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Since my commuter bike was stolen, I'm now forced to use my road bike as a stop gap commuter until I find a suitable replacement. The road bike is already equipped with a bell, but it's currently mounted near the center of the handle bars, which makes it inaccessible when braking. This is not ideal for city riding, as you'll often find yourself in situations where you'd want to brake and ring the bell at the same time.

I would like to hear what experiences you have with different bell mounting positions with drop bars. Especially how they work with ringing the bell while braking, or at least without having to move the hand away from the brake.

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  • You can actually mount a bell on the brake levers. I'll show my setup once I get home.
    – calofr
    May 20 at 9:43
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    I just have the bell on the tops on the right side. That way I can still do a full emergency brake maneuver with my left hand.
    – Michael
    May 20 at 9:45
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    @Michael seems like a valid answer, no?
    – Weiwen Ng
    May 20 at 11:20
  • @Michael That's where I have my bell at the moment, but in the city (with pedestrians with little respect for bike lanes), suddenly moving your hand to ring the bell is something I would like to avoid. May 20 at 12:51
  • Would you consider fitting the bell to the inside of your brifter? Or does it have to be on the bars ? What's your normal hand position while riding ?
    – Criggie
    May 20 at 13:03

5 Answers 5

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I made up little stub bars that wrap around the drop just below the brake. It is 3d printed, and is clamped together by heatshrink tubing. The middle part is under my bartape. I have the same setup on both my dropbar bikes.

Stub resembles a barend, and has a diameter of 22.2mm same as normal handlebars, so its essentially a bit more handlebar. Around this stub I have an Air Zound airhorn.

When riding, my left hand's thumb rests right about there, and I can brake and toot at the same time.

Bells are not mandated here, but I've occasionally had the need for a good airhorn while riding.

Photo of interim version - bartape was done better later.
enter image description here


The stub is that long so I can still get my left thumb around the brifter for a good grip while riding hard. Any shorter and my thumb would not get around the base of the hood.

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    I like this idea! How do you experience that the access to the horn trigger is for various hand positions? May 20 at 14:11
  • @AndréasSundström it works best from the hoods/corners. Can hit it while in the drops if the whole thing gets rotated a bit. In the tops you'd have to use your little fingers, but I'd rather get my hand near the brakes fast.
    – Criggie
    May 20 at 14:26
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I just put the bell at the tops. For some reason I normally put it on the left side, but I think the right side is basically the same. Basically, one side gets the bell, the other side gets the front light. Which is which is not very important, but perhaps it is better to have the light closer to the road centre. The difference will be small, though.

enter image description here

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  • That;s very much like my setup - I'm in the UK where we ride on the left. Note that in some jurisdictions the light must be on the centreline or further from the kerb, so on the right in the UK, left most places
    – Chris H
    May 20 at 13:30
  • Similar to mine as well. I have to move my left hand from the hood to ring it but I accept that limitation.
    – Ted Hohl
    May 20 at 15:20
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I use O-ring bells (my model is BBB Loud & Clear Deluxe which has a very loud sounds, far better than many cheap bells). They can be mounted at any position of the handlebar. Usually O-ring bells are supplied with several different length O-rings and the mounting brackets for the O-rings have several positions, so practically any handlebar diameter between 22.2 mm and 31.8mm works, wrapped with bar tape or not. In the worst case, you may need to buy a differently sized O-ring but it shouldn't cost much.

You can even mount the bell on a stem if you don't have enough room elsewhere.

The position where I put my bell is generally over the tape ends. That's a location that's otherwise unused because you don't hold your hands at the position where bar tape ends.

If you want to ring the bell at the same time you brake, it shouldn't matter which side of the handlebar you mount it to, because it's not a good idea to brake hard and at the same time do something else (such as ringing the bell), so you can use either brake, front or rear, while ringing the bell because only really hard braking needs the front brake. One hand brakes, the other holds the handlebar near the bell. You may need to reduce the braking force momentarily when you move your hand to the bell, but when the hand is grasping the handlebar near the bell, you can increase the braking force again.

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Some bells are designed to be used with drop bars. They are more compact than traditional bells and are fastened through a flexible collar rather than a rigid one, to allow to fasten them on the hoods.

Trigger bell on the hoods

Two examples:

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  • That's also a nice solution which I haven't hear of before. May 21 at 18:59
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I clamp my bell over the inboard end of the bar tape. I can't remember if it's the one that came with that bike, but it's designed for a larger diameter than the naked bars except right next to the stem (where my aerobars wouldn't fit with it anyway). It's reachable with my left (back brake) hand on the bar tops, or a small movement from the hoods.

To my mind a bell never needs to be reached urgently - urgent noise is by voice which is more effective. Of course you may want to suddenly brake when you were planning on using the bell, and that's easy with just the front brake, or it's quite a small movement back onto the brake.

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    I'm not convinced that the voice is more effective in urgent/semi-urgent situations. At least in my experience, pedestrians react more reflexively to the bell sound than me shouting. With the bell, they instinctively move to the side/don't take that step right out onto the bike lane, while with shouting they look up and take a second to process what made the noise before reacting. May 20 at 12:59
  • @AndréasSundström if they even hear the bell (through headphones?) plenty of people react badly, including stopping right in the way. And even those that react as you say may step to the wrong side of the path - e.g. they're left of the centre but go to the right hand side . Perhaps for a good reason, like to go onto grass that's only on one side, or perhaps because 100 metres away they're turning off that way and their brain is already heading in that direction. But perhaps it's because while bells are required at point of sale here in the UK, use is sporadic and people aren't used to them
    – Chris H
    May 20 at 13:28

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