Ding Ding... ring my bell!!

p3eps

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
Subscriber
Dec 14, 2019
1,919
2,308
Scotland
I’ve been experimenting with various bells over the last few years. I haven’t had a bell on my bike for about 12+ years prior to that, and never really needed one until Covid. It seemed that Covid unearthed a whole new generation of walkers, runners and dog walkers… that now use a lot of the paths that they never did pre 2020!

In my ‘bike stuff’ drawer in the garage I’ve pulled out the ones I could find without digging too deep. The pink flower one is / was my daughters - honest! The others were either purchased, or came free with bikes. I’ve tried them all though.

IMG_8623 2.JPG


The first few are generic bells. Basically pull lever, let it go, and they ding. I think everyone has probably tried one of these or similar. The pink one seems more mechanical and I bet if I opened it up, it’d have some sort of gear type mechanism inside.

IMG_8624 2.JPG


I’ve spent a lot of effort (and money) making my cockpit as simple / clean as possible… wireless shifters, wireless dropper, and for symmetry sake - my Garmin mount is in the centre. I don’t want a big bulky bell messing it up.

The next bell in the line is a slight twist on the regular bell. Mine is a non branded one from eBay that cost about £3.50 (or 3 for £10 in my case). It’s a knockoff of a “Knog Oi Classic” bell. It’s small and neat, and fits nicely in the space between my brakes and grips. It’s barely visible. Same method as the others, pull the lever back and let it go - and it dings. Quite loud and effective given its tiny size. I’ve actually broken 2 of these already… but I bet if I’d bought the proper Knog one, that wouldn’t be an issue.

IMG_8625.JPG


IMG_8626.JPG


Anyway… what I find with ANY bell is that you startle the runner / walker / dog when you ‘ding’ it. I’ve had people jump a mile, and even some get quite aggressive. If I don’t ding and go past them, then they also take offence and sometimes shout… “have you never heard of a bell?” they shout. Can’t win!
Before bells, I would generally pull the rear brake on and do a little skid on approach (which would also make them shit themselves…) but it didn’t cause the same offence as dinging a bell. I think people think that the cyclist thinks (a lot of thinking) they’re entitled and have priority - so dinging a bell winds a lot of them up.

My next purchase was a Timber bell… and I went with the bolt on one. As soon as you enter a populated area, you flick the switch and the bell dings itself with every bump / or rocking motion of the bike. You can also make it ding harder / louder by pumping your forks if you feel the need! Basically, the whole time you’re riding the trail you hear ding ding ding ding… and to be honest, after a while you forget about it. I wear earbuds when riding, which numb it a little… but I have the volume so low, it doesn’t make much difference.

IMG_8667.jpeg


What I found with the Timber bell is that the walkers / runners / dogs etc are much more responsive to it. They hear you coming from way back, and make an effort to get out of the way. No startled bunnies standing in the way… they actually react before you reach them. I’ve had various people stop me and offer their thanks, and comment on what a good idea it was.
Sounds good right?!

What I then realised is that even when you switch the Timber bell off, a big hit on your bike can still make it ‘ding’. It’s also not the nicest looking thing on my bars. The one I have required me to remove brakes / gears / grips from the bar and slide it on… so it was a bit of a pain if I wanted to remove it. I also had an unfortunate incident with my previous bike - when I came off, the bars turned, and the Timber bell (which I had up near the stem) scraped my headtube.
A lot of my riding is trail centres where there are no runners / walkers etc… so a bell is unnecessary. Part of me wished I’d bought the removable one… but at £35 it seemed an expensive mistake.

Back into eBay, and I found the knock off version of Timber - for about £11.50. 4 weeks it took to come from China, and when I got it - it was broken. The plastic next to where the rubber band clips in has come away. Looks like a broken clip. It still works, but it looks a bit… errr… broken? It’s also another example of “buy cheap, pay dear”.

IMG_8215.JPG


Thankfully, I contacted the seller and they offered a refund without any hassle, and said just to keep it.
You can see it has some stuck on squishy foam for the bars, and it came with 2 different sized rubber bands for fitting.

IMG_8666.jpeg


It works exactly like the Timber bell, but just feels like a cheap knockoff. The on off switch feels like it has less bite, the foam looks naff like someone’s cut a bit of draught excluder with a Stanley knife and stuck it on with doubles sided tape, and the rubber bands feel like they’ll have a limited lifespan.

That brings me to my latest purchase - the Timber V4 quick release.

IMG_8618 2.JPG


Same functionality of my original Timber bell, but I can simply unhook it and take it off the bars when I don’t need it. If I’m riding straight from my house and know I’m going to be on paths where I encounter people / dogs… then I clip the bell on. If I’m going to a trail centre, then I leave it at home. It has 3 different rubber inserts to cope with all sizes of bars - which need to be screwed into place. It’s just feels much better quality than the knockoff one.

IMG_8629 2.JPG


What I’ve noticed today, is that the V4 ‘bolt on’ Timber bell now has a hinged clasp - so could be fitted by just removing the screw rather than having to slide it along the bars like my one.
It’s also easier to adjust on the trail than the bolt on. There’s a correct angle for the bell, so that it rings even when on flat. A few degrees off vertical helps.

IMG_8648.JPG


It ties in quite well when pushed against the stem... and because you only need to "switch it" on and off on rare occasion, it doesn't matter than you need to take your hand off the bars to do it. It can also be removed in about 5 seconds for the rides when it's not needed.

IMG_8650.JPG


The downside to ANY bell is that a lot of the people doing their activities in the woods / trails have earbuds or headphones on, and no matter how loud you ding… they can’t hear you. I’ve seen me shouting ‘excuse me’ almost at the top of my voice when a guy walking on a narrow path in front had big noise cancelling headphones on… so loud that I could hear his music above mine!
I crept along behind him for a few minutes before he had that ‘there’s someone behind me’ feeling and looked round - then apologised profusely! Even if I’d had an air horn, I don’t think he’d have heard me!

So there we have it. My roundup of some bells! My recommendation is a Timber bell based on the reactions from other forest path users. If you want to spend the minimum time slowing down to get past people, the Timber bell is the way to go. As you approach, they’ve already pulled their extending dog leads in, and moved into the side of the path… or the groups 4 wide who think they’re walking the yellow brick road have got down to single file! You could ding, ding, ding a manual bell as you approach instead, but the Timber bell lets you carry on care free. It does mean you spend half your ride saying ‘thank you’… but at least I’m not slowing down!
I would also recommend buying the genuine article rather than a cheap clone - whether Timber or Knog or any others out there. They’re expensive for a reason. They’ve had proper R&D, QC, and probably come with a warranty and will likely last a lot longer than the original.

Disclaimer… this is MY opinion, and MY experiences… and yours might be different 😂🤷🏼‍♂️
 
Last edited:

Tim1023

Well-known member
Aug 25, 2020
649
572
Hamburg, Germany
I can confirm that you didn't miss out much on the Knog oi classic. Look great, but the hammer falls off and gets lost much too easily. It's so bad that I don't think they should be selling them. They have a more expensive model that is more robust, however (forget the name). Still rather quiet.
 

