Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Small but mighty, that's the bicycle bell. What looks like an inconspicuous purchase at first glance can turn out to be an essential and important one. The bicycle bell is not just something you get when you buy a bicycle.

The bicycle bell, whether manual or electric, is a signalling device that can ensure our safety on the roads. With our big bicycle bell test 2021 we want to help you find the right bicycle bell for you. In this article, we have listed different bicycle bells and based on their advantages and disadvantages, you can decide which one is suitable for your needs.




Summary

  • The bicycle bell is a practical little signalling device for cyclists. It can not only be practical for the cyclist himself, but is also legally obligatory in road traffic.
  • Large, small, colourful, funny or classic - when it comes to design, bicycle bell manufacturers know no limits. Basically, however, only manual bicycle bells are distinguished from electric bicycle bells.
  • No matter which of the different models you finally decide on, it should at least meet the criteria of loudness and roadworthiness.

The Best Bicycle Bell: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for bicycle bells

In the following paragraphs we will show you how to compare the many different bicycle bells. The criteria with which you can compare bicycle bells with each other include:

Loudness / audibility

The most obvious criterion, or at least it should be the most important criterion when choosing a bicycle bell, is the volume or good audibility. After all, you use a bicycle bell to draw attention to yourself. As we know, a bicycle bell is a signalling device.

Note: The volume of a bell is usually expressed in dB (decibels).

If your bicycle bell cannot be heard, it has unfortunately not served its purpose. So make sure that your future bicycle bell not only looks good, but can also be heard.

Roadworthiness

It can get noisy on the road, so it is important that your bicycle bell is audible even on a busy street. For this reason, a certain minimum volume has been set that a bicycle bell must have in order to be allowed to ride on the road.

A bicycle bell is suitable for mass use from a switching pressure of 85 dB.

Whether 85 dB is sufficient for a bicycle bell remains to be seen. This is because car drivers in particular often do not hear the ringing, as the ringing of the bicycle can easily be drowned out by the radio, for example. Our tip: If you know that you will be riding a lot on noisy roads, it is best to get a bicycle bell that has between 85 - 100 dB.

Stability

Since a bicycle bell is usually always attached to the handlebars, it should be stable. It is exposed to wind and weather. With the right attachment, a bicycle bell can become stable and does not have to be repositioned again and again because it has slipped.

Even in the event of minor falls, it would be good if the bell stayed in place, otherwise it could become a projectile and endanger people other than the rider. For normal cycling and everyday use, bicycle bells with a rubber band attachment might be sufficient. However, if you use your bike for mountain bike tours or other routes that are a bit bumpy, a ring attachment is recommended.

Mounting

Mounting a bicycle bell is very easy. Most bicycle bells are screwed to the handlebars with a ring. Make sure that you can easily reach the bell with your thumb. Sometimes bicycle bells are also attached with a rubber strap.

No matter which bell you choose, make sure that it is durable.

If one of the rings with which the bicycle bell is attached breaks off, even an expensive, clearly audible bicycle bell is no longer of any use.

Size

The size of a bicycle bell can be decisive if you want to attach other things to the handlebars. Examples of this would be a bicycle computer, a bicycle basket or a handlebar bag. All these things also need space to be attached to the handlebars. If the bicycle bell is not the only item on the handlebar, it is worth buying a particularly flat, small or narrow bicycle bell.

Decision: What types of bicycle bells are there and which is the right one for you?

As with any other product, there are also different types of bicycle bells. Especially in terms of shape and design, there are endless different models. Basically, however, bicycle bells can be divided into two types. If you would like to know more about these two types of bicycle bell, you can read the following paragraphs.

Manual bicycle bell

You don't have to be the inventor of the bicycle bell to know that the sound of the bell is created by vibrations of the sounding body. As you can imagine, with a manual bicycle bell, this vibration of the sounding body is triggered by the cyclist's hand. No matter where the chime is located, the chime of a manual bicycle bell must be struck manually, i.e. by the rider himself.

Advantages
  • One-time assembly
  • Variety of different models
  • Long service life
Disadvantages
  • May not be as loud
  • Ring volume may depend on rider

Manual bicycle bells can be divided into two groups. A distinction is made between manual bicycle bells:

  • Internal striking mechanism
  • External striking mechanism

As the names suggest, these two types of manual bicycle bells differ in the location of the striking mechanism. With an internal striking mechanism, the sound body is touched from the inside, and with an external striking mechanism, from the outside.

Due to the technique used with an inside striking mechanism, most manual bicycle bells with an inside striking mechanism have a dual tone.

Electric bicycle bell

From the outside, the electric bicycle bell works like the manual bicycle bell. The rider of the bicycle presses the button and the sound is produced shortly afterwards. The sound can occur because the electric circuit closes when the button is pressed. As a result, current can now flow through the coil.

The coil then becomes magnetic and the armature can therefore be attracted. In other words, the armature moves and strikes the sounding body. The ringing is produced. After the ringing, the circuit is interrupted again. If you then want to ring again, the button must be pressed again.

Advantages
  • Is loud
  • Can make different sounds
  • Easy to use
Disadvantages
  • More time-consuming because you have to charge it
  • Function depends on battery

 

Guide: Frequently asked questions about bicycle bells answered in detail

What is a bicycle bell?

