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Timber! V4.0 Mountain Bike Bell review – a better, tougher version of an awesome automatic cow bell

Timber!’s evolved bike bell takes inspiration from the herd to get you heard

Timber v4.0 bike bell
(Image: © GuyKesTV)

Bike Perfect Verdict

A brilliantly simple and effective shared trail safety boosting and smile-provoking ‘automatic’ bell is now improved with a tougher build and universal bar fit.

Pros

  • +

    Simple on/off switch operation

  • +

    Friendly ‘cow bell’ tone

  • +

    Tougher, more durable design

  • +

    Fits all bars in most places

Cons

  • -

    Stiffer switch action than before

  • -

    Sometimes needs bouncing to ring on smoother trails

I had an original version of the Timber! MTB bell when it was first launched and it was brilliant for letting people know you were coming in a friendly, disarming manner – until the off switch started slipping and it wouldn’t shut up. The latest V4.0 version is tougher in build and ‘switchgear’, though, so if you’re wanting hands-free safety and smiles on shared use trails it’s a superb addition to the best MTB handlebars.

Timber! 4 bike bell

The Timber! V4’s Quick Release half clamp fits all bars and it's got a stronger bell connection, too (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Design

The basic Timber! design of solid brass, square footed bell and cable suspended clanger hasn’t changed. V4.0 sees the introduction of a longer life cable, though, and a steel collar shank where the bell meets the plastic bar mount. Most importantly, the on/off ‘trigger’ lever that pulls the clanger up into the top of the bell to silence it now has a much stronger ‘clutch’ as well.

Our testing explained

For information on Bike Perfect's testing procedures and how our scoring system works, see our how we test page.

The O ring secured ‘Quick Release’ model now has shims to fit all bar sizes (including 35mm oversized bars and the skinny 22.2mm section near the brakes/shifters). You get two sizes of UV resistant EPDM O-Ring for different bars and you can get them as spares. There’s a bolt-on clamp version that’s otherwise the same, and regular crashers or component breakers now get the option of the Timber Yew! This bell has a tougher/thicker bolt-on band that will fit 35, 31.8 and 22.2mm bar diameters. It’s also modular so you can replace any broken bits if you trash it in a crash. 

Timber! 4 bike bell

Trigger down to be heard like the herd, trigger up for stealth mode (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Performance

Fitting the Timber! or switching between bikes couldn’t be easier as it’s just a case of hooking the O-ring round the bar and making sure you can get a finger or thumb to the ‘trigger’. Now push the trigger up to silence the bell or down to let it jangle. While it’s hard to explain in words, the brass bell is deliberately designed to give a warmer cow/bear/goat bell tone. That means you come up behind other trail users or head into blind corners sounding like a merry herd of goats, rather than angrily dinging like someone who hasn’t been served in an old shop or hotel. Plus because it’s jingling all the time, there isn’t that awkward too soon/too late timing aspect you get when riding with a standard bell. 

You don’t have to suddenly reach for it either, which – while it’s marketed and named as an MTB bell – is really useful on a gravel bike, too. That’s mainly because you often don’t want to shift your hands on the bars in an already sketchy situation. The band-on design means it’ll go round bar tape fine too, rather than needing bare metal.

Presuming it carries on keeping quiet when we want it to, the only remaining design glitch with the latest Timber! is that you'll sometimes need to bounce the bike or waggle the bars to provoke its chime in time on smooth trails.

Timber! 4 bike bell

The business end of the Timber! bell produces a carefully curated 'friendly' tone  (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Verdict

If you don’t mind disappointing other trail users who might be expecting the arrival of an Alpine shepherd/shepherdess then the new Timber! V4.0 is a really friendly way to make your presence known. It switches off and stays off much better than previous models and it fits more bars as well.

Tech specs: Timber! V4.0 Bike Bell 

  • Price: $24.95 / £24.99 / €29.55 
  • Options: Band-on (tested), bolt-on and YEW!  
  • Weight: 73g

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg