Oi, the Inconspicuous Little Bell
If you’re the typical roadie, having a bell on your bike can open you up for ribbing and ridicule from riding buddies. But the Knog Oi is not your typical bell. It’s fairly stealthy, so no one will even know you have it on board. But should you need it, maybe at a busy pedestrian intersection or passing a slower rider, the bell is at your fingertips.
I had been looking to add a bell to my cross and fat tire bikes for my winter trail rides. Frequently, I’d pass walkers, dogs, or slower riders. If I yelled “bikers back” or “on your left” it was anyone’s guess which way they’d move. Or worse, they’d just freeze in the middle of the trail like a deer in headlights.
Once I added the Knog Oi bell, it was like magic. People got it, a biker was coming up behind them. They’d move to the side of the trail or shorten the leash on their dog (or children).
The same holds true on the road. If you come up to a busy pedestrian intersection, it’s nice to have a bell to warn people (pedestrians and cyclists alike) of your approach. It’s an easy way to stay safe. And there’s something non-confrontational about a bell versus yelling your presence.
And it may just be me, but I’ve noticed that less-experienced road riders, instead of simply moving to the right when they hear “on your left” will instead turn their head to the left to look back, moving to the left in the process. Again, a bell takes zero “mental processing” to understand.
Designed for fit
The packaging of the Oi includes a hexagon wrench and a spacer to ensure the bell fits securely on your bars. It only took me a minute to mount it onto the flat bars of my fat tire bike. Built into the shape of the mount is a notch for cables. This provides you options as to the location of the bell for easy access.
On a flat bar, the bell fits by the grip so you don’t have to remove your hand to ring it, or closer to the stem. For drop bars of a road bike, the bell can mount on the bars by the stem, within reach of your thumb without removing your hands from the bars. Or the Oi can mount on the stem itself. Just be sure to know where you want to mount the Oi and take measurements in order to select the right size.
It’s all in the sound
It’s interesting that Knog tested numerous prototypes to find the perfect pitch, length of ring, and volume for their Oi bell. It actually plays a cord, not just a single note like some bells. I found that the sound was akin to a bell used in a diner signaling “order up.” When I used it to warn people or riders on the trail, they were not startled. It was almost like a gentle tap on the shoulder. Dogs also were not frightened by the sound and just turned with a curious look.
You can actually check out the sound of the bell on the Knog web site.
The Australian-based company Knog has come up with a very unique bicycle bell. The Oi is inconspicuous and has a great ring tone. It takes up very little cockpit space so there’s still plenty of room for your computer, head unit, power meter, lights, and hands. So don’t worry about being ostracized by your roadie friends. This bell looks sleek and will keep you safer on the road or trail.
Mark Pemburn says
You make a compelling argument for the Knog Oi, and I think I will find room for one on my bars.
One thing, however: the tone is not a chord, just a single note.
There is no argument for having a bell these days, to many people are riding, running, and walking with earbuds on and they can’t hear a bell, or someone screaming, or a bomb going off! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen a recreational cyclist dinging a bell to the get the attention of someone with earbuds on and getting no response, my grandson has a bell on his bike and no one can hear it.
I was an original Kickstarter backer for the Oi Knog bell. It was a special offer for 5 bells (different colours and a Ti bell). The video and the sound is sweet. However, upon installation ringing it indoors the sound is reverberated of the surrounding walls – sounds good. Outdoors is different, as the bell is not loud enough. A basic $5 bell is louder.
Sleek fashion design and aesthetics I score it a 10 however function I score it a 3. Not loud enough. When they went on sale at the LBS is was really expensive for a weak bell. I ended up selling them off.
Greg Titus says
I just got Knog’s Oi bike bell, acting on the review of it on this site from the Sea Otter Classic. Love the design! But the ring is so weak and wimpy it’s worthless. I paid almost $40 for the bell (shipped from New Zealand) and now have something that I won’t use. Knog is balking at refunding or replacing it. They want a video of the bell with audio. That’s not feasible for me to do. I recommend people stay away from this product. The bell is just not loud enough to be useful.
[email protected] says
The actual ring is lame at best…much better options out there.
Eric Oshlo says
I agree the sound is a little weak but it seems t be heard by most. I mounted my Oi on the bend in my road bars just below where the brake lever mounts. I can reach it there from almost any hand position – with my thumb in the drops or on the hoods and with my little finger when my hands are on top.
Yes there are those with earbuds and texting that don’t hear bells but I’d say the majority of people do hear.
Mark follmer says
It doesn’t seem like it’s loud enough, but when overtaking pedestrians they seem to hear it in plenty of time
My wife has the Knog Oi bell on her touring bike. I have the Crane E-ne (made in Japan) on my bike, and we both have the Spurcycle (USA made) bells on our road bikes. The Knog bell has the weakest volume. The Crane bell has a loud, lower-pitched tone, and the Spurcycle bell has a clear, piercing note. If you ride a bike path or trail at less than 10-12 mph, then the Knog is O.K. because you can ring the Knog several times as you approach the walker and you will eventually be close enough for them to hear the bell. If you ride any faster than 10-12 mph, the other two bells I mentioned are more useful. The Crane bell and Spurcycle bell can both be heard from a good, safe distance, and one clear tone from those bells is all that is necessary to warn a pedestrian of your approach.
Matt K says
A friend and I each bought these bells for our gavel bikes. They both started coming apart (the weak spring) and the sound is too weak to be useful. We both replaced them – I used a cheap classic bike bell.
Hi guys, Sean here from Knog. If you think you have an Oi bell that it is not performing as it should then please drop us an email at [email protected] and we’ll happily replace this for you.
Len Pedersen says
The Knog Oi is just not a good bell. The spring for the knocker is very weak and stretches or bends out of shape in no time which then results in a very low volume sound. I am on my 3rd warranty replacement and everyone has the same issue. I wouldn’t recommend this product to anyone.
It’s interesting the feedback on the Oi bell. I was out on the trail just last Sunday and used it several times. No problem with folks hearing it. Again, I really like the tone of the bell as it doesn’t startle other riders, walkers or dogs. More of a friendly “I’m behind you and going to pass” sound than “Get the heck out of my way”. But this is all personal preference and good to hear feedback from both sides.