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Raleigh's brass bicycle bell is a notable improvement upon the ones that adorn the handlebars of every new bike sold here in Blighty... or possibly rattle around inside the box. Boasting a superior strap and sharper 'ping' its discrete profile complements period style fixers and tourers very nicely.
However, those seeking absolute authenticity should look to the 45mm models and in practical terms, a well-timed yell is more effective-especially in the on city streets, well it is for me.
Perhaps rather cynically, I presumed the shiny dome was aluminium treated to a colour lacquer but Raleigh were quick to assure me it is the real McCoy, so will need a periodic buff from your microfibre cloth or less glamorous rag. The rubberised watchstrap bracket employs a clear shim for narrower handlebar diameters but even the Univega's beefy WTB drops couldn't give it indigestion. After much deliberation, I shipped ours inside the drops, just above the Ultegra ban con, nipping the Phillips screw tight with a few turns of my trusty multi-tool. A quick test flick produced a much richer sound than the aluminium models we've come to know and in some cases loathe but not a patch on those associated with Queen's 'Bicycle Race'.
Strumming proved second nature given a few outings and with the notable exception of a Miss Marple figure, most people responded positively to its warm note, swiftly followed by polite greeting when meandering through quiet country lanes, or tinkling along shared use paths. Alas, its appeal wasn't universal amongst the canine community and on one occasion I found myself on the big ring, persued by an unusually determined Labrador. Somewhat predictably, it became little more than handlebar decoration against the backdrop of pneumatic drill, sirens and other noise pollution common to sub/urban journeys.
Nice handlebar decoration that performed better than I had expected but a well-timed greeting is free and weighs nothing
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Make and model: Raleigh Brass Bicycle Bell
Size tested: n/a
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?
"Aside from the sharper sound and the much improved strap design, there is nothing particularly technical in the difference. However aesthetically the style and the look of the brass bell appeals to a broad market (vintage/ fixie/ touring/ commuting/ shopping etc) and the fact that it is a smaller version makes it much more user friendly and appealing to someone who doesn`t want or can`t fit a larger traditional brass bell. It`s also a comparable retail price and a direct comparison from this point of view to the common alloy bells out there". Generally agree with this statement.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Brass dome, rubberised strap, nylon thumb strike.
Very affordable but in practical terms a well-timed yell is free and weighs nothing.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Bells stir mixed emotions in me but this one's extremely discrete and looks very classy too. Give it a strike and the cutting yet polite "ping" stirs the consciousness of pedestrians/fellow riders along shared paths/sleepy lanes. However, trundling through the town, its value becomes simply cosmetic-drowned out by competing noise pollution.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Subtle sizing, genuine brass dome and nicely designed bracket.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing but bells have little place in the cut and thrust of town centre traffic.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? For rural riding and shared use paths
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)