Meaning of Motorcycle Bells

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It’s no secret that riding a motorcycle comes with risks. 


Staying safe on a bike comes down to experience, knowledge, and skill. 

But, a little bit of luck and a good dose of superstition never hurts either. 

Maybe you’ve seen a motorcycle with a bell hanging off the bottom, or you’re a new rider who has been gifted a bell and you’re not sure what it means. 

MotorcycleZombies.com is here to uncover the meaning of bells on a motorcycle!

Why Motorcycles Have Bells

If you’ve ever noticed a little bell hanging from the bottom of a motorcycle, you may be wondering what it means. 

These bells, also known as guardian bells or spirit bells, are a sort of good luck charm for motorcyclists. 

Just as many truck drivers carry pendants of St. Christopher, the patron saint of travels, the motorcycle bell is carried to protect the rider. 

The legends say that there are evil spirits, gremlins, and other forms of bad luck that hide in the road and latch on and cause mischief and problems for motorcyclists.  

The motorcycle bell is away to protect the bike and rider from these evil spirits. 

Instead of clinging onto the bike and causing problems, the gremlins are captured in the bell where they are tortured by the rininging until the go away. 

History of the Guardian Bell

Bells have a long history as good luck charms and a way to ward off evil. 

The history of the motorcycle bell likely stems from things like that. 

Other stories include WWII fighter pilots returning from war, taking up riding motorcycles, and continuing the tradition of giving bells and charms to their fellow pilots to protect them from evil spirits in the air. 

Still other stories include gremlins attacking weary riders on the road and mysterious figures using bells to ward off spirits. 

Whatever the true origins of the bell, the intentions remain the same: to protect the rider from evil and to keep them safe.  

Rules of the Motorcycle Guardian Bell

In order for a guardian bell to work, there are a few simple rules that must be followed. 

1. Thou Shalt Not Buy a Bell for Yourself

First, for the motorcycle bell to work properly, it must be gifted to the rider by someone else. 

You cannot simply buy the bell for yourself and expect it to ward off the evil spirits. 

Someone will need to give you the bell as a gesture of love and care.

2. The Bell Should be Attached Close to the Road

Since motorcycle bells are said to protect against spirits and gremlins that lurk in the road, the lower the bell is mounted, the better. 

A position at the lowest point of the frame is a popular choice.

3. Guardian Bells Shall Stay with the Rider

Since the bell was originally gifted to the rider with the intention to protect them, it stands to reason that the same bell should stay with the individual. 

If you sell your motorcycle with a bell attached, you should remove it before you hand the bike over. 

Feel free to transfer your bell to a new bike.

4. Motorcycle Bells Abide by the Laws of Karma

The intention behind the act of giving the bell is just as important as its inherent protective qualities. 

The same follows if a bell is stolen, bad karma will follow the thief, and they will not be protected from the gremlins that the guardian bell has already captured. 

5. Gift the Bell as a Sign of Love, Care, and Respect

Within the motorcycling community, the act of giving the bell is a great way to welcome a new rider. 

Give the bell with love and care, and share the story and meaning behind it. 

Where do you hang a bell on your motorcycle? 

The proper placement for a motorcycle bell is somewhere low on the frame. 

Anywhere you can attach the bell on the bottom of the bike securely is usually a good bet. 

The closer to the ground, the better – as this allows the bell to most effectively ward off evil spirits and road gremlins that may try to grab onto your bike. 

Some common placements include:

  • Near the bottom frame cross piece. 
  • Near a footrest. 
  • Near an engine mount. 

Bells can be securely mounted using a zip-tie, safety wire, or key-ring if you have a place to loop it through. 

Are guardian bells only for Harleys?

Nope, the guardian bell is not only for use on Harley-Davidson motorcycles. 

The bell is intended to protect all riders of any type of bike.

Can you buy yourself a guardian bell? 

For a motorcycle guardian bell to work, it cannot be purchased by the rider themselves

It will need to be given to the rider by someone who cares about them. 

The protective qualities of the bell are only activated by the gesture of receiving the bell as a token of care and good will from someone who cares about you.

Can a non-rider give someone a gremlin bell? 

Yes, a motorcycle bell can certainly be given by a friend or loved-one that doesn’t ride

In order for the protective effects of the bell to work, it simply has to be gifted to the rider by someone with good intentions. 

So, if you’re wondering if you can accept that motorcycle bell your grandma gave you – yes, you can.

Or if you’re trying to figure out what sort of gift you can get for your motorcycle-riding friend, the guardian bell is a great choice.