The Trigger Bell is a small but very well-designed bell that works on a very broad range of handlebars, intended to allow you to work the bell without moving your hand from where it naturally sits to operate the brakes and gears. Effective and good value, it sets a high bar for other bells to reach.
Bicycle bells have been around for over a century, and it might not immediately seem there's much left to improve. But the Trigger Bell is so well thought out and nicely executed that I think it would be my first choice of bell for most bikes right now. I could easily see me wanting N+1 of these to equip my modest fleet, or at least the parts of it that mingle with pedestrians and horse riders.
The bell is designed so that it can be mounted in a variety of orientations. As nicely illustrated on the manufacturer's website, this allows you to get it into a position where you can reach the trigger with your thumb, regardless of whether you run straight or drop bars, and regardless of how your brakes and gear-shifters are orientated.
I mostly ran it wrapped around the left-hand hood of a Shimano 105 drop-bar shifter for my test, but also mounted it on a Brompton and a flat-bar hybrid to see how it worked, and found no issues. With most setups, the bell seems to work best when operated by the left hand, although for certain types of brake/shifter combinations, the Trigger Bell website suggests the right hand can work better.
The reason for all this flexibility is that the Trigger Bell is designed so it can be operated with your thumb while the rest of your hand works your brakes and gears – something that could easily be useful if you come round a bend to find yourself heading towards a pedestrian who is not sticking to the right part of a shared path, for example.
In testing, I never had to use it in an emergency setting, but did check whether I could ding and brake at the same time and found it was easy.
The bell has a very bright, friendly tone and when I used it to alert people I was coming, I never experienced a negative reaction. Some bells are too loud or too imperious in tone, but this one seems to strike the right balance.
On a quiet road, I found it was audible to some horse riders from at least 50 metres distance. How it would compete with noisy motor traffic is, of course, less certain.
The only slight niggle I had with the Trigger Bell is that it tended to become muffled in the rain. But I've found this same problem with various other mini bells over the years and I don't think I've ever tried one that stands up fully to being wet. If all-weather performance is important to you then you're probably better with one of the big old CLING-CLONG two-tone jobs – but good luck mounting one of those on drop bars!
Overall, the Trigger Bell is a great example of how a bit of thought and ingenuity can make an everyday item effective and pleasurable to own. It is easy to recommend it for whatever bike you might happen to ride.
Well designed and works on almost any bike – if you want a small but useful bell, look no further than this
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Trigger Bell
Size tested: Fits handlebars from 22mm to 45mm in diameter
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
It's a bell, whose design is intended to allow you to operate it while braking or changing gear and it should fit almost any bike with almost any system of brake and shift levers – whether you run flat or drop bars.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The bell itself is made of brass (painted black) and the plastic body is mounted to the bike using a band that is tightened with a flat-blade screwdriver. It can be fitted at various angles and on various parts of the handlebar.
From Trigger Bell:
BEAUTIFUL BRASS BELL
High quality brass is used for a warmer and clearer tone than cheaper aluminium bells.
EASY TO FIT
Adjustable strap fits handlebars from 22mm to 45mm in diameter. Quick and easy to fit.
SUPER STRONG BODY
The cool bike bell is made of a polymer that is often used in making machine parts. The bike bell trigger has been tested to over 50,000 pings and still going strong. Trigger Bell weighs only 27 grams.
It all seems very sturdy and well built.
Gives a bright, audible ding. The only issue I had was that it doesn't work so well when wet.
After several weeks of testing it seems absolutely fine.
You can get cheaper bells, but £10 seems reasonable for something so well designed and effective.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Works well, and can alert pedestrians or horse riders from some distance away if it's quiet.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I could use it without moving my hand from its regular riding position, which was nice. The sound is clear and bright.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The price is comparable to other bells and seems reasonable for what you get.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
I think overall it's excellent: a well-designed, effective bell that works cleverly on a range of handlebar types.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Synapse My best bike is: Whyte Wessex One
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking, audax and long-distance riding
A research psychologist by day, Ian spends quite a lot of time on bikes, particularly commuting between Bristol and Bath or doing audax rides. For years he was an ultradistance runner, but this came to an end when he realised getting back onto a bicycle offered the chance to race over much more preposterous distances. In recent years he has ridden in the Transcontinental Race, the TransWales and the North Cape 4000. He has even finished first in some of these.