Bell on your MTB?

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  • Bell on your MTB?
  • mrjmt

    Just put a bell on my commuting bike as there’s a lot of dog walkers on the cycle path I ride to work, and as I wear headphones I dont like shouting at them incase its not loud enough / too loud!

    While out we often get ramblers telling us to get bells as i’m sure most people do (even though we shout to tell them we’re there). I’m not sure a bell would be more effective to be honest!

    So, has anyone given in and put a bell on their MTB?

    ding ding.


    Yep, if only to silence the occasional ‘you should have a bell’ rambler.

    Hardly ever use it though, I think slowing down and saying ‘excuse me’ is much more polite.


    Pointless really. People will not notice the bell or won’t be able to hear because of their own headphones, or they’ll just deliberately ignore you.

    A good loud freehub, a quick lock of break or a shout is just as good for the ones not wearing headphones. for the others it’s airhorn time.

    Premier Icon MSP

    Yep been using one for a couple of years, works well, allows me to ping them while I am still a reasonable distance away, its clear and somehow seems less aggressive than shouting a warning.
    Most seem to deal with it fine, there are still some cocks about who use a warning of approach to try and block the whole path, but I would rather behave in a polite manner to the reasonable majority, than set my behaviour according to the few selfish cocks.



    Ping it maybe 100m back so they’re aware of me coming up behind them and have plenty of time etc …

    I’m always surpised how close you can get without them noticing though – i’m no stealth machine …


    I use a bell all the time and it makes a huge difference. You can alert people to your presence from much further away and while it may appear rude to us its what people expect.

    I wouldn’t be without one simply for the way it eases your passage.

    “ding ding” “thank you” Lovely day” and a big smile. I get thanked by folk regularly for having a bell

    Premier Icon dawson

    Ping it maybe 100m back so they’re aware of me coming up behind them.


    Plus I think its programmed into old people’s brain’s that if they hear a bell, they are prepared for you.

    I sometimes find that younger people don’t recognise the sound or they are so unaware of their surroundings they still look surprised when you reach them.


    I find a bell combined with ‘excuse me’ and ‘thanks’ does the trick very well, everyone is happy and smiley then. On their own, a bell or shouting is not as effective.

    If they still ignore you as they’ve got headphones on and they’re walking down the middle of a dedicated off-pavement cycleway then a close ‘fly-by’ is in order 😈


    I was told the exact same thing by a walker – funnily his wife heard me say excuse me – so even though the old boy was deaf as post he still told me to get a bell.

    Anyway where would it go? Would it be grip/bell/shifter/brake or grip,dropper/brake/shifter/bell

    Whats the protocol?


    Ding it more than once though. Does my head in when people only ding it once.


    I have a clip on one – used when I know I’m going somewhere busy (Delamere on a Sat morning for example) but removed for night rides, etc

    Premier Icon Doh1Nut

    I saw someone at the weekend with an electronic buzzer and the pedestrians were looking around to see if there was a car alarm going off 🙂 No one associated it with a bike – they nearly sh8t when the bloke on the bike spoke.


    I dont think I ride anywhere with enough people to consider it really – never had a problem except in liverpool city centre. When out on the trails I’m rarely on one that’s narrow enough AND busy enough to require a bell, normally I’ll just ride past and never had a complaint doing that that I remember. No-one cares so long as you don’t force your way through. The few times I’ve had complaints were when I alerted people with a cheery excuse me, and generally got a mouthful of abuse for daring to be on the trail which wouldn’t have differed if I’d had a bell. I think it’s twice as rude to ding a bell expectantly waiting for the walkers to move than it is to ride up behind them and wait for a spot to pass.


    Hope hub means no need for bell!

    Mark N

    People never hear it or choose to ignore it. I give them a shout saying which side I will pass on “bike on the right” or similar. Mind you those with earphones in still fail to hear that so it becomes their look out as far as I am concerned.


    Teh point is you can let people know from much further away with a bell and despite what we might think to many walkers a bell is the polite thing.

    Even going past silently where there is enough room startles folk

    A bell has no downside at all and why not try one – you might be pleasantly surprised how much it smooths the way


    I dont have a bell, I just yell “Ding Dong”.

    For earphone wearers, I just buzz past them and do a skid to annoy them 🙂

    Premier Icon sparksmcguff

    Got a bell on my “other” bike, use it regularly – am roundly ignored, think I need a louder one. Have thought about a buzzer but don’t want to startle anyone. I usually start ringing it from upto 100m away. Always have to accompany it with a friendly “hello”.

    I’ve got a nice brass one from Charlie the Bke Monger on my singular (looks kinda right).

    I’ve ProII’s as well, they don’t seem to be as loud to people not on a bikes, probably in the same way you youdn’t expect a walker to announce ther presence byt the rustling of waterproofs. And it’s more of a zzzzzz noise than the tic-tic-tic-tic that cheeper bikes freehubs make so maybe they dont hear it and think ‘bike!’

    Got an air-zound, it’s crap, utter waste of money and space and on the occasion it does work it just pisses people off.


    Yes. Have to use the MTB for riding to school with my kids. Probably a good idea as previously mentioned when the inevitable run in with an old fogey happens.

