by Marc Basiliere
August 19, 2013
It seems as though far too few mountain bikers run bells on their trail bikes. Sure, they may seem silly, but watching walkers step aside with a smile rather than a scowl or encouraging fellow racers pull aside without exposing one’s breathlessness is addictive. It’s easy to find a perfectly serviceable Taiwanese-made bell at your local bike shop, too, usually for a tenner or so. So why a $35 bell?
In short, it’s lovely- and made in the USA. Before the hipster jokes begin, think about the slight associated with UK-made frames and components. Maybe take a look at that Chris King headset or bottom bracket. Part of their widespread acceptance comes from their suitability to British trails and conditions- but part comes from the feeling one gets for supporting companies making things in the first world. Of course the fact that it’s lovely as well doesn’t hurt.
So back to Spurcycle’s bell. It’s called the Ringer and comes in two finishes: raw stainless steel and a handsome matte black. Spurcycle has chosen metals that cannot rust: stainless steel, aluminum, and brass. “No plastic. No junk ‘pot metal’. No shortcuts.” Developed in collaboration with a bellmaker around “since the industrial revolution,” the Ringer is said to be capable of everything “from a light courtesy ‘ding’ while passing another rider to an alarming ‘DING-DING-DING’ to grab a driver’s attention.” Spurcycle promise no ringing or rattling while riding down the trail, which is nice.
Subjectively, one of the two Ringer colors shouldn’t look out out of place on most cockpits. The 30mm dome shouldn’t take up too much cockpit space and its 42g won’t add more than a couple of mud spatters’ worth of weight to your bike. Unfortunately, the $10 upcharge for the black version and a $15 international shipping fee will put this out of reach of most UK riders. That’s nearly £40 before import duties. Here’s hoping that mass production brings prices down somewhat and more local distribution can be arranged.