Using a small bell to make bears aware of your presence in the backcountry is an established practice. Alerting other human trail users with the same bell on busy multi-use trails is a pretty swell idea as well. It is simple to attach a bear bell to the average bikepacking rig. It is much less simple to listen to it jangle ALL THE DAMN TIME.
Enter the Timber bell. Imagine a tiny cowbell with an on/off switch that mounts to handlebars and you’ve got a pretty solid idea of this little device. The lever has seven positions, from fully quiet to full-on DINGALINGALING. In-between the ring is quieter with less sustain.
I mounted the bell next to the grip, but found clamping power of the quick-release O-ring system less than satisfactory. I swapped to a firmer spacer and used a zip-tie rather than the O-ring and was much more satisfied. Mounted near the stem, I had no issues using the O-ring. Timber now makes a standard bolt-on model that looks to solve this issue for the same low, low price of $20.
The more I ride with this bell, the more I like it. It doesn’t replace proper trail etiquette, but certainly helped to keep user conflicts at a minimum on busy trails with poor sight lines. The randomness of the bell sounds seems to disarm people, more so than even a standard bell, which can sometimes take on a “ding, ding get out of my way” tone. On smooth surfaces it was sometimes necessary to give the bars a shake to get some noise, but that was a minor issue. Overall, this is an interesting idea that can help to prevent unwanted confrontations with two- and four-legged creatures.