THE BRITISH INVENTOR John Richard Dedicoat designed the bike bell in the late 19th century. His vision—a simple rounded piece of metal with a small lever the rider flicks to produce a tinny “ding”—has endured for more than a century.
Despite its basic form and, frankly, irritating sound, Dedicoat’s design has become the de-facto bike bell for old beaters and sleek road bikes alike.
Hugo Davidson is not a fan of the bike bell. “No one wants to put a $5 Chinese bell on an $8,000 carbon fiber road bike,” he says. He’s got a point. Davidson is the co-founder of and lead designer at Knog, the Australian bike accessories company known for its ubiquitous bendy Frog light. The company’s latest accessory is the Oi, a bike bell that doesn’t look anything like a bike bell. It’s a sleek bit of metal that wraps around the handlebar like a bracelet.
The bell is something of a departure for a company that has, since its founding 14 years ago, focused largely on lights. It recently introduced the Oi on Kickstarter and already has raised nearly 30 times the funding it asked for. It seems there’s a big demand for a bike bell that actually looks good.