If your bike bell is not ringing or the lever is not working properly, you can fix it with basic tools and about 10-20 minutes of your time.
Before you fix the bell, determine which type of bell it is.
If it’s one of those bells with a pull-on tab that hits the metal bowl to make a sound, it’ll be easier to fix. You probably won’t even need to open up the inside.
If it’s one of those bells with a lever that you pull to make a ringing sound, repair is a bit more involving but easily doable. Here’s how to fix a broken bike bell.
Repairing a Tab-Style Bell
For the first type, just check whether the tab is hitting the metal bowl. The plastic arm could have gotten loose or there may be a broken or loose spring.
Check the bottom of the arm to see if there’s a spring. If there’s one, see if you can remove it and replace it with a new one.
A working spring allows the arm to hit the metal bell with enough force to make a loud ding.
If the problem is a broken plastic arm, you probably won’t be able to fix it. The best option is to buy a new bell.
Repairing a Gear-Style Bell
For bells that use gears, the problem is usually one or two of the gears. If one of the wheels is loose or out of position, the cogs won’t align properly and the gears won’t turn to make the bell ring.
It could also be a problem with the lever itself. A loose lever that does not spring back when pressed won’t ring the bell.
To make it easier to diagnose and repair the bell, here’s a short video showing the components of a bike bell.
Here are simple steps that apply to most bells.
- Open the metal bowl by twisting it counter clockwise.
- Lift the bowl and inspect the inside of the bell. Move the lever and observe the movement of various gears. Remove the plastic bar on top – the one with the metal rings at the ends. This will provide a better view of the gears underneath.
- If there seems to be a loose gear, see if you can secure it back in place. If it’s a worm out cogwheel, see if you can get a replacement. But it might be hard to get the exact same size, forcing you to just buy another bell.
- If the problem is that the arm is loose and doesn’t spring back into place when you press it, check the mechanism that operates the arm.
- Most bike bells use a spring to actuate the arm. See if you can remove and replace the spring. If you can’t find a spring replacement, you can use a rubber band to create a DIY spring. Here’s an Instructables guide showing how to make a DIY spring, complete with pictures.
Other Common Issues
- Rust: A build-up of rust on the metal bowl or the plastic rings can result in a duller sound. You can remove the rust using white vinegar, baking soda or a chemical rust remover. Alternatively, file it off. To avoid rusting issues, get an aluminium bike bell. Aluminium is rust-proof.
- Dirt and debris: Dirt inside the bell mechanism can cause one or more components to malfunction, resulting in dull or no sound. Open the bell and clean off any dirt on the gears, spring and metal rings. For tab-style bells, look for dirt on the plastic tab and spring.
- Bell positioning: You may have noticed that a bike bell produces a dull sound if you ring it while holding the metal bowl. If the bell is touching a part of your bike such as the brake cable or handlebars, it can cause the same problems. Adjust the position of the bell to make the sound loud and crisp.