To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

CmdrBiggles
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To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby CmdrBiggles » Fri Mar 01, 2024 7:41 pm

...on a road bike. :?

Hmmm. Of the many and varied road bikes I come across (including an uber-pricey fluoro-orange Pinarello DOGMA this afternoon at 4pm), none have a bell on them; multiple computers (3!?), phones in holders, crucifixes, jelly-bean bags and cylinder power banks, but...no bells. Yet my MTB has had a shiny brass GONNNNNG bell on it since delivery in 2014 that has been marvellously effective (startling even...) at scattering wandering stock (older people), star-struck lovers, brawling boys and even the occasional wayward snake.

But bells on a road bike?

Is there some sort of norm that specifies road bikes should not have a bell...because it might be suss? Interrupts aerodynamics?
Or it just isn't so cool to have a bell...?
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g-boaf
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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby g-boaf » Fri Mar 01, 2024 8:05 pm

I know on the S5 I have you could certainly put a bell on it, but not in any place that would be useful or quick to get to. The bars are very flat and wide so you can forget about putting lights on those or anything else like that.

I prefer to slow down around people and warn them early that I'm going to pass them. Never have too many dramas but I'm sure someone will have a whinge and rant, they'll reckon you don't slow down enough, don't do this, don't do that... :roll:

Mind you I prefer not to have pedestrians jumping about suddenly because they are scared by a bell - I can't afford to take that risk of one of them knocking me over. If they look unpredictable, I slow down. If they still meander about, I stop.
Last edited by g-boaf on Fri Mar 01, 2024 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby P!N20 » Fri Mar 01, 2024 8:20 pm

CmdrBiggles wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2024 7:41 pm
Or it just isn't so cool to have a bell...?

Pretty much this, along with reflectors, mirrors and hi viz. But nobody's stopping you from putting one on if that's what you prefer.

Funny how bells, along with helmets, are required by law, yet which one is broadly adopted and enforced?

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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby blizzard » Fri Mar 01, 2024 8:39 pm

Yeah people think they are uncool, although new bikes with integrated bars often don't have a good place to attach a bell.

I ride a fair bit on shares paths for commuting so I always want a bell.. I have standard round bars so the Knog Oi is a great low profile option.

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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby g-boaf » Fri Mar 01, 2024 8:46 pm

blizzard wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2024 8:39 pm
new bikes with integrated bars often don't have a good place to attach a bell.
https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-fVZ ... TsB-X5.jpg

Quite correct. You could put a bell at the end of the drops but it would be next to useless. Safer to be covering the brakes or riding at an appropriate speed to the conditions.

That bike has few places to put anything. The stem design means you can forget about putting anything there as well. I had to be really creative to get a front light on it.
Last edited by g-boaf on Fri Mar 01, 2024 8:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby warthog1 » Fri Mar 01, 2024 8:52 pm

Probably not as populated here, particularly on the O'Keefe rail trail, which is the only place I come across pedestrians. I just sing out from well back "passing on your right". It works. I don't see a bell being as effective for my use.
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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby foo on patrol » Fri Mar 01, 2024 9:46 pm

You couldn't race in QLD without a bell on your bike and I'm pretty sure, that it is a legal requirement for bikes to have a bell on it! :idea:

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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby warthog1 » Fri Mar 01, 2024 10:27 pm

Apparently it is. Haven't had one on a bike since I wrecked my dragster in the late 70s by trying to turn it into a bmx.

You serious you have to have one on your race bike up there? :o
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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby Thoglette » Fri Mar 01, 2024 10:48 pm

My road bike has a bell, (as has every other bike I own). But also zero carbon: it does look pretty hard to fit a conventional bell onto "modern" bikes based on what I see in the bike-parking. If you've got a traditional stem cap, then there's options there. And there's clip on bells which can be mounted on your brifters. Some bells have soft(ish) nylon straps which would work with some "integrated" bar-stem-headset-framestreamliners.

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I guess if you spend your life being motorpaced by Derny on country roads, one could just rely on his horn.

Really, given the current motorcylce-isation of bicycles, By now Shimano should have integrated a wireless electrical "dinger" into your front brake caliper.
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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby Mr Purple » Sat Mar 02, 2024 6:54 am

I run one on my gravel bike, but not my road bike (flat topped carbon bars make it hard, though to be honest I haven't really tried).

Funnily enough I did a ride involving a lot of shared paths on my road bike this week. Every pedestrian I passed I gave a 'bike passing right'.

I had far more positive to results than when I do the same path on my gravel bike and 'ding' the bell every time. Pretty much every pedestrian moved the right direction and said 'thanks'. Weird!

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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby Duck18 » Sat Mar 02, 2024 8:06 am

In Victoria, the rule is your bike must be fitted with a bell. I have the smallest one I could find fitted in my saddlebag on my roadie. :D

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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby warthog1 » Sat Mar 02, 2024 9:19 am

Mr Purple wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2024 6:54 am
I run one on my gravel bike, but not my road bike (flat topped carbon bars make it hard, though to be honest I haven't really tried).

Funnily enough I did a ride involving a lot of shared paths on my road bike this week. Every pedestrian I passed I gave a 'bike passing right'.

