The use of ultrasonic guided waves for the inspection of pipes with elbow and U-type bends has received much attention in recent years, but studies for more general bend angles which may also occur commonly, for example in cross-country pipes, are limited. Here, we address this topic considering a general bend angle φ, a more general mean bend radius R in terms of the wavelength of the mode studied and pipe thickness b. We use 3D Finite Element (FE) simulation to understand the propagation of fundamental axisymmetric L(0, 2) mode across bends of different angles φ. The effect of the ratio of the mean bend radius to the wavelength of the mode studied, on the transmission and reflection of incident wave is also considered. The studies show that as the bend angle is reduced, a progressively larger extent of mode-conversion affects the transmission and velocity characteristics of the L(0, 2) mode. However the overall message on the potential of guided waves for inspection and monitoring of bent pipes remains positive, as bends seem to impact mode transmission only to the extent of 20% even at low bend angles. The conclusions seem to be valid for different typical pipe thicknesses b and bend radii. The modeling approach is validated by experiments and discussed in light of physics of guided waves. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.