I replaced the messed up, MAFAC LSX sidepull levers on my PSV with Aero Grand Compe levers after a crash in 1986. It felt glorious riding without having brake cables in front of the handlebar. I know its just a placebo effect, but I even felt faster after that. Plus, my bike suddenly looked just as cool as the newest bikes on the road back then.
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Old 09-05-21, 04:24 PM
  #31  
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I'm a little different.. I love brake cables, big loopy ones all in the way... I don't know how many issues we had with cables in aero form because when companies started selling them, they didn't use quality lined housing and stainless cables, which meant almost all of them were mushy and made braking all sorts of crappy feeling.
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Old 09-05-21, 05:11 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
...A bell is a warning device but it is no substitute for slowing down and giving pedestrians a wide berth.

Do that and you don't really need a bell - the bell becomes an affectation.

Fail to do that and the bell becomes a dangerous distraction that keeps you from reaching for your brakes.
Pretty much my philosophy, after years of observing human behavior on commute routes and multi-use paths, the only place where bells serve any purpose. And bells serve less purpose now with so many folks wearing ear buds that hinder hearing ambient sounds.

I had a manually operated pinging type bell and quit using it after awhile for the reasons you described. When I might have an urgent need to use it, what I really needed to do was keep my hands on the bars ready to brake or take evasive action. After the incident has passed, the bell serves no purpose. And you rarely hear retaliatory bell ringing the way we hear retaliatory angry car horn honking in traffic. Cyclists seem to understand that bells really serve little purpose for emergency use, and ringing one angrily is ludicrous.

I do have and occasionally use a Timber mountain bike bell, which rings continuously when activated. Yeah, it needs to be manually activated or deactivated with a lever that controls a rubber mute to silence the clapper. But I just flip it on to ringing mode when I enter the MUP, and deactivate it elsewhere. Adjusting the angle of the bell roughly controls the ringing frequency, based on how rough or smooth the terrain is.

It basically sounds like a friendly ice cream truck jingling, and can be heard from a distance, so I notice pedestrians hear me long before I approach them and they move over without being startled and jumping off the path. Of course, that's assuming they can hear anything at all over the volume of their music, podcasts or phone conversations.

So my usual method is to slow when I approach pedestrians, announce something like "Hello, bicycle behind you," and let them choose which way to move before I pass them. I've found that hollering "On your left!" often startles people and causes them to reflexively move left. So I ride slow enough to let them move first, then go through whichever opening is available. Then I thank them and wish them a nice day. Usually works out better than any of my experiences using on-demand pinging bells, or barking ONYERLEFT!
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Old 09-05-21, 05:46 PM
  #33  
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Although I agree that bells have limited use, in Ontario, where I live, the Highway Traffic Act states that every bicycle "shall be equipped with an alarm bell, gong, or horn, which shall be kept in good working order and sounded whenever it is reasonably necessary to notify pedestrians or others of its approach." [a gong?]

Has anyone used a trigger bell?
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Old 09-05-21, 08:30 PM
  #34  
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What if you want to move the bell a tiny bit forward or back in a year from now, or even rotate it slightly? I like the sound and clamp of the planet bike classic bell better than the crane. You can't tell if its clamped or screwed in from the side anyway.
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Old 09-05-21, 10:54 PM
  #35  
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Mean What I Say, And Say What I Mean

Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
...I've found .."On your left!" often startles people and causes them to reflexively...go through whichever opening is available. Then I thank them and wish them a nice day. Usually works out better than ... ONYERLEFT!
Yeah, ONYERLEFT is a might annoying?
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Old 09-05-21, 11:49 PM
  #36  
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I do "on your left" or "cuidado" mostly for other moving cyclists as I scoot past.

For pedestrians, you must slow down almost to their speed and prepare to stop. Then, a gentle, "on your left" followed by a "thank you".

Is that reasonable etiquette for the normal situations?

It's difficult to describe all the scenarios.

Now, with children on the loose,...
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Old 09-06-21, 09:39 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
I will dig in my heels on this one, and provide a few more counterexamples.
@lonesomesteve 's Frek has the stem drilled for a bell. I believe it is also an SR Custom. He rides a lot and is still alive as far as I know.

Brian Chapman and Peter Weigle have also done it, if their Flickr pages are to be believed. And according to one issue of Bicycle Quarterly, the author asked Nitto about drilling a stem for a cable stop, and was told that was fine. By Nitto!!

A couple of my friends have drilled and tapped stems also. I have never seen or heard of one that has failed due to a drilled and tapped hole.
The bell on Frek is mounted pretty much where ThermionicScott 's picture shows the green circle, and indeed I'm still alive as far as I know. That bike has now seen about 20,000 hard miles since I made all of my modifications, not to mention some unknown mileage before I got it.

That said, I recently bought a new Nitto Pearl (or now called "NP") stem for Frek, but haven't installed it yet. The reason? I was looking at that old SR stem which has served so well for so long, and thinking along the same lines as 79pmooney about the chain of parts between hands and pavement being sacred. And maybe my risk tolerance is diminishing as I age. Anyway, the next time I need to replace my bar tape, I intend to install that new stem. Haven't decided yet whether I will drill and tap the new stem for the bell. But I do find a bell very useful, so if I don't mount it on the stem I'll have to figure out a new place for it.
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Old 09-06-21, 09:48 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by machinist42 View Post
yeah, onyerleft is a might annoying?
just sayn....
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Old 09-06-21, 09:58 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by John Nolan View Post
Although I agree that bells have limited use, in Ontario, where I live, the Highway Traffic Act states that every bicycle "shall be equipped with an alarm bell, gong, or horn, which shall be kept in good working order and sounded whenever it is reasonably necessary to notify pedestrians or others of its approach." [a gong?]

Has anyone used a trigger bell?
I have never heard of a gong on a bicycle, sounds cool. I have a gong I'll have to try and mount that. Lol

Does anyone on the forum have gong on their bike?
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Old 09-06-21, 10:40 AM
  #40  
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No problem some minor modification and I should be able to install without hassle. I'll have to figure how to handle the mallet in a convenient manner.

Last edited by Mr. 66; 09-06-21 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 09-06-21, 10:57 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by ZudeJammer View Post
What if you want to move the bell a tiny bit forward or back in a year from now, or even rotate it slightly? I like the sound and clamp of the planet bike classic bell better than the crane. You can't tell if its clamped or screwed in from the side anyway.
The idea with a threaded mount was that I could adjust the rotation with a washer. I welcome correction if that isn't how it's done.
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Old 09-06-21, 11:50 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Mr. 66 View Post
No problem some minor modification and I should be able to install without hassle. I'll have to figure how to handle the mallet in a convenient manner.
Mount the gong on the top tube and strap a mallet to your knee.
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Old 09-06-21, 04:47 PM
  #43  
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I drilled my GB "Forged Hiduminium" stem in the mid-'70s and have ridden that bike ever since, including light off-road, but low miles. It's mostly been a commuting and errand bike. I am a sprinty clydesdale+ and I used to sprint away from most stoplights, so I probably have stressed it more than almost anyone short of a Keirin racer. Nowadays, having broken one pedal axle and two crank arms, I accelerate more gently. Bing older, I'm more breakable and less immortal.

I have also drilled a few other stems, but no others with that many years of "testing". On my bastardized '73 Schwinn Super Sport, I have a cheap Hissing Lung stem that I drilled "front and center", right atop the handlebar clamp area. Once I knew what handlebar angle I wanted, I just drilled and tapped straight thru stem and bar, with the added benefit that my bars are less likely to slip now! I don't necessarily recommend that, since I have seen a stem or two that broke there, but this particular stem has "plenty" of meat there. I am not worried at all. (Could be my epitaph?) But my opinion is based on engineering training, and decades of metalworking experience.



That's only been that way for maybe 10 years now, not as much testing as on the Hidumium stem. I like how the bell is right under my index finger without taking my hands off the bar, without using up any precious handlebar real estate.

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Old 09-06-21, 09:04 PM
  #44  
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I hardly ever use the bell on my bike when passing pedestrians. I figure there are two reasons for the bell.

1. It looks nice sometimes
2. It is required, so I am compliant.

I've got most of them mounted on the stem, however, it could be on my seat post for all the use that it gets. I have an Knog Oi bell on my Cannondale. It is a clever design that takes up minimal bar space.

Knog Bells

I have also found that if I ring or ping the bell, most often, I startle people walking. Perhaps they are thinking someone far faster is real close to them. On a popular path near me, there are some riders that are flying past pedestrians so, this response has been learned from these "speedsters".

I slow way down for pedestrians on Multi Use Paths, or I ride on the dirt/grass or both.
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Old 09-07-21, 12:36 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule View Post
...I have also found that if I ring or ping the bell, most often, I startle people walking...
I see this in AZ multi use paths, sometimes they with their dog(s) will move left or right or even stop and turn around! So I forcefully say "on your left" and 95 % of the time they move right although you have to be careful as sometimes they move to their other right??? In Portland a bell works much better as does "on your left" due I suppose to so many cyclists.
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