I had far more positive to results than when I do the same path on my gravel bike and 'ding' the bell every time. Pretty much every pedestrian moved the right direction and said 'thanks'. Weird!
:) :lol:
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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby bychosis » Sat Mar 02, 2024 10:02 am

I have bells on some bikes, the ones that are likely to be used on busy paths. No point on roads, no point if there isnt likely to be lots of slow riders or pedestrians. So bell for kids bikes, my commuter and the bike I use when riding with the kids.

Yes, it's a legal requirement to have one. I just don't see the point for bikes that are not used on share paths.
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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby Retrobyte » Sat Mar 02, 2024 10:09 am

A have a Trigger ball on both my drop bar bikes - you can ring the bell while braking or shifting with ease while on the hoods or in the drops

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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby Mr Purple » Sat Mar 02, 2024 10:12 am

bychosis wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2024 10:02 am
Yes, it's a legal requirement to have one. I just don't see the point for bikes that are not used on share paths.
It's honestly an astoundingly stupid law. 'If only I had some way of making a noise to alert pedestrians that I am passing'. Like my mouth, for example.

Head unit manufacturers are missing a trick by not including a little 'bell' button. It would be utterly useless but might stop you getting fined. Exactly like an actual bell!

The problem I find with ringing the bell is that it essentially works as a 'random behaviour generator' for pedestrians. Some move aside, some get angry at you, some have headphones and don't hear it anyway, some jump in your direction. Their response to an actual voice is much more consistent.

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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby grt046 » Sat Mar 02, 2024 10:27 am

Mr Purple wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2024 10:12 am
The problem I find with ringing the bell is that it essentially works as a 'random behaviour generator' for pedestrians. Some move aside, some get angry at you, some have headphones and don't hear it anyway, some jump in your direction. Their response to an actual voice is much more consistent.
My experience as well. To comply with the law I have one fitted to both my bikes but generally use a voice as well.
A mate of mine was taken out this week. A group of teenage students were walking up the path. He was riding 4th wheel in a group. 3 riders passed ok and then one decided without looking and back to passing traffic step out in front of him. Student received a glancing blow immediately got back up and left the scene. Mate finished with a broken hand and badly bruised shoulder.
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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby CmdrBiggles » Sat Mar 02, 2024 1:52 pm

P!N20 wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2024 8:20 pm
CmdrBiggles wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2024 7:41 pm
Or it just isn't so cool to have a bell...?

Pretty much this, along with reflectors, mirrors and hi viz. But nobody's stopping you from putting one on if that's what you prefer.

Funny how bells, along with helmets, are required by law, yet which one is broadly adopted and enforced?

Had a detailed looked through four shops this morning, and none of the bells appeal (though the Knog bells, being low profile, are quite a unique twist on a a timeless design), chiefly because they would be mounted were they cannot be used in a hurry compared to, for example, the MTB, where the bell is close by the thumb for activation.

I do not know really why so many roadies ride in clothes with poor visibility (and no lights!), spoken of from the position of a driver. I have no interest in this irksome trend of wearing all-black or trying to travel incognito with no lights like so many roadies I see. If I look to be an "odd one out", good for me. I am out there to enjoy the ride, not look like a Tour De France rider! So...I wear a high-viz top, stock high-viz Bontrager helmet and my 10-year old high-viz SPD shoes! :lol:

I make a valid concession to using a rear view mirror. A mirror on my right outboard size of helmet is the reason I have not had any bingles on the MTB or road bike due to my deafness (which I've had for 50 years this year) What I don't hear behind me I certainly see, very readily, and you would be surprised by the irritated, defensive "backpedalling" of those who have wronged me from behind (like cutting in front of me; traffic chaos means I catch up with them and end up in front of them!) when I tell them I saw everything they were doing as they sat behind the wheel: giving the bird, catching a booger, using their phone while the lights were green... :x

End of day, no bell, just a vocal warning of my approach. And this did work on the return journey when roadworks necessitated a detour along a well-populated shared use path.
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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby open roader » Sat Mar 02, 2024 2:17 pm

I ride solo, never in a group and the last time I rode with a partner was 12.5 years ago. I ride 100% of the time on rural roads, most of which are 100km/hr speed limited zones. I don't have a bell fitted as it's 100% redundant. In the past 20 years the only time I may have rung a bell or horn etc would be counter swooping magpies but that too is a 100% redundant concept.

If was riding in built up urban areas, on shared paths / rail trails and amongst other riders /pedestrians /close proximity bystanders etc I'd def. want a decent bell or some sort of quality audible warning on my bike.

I don't see it as cool or uncool or pro vs fred etc in my case it's simply a case of useful vs useless.
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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby Mozziediver » Sat Mar 02, 2024 2:30 pm

On the bike paths
  • Steam gives way to sail
  • Bell carries better than voice but voice is better than no warning
  • If possible, slow down and give pedestrians extra space, even if it means off piste
In my experience (10 years on Melb bike paths) of using my bell at most encounters, about 10% wave to indicate understanding, 30% control their dog, and the remainder just continue on. I have only been abused once; a dog walker who didnt hear the warning bell.