Polar

Active member
Jun 16, 2023
332
428
Norway
I’ve been experimenting with various bells over the last few years. I haven’t had a bell on my bike for about 12+ years prior to that, and never really needed one until Covid. It seemed that Covid unearthed a whole new generation of walkers, runners and dog walkers… that now use a lot of the paths that they never did pre 2020!

In my ‘bike stuff’ drawer in the garage I’ve pulled out the ones I could find without digging too deep. The pink flower one is / was my daughters - honest! The others were either purchased, or came free with bikes. I’ve tried them all though.

View attachment 141539

The first few are generic bells. Basically pull lever, let it go, and they ding. I think everyone has probably tried one of these or similar. The pink one seems more mechanical and I bet if I opened it up, it’d have some sort of gear type mechanism inside.

View attachment 141540

I’ve spent a lot of effort (and money) making my cockpit as simple / clean as possible… wireless shifters, wireless dropper, and for symmetry sake - my Garmin mount is in the centre. I don’t want a big bulky bell messing it up.

The next bell in the line is a slight twist on the regular bell. Mine is a non branded one from eBay that cost about £3.50 (or 3 for £10 in my case). It’s a knockoff of a “Knog Oi Classic” bell. It’s small and neat, and fits nicely in the space between my brakes and grips. It’s barely visible. Same method as the others, pull the lever back and let it go - and it dings. Quite loud and effective given its tiny size. I’ve actually broken 2 of these already… but I bet if I’d bought the proper Knog one, that wouldn’t be an issue.

View attachment 141541

View attachment 141542

Anyway… what I find with ANY bell is that you startle the runner / walker / dog when you ‘ding’ it. I’ve had people jump a mile, and even some get quite aggressive. If I don’t ding and go past them, then they also take offence and sometimes shout… “have you never heard of a bell?” they shout. Can’t win!
Before bells, I would generally pull the rear brake on and do a little skid on approach (which would also make them shit themselves…) but it didn’t cause the same offence as dinging a bell. I think people think that the cyclist thinks (a lot of thinking) they’re entitled and have priority - so dinging a bell winds a lot of them up.

My next purchase was a Timber bell… and I went with the bolt on one. As soon as you enter a populated area, you flick the switch and the bell dings itself with every bump / or rocking motion of the bike. You can also make it ding harder / louder by pumping your forks if you feel the need! Basically, the whole time you’re riding the trail you hear ding ding ding ding… and to be honest, after a while you forget about it. I wear earbuds when riding, which numb it a little… but I have the volume so low, it doesn’t make much difference.

**PHOTO OF BOLT ON TIMBER BELL TO APPEAR HERE**

What I found with the Timber bell is that the walkers / runners / dogs etc are much more responsive to it. They hear you coming from way back, and make an effort to get out of the way. No startled bunnies standing in the way… they actually react before you reach them. I’ve had various people stop me and offer their thanks, and comment on what a good idea it was.
Sounds good right?!

What I then realised is that even when you switch the Timber bell off, a big hit on your bike can still make it ‘ding’. It’s also not the nicest looking thing on my bars. The one I have required me to remove brakes / gears / grips from the bar and slide it on… so it was a bit of a pain if I wanted to remove it. I also had an unfortunate incident with my previous bike - when I came off, the bars turned, and the Timber bell (which I had up near the stem) scraped my headtube.
A lot of my riding is trail centres where there are no runners / walkers etc… so a bell is unnecessary. Part of me wished I’d bought the removable one… but at £35 it seemed an expensive mistake.

Back into eBay, and I found the knock off version of Timber - for about £11.50. 4 weeks it took to come from China, and when I got it - it was broken. The plastic next to where the rubber band clips in has come away. Looks like a broken clip. It still works, but it looks a bit… errr… broken? It’s also another example of “buy cheap, pay dear”.

View attachment 141543

Thankfully, I contacted the seller and they offered a refund without any hassle, and said just to keep it.
You can see it has some stuck on squishy foam for the bars, and it came with 2 different sized rubber bands for fitting.

**CLOSE UP PHOTO OF FOAM TO APPEAR HERE**

It works exactly like the Timber bell, but just feels like a cheap knockoff. The on off switch feels like it has less bite, the foam looks naff like someone’s cut a bit of draught excluder with a Stanley knife and stuck it on with doubles sided tape, and the rubber bands feel like they’ll have a limited lifespan.

That brings me to my latest purchase - the Timber V4 quick release.

View attachment 141546

Same functionality of my original Timber bell, but I can simply unhook it and take it off the bars when I don’t need it. If I’m riding straight from my house and know I’m going to be on paths where I encounter people / dogs… then I clip the bell on. If I’m going to a trail centre, then I leave it at home. It has 3 different rubber inserts to cope with all sizes of bars - which need to be screwed into place. It’s just feels much better quality than the knockoff one.

View attachment 141547

What I’ve noticed today, is that the V4 ‘bolt on’ Timber bell now has a hinged clasp - so could be fitted by just removing the screw rather than having to slide it along the bars like my one.
It’s also easier to adjust on the trail than the bolt on. There’s a correct angle for the bell, so that it rings even when on flat. A few degrees off vertical helps.

View attachment 141544

It ties in quite well when pushed against the stem... and because you only need to "switch it" on and off on rare occasion, it doesn't matter than you need to take your hand off the bars to do it. It can also be removed in about 5 seconds for the rides when it's not needed.

View attachment 141545

The downside to ANY bell is that a lot of the people doing their activities in the woods / trails have earbuds or headphones on, and no matter how loud you ding… they can’t hear you. I’ve seen me shouting ‘excuse me’ almost at the top of my voice when a guy walking on a narrow path in front had big noise cancelling headphones on… so loud that I could hear his music above mine!
I crept along behind him for a few minutes before he had that ‘there’s someone behind me’ feeling and looked round - then apologised profusely! Even if I’d had an air horn, I don’t think he’d have heard me!

So there we have it. My roundup of some bells! My recommendation is a Timber bell based on the reactions from other forest path users. If you want to spend the minimum time slowing down to get past people, the Timber bell is the way to go. As you approach, they’ve already pulled their extending dog leads in, and moved into the side of the path… or the groups 4 wide who think they’re walking the yellow brick road have got down to single file! You could ding, ding, ding a manual bell as you approach instead, but the Timber bell lets you carry on care free. It does mean you spend half your ride saying ‘thank you’… but at least I’m not slowing down!
I would also recommend buying the genuine article rather than a cheap clone - whether Timber or Knog or any others out there. They’re expensive for a reason. They’ve had proper R&D, QC, and probably come with a warranty and will likely last a lot longer than the original.

