Stuff We Like: Crane Brass Bell

Who doesn’t love a Japanese brass bell? This is the larger size from Crane that is plenty loud — 50% louder than the little brass bells that aren’t quite loud enough, and louder even than your typical “ding – ding” bells from your LBS. Every bike should have one.

23 Responses to “Stuff We Like: Crane Brass Bell”

  • bongobike says:

    I have that one on my Koga-Miyata city bike. It has a very rich, distinctive and LOUD ring to it–love it!

  • Brian says:

    Can you please post a link to a place where we can buy one? That looks beautiful and I’ve been meaning to get a bell for a few months now. Thanks for a great site!

  • Ken Steinhoff says:

    Great bell. I have one or one like it that I bought at my LBS after seeing one on another bike.

    My initial thought was that twenty bucks was a lot for a bell, but it’s the best, loudest and most melodious one I’ve ever used.

    They’re more contagious than swine flu. I bought one immediately after being exposed and a buddy snatched one up right after he came in contact with mine.

  • Brian says:

    I purchase that same bell at my LBS this spring after seeing it displayed in their cabinet. I just love it. It is just a beautiful piece of hardware. Every time I see it, it makes me happy. It emits such a pleasant sound, I often ring it for no reason as I cycle along.

  • Alan says:

    @Brian 2

    ” It emits such a pleasant sound, I often ring it for no reason as I cycle along.”

    I do the same thing.. :-)

  • Alan says:

    @Brian 1

    “Can you please post a link to a place where we can buy one? That looks beautiful and I’ve been meaning to get a bell for a few months now.”

    I ordered mine from Rivendell (click on their banner in the sidebar at right). Notice the nut in the center of the bell. The smaller (quieter) bells have a rivet there. Also, be aware that there are two clamp diameters, the 22.2mm for MTB handlebars and stems (shown above), and 26mm for the center, reinforced section of drop bars.

    Alan

    PS – I just noticed that Rivendell is out of the 22.2mm model. Another source is Velo Orange, though they only stock the smaller, quieter bell.

  • bongobike says:

    Ken, $20 sounds high. I paid $11 at my LBS, but it may be a different brand, I guess. Velo Orange sells one for $15 — http://www.velo-orange.com/jabrsbe.html — but I just noticed it’s the one that is riveted on. Mine is attached with a nut and is quite large. Maybe I got a bargain.

  • brad says:

    I’ve thought about getting one of these minimalist Sögreni bells:

    http://www.sogreni.dk/Bells.php

    My only concern is that they look like they could cut a slice out of you if you ever tumbled head-over-handlebars. But they are very cool! Curbside bicycles in Toronto imports them.

  • Alan says:

    @bongobike

    It sounds like you got a bargain. :-)

  • Alan says:

    @Brad

    Wow, $55 USD seems a little steep!

  • Ken Steinhoff says:

    bongobike,

    I probably could have found it cheaper, but I liked the one I saw on the guy’s bike.When he said he bought it at my neighborhood LBS, I ran right over, dinged all the ones in the shop until i found the “best” one and plunked down the $20 bucks.

    Wayne does all my bike work, including building my wheels, so I don’t begrudge him a little profit.

  • Alan says:

    Here’s the smaller brass bell with the rivet. It makes a beautiful sound, but to my ear it’s about half as loud as the big one with the nut on top.

  • Alan says:

    @Ken

    It’s always worth a little extra to support your LBS… :-)

    Related: We have a favorite little Thai restaurant we frequent at least once or twice a week. The restaurant is run by a husband and wife with no other employees. Their prices are way too low and the owner is possibly the nicest man on the planet (he always takes time to talk to us and gives us a discount or free dessert or some such thing). We regularly tip him 25-30% just because it feels good to support such a wonderful little business.

  • Matt says:

    I have, and like this one: http://www.mirrycle.com/brass_duet.php

    While it does not match is cool style of the Japanese bell, I do like the two-tone sound. Then again, I’m always in the market for a new bike part, so I’m pretty sure I can find a spot for one. Thanks for the tip about the nut vs the rivet.

    @Alan, where is that Thai place, sounds like someplace others might want to visit.

  • brad says:

    Alan wrote “Wow, $55 USD seems a little steep!”

    That’s why I’ve only thought about it rather than buying it. ;-)

    But it’s an awfully cool bell; I’ve seen them on a few bikes here in town. I would go for the zinc one just because it feels a bit more “industrial” and would probably tarnish up in an interesting way.

  • bongobike says:

    Brad,

    Have you heard the Sogrenil?

  • brad says:

    @bongobike: No, I’ve only seen, not heard. If you were really curious you could ring Curbside Bicycle Shop in Toronto and ask them to hold it up by the phone and give it a thwack. I think the ringer is your finger, you just frappe it and it rings. I haven’t held one in my hands, just saw them on bikes passing by.

  • Ira says:

    The Crane bells are a great suggestion. I sometimes think mine is too loud, although I only use it when I’m trying to get the attention of someone I know on the sidewalk. Do you guys use bells in traffic often?

  • Ari Hornick says:

    Alright, this lacks any aesthetics or grace, but it gets points for humor value. For use in traffic with cars, a friend of mine got a hand held air horn like soccer refs use and duct taped it to her handle bar. Wow, that thing was loud!

  • Alan says:

    @Ira

    I mostly use them on trails. I don’t think they’re loud enough to be very effective in traffic.

  • Hanz says:

    I enjoy checking in on this blog! There is certainly plenty of eye candy here. With regards to this post, I would advise anyone trying to decide between the small thumb-flicked bell and the bigger hammer-striking crane brass bells to listen to them before committing to the big one. The big one is quite loud, and the smaller one is more polite (higher frequency). If you feel so inclined to use a huge brass bell to communicate with drivers in cars blasting music you risk offending pedestrians and other cyclists with your chiming. However, the small bell’s spring sometimes flicks the bell when riding over rough road- perhaps offensive and annoying. You decide.

  • ksteinhoff says:

    I’d rather be heard than polite. I usually ring my bell from quite a distance out. If I don’t get a response, then I ring it when I get closer.

    If I STILL don’t get a response and it’s a gaggle of dog walkers with leashes across the trail and talking on cell phones, then I hit the AirZound.

    At that point, I don’t care if I get a nasty look.

    Doesn’t happen often, but it’s worth it when it does.

    Absent the dogs, iPods stuffed in ears and / or cell phones, I’ll usually just fall in behind them until they notice me, make some comment about it being a nice day and then ride on.

    I haven’t found the bell to be particularly helpful with motorized traffic. A yell, loud whistle or the AirZound works better with it.

    I find that hand signals (with all fingers showing), particularly when I’m wearing reflectorized gloves, are very effective.

  • Alan says:

    The little brass bell, as nice as it is, was just not loud enough for me. I’d ring it two or three times, and until I was right upon the other trail users, it wouldn’t register. Like Ken, I ring the larger bell from further away which gives people more time to react and figure out where the sound is coming from. To me, this is more polite than startling them at the last second.

 
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