    Big Dave

    All my bikes have bells. For the majority of walkers it works well and usually gets a positive response. In some situations a cheery welcome can work better.

    For people with headphones neither works but seeing them jump as I ride past is always fun. Never understood when surrounded by all of the sights and sounds of the countryside some people feel the need to cut themselves off from it with music.


    Did have a bell but the clapper fell off, became fairly redundant then. I now give a cheery “ring, ring” as I approach inbetween gasps of air for my tourtured lungs. Always found it pays to be nice as most of my riding is done as part of my commute, keep seeing the same dog walkers, they know I don’ t have the momentum to run them over easily.

    I couldn’t find a bell that would fit on my oversized bar so attached it to my bottle cage. It got a bit smashed in winter though. I have a Hope hub on my commuting MTB which is usually enough to alert people!

    Besides, I like to slow down to pass folk on the cycleways

    Never understood when surrounded by all of the sights and sounds of the countryside some people feel the need to cut themselves off from it with music.

    Meenwhile on a Hi-Fi forum:

    Never understood when surrounded by music some people feel the need to cut themselves off from it with the sights and sounds of the coutnryside.


    could have done with one at Cannock on saturday to move riders away from the start of a trail section.

    Premier Icon StirlingCrispin

    Ping it maybe 100m back so they’re aware of me coming up behind them.

    Me too.
    Just give a wee ping when I’m a bit back – walkers look around to see what’s going on, spot the bike and step aside. A cheery wave and exchange of pleasantries and everyone goes on their way happy.
    (If I have a wee one on the LOCT they’re in charge of pinging and waving).

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    its programmed into old people’s brain’s that if they hear a bell, they are prepared for you

    somethign that sounds like an air raid siren’s equally good – they always make a dive for cover and you get a clean run 😉

    Premier Icon leffeboy

    somethign that sounds like an air raid siren’s equally good

    damn – beat me to it.

    Got to agree though – bell seems less aggressive that shouting a warning for some reason



    bloody useful, most walkers/dog walkers seem to associate with a bell quite easily and reduces any friction between parties.

    Mister P

    I fitted one to my commuter because I felt rude shouting at people. It does a great job, wish I had fitted one sooner.


    Never liked the idea of using a bell myself. Salivating dogs are very unpleasant.
    Love the idea of shouting “Ding Dong” though. Very Leslie Phillips!! Could put you at risk of the occasional slap for being such a cad though. 😉


    I might start using the peg and card set up, they might think a motor bike is behind them, so I can watch them part like the Red Sea 😉


    I use the loud clicking of the Hope freehub on my MTB but use a bell on the commuter. Some people decide not to hear despite looking around whilst you’re a good 30 metres away then ignoring you and walk in the middle whilst you’re trying to pass them.
    The wife who is just getting into cycling couldn’t believe how ignorant some people were even though she was using her bell and slowing right down to pass people. In the end she was letting the ignorant people know by shouting at them “Hello, you can see me so why ignore me?”, some of the reactions had me chuckling.


    I had one for a couple of years and found it was mostly ignored or, more often, used as an excuse to spread out and block my way! It’s worth noting that pedestrians ALWAYS have right of way, even on dedicated cycle paths. I find it much better to slow down and exchange pleasantries but there’ll always be the odd cock who’ll tell you you’re wrong whatever you do.

    Premier Icon cookeaa

    I have a Bell, and I use it, but I’d estimate perhaps 10-15% of walkers pay any attention to it, obviously a fair chunk of walkers are ipoded now and hence oblivious to that little ‘Ding, the others are either chatting as they go (Fair enough I suppose) or are simply deaf as a post…

    Of those that actually hear it 50% calmy get out of the way and the other 50% panic, dither and piss about requiring you to accomodate their general uselessness by slowing/stopping…

    Get one and then at least you’ve already won the argument with the belligerent fool who likes to ask why you don’t use a bell, before they can even start…

    Premier Icon D0NK

    It’s worth noting that pedestrians ALWAYS have right of way

    hmm, they have the right not to get run over, they don’t have the right to block your passage along a bridleway/cycle track. I only mention because some walkers feel they do have the right to block your progress and what do you do then? ride along at walking pace behind them until they leave the trail?

    Bell can be useful or it can be completely ignored, always curse myself when I forget to take it out but not always effective anyway. A polite excuse me isn’t always appreciated either.

    Skids can be used from a long way off to alert walkers to your presence but if you use them anywhere near the walkers you’ll scare them and (quite rightly) pee them off.


    I use one, although it doesn’t work on ther deaf/brain dead ramblers. Off on a tangent I sometimes encounter blind people, complete with guide dogs on some cycleway sections. I find that a cheery “I’ll come through on your left (or right)” gives them the information that they need and the time to move where they choose to without startling them.

    Premier Icon phiiiiil

    I have one on all my bikes, it comes in handy sometimes. Except for when it’s full of clart, and you go to ping it and it just makes a dull “clonk”…

    Premier Icon stewartc

    Never used to use one in the UK but since being in HK I find them really usefull as we do not have the space in the UK and hiking is a national pastime out here so trails are congested. However, since a lot of hikers out here like to walk accompanied with music, including some with speakers mounted on their backpack or shoulders (I kid you not) you also need to holler out as well.

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