Disclaimer… this is MY opinion, and MY experiences… and yours might be different 😂🤷🏼‍♂️
$7 Chinese knock off😬
IMG_2595.jpeg
 

p3eps

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
Subscriber
Dec 14, 2019
1,919
2,308
Scotland
I can confirm that you didn't miss out much on the Knog oi classic. Look great, but the hammer falls off and gets lost much too easily. It's so bad that I don't think they should be selling them. They have a more expensive model that is more robust, however (forget the name). Still rather quiet.
That’s what happened to my knock offs. Both lost the hammer as it was just attached by a spring.
 

ragnor

Active member
Apr 23, 2020
122
251
U.K.
Agreed that you just can't win with a bell. Ring it & you get abuse for your "entitlement" to the track. Others comment "Didn't hear you. Don't you have a bell?" So now I just yell, very politely, "Excuse me please" and "Thank you" when I pass. Apart from those with things in their lugs it seems to work reasonably well.
 

RustyIron

E*POWAH Elite World Champion
Subscriber
Jun 5, 2021
1,588
2,482
La Habra, California
I’ve been experimenting with various bells over the last few years.

Cowabunga that's a complete and all-inclusive bell analysis!

I've also found that the Timber is the best bell available. For me, the manually operated bells aren't very useful. When speeds are fast and visibility limited, we need to communicate our presence BEFORE we're on top of somebody. The Timber is automatic, and it lets people know I'm coming long before I get there. And when the shoe is on the other foot, I'd rather have a few seconds warning before they come blasting around the corner.
 

RebornRider

Well-known member
May 31, 2019
598
601
NorCal USA
Another vote for Timber. As you say, some people will be annoyed with you no matter what you do. In my case, many more people say "thanks for the bell" than give me a dirty look, so that's a win.

I don't react badly to those who are annoyed by bikes. I feel sorry for them because they must have a sad and angry existence.
 

Polar

Active member
Jun 16, 2023
332
428
Norway
I would like to try out Timberbell but unfortunately it's not available in norway so my only alternative is Amazon but with shipping and tax it's $54 so I'm still on the fence.
 

Base

New Member
Jul 21, 2023
19
12
Toronto
I got one of those Rockbros low profile bells and it just fits between the lever and grip and works well enough. I also got the Granite cricket bell to try out because it has single strike or cowbell mode but its pretty low dinging compared to what the guys use I ride with, single strike is loud enough though.
 

The Hodge

Mystic Meg
Subscriber
Sep 9, 2020
3,763
7,751
North West Northumberland
In near 30 years of mtb'ing I've never had a bell.. if I'm coming up behind a group I just shout " ding-a-ling -a-ling in good time which gets there attention ..with a smile & sorry I can't afford a bell as I'm passing which more often than not gets a smile back ..
I do remember an occaision when I came upon an entitled group of red socks in Beamish Woods shortly after I'd bought my first bike ..where the group " leader" took great offence to me being on a ( legal) bridleway and started chasing me ..things were different back then and thankfully over the years attitudes have changed although you still get some groups of old school " ramblers" happy to engage..these days it's just easier to smile & move on..
 

Tim1023

Well-known member
Aug 25, 2020
649
572
Hamburg, Germany
In near 30 years of mtb'ing I've never had a bell.. if I'm coming up behind a group I just shout " ding-a-ling -a-ling in good time which gets there attention ..with a smile & sorry I can't afford a bell as I'm passing which more often than not gets a smile back ..
I do remember an occaision when I came upon an entitled group of red socks in Beamish Woods shortly after I'd bought my first bike ..where the group " leader" took great offence to me being on a ( legal) bridleway and started chasing me ..things were different back then and thankfully over the years attitudes have changed although you still get some groups of old school " ramblers" happy to engage..these days it's just easier to smile & move on..
Good solution as people are probably more attuned to a human voice without being too shocked. Also "coming by on the left" doesn't work so well, as a lot of people jump left into the gap I was aiming for! Keep it non-specific and just wait for them to sort themselves out.
 

Haveland

Active member
Apr 21, 2022
207
145
New Brunswick, Canada
I love the timber, but like you, I went with a clean cockpit, and the new SRAM brakes are great but don't leave a lot of room for the bell. So I mounted mine where you did and the bell just kicked the TCU on my turbo levo and shattered the glass.. I mounted up at an angle that this wouldn't happen, but it must have gotten pushed down at one point.

I do find the timber bell gets the best response on the trail, and I like it from night riding as the deer seem to respond to it and get out of the way. They tend to like to just freeze and look at my lights.
 

Nice write up and comparison. Years ago, I put the TimberBell on my Haibike and it's been perfect.

Before TimberBell and Haibike, I splurged nearly 60 bucks (!) for the original SpurCycle Bell (of which the bell by Rock Bros in post 4, duly ripped off) on my Specialized Fatboy. I think floating about on youtube was a sound comparison between the original, US made SpurCycle Bell and the China Bros Rip Off Bell. There is a definite difference in sound between the two, Spur Cycle having a sharp, clear ring and the rip off job being more muddy in tone.

SpurCycle Bell Link: Spurcycle Original Bell - RAW+GLD

 

DanDeride

New Member
Sep 22, 2023
8
7
Bellingham, WA
I’ve been experimenting with various bells over the last few years. I haven’t had a bell on my bike for about 12+ years prior to that, and never really needed one until Covid. It seemed that Covid unearthed a whole new generation of walkers, runners and dog walkers… that now use a lot of the paths that they never did pre 2020!

In my ‘bike stuff’ drawer in the garage I’ve pulled out the ones I could find without digging too deep. The pink flower one is / was my daughters - honest! The others were either purchased, or came free with bikes. I’ve tried them all though.

View attachment 141539

The first few are generic bells. Basically pull lever, let it go, and they ding. I think everyone has probably tried one of these or similar. The pink one seems more mechanical and I bet if I opened it up, it’d have some sort of gear type mechanism inside.

View attachment 141540

I’ve spent a lot of effort (and money) making my cockpit as simple / clean as possible… wireless shifters, wireless dropper, and for symmetry sake - my Garmin mount is in the centre. I don’t want a big bulky bell messing it up.

The next bell in the line is a slight twist on the regular bell. Mine is a non branded one from eBay that cost about £3.50 (or 3 for £10 in my case). It’s a knockoff of a “Knog Oi Classic” bell. It’s small and neat, and fits nicely in the space between my brakes and grips. It’s barely visible. Same method as the others, pull the lever back and let it go - and it dings. Quite loud and effective given its tiny size. I’ve actually broken 2 of these already… but I bet if I’d bought the proper Knog one, that wouldn’t be an issue.

View attachment 141541

View attachment 141542

Anyway… what I find with ANY bell is that you startle the runner / walker / dog when you ‘ding’ it. I’ve had people jump a mile, and even some get quite aggressive. If I don’t ding and go past them, then they also take offence and sometimes shout… “have you never heard of a bell?” they shout. Can’t win!
Before bells, I would generally pull the rear brake on and do a little skid on approach (which would also make them shit themselves…) but it didn’t cause the same offence as dinging a bell. I think people think that the cyclist thinks (a lot of thinking) they’re entitled and have priority - so dinging a bell winds a lot of them up.

