The Oi is the coolest bike bell on the planet

Forget about reinventing that [bike] wheel. That’s been done, many, many times. The Austrailian company well-known for affordable and stylish locks and lights have a more humble goal: reinventing the bike bell. Recently launched on Kickstarter, the Oi, hit a powerchord with cyclists, annihilating its $14,500 goal: lovers of the new Oi bell pledged almost $300,000.

Beyond the look, the sound of the Oi is unique: mostly like a guitar chord in C flat. “It has a lovely, musical tone,” explained Hugo Davidson, the CEO at Knog, during a Skype interview. “It’s a friendly-sounding bell rather than something that’s annoying.”

Can you spot the bike bell? Photo: Courtesy of Knog
Can you spot the bike bell? Photo: Courtesy of Knog

According to their Kickstarter description, “Our bell actually has several pitch tones – one core and several supportive higher tones to ensure it’s unmistakable and safely heard.”

But getting to the final product was an uphill battle. They started toying with the idea of a new bike bell at the end of last year. They tried a handful of very different designs and built hundreds of prototypes (some which were bells in name only).

“You think you nailed a design and we’d make a prototype and it wouldn’t make any noise. We know how to make lights, but we didn’t know how to make bells,” said Davidson.

A portion of the prototypes that led to the Oi. Photo: Courtesy of Knog
A portion of the prototypes that led to the Oi. Photo: Courtesy of Knog

So, the engineers at Knog did a ton of research, taking a deep dive into sound waves and experimenting with different materials like steel, titanium, aluminum as well as different finishes. They also tested different widths, depths, curvature, actuators and springs to get to the optimum design.

Detail of the large and small Oi. Photo: Courtesy of Knog
Detail of the large and small Oi. Photo: Courtesy of Knog

The result is the Oi, a bell that doesn’t look like a bell at all. Clean, minimal and small, it’s ideal for most riders, whether they ride mountain, road or city. Due to its small stature, the Oi takes up barely any space on the handlebar. And if you’re looking for the playful design that Knog is known for, you won’t find it here. The Oi is a departure, with a modern look that’s more in line with something like an iPhone.

The five flavors of the Oi bell. Photo: Courtesy of Knog
The five flavors of the Oi bell. Photo: Courtesy of Knog

Available in five styles, aluminum, brass, copper, black and titanium, the standard bell costs about $19 and the titanium is $33. Prices include shipping and delivery is slated for August.

And that name?

“Oi is a bit of Australian for ‘Get out of the way,'” Davidson said.

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