Timber Mountain Bike Bell: The polite way to pass

Passive bell offers alternative to traditional ding-ding-ding

Gear
The Timber Bike Bell is made of brass, fits bars up to 35mm, and comes with an o-ring that allows for placement on skinner sections of your bars, too.

The Timber Bike Bell is made of brass, fits bars up to 35mm, and comes with an o-ring that allows for placement on skinner sections of your bars, too (click to enlarge).

What’s the most polite way to alert other trail users of your presence? Most would say a bell of some sort (and not a shout or whistle). But you can make an argument that dinging a bell is the trail version of honking your car’s horn, which isn’t exactly subtle. At least that’s the thinking behind the recently launched Timber Mountain Bike Bell. Instead of the standard ding-ding-ding, the Timber bell aims to mimic the more passive noise of a cowbell. You can check out a video demo here.

“When you put the bell into ring mode the motion of your bike makes it ring,” explained Timber’s Chris Lacy of a lever that controls the bell’s internal clapper. “So you are communicating to other trail users that you are there, but not in a beep-beep, get out of my way kind of way.”

Once you roll past, toggle the Timber bell back to silent mode and all you’ll hear is your tires on the trail.

“The idea is that you flip it into ring mode when rolling up on someone, or maybe on a long downhill run or when going around blind turns where you probably don’t want to take your hands off the bars to ring a traditional bell,” continued Lacy.

Lacy says the idea was born during a ride with his wife and Timber co-found Liz when a negative experience with another trail user soured an otherwise fun day. A brainstorming session commenced and soon after they were utilizing a 3D printer to design prototypes. Once design was nailed down they went into production.

The Timber Bike Bell is made of brass, fits bars up to 35mm, and comes with an o-ring that allows for placement on skinner sections of your bars, too. It can also be mounted under your saddle on the seatpost. Price is $20.

“We’ve found that people have a great response,” said Lacy. “You’re creating awareness, but are not acting like you have more of a right to be there than they do.”

For more information visit www.mtbbell.com.


About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympics, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the Mtbr staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.


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  • PolarMonkey says:

    We’ve been using Coghlan’s Bear Bells to do the exact same thing for years up here in AK. They work great to alert trail users and wildlife that you are coming, have a magnetic silencer, and cost less than $5.

  • John Hitt says:

    Excellent bell. Gives the hikers enough time to adjust to me on the trail. Often I receive a thank you as I pass the other person . The ability to turn off the bell makes it worth the money paid. I used to run a bear bell, this is an upgrade.

  • preston says:

    I love this, exactly what I’ve been looking for. To me the cheap bear bells while having a great easy to hear jingle, were just too difficult to silence/unsilence on the fly. I have been using the http://awarenessbell.com/ bell, but I found it difficult to silence while wearing gloves, so I tapped and welded a screw on the bottom so I could wrap some safety wire around it to easily silence it. It works okay but the slight bit of mass I added reduced its aural effectiveness. I much prefer the more technical appearance and sleekness and easily manipulated lever on this bell and its cheaper. I am buying one today to give it a shot. I am definitely sold on wearing a bell its invaluable in the backcountry but also very helpful at local riding areas to encourage in a positive way trail yielding. Of course if everyone at the trail center wears bells they will quit being effective.

  • Greg Getz says:

    This is the best warning system on the trail I’ve ever used. I have 6mo of use on mine and it is great.

  • mike says:

    my bell sounds like bees and is in the center of my wheel

  • Peper says:

    I’m not sure I’d hear it over my Profile Elite SS hub :)

  • ryan says:

    I guess if you have a silent freehub this is worthwhile, but honestly, most hubs are loud enough to easily hear, and if you coast up behind another trail user at anything like a reasonable speed they’ll hear you just fine. Maybe it’s because I also ride a bike, but I’d rather hear the freehub sound than a bell behind me when hiking. TO ME, a freehub’s buzz just says “someone else is using this trail, too”, but a bell says “you are in my way, get off the trail”. Purely a subjective thing though, I’ll be the first to admit. I hope they are successful, even if their product is somewhat annoying to ME.

  • Cooper says:

    I love this idea and ordered one after seeing it here. My rear hub and bike overall is pretty quiet and I’ve inadvertently snuck up and startled many hikers. I’ve refrained from buying other “striker” type bells as I feel they’re annoying and as of late had just started “fake” shifting to hopefully create enough drivetrain noise to get attention…sometimes this works, but it’s not convenient on some climbs :) I think this passive bell (with an off/on switch) will be perfect for me. Thanks for this post MTBR!

  • Bryan says:

    I bought this bell after reading the review. Great idea and design. Love how simple it mounted to the handlebar but when you leave it on it’s like Tinker Bell chasing you around buggin’ out in your ear. When it’s on the quietest setting it still felt pretty distracting. My usual ride has a lot of blind corners and switching it on and off was a lot more cumbersome than just dinging a striker bell on demand.

  • Mizznfizz says:

    Seems like a good idea and a decent price for what they are offering. That CDW awareness bell is crazy expensive but seems very loud. Thing that I am worried about with the Timber Bell is that it won’t be loud enough. I currently run a bear bell on a cramp-on inbetween my brake/shifter cables at the front of the bike and still have people that don’t hear me. Wondering what the dB on these two bells are? Anyone do any scientific testing with either?

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