Ringing the Knog Oi Bell

Knog Oi Bell. Photo: Stephen Lam/element.ly

After a successful Kickstarter campaign with more than $1 million AUD (that’s a little over $800k USD) raised in a month, the Knog Oi is arguably one of the most anticipated bicycle bells that has ever hit the market. I mean, look at it. It doesn’t even look like a bell.

Instead of going for a more traditional bulbous/round resonator, Knog went with a CNC’d semi-circular shape suspended by three springs over a plastic bracket that also houses the ambidextrous striker. The designers at Knog also incorporated a slot into its mounting bracket for those pre-existing underside cables on the bar that might be in the way. It’s a stylish little bell (available in four colors, no less) that could also be the most aerodynamic bell in existence if Team Sky ever needed one.

Unboxing was frustration-free and the set-up was easy. Knog’s illustrated installation guide was equally excellent. Once mounted, the Oi integrates well with existing cockpits without added clutter and with its slim 15mm cross-section, it doesn’t require of a whole lot of real estate, either.

The Oi comes in two sizes: Small for the 22.2mm bars (mtb near the grip, old bikes) or a larger version that’ll fit 23.8-31.8mm bars with the included spacers. I tested the large one on a 31.8mm carbon road handlebar.

On the road, I found the Oi to be easy to use and I like its rather pleasant tone that sounds more like a friendly reminder than a “get out of the way” from an angry rusted bell like the ones off rental bikes. I did, however, find myself pulling the striker as far back as I could at times to get the loudest ding possible especially in noisy, high traffic areas around San Francisco where it could get lost in the city noise at times.

To be fair, the Oi works and people do seem to hear it whenever I ring it, but perhaps its cordiality masked the assertiveness one would expect in a bell. There are definitely louder options out on the market, but how loud a bell is deemed efficient is as much a personal preference as one’s preferred car audio volume.

The striker. Photo: Stephen Lam/element.ly

The exposed spring and plastic striker are holding up at the moment but the jury is still out on its long-term durability. I did manage to twist the striker off its pivot a few times, a rather annoying situation while trying to be heard, but it was a quick, tool-less fix. Each Oi also comes with a two-year warranty too if you do manage to break yours. Moreover, my test unit was putting out tiny rattling noises from vibrations whenever the road got a bit choppy,  just enough to be noticeable like that fanthom bottom bracket creak. It would largely disappear when I rode in large groups, or just put my hand on it…

So is the Oi worth it? At $19, it’s half the price of the very popular, but pricey Spurcycle Bell. Like a size 18 Yeezy Boost 360 that might fit some but not others, the Oi is a bell that needs to tried and heard in person. It’s undeniably beautiful but nevertheless I just wish it was a bit more rambunctious and that it wouldn’t rattle.