Why Do Bikers Have Bells On Their Bikes?

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Biker communities have been around for as long as bikes have, and many bikers have their own traditions. So, why do bikers have bells on their bikes?

The bells that bikers put on their bikes are known as guardian bells. Guardian bells are thought to act as good luck charms for both the bike and the biker and are hung on a motorbike in the same way that a lucky pendant would be.

Although it may all be superstition, guardian bells are thought to keep bikers safe during their long rides. However, there is much more to the bells bikers put on their bikes than meets the eye. According to biker traditions, there are many stories and beliefs surrounding guardian bells that can tell us a lot about the sentiments within historic biker communities.

Our experience with bikers and a keen interest in their culture and traditions help us bring you the most accurate information about why bikers have bells on their bikes.

In this article...


What are Guardian Bells?

Guardian bells, also known as Spirit Bells, are small bells traditionally made out of pewter (an alloy of copper, tin, and antimony) usually hung on motorcycles. These bells come in various shapes, sizes, styles, and designs and can be personalized according to the rider’s desires.

However, a guardian bell is not simply a decorative item for a motorcycle, as these bells carry a lot of significance within biker circles and tradition. In fact, while Guardian bells have been known to be used primarily by the Harley biker community, all bikers, except those in the sport biking world, are stooped in this tradition to some degree.

Uses of Motorcycle Bells

Guardian bells do not ring loud and urgently when bikers ride their bikes, and so their primary function has nothing to do with the actual sound of the bell. Guardian bells are typically thought to act as pendants of good luck during a rider’s travels. Many bikers believe that guardian bells ward off evil spirits and protect the rider from misfortunes that could potentially meet them during their long and arduous trips.

According to many biker legends, the long and winding road is home to evil spirits waiting to cause harm to motorcyclists who dare tread their path. In other words, guardian bells are meant to protect riders from bad omens during their trip, especially those that could cause some undue issue to their bike, or worse, cause a road accident.

What are Motorcycle Gremlins?

According to many bikers, the use of guardian bells can be traced back to common and longstanding beliefs within biker communities regarding what are known as Motorcycle Gremlins. Yes, you read that right! In fact, many unusual incidents and hard-to-explain occurrences that happen to bikers on the road are attributed to these motorcycle gremlins.

According to their beliefs, biker communities see Gremlins as evil creatures that lurk on empty roads and wait for bikers to ride through so they can cause undue harm or misfortune. The gremlins intend to hurt the rider and destroy the motorcycle, thereby destroying the free and liberated spirit of the biker that drives them to take on the open road.

In many biker legends and stories, motorcycle gremlins work their curses by sticking to the motorcycle and causing a bike malfunction or a mistake by the rider.

How do Guardian Bells Protect Bikers?

Whether you truly believe that guardian bells protect bikers from bad omens or not is a matter of personal choice. However, bikers have held for decades that guardian bells protect them from evil spirits like motorcycle gremlins by fending them off before they reach them.

It is believed that the noisiness of the guardian bell as the bike is being ridden causes confusion amongst the motorcycle gremlins. This belief aligns with many other superstitions that high-pitched noises disorient evil energies.

How to Get a Guardian Bell for Your Bike

While most bikers will recommend getting a guardian bell for your bike, obtaining one is not as easy as buying a bell from a store. Bikers commonly believe that a guardian bell does not work its magic if the rider bought it for themselves.

Therefore, a guardian bell must be gifted to a rider by a fellow biker, a gesture that amplifies the good fortune that they are meant to carry. Moreover, guardian bells are a sign of biker brotherhood and community, making it all the more important that you receive your guardian bell as a gift from a fellow rider.

On most occasions, bikers will gift one of their fellow riders a guardian bell to mark a special occasion. Typically, a guardian bell is given to a biker as a gift in advance of a long and arduous trip, especially one full of hardships and risks involved. Other times, fellow riders will gift you a guardian bell when you buy your very own motorcycle for the first time.

Where to Attach a Guardian Bell on Your Bike

It is considered important among biker communities to know where to attach your guardian bell on your bike. Many riders attach their guardian bells to the upper frame of their bikes, while others attach them adjacent to the handles.

However, any motorcycle veteran will tell you that the only appropriate place on your bike to attach a guardian bell is at the bottom part of the frame. The belief is that the closer to bell is to the road, the louder it will be from the perspective of evil spirits, thereby disorienting them as much as possible.

Further commonly held beliefs suggest that motorcycle gremlins stick to the surface of the road, waiting for a motorcycle to pass by so they can stick to the bottom part of the frame. Hence, having your guardian bell attached at the bottom of the bike frame is a way to confuse the gremlins as much as possible and prevent them from sticking to your bike.