I see it, and I want it. The elegant bicycle bell delivers a contrast with its ocker name Oi! Australian company knog already has a reputation for changing the rules and this bike bell ticks a lot of boxes. Aussie bike riders are required by law to have a bell, even the roadies and MTBers on public roads. To prove a point, Police in Sydney and Brisbane conducted a blitz on bike riders last week and issued 450 infringement notices.
The selection of bike bells available on the market is underwhelming, so by rethinking bike bell design bike have a small, well integrated and functional option. The Oi is subtle and compact and can match the elegance of your beloved bicycle. However you can’t go out and buy one now as knog are launching this on kickstarter. Starting at $34 (via kickstart) is in a different league to standard bells, but it is also for bike riders who are in a different league.
I asked Sam Moore of knog for more details about the bike bell and the launch strategy.
Christopher (BNA): How did the idea to do this arise? Was there anything in particular which lead to this solution?
Sam: The idea was ignited when we noticed that most people buy a bike, get it out of the box (literally or metaphorically) and immediately unscrew the bell. Because it’s ugly and sounds terrible. Bar space is a sacred thing, especially nowadays with multiple devices sitting on it, so the bell needed rethinking. This solution was a no brainer. If a bell wasn’t domed, what shape would a cyclist make it? Wrapping – even levitating – round the bar seemed like a pipe dream (sorry, had to).
Christopher: Is the sound / tone comparable to a regular bike bell?
Sam: No. It’s better. Where most bells have a single high pitched tone, ours has one strong sound, at a fractionally lower pitch, and several shorter higher pitched tones. This results in a more pleasant sound, that also cuts through other noise. You can see this in the kickstarter page – there is a demo of the noise.
Christopher: Is there a different tone with the different metals?
Sam: In truth, the four aluminium models – brushed, brass, copper, black – sound very similar. The premium Titanium Oi has a slightly deeper main tone. A bit more guts to it. But not more or less effective and safe. You should hear these bells – the video doesn’t do it justice!
Christopher: What sized handlebars does it fit?
Sam: There are two models. Small Oi is for 22.2mm diameter bars, and anything larger than that up to 31.8mm requires the Large Oi. (Uses spacers to ensure a snug fit on the bar). Note, the bell opens up and fits over the bar easily. No need to take off grips and slide up the bar.
Christopher: As an established brand, why go to kickstarter?
Sam: This is something we considered very carefully. We understand the intent of Kickstarter and are huge fans of the crowdfunding model for individuals and start-ups. Our answer is: time. There are obvious marketing benefits to Kickstarter – reaching a new audience, demonstrating demand etc – but we are a product design company. As such, we love making products and want to get them in people’s hands as soon as we possibly can. Since our core products are locks and lights, the totally new bell tooling and testing would require a much longer lead time without the pledges gained from our new Kickstarter supporters.
Of course I’m assuming we’ll have some, because we’re confident that this is a great product. But if the worst should happen, there is yet another benefit of direct feedback and dialogue with consumers so we can constantly improve.
Speaking for myself, I want one for each bike (that’s a lot of Oi) and if you are curious too, have a look at the Oi on kickstarter.