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.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women's cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri's full bio.