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.