What Is A Bike Bell?

What Is A Bike Bell 1

My favorite vintage bike bell

Bike bells have been around almost as long as bicycles.  As soon as the bicycle was invented, riders needed a simple way to let other people know they were approaching and needed to pass.  What is a bike bell?  The simplest definition would be that they are bells made to be mounted on a bicycle and used for communication purposes.  They are a useful, and even required piece of safety equipment in some jurisdictions.  But, bike bells are so much more than that!  Today they are a favorite means of personalizing your bike as they come in a multitude of colors, styles, shapes, sizes and even rings.


What Is A Bike Bell 2

Attaching a bell to your bike is simple

What distinguishes a bike bell from any other kind of bell is it’s ability to be easily attached to a bicycle, and easily rang when a rider is riding.   This is accomplished by the utilization of a mounting bracket  to attach the bell to the handlebars, or other locations on the bike, and typically a thumb activated mechanism that strikes the bell to produce the ring.

There are a variety of mechanisms used to produce the ring.  Some have a lever that is pulled back by your thumb, and when released strikes the surface of the bell producing the sound.  Others have a spring loaded lever that when depressed with your thumb and released produces and ever louder sound.  Still others have a gear activated mechanism inside the bell.  When the lever is pushed, it causes the internal striker to rotate and hit the bell repeatedly.  Below is an example of this sort of mechanism.


As would be expected, bells can produce many different sounds based on the size of the bell, the material that is used to make the bell, and the striking mechanism used.  The bells that are rung by the thumb pulling back the lever and releasing make the smallest sound.  The bells that have external, spring activated levers typically are the loudest.   The bells that have internal strikers tend to make the sound most associated with the bike bell.

The bike bell is a simple device that can be attached to a bicycle and easily used by the rider to signal other riders and pedestrians as to their location and intentions.   They are inexpensive, easy to attach and provide a fun way to add a little personality to any bike.

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