My next purchase was a Timber bell… and I went with the bolt on one. As soon as you enter a populated area, you flick the switch and the bell dings itself with every bump / or rocking motion of the bike. You can also make it ding harder / louder by pumping your forks if you feel the need! Basically, the whole time you’re riding the trail you hear ding ding ding ding… and to be honest, after a while you forget about it. I wear earbuds when riding, which numb it a little… but I have the volume so low, it doesn’t make much difference.

View attachment 141551

What I found with the Timber bell is that the walkers / runners / dogs etc are much more responsive to it. They hear you coming from way back, and make an effort to get out of the way. No startled bunnies standing in the way… they actually react before you reach them. I’ve had various people stop me and offer their thanks, and comment on what a good idea it was.
Sounds good right?!

What I then realised is that even when you switch the Timber bell off, a big hit on your bike can still make it ‘ding’. It’s also not the nicest looking thing on my bars. The one I have required me to remove brakes / gears / grips from the bar and slide it on… so it was a bit of a pain if I wanted to remove it. I also had an unfortunate incident with my previous bike - when I came off, the bars turned, and the Timber bell (which I had up near the stem) scraped my headtube.
A lot of my riding is trail centres where there are no runners / walkers etc… so a bell is unnecessary. Part of me wished I’d bought the removable one… but at £35 it seemed an expensive mistake.

Back into eBay, and I found the knock off version of Timber - for about £11.50. 4 weeks it took to come from China, and when I got it - it was broken. The plastic next to where the rubber band clips in has come away. Looks like a broken clip. It still works, but it looks a bit… errr… broken? It’s also another example of “buy cheap, pay dear”.

View attachment 141543

Thankfully, I contacted the seller and they offered a refund without any hassle, and said just to keep it.
You can see it has some stuck on squishy foam for the bars, and it came with 2 different sized rubber bands for fitting.

View attachment 141552

It works exactly like the Timber bell, but just feels like a cheap knockoff. The on off switch feels like it has less bite, the foam looks naff like someone’s cut a bit of draught excluder with a Stanley knife and stuck it on with doubles sided tape, and the rubber bands feel like they’ll have a limited lifespan.

That brings me to my latest purchase - the Timber V4 quick release.

View attachment 141546

Same functionality of my original Timber bell, but I can simply unhook it and take it off the bars when I don’t need it. If I’m riding straight from my house and know I’m going to be on paths where I encounter people / dogs… then I clip the bell on. If I’m going to a trail centre, then I leave it at home. It has 3 different rubber inserts to cope with all sizes of bars - which need to be screwed into place. It’s just feels much better quality than the knockoff one.

View attachment 141547

What I’ve noticed today, is that the V4 ‘bolt on’ Timber bell now has a hinged clasp - so could be fitted by just removing the screw rather than having to slide it along the bars like my one.
It’s also easier to adjust on the trail than the bolt on. There’s a correct angle for the bell, so that it rings even when on flat. A few degrees off vertical helps.

View attachment 141544

It ties in quite well when pushed against the stem... and because you only need to "switch it" on and off on rare occasion, it doesn't matter than you need to take your hand off the bars to do it. It can also be removed in about 5 seconds for the rides when it's not needed.

View attachment 141545

The downside to ANY bell is that a lot of the people doing their activities in the woods / trails have earbuds or headphones on, and no matter how loud you ding… they can’t hear you. I’ve seen me shouting ‘excuse me’ almost at the top of my voice when a guy walking on a narrow path in front had big noise cancelling headphones on… so loud that I could hear his music above mine!
I crept along behind him for a few minutes before he had that ‘there’s someone behind me’ feeling and looked round - then apologised profusely! Even if I’d had an air horn, I don’t think he’d have heard me!

So there we have it. My roundup of some bells! My recommendation is a Timber bell based on the reactions from other forest path users. If you want to spend the minimum time slowing down to get past people, the Timber bell is the way to go. As you approach, they’ve already pulled their extending dog leads in, and moved into the side of the path… or the groups 4 wide who think they’re walking the yellow brick road have got down to single file! You could ding, ding, ding a manual bell as you approach instead, but the Timber bell lets you carry on care free. It does mean you spend half your ride saying ‘thank you’… but at least I’m not slowing down!
I would also recommend buying the genuine article rather than a cheap clone - whether Timber or Knog or any others out there. They’re expensive for a reason. They’ve had proper R&D, QC, and probably come with a warranty and will likely last a lot longer than the original.

Disclaimer… this is MY opinion, and MY experiences… and yours might be different 😂🤷🏼‍♂️
Great write up! I agree completely that bells are invaluable on any multi-use trail, but you can't depend on folks hearing them... I've settled on the IntelliBell. It is small & light, very adjustable, and has a brilliant ring that sounds cool and really carries. I've had many hikers thank me and comment on how far away they heard me!
 

jeanmarc

Well-known member
Mar 2, 2021
407
408
Canada
Removable is a great option, don't forget to put it back on when needed, which is what I would surely do half the time... Nice essay on Bells, I agree with your analysis! 😊
 

Jay Vee

New Member
Oct 10, 2023
1
1
Chicago, IL
To try and avoid startling a walker I begin ringing the bell a bit farther away and increase the intensity as I get closer - sometimes helps, however I live in an urban area where many many walkers use bluetooth headphones
 

Binhill1

🍊 Tango Man 🍊
Mar 7, 2019
2,868
4,318
Scotland
In near 30 years of mtb'ing I've never had a bell.. if I'm coming up behind a group I just shout " ding-a-ling -a-ling in good time which gets there attention ..with a smile & sorry I can't afford a bell as I'm passing which more often than not gets a smile back ..
I do remember an occaision when I came upon an entitled group of red socks in Beamish Woods shortly after I'd bought my first bike ..where the group " leader" took great offence to me being on a ( legal) bridleway and started chasing me ..things were different back then and thankfully over the years attitudes have changed although you still get some groups of old school " ramblers" happy to engage..these days it's just easier to smile & move on..
If on the old railway line I usually go
Choo Choo.
 

Binhill1

🍊 Tango Man 🍊
Mar 7, 2019
2,868
4,318
Scotland
I’ve been experimenting with various bells over the last few years. I haven’t had a bell on my bike for about 12+ years prior to that, and never really needed one until Covid. It seemed that Covid unearthed a whole new generation of walkers, runners and dog walkers… that now use a lot of the paths that they never did pre 2020!

In my ‘bike stuff’ drawer in the garage I’ve pulled out the ones I could find without digging too deep. The pink flower one is / was my daughters - honest! The others were either purchased, or came free with bikes. I’ve tried them all though.

View attachment 141539

The first few are generic bells. Basically pull lever, let it go, and they ding. I think everyone has probably tried one of these or similar. The pink one seems more mechanical and I bet if I opened it up, it’d have some sort of gear type mechanism inside.

View attachment 141540

I’ve spent a lot of effort (and money) making my cockpit as simple / clean as possible… wireless shifters, wireless dropper, and for symmetry sake - my Garmin mount is in the centre. I don’t want a big bulky bell messing it up.

