Oi : The Knog Bike Bell
- Catalyst Design Group
The “Oi”, so called because of its unique O handle-bar-hugging shape and attention-grabbing design brings the humble analogue bike bell up to date.
Knog used the Kickstarter platform in March to test the concept and it was the most successful bike-related Kickstarter project on record. With 21,000 backers ordering 37,000 bells going to 93 countries, the Oi will certainly get heard.
The most obvious feature of the Oi bell is its shape. Where most analogue bells are domed, the Oi is a cylindrical shape, perfectly wrapping itself around the handle bar. In fact the CNC-machined metallic metal ringer almost levitates off the bar, held by small springs attached to the mount. This results in a low profile, both vertically and horizontally for the rider. As there are more and more pieces of equipment demanded on the handle bar by cyclists, the Oi is a beautiful addition, without taking up valuable space.
The sound – the essential function of the product – is crisp and pleasant. Balancing efficacy and pride of ownership is difficult with safety products. For example, high vis vests and sturdy helmets. Bike bells need to have good sonic cut through. Many bells and bike horns are an abrasive sound and can shock pedestrians. This might make them stick to their spot rather than move out of the way. However, a sound that is too soft will not cut through ambient noise. After months of testing materials and different forms of the bell, the end result is a sound that has one longer lasting lower tone, and several higher notes.
With an O shape product for the handle-bar, you would expect it needs to slide onto the handlebar, requiring the removal of grips and other accessories. Not so with the Oi. In fact the metal component is C shaped, and the mount is flexible, so can open over the bar. This makes it convenient, and with a hex key in the pack, easy for the owner to fasten and remove when necessary. In addition, the mount has a cable management system built into the form so there’s no need to worry about wrapping on top of cables. In fact, the Oi helps gather them up neatly, adding to the clean aesthetic most riders prefer.
Size and Style Choices
The size of the handlebar is obviously very important for Oi to work well. So there are two model sizes – one for the common 22.2mm diameter bars. This is the size of many fixi, vintage, and older road bikes. And the large size is 31.8, more common among modern Road and Commuter bikes. But in the large pack come two spacers so that bar sizes between these two sizes can be accommodated. Added to this are different finishes – a Classic aluminium version comes in brushed and anodised black, brass, and copper. Plus a premium Titanium model.
A key problem that led to this project was the unfortunate fact that laws in many countries require bikes to be sold with bells attached. These are often cheap and undesirable, leading to waste – on mass! We are currently in negotiations with bike manufacturers to try to overcome this. With an Oi on a bike when it arrives, we believe there will be less wasted plastic and metal. And for our retail version, we have made sure that the packaging is minimal, and uses a biodegradable pulp tray, plus recyclable plastic sleeve.