While working in a bike shop in Glasgow for over a year whilst at university, I was exposed to a lot of cheap, useless and practically disposable bicycle bells. However, this was until I saw the shop mechanic’s bell and I was instantly intrigued.
The bell in question was a Spurcycle Bell. Originally dubbed as ‘a bell for any bike’, the Spurcycle Bell came to fruition after a particularly successful Kickstarter campaign, which saw $331,938 raised from more than 5,800 backers.
Spurcycle designs and manufactures the bell in the US. It’s made of both stainless steel and brass and comes in 2 finishes; raw metal or Black DLC. Spurcycle include two bands for securing the bell snugly to bars from 22.2 to 31.8mm in diameter and it can be mounted either horizontally or vertically.
Because of the minimal design, the Spurcycle Bell is discreet. The first time you flick the striker though, you’re going to notice the best part, it sounds like no other bell you’ve ever heard before. It’s extremely loud, with a long drawn out ring. Trust me, it’s going to be hard for anyone not to hear you.
Instead of trying to describe the sound, I have embedded a short audio file of a recording so you can listen yourself:
Having seen the shop mechanics bell first hand, I couldn’t resist but to get one myself. This is where things start to go downhill for Spurcycle. As with any good kickstarter campaign, in comes the counterfeits…
According to Spurcycle, copycat bells started appearing less than a year after the company delivered its first batch of products to Kickstarter backers. Some, like the one from Japanese company Crane Bells, copied the overall style of the Spurcycle bell as well as some specific elements of the mechanical design. But while it seemingly capitalised on the look of the Spurcycle, it wasn’t an outright copy.
However, a company called Rock Brothers were different. Or rather, very much the same… What Rock Brothers clearly did was take a Spurcycle bell apart, and then reproduce every single component of it….
So as a consumer I was left with a difficult decision. Do I spend £50 on the genuine Spurcycle bell or do I spend £10 on the counterfeit? Unfortunately, I am embarrassed to admit that I spent £10 on the Rock Brothers knock-off. However, over the past 2 years I have ridden with the bell in everything from full sunshine to your typical Glasgow downpour and everything in between. The counterfeit bell shows no sign of corrosion and just minimal wear and tear.
To summarise, there is no question that I think that the Spurcycle bell is ‘great design’. However I am left somewhat conflicted. Is the Rock Brothers counterfeit also ‘great’? If I had the opportunity to go back and buy this bell again, which one would I go for? Honestly, it would be a difficult decision, but probably still the counterfeit…
However, what I can confidently say is that if you own a bike and you ride in a built up area, buy yourself one of these bells, they are fantastic! I will leave links below to both options so you can make your own mind up.
£50 – Spurcycle Bell
£10 – Rock Brothers Bell (counterfeit)