The next bell in the line is a slight twist on the regular bell. Mine is a non branded one from eBay that cost about £3.50 (or 3 for £10 in my case). It’s a knockoff of a “Knog Oi Classic” bell. It’s small and neat, and fits nicely in the space between my brakes and grips. It’s barely visible. Same method as the others, pull the lever back and let it go - and it dings. Quite loud and effective given its tiny size. I’ve actually broken 2 of these already… but I bet if I’d bought the proper Knog one, that wouldn’t be an issue.

View attachment 141541

View attachment 141542

Anyway… what I find with ANY bell is that you startle the runner / walker / dog when you ‘ding’ it. I’ve had people jump a mile, and even some get quite aggressive. If I don’t ding and go past them, then they also take offence and sometimes shout… “have you never heard of a bell?” they shout. Can’t win!
Before bells, I would generally pull the rear brake on and do a little skid on approach (which would also make them shit themselves…) but it didn’t cause the same offence as dinging a bell. I think people think that the cyclist thinks (a lot of thinking) they’re entitled and have priority - so dinging a bell winds a lot of them up.

My next purchase was a Timber bell… and I went with the bolt on one. As soon as you enter a populated area, you flick the switch and the bell dings itself with every bump / or rocking motion of the bike. You can also make it ding harder / louder by pumping your forks if you feel the need! Basically, the whole time you’re riding the trail you hear ding ding ding ding… and to be honest, after a while you forget about it. I wear earbuds when riding, which numb it a little… but I have the volume so low, it doesn’t make much difference.

View attachment 141551

What I found with the Timber bell is that the walkers / runners / dogs etc are much more responsive to it. They hear you coming from way back, and make an effort to get out of the way. No startled bunnies standing in the way… they actually react before you reach them. I’ve had various people stop me and offer their thanks, and comment on what a good idea it was.
Sounds good right?!

What I then realised is that even when you switch the Timber bell off, a big hit on your bike can still make it ‘ding’. It’s also not the nicest looking thing on my bars. The one I have required me to remove brakes / gears / grips from the bar and slide it on… so it was a bit of a pain if I wanted to remove it. I also had an unfortunate incident with my previous bike - when I came off, the bars turned, and the Timber bell (which I had up near the stem) scraped my headtube.
A lot of my riding is trail centres where there are no runners / walkers etc… so a bell is unnecessary. Part of me wished I’d bought the removable one… but at £35 it seemed an expensive mistake.

Back into eBay, and I found the knock off version of Timber - for about £11.50. 4 weeks it took to come from China, and when I got it - it was broken. The plastic next to where the rubber band clips in has come away. Looks like a broken clip. It still works, but it looks a bit… errr… broken? It’s also another example of “buy cheap, pay dear”.

View attachment 141543

Thankfully, I contacted the seller and they offered a refund without any hassle, and said just to keep it.
You can see it has some stuck on squishy foam for the bars, and it came with 2 different sized rubber bands for fitting.

View attachment 141552

It works exactly like the Timber bell, but just feels like a cheap knockoff. The on off switch feels like it has less bite, the foam looks naff like someone’s cut a bit of draught excluder with a Stanley knife and stuck it on with doubles sided tape, and the rubber bands feel like they’ll have a limited lifespan.

That brings me to my latest purchase - the Timber V4 quick release.

View attachment 141546

Same functionality of my original Timber bell, but I can simply unhook it and take it off the bars when I don’t need it. If I’m riding straight from my house and know I’m going to be on paths where I encounter people / dogs… then I clip the bell on. If I’m going to a trail centre, then I leave it at home. It has 3 different rubber inserts to cope with all sizes of bars - which need to be screwed into place. It’s just feels much better quality than the knockoff one.

View attachment 141547

What I’ve noticed today, is that the V4 ‘bolt on’ Timber bell now has a hinged clasp - so could be fitted by just removing the screw rather than having to slide it along the bars like my one.
It’s also easier to adjust on the trail than the bolt on. There’s a correct angle for the bell, so that it rings even when on flat. A few degrees off vertical helps.

View attachment 141544

It ties in quite well when pushed against the stem... and because you only need to "switch it" on and off on rare occasion, it doesn't matter than you need to take your hand off the bars to do it. It can also be removed in about 5 seconds for the rides when it's not needed.

View attachment 141545

The downside to ANY bell is that a lot of the people doing their activities in the woods / trails have earbuds or headphones on, and no matter how loud you ding… they can’t hear you. I’ve seen me shouting ‘excuse me’ almost at the top of my voice when a guy walking on a narrow path in front had big noise cancelling headphones on… so loud that I could hear his music above mine!
I crept along behind him for a few minutes before he had that ‘there’s someone behind me’ feeling and looked round - then apologised profusely! Even if I’d had an air horn, I don’t think he’d have heard me!

So there we have it. My roundup of some bells! My recommendation is a Timber bell based on the reactions from other forest path users. If you want to spend the minimum time slowing down to get past people, the Timber bell is the way to go. As you approach, they’ve already pulled their extending dog leads in, and moved into the side of the path… or the groups 4 wide who think they’re walking the yellow brick road have got down to single file! You could ding, ding, ding a manual bell as you approach instead, but the Timber bell lets you carry on care free. It does mean you spend half your ride saying ‘thank you’… but at least I’m not slowing down!
I would also recommend buying the genuine article rather than a cheap clone - whether Timber or Knog or any others out there. They’re expensive for a reason. They’ve had proper R&D, QC, and probably come with a warranty and will likely last a lot longer than the original.

Disclaimer… this is MY opinion, and MY experiences… and yours might be different 😂🤷🏼‍♂️
I could have written a lot of that post myself , you can't win with some of them . I find most are ok but definitely a anticycle attitude with some folk. I always fancied that lorry horns they advertise .
Screenshot_20240608_164930_Chrome.jpg
 

Gavalar

Active member
Feb 4, 2019
325
200
UK
I’ve been experimenting with various bells over the last few years. I haven’t had a bell on my bike for about 12+ years prior to that, and never really needed one until Covid. It seemed that Covid unearthed a whole new generation of walkers, runners and dog walkers… that now use a lot of the paths that they never did pre 2020!

In my ‘bike stuff’ drawer in the garage I’ve pulled out the ones I could find without digging too deep. The pink flower one is / was my daughters - honest! The others were either purchased, or came free with bikes. I’ve tried them all though.

View attachment 141539

The first few are generic bells. Basically pull lever, let it go, and they ding. I think everyone has probably tried one of these or similar. The pink one seems more mechanical and I bet if I opened it up, it’d have some sort of gear type mechanism inside.

View attachment 141540

I’ve spent a lot of effort (and money) making my cockpit as simple / clean as possible… wireless shifters, wireless dropper, and for symmetry sake - my Garmin mount is in the centre. I don’t want a big bulky bell messing it up.

The next bell in the line is a slight twist on the regular bell. Mine is a non branded one from eBay that cost about £3.50 (or 3 for £10 in my case). It’s a knockoff of a “Knog Oi Classic” bell. It’s small and neat, and fits nicely in the space between my brakes and grips. It’s barely visible. Same method as the others, pull the lever back and let it go - and it dings. Quite loud and effective given its tiny size. I’ve actually broken 2 of these already… but I bet if I’d bought the proper Knog one, that wouldn’t be an issue.