And by a rider who decided to overtake without warning bell, call or lisping whisper, after I had signalled I was moving across the path.
Last edited by Mozziediver on Sat Mar 02, 2024 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby g-boaf » Sat Mar 02, 2024 2:32 pm

Mr Purple wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2024 10:12 am
bychosis wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2024 10:02 am
Yes, it's a legal requirement to have one. I just don't see the point for bikes that are not used on share paths.
It's honestly an astoundingly stupid law. 'If only I had some way of making a noise to alert pedestrians that I am passing'.
The crazy thing now is that pedestrians so often have headphones on with music or something else going so loudly that they cannot hear you no matter what you do, you can be shouting at them and no use. They won’t move and don’t notice you. Even a bell is useless.

And headphones now are so good with noise cancellation that the bell sound will be blocked out totally. Only the sound of a heavy truck or a freight train gets through.

I have AirPods Max and I can tell anyone that reckons otherwise the sound of a bell will not be heard if I have those on noise cancel mode.

We really need some rules to control when and where people are using headphones because it is getting ridiculous.

**As a pedestrian** I won’t use them when I’m walking and I never, ever use them when riding a bike. I want to hear what’s happening around me. I wish other pedestrians and riders would do the same. I prefer my safety.

This topic seems to be more about stirring than anything else with the time honoured old cliches being rolled out. :roll:
Last edited by g-boaf on Sat Mar 02, 2024 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby CmdrBiggles » Sat Mar 02, 2024 2:55 pm

g-boaf wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2024 2:32 pm
bychosis wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2024 10:02 am
Yes, it's a legal requirement to have one. I just don't see the point for bikes that are not used on share paths.

This topic seems to be more about stirring than anything wise with the time honoured old cliches being rolled out. :roll:

It's pretty much drifted off-track to stir-craziness.
I asked about a bell, and got a debate of finger pointing.
I guess I might be as guilty as the rest... :(
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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby foo on patrol » Sat Mar 02, 2024 3:40 pm

warthog1 wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2024 10:27 pm
Apparently it is. Haven't had one on a bike since I wrecked my dragster in the late 70s by trying to turn it into a bmx.

You serious you have to have one on your race bike up there? :o

They wouldn't let you start without a working bell and talking to a mate no all that long ago. He said in Vic recently the comms wouldn't let riders start without a rear light. If it's a legal requirement, I have no problem with having one on my bike and do. You can have them mounted any where within in arms reach and I had one on my seat post on one bike and you can clamp them on your stem or top of your fork around the spacers. It's not hard and cheaper than a raffle ticket if you're pulled up and the copper is on the ball with their knowledge. A few years ago they were booking riders on the Coronation Drive bike path and riders were sooking because they got a raffle ticket. :roll:

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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby warthog1 » Sat Mar 02, 2024 3:43 pm


The problem I find with ringing the bell is that it essentially works as a 'random behaviour generator' for pedestrians. Some move aside, some get angry at you, some have headphones and don't hear it anyway, some jump in your direction. Their response to an actual voice is much more consistent.
[/end thread] :wink:
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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby Jean » Sat Mar 02, 2024 5:52 pm

I live right next to Lake Burley Griffin and a spin around the lake on the shared path is a pretty standard one-hour workout, and hence a common route for me. I have a Knog Oi on each of my road bikes and use them all the time. They're not the perfect bell (better on alu bars than carbon ones, not surprisingly – a resonance thing), but do the job well enough.

Pedestrians generally know to step left or rein their dog in. Those with headphones are always the PITA, but you can't fix everyone.

But while on holidays on the Sunshine Coast a few months ago, I rode almost exclusively on the roads, and I doubt I used my bell once.

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Re: To have a bell, or not to have a bell...

Postby g-boaf » Sat Mar 02, 2024 6:39 pm

foo on patrol wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2024 3:40 pm
warthog1 wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2024 10:27 pm
Apparently it is. Haven't had one on a bike since I wrecked my dragster in the late 70s by trying to turn it into a bmx.

You serious you have to have one on your race bike up there? :o

They wouldn't let you start without a working bell and talking to a mate no all that long ago. He said in Vic recently the comms wouldn't let riders start without a rear light. If it's a legal requirement, I have no problem with having one on my bike and do. You can have them mounted any where within in arms reach and I had one on my seat post on one bike and you can clamp them on your stem or top of your fork around the spacers. It's not hard and cheaper than a raffle ticket if you're pulled up and the copper is on the ball with their knowledge. A few years ago they were booking riders on the Coronation Drive bike path and riders were sooking because they got a raffle ticket. :roll:

Foo
Must be a new thing, it wasn’t something we checked in NSW back in my time. We did crack down on certain riding positions (we were instructed to) and in any case some of them were risky in crit races.

No clamping bells on the V stem nor on the seat post (both odd shapes). Maybe hang off the saddle rail… ;)

I had trouble last year putting the ID card and timing chip for HR Alps 2023 on that bike as well. Made it work but not pretty - skewed to one side.

I’m not sure I’d buy that bike if I were choosing again.

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