Twooc Q Bell review
"Is that a real Twooc?" Said nobody, ever
Bicycle bells always seem to break. They get knocked around, and then the dome that is supposed to be able to resonate ends up touching another part and it sounds soft and dull. The worst bell I ever had was one that was integrated around the left side of the handlebar and could be twisted like a twist shifter to make it ring. A decent attempt to streamline the handlebar, but after it received a few knocks it stopped working. It was then stuck on the handlebar for about 10 more years, next to another more traditional bell.
For the past five years I have been buying mini bells from various sources, trying to apply the principle of natural selection; keep trying different bells until I find something that doesn't die prematurely.
On my folding bicycle I had this bell that sometimes worked. If you turned it in a certain position, it would ding a few times, slowly rotating back to a non-working position. Time to try something new.
For any bicycle, but especially a folding bicycle, you want fewer things sticking out. However, the price of 20 euros for a bell was a bit steep, no matter how amazing. I tried looking for cheaper alternatives (copies) several times, but could not find anything. However, less than a year after Knog's Oi, there are now many different knock offs for sale at a fraction of the price, in a rainbow of colors. For 2.66 euros including shipping, I got myself a blue one directly from China.
When the package arrived I was quite impressed by the packaging. The bell was inside a transparent plastic case, with a foam insert and even an instruction manual. It even had English in it, though it was badly translated.
My bell had the brand Twooc on it. As it so often is with these products, I have the seen what looks like the same thing with various other names on it. I have seen it with the names Idqdao, Ridio, Anyyion, MagiDeal and HuntGold.
The bell weighs about 18 grams, which is quite light for a bell. My old bell weighed 33 grams, which means shaving another 15 grams of the bicycle.
Compared to the original
Although the Twooc is obviously heavily inspired by the Knog Oi there are some notable differences:
- The Twooc comes in six colors: black, silver, red, yellow, green, blue. The Knog in four colors: black silver, gold, copper
- Twooc only comes in one size for 22.2 mm handlebars. Knog has an additional large size for thicker dropbars.
- Twooc wraps tight around the handlebar all the way around. Knog has spac eon the bottom which can act as a cable guide.
- Twooc has a white logo on the front of the aluminium. Knog has no logo on the aluminium.
- Twooc has a ribbed thumb lever, Knog has a different shape with the text "Oi" molded into it.
- Twooc has a cross headed screw, Knog needs a hex key.
The biggest difference however is the price. The Original Knog Oi cost over seven times more. Knog spent a lot of time designing a new type of bicycle bell. They even have a video to show how much work went into it. Despite all that effort, within a year, the Chinese copied it almost exactly and are selling it for a fraction of the price.
Installation is about as easy as it gets. Remove old bell with a screwdriver, put the new bell in place and tighten screw. The Twooc opens just far enough to put it over a 22.2 mm handlebar. I feared I was going to break it, but it fit. The Knog Oi has more space on the bottom for cables; I imagine this would also make it easier to fit the bar through it.
The Twooc requires a cross headed screwdriver to tighten it. It should not be too tight; this will dampen the sound of the bell.
The bell sounds pretty similar to the Knog Oi in the videos. The volume is comparable to that of a regular mini bell, which is basically just good enough for an urban environment.
Using the bell
Many other bells allow you to move the lever around to a good position. The Twooc Q bell does not have this feature. It is important that you position the bell at a good distance from the grip where you can reach the lever with your thumb. You can adjust the angle by rotating the bell around the bar.
Riding around town, the bell stays in place and doesn't make any sound when you don't touch it.
When ringing the bell to warn cyclists and pedestrians from behind, they respond to the sound of the bell just like any other bell.
The Chinese Q bell seems up for the job. It is a little bit more expensive than a regular mini bell, but looks way better. The sound is pleasant, but not particularly loud. As for durability, time will tell. After a week the lever was bent sideways a bit. Th bell still works. This article will be updated when there is more to report.
Compared to the Knog Oi, the plastic molding is a little less refined, maybe even a lower grade plastic. The lack of a cable guide is not a problem for me. For thicker handlebars however, you will need to get the original. The Chinese bell does come in more/different colors which can be an advantage.
Long term experiences
Update after one month of use: After a few days on my folding bicycle the lever spring was bent causing the lever to be crooked and the bell not working well. With some effort I was able to bend it back. It held for a few weeks, but folding the bicycle in crowded trains every day bent the spring again, however, the bell still works, and even seems louder with the spring bent away from the handlebar. So the spring is obviously the weak part here, let's see how long it lasts...