View attachment 141541

View attachment 141542

Anyway… what I find with ANY bell is that you startle the runner / walker / dog when you ‘ding’ it. I’ve had people jump a mile, and even some get quite aggressive. If I don’t ding and go past them, then they also take offence and sometimes shout… “have you never heard of a bell?” they shout. Can’t win!
Before bells, I would generally pull the rear brake on and do a little skid on approach (which would also make them shit themselves…) but it didn’t cause the same offence as dinging a bell. I think people think that the cyclist thinks (a lot of thinking) they’re entitled and have priority - so dinging a bell winds a lot of them up.

My next purchase was a Timber bell… and I went with the bolt on one. As soon as you enter a populated area, you flick the switch and the bell dings itself with every bump / or rocking motion of the bike. You can also make it ding harder / louder by pumping your forks if you feel the need! Basically, the whole time you’re riding the trail you hear ding ding ding ding… and to be honest, after a while you forget about it. I wear earbuds when riding, which numb it a little… but I have the volume so low, it doesn’t make much difference.

View attachment 141551

What I found with the Timber bell is that the walkers / runners / dogs etc are much more responsive to it. They hear you coming from way back, and make an effort to get out of the way. No startled bunnies standing in the way… they actually react before you reach them. I’ve had various people stop me and offer their thanks, and comment on what a good idea it was.
Sounds good right?!

What I then realised is that even when you switch the Timber bell off, a big hit on your bike can still make it ‘ding’. It’s also not the nicest looking thing on my bars. The one I have required me to remove brakes / gears / grips from the bar and slide it on… so it was a bit of a pain if I wanted to remove it. I also had an unfortunate incident with my previous bike - when I came off, the bars turned, and the Timber bell (which I had up near the stem) scraped my headtube.
A lot of my riding is trail centres where there are no runners / walkers etc… so a bell is unnecessary. Part of me wished I’d bought the removable one… but at £35 it seemed an expensive mistake.

Back into eBay, and I found the knock off version of Timber - for about £11.50. 4 weeks it took to come from China, and when I got it - it was broken. The plastic next to where the rubber band clips in has come away. Looks like a broken clip. It still works, but it looks a bit… errr… broken? It’s also another example of “buy cheap, pay dear”.

View attachment 141543

Thankfully, I contacted the seller and they offered a refund without any hassle, and said just to keep it.
You can see it has some stuck on squishy foam for the bars, and it came with 2 different sized rubber bands for fitting.

View attachment 141552

It works exactly like the Timber bell, but just feels like a cheap knockoff. The on off switch feels like it has less bite, the foam looks naff like someone’s cut a bit of draught excluder with a Stanley knife and stuck it on with doubles sided tape, and the rubber bands feel like they’ll have a limited lifespan.

That brings me to my latest purchase - the Timber V4 quick release.

View attachment 141546

Same functionality of my original Timber bell, but I can simply unhook it and take it off the bars when I don’t need it. If I’m riding straight from my house and know I’m going to be on paths where I encounter people / dogs… then I clip the bell on. If I’m going to a trail centre, then I leave it at home. It has 3 different rubber inserts to cope with all sizes of bars - which need to be screwed into place. It’s just feels much better quality than the knockoff one.

View attachment 141547

What I’ve noticed today, is that the V4 ‘bolt on’ Timber bell now has a hinged clasp - so could be fitted by just removing the screw rather than having to slide it along the bars like my one.
It’s also easier to adjust on the trail than the bolt on. There’s a correct angle for the bell, so that it rings even when on flat. A few degrees off vertical helps.

View attachment 141544

It ties in quite well when pushed against the stem... and because you only need to "switch it" on and off on rare occasion, it doesn't matter than you need to take your hand off the bars to do it. It can also be removed in about 5 seconds for the rides when it's not needed.

View attachment 141545

The downside to ANY bell is that a lot of the people doing their activities in the woods / trails have earbuds or headphones on, and no matter how loud you ding… they can’t hear you. I’ve seen me shouting ‘excuse me’ almost at the top of my voice when a guy walking on a narrow path in front had big noise cancelling headphones on… so loud that I could hear his music above mine!
I crept along behind him for a few minutes before he had that ‘there’s someone behind me’ feeling and looked round - then apologised profusely! Even if I’d had an air horn, I don’t think he’d have heard me!

So there we have it. My roundup of some bells! My recommendation is a Timber bell based on the reactions from other forest path users. If you want to spend the minimum time slowing down to get past people, the Timber bell is the way to go. As you approach, they’ve already pulled their extending dog leads in, and moved into the side of the path… or the groups 4 wide who think they’re walking the yellow brick road have got down to single file! You could ding, ding, ding a manual bell as you approach instead, but the Timber bell lets you carry on care free. It does mean you spend half your ride saying ‘thank you’… but at least I’m not slowing down!
I would also recommend buying the genuine article rather than a cheap clone - whether Timber or Knog or any others out there. They’re expensive for a reason. They’ve had proper R&D, QC, and probably come with a warranty and will likely last a lot longer than the original.

Disclaimer… this is MY opinion, and MY experiences… and yours might

I’ve been experimenting with various bells over the last few years. I haven’t had a bell on my bike for about 12+ years prior to that, and never really needed one until Covid. It seemed that Covid unearthed a whole new generation of walkers, runners and dog walkers… that now use a lot of the paths that they never did pre 2020!

In my ‘bike stuff’ drawer in the garage I’ve pulled out the ones I could find without digging too deep. The pink flower one is / was my daughters - honest! The others were either purchased, or came free with bikes. I’ve tried them all though.

View attachment 141539

The first few are generic bells. Basically pull lever, let it go, and they ding. I think everyone has probably tried one of these or similar. The pink one seems more mechanical and I bet if I opened it up, it’d have some sort of gear type mechanism inside.

View attachment 141540

I’ve spent a lot of effort (and money) making my cockpit as simple / clean as possible… wireless shifters, wireless dropper, and for symmetry sake - my Garmin mount is in the centre. I don’t want a big bulky bell messing it up.

The next bell in the line is a slight twist on the regular bell. Mine is a non branded one from eBay that cost about £3.50 (or 3 for £10 in my case). It’s a knockoff of a “Knog Oi Classic” bell. It’s small and neat, and fits nicely in the space between my brakes and grips. It’s barely visible. Same method as the others, pull the lever back and let it go - and it dings. Quite loud and effective given its tiny size. I’ve actually broken 2 of these already… but I bet if I’d bought the proper Knog one, that wouldn’t be an issue.

View attachment 141541

View attachment 141542

Anyway… what I find with ANY bell is that you startle the runner / walker / dog when you ‘ding’ it. I’ve had people jump a mile, and even some get quite aggressive. If I don’t ding and go past them, then they also take offence and sometimes shout… “have you never heard of a bell?” they shout. Can’t win!
Before bells, I would generally pull the rear brake on and do a little skid on approach (which would also make them shit themselves…) but it didn’t cause the same offence as dinging a bell. I think people think that the cyclist thinks (a lot of thinking) they’re entitled and have priority - so dinging a bell winds a lot of them up.

