The new bling at Always Riding...bicycle bells!
Would we use or wear it ourselves? It's something we always ask before starting to stock a new product at Always Riding, as we think it's pretty simple marker of a product’s worth. And whilst we’re not saying that we all have amazing taste in cycling gear, or that between us we personally own everything which Always Riding stocks (we wish!), we do think that truly liking what you have on offer (or at least appreciating its value for others) is really important.
So with this in mind, you may be interested to know that at Always Riding HQ of late there has been a lot of excitement, a healthy helping of curious exploration and some damn-near drooling going on over our latest additions to the ‘For the bike’ category. Now, before some of you get over-excited, we haven’t suddenly expanded into groupsets, nor have we been spending our time ogling tasty morsels from the Shimano Dura-Ace, XTR, SRAM, or Campag Super Record groupsets - that’s not really our style. Nope, what we have been doing, which we think is far more exciting, is expanding our bicycle bell collection!
Does the Spurcycle outshine the XTR and Easton??... It's a tough call!
In addition to the really charming (and awesomely named) King of Ding and Alexander Graham bells from the folks at Portland Design Works, we now also have some rather tempting bicycle bell options from renowned bellmakers Spurcycle and Crane Bell Co. We first looked into whether we could get our hands on the Spurcycle after we noticed our customers searching for it on the website (not the first time our customers have pointed us in the right direction!). Knowing the impeccable taste of our customers, we thought that it was something that we should certainly stock, and got in contact with Spur to make things happen. What we found with Spurcycle was a bell that is a work of sonic engineering genius, which also happens to be very easy on the eye (a more pristine-looking bell we have not yet come across).
The Spurcycle can be heard from up to 100 feet (30 metres) away... does it have the one ding to rule them all??
Our search for sonic excellence in the bicycle bell world then led us to the excellent Brick Lane bikes which, as well as being renowned in the urban and street cycling scene for their East London shop, is also distributing some of the nicest bits of kit out there (including the Spurcycle) as BLB Big Mama distribution. And along the way to getting the Spurcycle we also found some rather nice options from traditional Japanese bell maker Crane Bell Co. See the hand painted Mount Fuji-inspired bell below for the kind of thing we’re talking about - not bad huh?!
What PDW, Spurcycle and Crane Bell Co. bells all have in common is that they’re all made from high quality metal which is designed to be durable (no vulnerable plastic bits) as well as being engineered to let out a sweet and sonorous ding which will announce your presence in style (and in good time too, especially in the case of the Spurcycle which can be heard from 100 feet - around 30 metres - away). They are all of the 'striker style', which means that they're easy to use and can be operated even when wearing thick winter gloves. Between them, there is a whole range of mounting options available - from the stem top cap mounted Crane Sakura bell to the headset spacer-replacing PDW Alexander Graham bell - so there is likely to be an option which will work with your personal set up even if space out front is a bit tight.
So some of us at Always Riding have now found ourselves in the situation where we are questioning whether we have a bike nice enough to justify getting one of these well-engineered little gems, to spread the cycling love with a strident dong or melodious ting. It would be a sad state affairs if the nicest thing on your bike was the bell, although with some of the beauts we now have, this would be a totally possible situation... But then again, given that a bicycle bell purchase is going to run into double figures only (as far as we are aware), you don’t need to feel too bad even if you get the most expensive option on the market… Dura Ace, eat your heart out!