A bicycle bell is a signalling device to attract the attention of cyclists in road traffic. The bicycle bell is for the cyclist what the horn is for the car driver.

Fahrradklingel-1

It can get loud, especially in road traffic. Especially then it is important to have a clearly audible bicycle bell.
(Image source: ratanakhailee / 123rf.com)

A bicycle bell is attached to the handlebars of the bicycle and is usually within reach of the right or left hand so that it can be operated quickly if necessary.

How does a bicycle bell work?

Depending on the type of bicycle bell, it works in a slightly different way. In general, it can be said that every bicycle bell has a mechanism that is responsible for producing the sound.

Who is a bicycle bell suitable for?

A bicycle bell is suitable for everyone. According to the German StVZO, every bicycle must even have a sound signal. If this is not the case, you may have to pay a fine in the event of a police check. The same applies to neighbouring Austria. But a bicycle bell is not only useful because it is the law. A bicycle bell also makes life easier for cyclists off the road.

Fahrradklingel-2

Bicycle bells are available in many different designs. Among the many models of bicycle bells, everyone can find their perfect model
(Image source: Alesia Kazantceva / unsplash)

For example, if you want to overtake a group of cyclists who are riding side by side and thus blocking the cycle path, you can ring the bell and the others will immediately know that someone wants to overtake. There is no reason why you have to start shouting. For example, if you are cycling down a bend on a footpath, you can warn potential walkers coming from the other side of the bend. A bicycle bell can therefore prevent accidents.

How loud is a bicycle bell?

According to the German Road Traffic Licensing Regulations (StVZO), a bicycle bell must be at least 85 dB. Therefore, you can assume that most bicycle bells are at least 85 dB loud. But of course there are also bicycle bells that are significantly louder than 85 dB.

Is there a compulsory bicycle bell?

Yes, there is a compulsory bicycle bell. In Germany, it is laid down in the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations. Equipment for sound signals: Bicycles and sledges must be equipped with at least one brightly sounding bell; hand sledges are exempt. Other devices for sound signals may not be fitted to these vehicles. Wheel bells are also not permitted on bicycles.  Every bicycle that is placed on the market must - unless otherwise specified in the following provisions - be equipped: 2.with a device for emitting acoustic warning signals.

How do you attach a bicycle bell?

The bicycle bell is attached to the bicycle handlebar. In most cases, this is done by means of a ring which is then screwed shut with screws and thus holds the bicycle bell stably on the bicycle handlebar.

Sometimes rubber bands are also used to attach the bicycle bell to the handlebar. No matter how the bicycle bell is attached to the handlebar, it is not witchcraft. And it can be done in just a few seconds with the help of a screwdriver.

How much does a bicycle bell cost?

Bicycle bells are not an expensive product per se. However, as with any product, there are different versions of the product. And depending on the material used or how complicated the mechanism is, the price changes. There are also real high-end bicycle bells. These can cost as much as 30 €. Most other bicycle bells cost less than 10 € or are in the 10 € range.

Fahrradklingel-3

Bicycle bells are not particularly expensive because they are easy to manufacture. However, there are exceptions even with bicycle bells.
(Image source: Max Kukurudziak / unsplash)

In the following table you will find a small overview of prices for different bicycle bells. Please note that this is an approximate guideline. As already mentioned, there are also outliers such as the high-end bicycle bells mentioned earlier.

Bicycle bell type Price (in €)
Children's bicycle bell 5 - 10 €
Bicycle bell with internal striking mechanism 10 - 15 €
Bicycle bell with external striking mechanism 5 - 15 €
Electric bicycle bell 7 - 20 €
Bicycle bell O design 7 - 15 €

What are the alternatives to a bicycle bell?

You might think that a horn or a bicycle bell is an alternative to a bicycle bell. However, since both are not permitted in Germany according to the StVZO, they can hardly be called an alternative to the bicycle bell.

A horn does not fulfil the requirement for a bright sound as stipulated in § 64a.

And the bicycle bell, which is attached to the wheel and can be operated by a cord, was banned in Germany in 1960 because of noise pollution. Thus, there is no real alternative for the bicycle bell in Germany. In Austria, the bicycle horn is permitted because here the law only requires an acoustic warning signal.

Who invented the bicycle bell?

The bicycle bell was explored in the 19th century by the Briton John Richard Dedicoat. In 1877, he realised that a sound signal for cyclists in road traffic would be useful. John Richard Dedicoat thus made life easier for all cyclists, but not only for all cyclists, but also for everyone who has to sharpen pencils now and then, because he is also the inventor of the pencil sharpener.

Image source: Toxitz/ 123rf.com

References (2)

1. Gesetze-im-internet.de. 2020. § 64A Stvzo - Einzelnorm. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 August 2020].
Source

2. Ris.bka.gv.at. 2020. RIS - Fahrradverordnung § 1 - Bundesrecht Konsolidiert. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 August 2020].
Source

§ 64a StVZO - Einzelnorm
Gesetze-im-internet.de. 2020. § 64A Stvzo - Einzelnorm. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 August 2020].
Go to source
RIS - Fahrradverordnung § 1
Ris.bka.gv.at. 2020. RIS - Fahrradverordnung § 1 - Bundesrecht Konsolidiert. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7 August 2020].
Go to source
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