My next purchase was a Timber bell… and I went with the bolt on one. As soon as you enter a populated area, you flick the switch and the bell dings itself with every bump / or rocking motion of the bike. You can also make it ding harder / louder by pumping your forks if you feel the need! Basically, the whole time you’re riding the trail you hear ding ding ding ding… and to be honest, after a while you forget about it. I wear earbuds when riding, which numb it a little… but I have the volume so low, it doesn’t make much difference.

View attachment 141551

What I found with the Timber bell is that the walkers / runners / dogs etc are much more responsive to it. They hear you coming from way back, and make an effort to get out of the way. No startled bunnies standing in the way… they actually react before you reach them. I’ve had various people stop me and offer their thanks, and comment on what a good idea it was.
Sounds good right?!

What I then realised is that even when you switch the Timber bell off, a big hit on your bike can still make it ‘ding’. It’s also not the nicest looking thing on my bars. The one I have required me to remove brakes / gears / grips from the bar and slide it on… so it was a bit of a pain if I wanted to remove it. I also had an unfortunate incident with my previous bike - when I came off, the bars turned, and the Timber bell (which I had up near the stem) scraped my headtube.
A lot of my riding is trail centres where there are no runners / walkers etc… so a bell is unnecessary. Part of me wished I’d bought the removable one… but at £35 it seemed an expensive mistake.

Back into eBay, and I found the knock off version of Timber - for about £11.50. 4 weeks it took to come from China, and when I got it - it was broken. The plastic next to where the rubber band clips in has come away. Looks like a broken clip. It still works, but it looks a bit… errr… broken? It’s also another example of “buy cheap, pay dear”.

View attachment 141543

Thankfully, I contacted the seller and they offered a refund without any hassle, and said just to keep it.
You can see it has some stuck on squishy foam for the bars, and it came with 2 different sized rubber bands for fitting.

View attachment 141552

It works exactly like the Timber bell, but just feels like a cheap knockoff. The on off switch feels like it has less bite, the foam looks naff like someone’s cut a bit of draught excluder with a Stanley knife and stuck it on with doubles sided tape, and the rubber bands feel like they’ll have a limited lifespan.

That brings me to my latest purchase - the Timber V4 quick release.

View attachment 141546

Same functionality of my original Timber bell, but I can simply unhook it and take it off the bars when I don’t need it. If I’m riding straight from my house and know I’m going to be on paths where I encounter people / dogs… then I clip the bell on. If I’m going to a trail centre, then I leave it at home. It has 3 different rubber inserts to cope with all sizes of bars - which need to be screwed into place. It’s just feels much better quality than the knockoff one.

View attachment 141547

What I’ve noticed today, is that the V4 ‘bolt on’ Timber bell now has a hinged clasp - so could be fitted by just removing the screw rather than having to slide it along the bars like my one.
It’s also easier to adjust on the trail than the bolt on. There’s a correct angle for the bell, so that it rings even when on flat. A few degrees off vertical helps.

View attachment 141544

It ties in quite well when pushed against the stem... and because you only need to "switch it" on and off on rare occasion, it doesn't matter than you need to take your hand off the bars to do it. It can also be removed in about 5 seconds for the rides when it's not needed.

View attachment 141545

The downside to ANY bell is that a lot of the people doing their activities in the woods / trails have earbuds or headphones on, and no matter how loud you ding… they can’t hear you. I’ve seen me shouting ‘excuse me’ almost at the top of my voice when a guy walking on a narrow path in front had big noise cancelling headphones on… so loud that I could hear his music above mine!
I crept along behind him for a few minutes before he had that ‘there’s someone behind me’ feeling and looked round - then apologised profusely! Even if I’d had an air horn, I don’t think he’d have heard me!

So there we have it. My roundup of some bells! My recommendation is a Timber bell based on the reactions from other forest path users. If you want to spend the minimum time slowing down to get past people, the Timber bell is the way to go. As you approach, they’ve already pulled their extending dog leads in, and moved into the side of the path… or the groups 4 wide who think they’re walking the yellow brick road have got down to single file! You could ding, ding, ding a manual bell as you approach instead, but the Timber bell lets you carry on care free. It does mean you spend half your ride saying ‘thank you’… but at least I’m not slowing down!
I would also recommend buying the genuine article rather than a cheap clone - whether Timber or Knog or any others out there. They’re expensive for a reason. They’ve had proper R&D, QC, and probably come with a warranty and will likely last a lot longer than the original.

Disclaimer… this is MY opinion, and MY experiences… and yours might be different 😂🤷🏼‍♂️
www.spurcycle.com are a class above, very discreet, so much so that they can sid beside your grip, the cheapest I have been able to find, £59, are from www.keeppedalling.co.uk. available in different finishes with different coloured hammers.

20240608_170637.jpg
 

Gauss Guzzler

New Member
Apr 26, 2024
15
10
CA
Hikers, dogs, kids, coyotes, etc. are pretty easy to get around in my area and they generally respond well to bells unless they're self-absorbed in headphones. The challenge I face is from other bikers. Those rattling cowbells are pretty hard to hear over my rattling bike so there's no way I'd be able to hear someone's distant cowbell if I had my own cowbell rattling right in my face.

I'm happy with the Knog and simply flick it a few times at every blind corner or when approaching hikers. It's easy to control the volume of each flick so I can be as urgent or gentle as needed for the situation. I do wish they would improve the flimsy hammer design which is also prone to misfires, but to be fair they also offer a much more robust "Luxe" version, it just isn't as sleek.

1717879851300.png
 

EMTBSEAN

Well-known member
Subscriber
Feb 20, 2020
866
587
Sheffield
Very enjoyable post and interesting too, I have a Timber bell and mostly I like it, my biggest regret was buying the quick release one with the ‘O’ ring, it’s rubbish and just spun round on my bars no matter how tight I fitted it, I tried many different ‘O’ rings but it made no difference, I nearly binned it but instead I cut it up and glued it to a bolt on clamp I had from my spares collection, it looks ok but the important thing is it’s rock solid and works and works well, but saying that, you can spend a million pounds on a bell but if the divlo in front is wearing earbuds or is deaf it ain’t gonna make an ounce of difference 😉
 

The Hodge

Mystic Meg
Subscriber
Sep 9, 2020
3,763
7,751
North West Northumberland
Very enjoyable post and interesting too, I have a Timber bell and mostly I like it, my biggest regret was buying the quick release one with the ‘O’ ring, it’s rubbish and just spun round on my bars no matter how tight I fitted it, I tried many different ‘O’ rings but it made no difference, I nearly binned it but instead I cut it up and glued it to a bolt on clamp I had from my spares collection, it looks ok but the important thing is it’s rock solid and works and works well, but saying that, you can spend a million pounds on a bell but if the divlo in front is wearing earbuds or is deaf it ain’t gonna make an ounce of difference 😉
A kick up the arse as you are riding past usually wakes the buggers up 😉😁
 

jackamo

Active member
Subscriber
May 25, 2023
84
51
UK
I’ve been experimenting with various bells over the last few years. I haven’t had a bell on my bike for about 12+ years prior to that, and never really needed one until Covid. It seemed that Covid unearthed a whole new generation of walkers, runners and dog walkers… that now use a lot of the paths that they never did pre 2020!

