Just a couple days in and Knog has hyper-kickstarted their new Oi Bike Bell, a simple accessory that is both super trim and slightly silly.
Options for all your bling ringing.
As an aesthete, I have a love-hate relationship with safety equipment. It's an easy kind of thing to resent in a life where I've replaced almost all standard items with their sleeker equivalents. Bike helmets, life vests, respirators, and other tools present vexing road bumps in my quest for functional elegance. But we find peace with them because they're still about 1000% cooler than being preventably-dead. All this to say, I both understand and appreciate when a company like Knog comes along to improve an already totally functional safety object by giving it a slick makeover.
Feeling a bit like bike jewelry.
Bike bells are either a nicety for those of us who get tired of having to yell at distracted pedestrians or cars, or (in places like NYC) an irrationally mandated component of your road equipment. Bells as-is work fine. You can buy them for few dollars at almost any bike shop, and the options are endless. There are really beautiful, resonant, affordable, and more ergonomic options already. Why does the world need the Oi bell?
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There are a couple strong points for it, starting with simplicity. Have you ridden a bike in a populated city? Have you had the chagrinning experience of having something necessary/inane/insane stolen off your bike while it was parked? In populous areas not even the humble bike bell is safe. To the uninitiated this simple thing looks about as valuable as the un-used mounting bracket for a light.
It also has nice material options, to bring some metallic flash or all-black stealth to whatever you're riding. More functionally, the sound quality and resonance seems good. And they managed to make versions for the multiple standard sizes of bar without resorting to their standard easy-to-steal silicone. It even bolts on permanently, though it appears to use a more theft-friendly Philips head, rather than bike-standard Allen attachment. They even figured out a way (if one-sided) to account for the cable housing it'll be competing for real estate with on road bikes.
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Maybe most importantly, the super low-profile shape means I'd be less opposed to putting one on my super-elegant bike. Which is one sign that tighter design can increase the chances of even aesthetics-obsessed jerks adopting a tool towards riding a little more safely and civilly.
Does this seem like a wise improvement on standard options? Is the narrow band of updated technology and aesthetics why they chose to Kickstart the project, rather than use their status as an already fully functioning international accessory producer?