What is it
The Timber bike bell is a mountain bike-tailored handlebar-mounted bell that alerts wildlife, hikers, and other mountain bikers to your presence on the trail. Offered in quick release and bolt-on versions, the Timber bike bell can be activated or muted with the flick of a thumb switch.
- Dual mount options
- On some bikes bell may mar top tube in a crash
- QR elastic mount band can break
- Must switch off to silence
The advent of more capable bikes and faster trails, combined with the growing popularity of mountain biking, is leading to more trail conflicts than ever. The Timber bike bell is affordable yet surprisingly effective way to make your ride safer and more encounter friendly.
I (and many in my circle) got serious about a bell after a rider’s recent death from a mountain lion attack a mere five miles from where we were riding at the time. Word of mouth on the Timber bell was strong, so I decided to give it a try. Now I won’t ride without it.
The bell’s advantages start with alerting wildlife to your presence. Any rider noise has been proven to be a deterrent to animal attacks. My favorite rides involve a lot of twisty singletrack, often obscured in sections by blind corners and overgrowth. New, longer, rowdier trails have complicated the situation by adding speed to downhills on sections designated for two-way traffic, be it foot, wheel, or horse hoofs.
Shouting “rider up” gets tedious, is not always heard, and only works when you know there’s someone ahead to alert. Here’s where the Timer bike bell’s true genius lies. Affixed to your handlebars, the bell clapper sounds with the slightest movement, providing a constant symphony (similar to a wind chime) as you ride along. I have yet to encounter anyone who hasn’t heard me from several switchbacks away.
Most are grateful for the warning. An unheard mountain bike suddenly careening toward them is a much more worrisome prospect than a pleasant tingling affording plenty of preparation time.
An unexpected side benefit has been the entirely voluntary yielding of uphill mountain bikers, who given plenty of notice willingly dismount to let us by.
I even use the Timber bike bell while slowly ascending two-way singletrack in situations where poor sightlines prevent knowing who might be coming from the other direction.
Yes, a constantly ringing bell can be a bit annoying. But the payoff for all parties is well worth it. And the Timber bike bell can be silenced with a flick of the thumb switch.
The only gotcha I’ve come across is the potential for the elastic quick-release strap to fail (ours did not, but we’ve heard this from other users). The Timber bike bell ships with two, and you can order more, or simply use any sink drain gasket, although it will lack Timber’s convenient pull tab for mounting.
Also a heads up that the bell can strike and mar some frames in event of a crash or handlebar whip. I found this potential on only one of half a dozen mountain bikes I mounted the bell on — a six-year-old XC bike. Most bikes with more contemporary geometry have dropped top tubes that provide plenty of clearance for the bell.
The Timber bike bell is one of those modest, clever things that you don’t realize you need till you use it. It’s given me peace of mind, and saved vocal chords for after-ride tale-swapping.
Rating: 5 out of 5
More info: www.mtbbell.com