In my ‘bike stuff’ drawer in the garage I’ve pulled out the ones I could find without digging too deep. The pink flower one is / was my daughters - honest! The others were either purchased, or came free with bikes. I’ve tried them all though.

View attachment 141539

The first few are generic bells. Basically pull lever, let it go, and they ding. I think everyone has probably tried one of these or similar. The pink one seems more mechanical and I bet if I opened it up, it’d have some sort of gear type mechanism inside.

View attachment 141540

I’ve spent a lot of effort (and money) making my cockpit as simple / clean as possible… wireless shifters, wireless dropper, and for symmetry sake - my Garmin mount is in the centre. I don’t want a big bulky bell messing it up.

The next bell in the line is a slight twist on the regular bell. Mine is a non branded one from eBay that cost about £3.50 (or 3 for £10 in my case). It’s a knockoff of a “Knog Oi Classic” bell. It’s small and neat, and fits nicely in the space between my brakes and grips. It’s barely visible. Same method as the others, pull the lever back and let it go - and it dings. Quite loud and effective given its tiny size. I’ve actually broken 2 of these already… but I bet if I’d bought the proper Knog one, that wouldn’t be an issue.

View attachment 141541

View attachment 141542

Anyway… what I find with ANY bell is that you startle the runner / walker / dog when you ‘ding’ it. I’ve had people jump a mile, and even some get quite aggressive. If I don’t ding and go past them, then they also take offence and sometimes shout… “have you never heard of a bell?” they shout. Can’t win!
Before bells, I would generally pull the rear brake on and do a little skid on approach (which would also make them shit themselves…) but it didn’t cause the same offence as dinging a bell. I think people think that the cyclist thinks (a lot of thinking) they’re entitled and have priority - so dinging a bell winds a lot of them up.

My next purchase was a Timber bell… and I went with the bolt on one. As soon as you enter a populated area, you flick the switch and the bell dings itself with every bump / or rocking motion of the bike. You can also make it ding harder / louder by pumping your forks if you feel the need! Basically, the whole time you’re riding the trail you hear ding ding ding ding… and to be honest, after a while you forget about it. I wear earbuds when riding, which numb it a little… but I have the volume so low, it doesn’t make much difference.

View attachment 141551

What I found with the Timber bell is that the walkers / runners / dogs etc are much more responsive to it. They hear you coming from way back, and make an effort to get out of the way. No startled bunnies standing in the way… they actually react before you reach them. I’ve had various people stop me and offer their thanks, and comment on what a good idea it was.
Sounds good right?!

What I then realised is that even when you switch the Timber bell off, a big hit on your bike can still make it ‘ding’. It’s also not the nicest looking thing on my bars. The one I have required me to remove brakes / gears / grips from the bar and slide it on… so it was a bit of a pain if I wanted to remove it. I also had an unfortunate incident with my previous bike - when I came off, the bars turned, and the Timber bell (which I had up near the stem) scraped my headtube.
A lot of my riding is trail centres where there are no runners / walkers etc… so a bell is unnecessary. Part of me wished I’d bought the removable one… but at £35 it seemed an expensive mistake.

Back into eBay, and I found the knock off version of Timber - for about £11.50. 4 weeks it took to come from China, and when I got it - it was broken. The plastic next to where the rubber band clips in has come away. Looks like a broken clip. It still works, but it looks a bit… errr… broken? It’s also another example of “buy cheap, pay dear”.

View attachment 141543

Thankfully, I contacted the seller and they offered a refund without any hassle, and said just to keep it.
You can see it has some stuck on squishy foam for the bars, and it came with 2 different sized rubber bands for fitting.

View attachment 141552

It works exactly like the Timber bell, but just feels like a cheap knockoff. The on off switch feels like it has less bite, the foam looks naff like someone’s cut a bit of draught excluder with a Stanley knife and stuck it on with doubles sided tape, and the rubber bands feel like they’ll have a limited lifespan.

That brings me to my latest purchase - the Timber V4 quick release.

View attachment 141546

Same functionality of my original Timber bell, but I can simply unhook it and take it off the bars when I don’t need it. If I’m riding straight from my house and know I’m going to be on paths where I encounter people / dogs… then I clip the bell on. If I’m going to a trail centre, then I leave it at home. It has 3 different rubber inserts to cope with all sizes of bars - which need to be screwed into place. It’s just feels much better quality than the knockoff one.

View attachment 141547

What I’ve noticed today, is that the V4 ‘bolt on’ Timber bell now has a hinged clasp - so could be fitted by just removing the screw rather than having to slide it along the bars like my one.
It’s also easier to adjust on the trail than the bolt on. There’s a correct angle for the bell, so that it rings even when on flat. A few degrees off vertical helps.

View attachment 141544

It ties in quite well when pushed against the stem... and because you only need to "switch it" on and off on rare occasion, it doesn't matter than you need to take your hand off the bars to do it. It can also be removed in about 5 seconds for the rides when it's not needed.

View attachment 141545

The downside to ANY bell is that a lot of the people doing their activities in the woods / trails have earbuds or headphones on, and no matter how loud you ding… they can’t hear you. I’ve seen me shouting ‘excuse me’ almost at the top of my voice when a guy walking on a narrow path in front had big noise cancelling headphones on… so loud that I could hear his music above mine!
I crept along behind him for a few minutes before he had that ‘there’s someone behind me’ feeling and looked round - then apologised profusely! Even if I’d had an air horn, I don’t think he’d have heard me!

So there we have it. My roundup of some bells! My recommendation is a Timber bell based on the reactions from other forest path users. If you want to spend the minimum time slowing down to get past people, the Timber bell is the way to go. As you approach, they’ve already pulled their extending dog leads in, and moved into the side of the path… or the groups 4 wide who think they’re walking the yellow brick road have got down to single file! You could ding, ding, ding a manual bell as you approach instead, but the Timber bell lets you carry on care free. It does mean you spend half your ride saying ‘thank you’… but at least I’m not slowing down!
I would also recommend buying the genuine article rather than a cheap clone - whether Timber or Knog or any others out there. They’re expensive for a reason. They’ve had proper R&D, QC, and probably come with a warranty and will likely last a lot longer than the original.

Disclaimer… this is MY opinion, and MY experiences… and yours might be different 😂🤷🏼‍♂️
Bless you for your effort, made my morning ablution more ....🤔 interesting. 🤪
I'm trying out bells and it basically comes down to your dam'd if you do and dam'd if you dont with most walkers I encounter.
Locals recently campaigned to not allow a £7 million cycle greenaway to be built in my home town running 17 miles up the coast.
So the shared usage path now is full of moaners about cyclist, " going to fast " '" mot using a bell " . They were the same ones that didn't want the green way so to save some bits of grass and a few flowers they didn't know the name of 🙄
 
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