Ride Safe with the CBW Designs Awareness Bell Dec 3, 2015

Shared trails mean shared responsibilities and as cyclists, we always have to work hard to gain respect from hikers and horseback riders. One of the ways we can do that is to use an awareness bell. Unlike a traditional handlebar bell, awareness bells ring constantly, always alerting trail users of our presence. My issue with them has always been the inability to lock them out, which means they’re always ringing.

These CBW Designs awareness bells utilize a patent-pending design that locks the clapper out against the lip of the bell. It’s on a spring, so attaching and detaching is easy. While you’re climbing, simply pull the clapper down and attach it on the two notches, then when you start to descend, pull it down and let it ring.

Guess what? These things are LOUD and they take a bit to get used to, but I’ve already had countless trail users compliment the sound, saying they heard me far enough away that they could yield or step aside and allow me to pass without being scared.

Trail users should all consider an awareness bell. It’s not enough to yell around blind turns or to ring a traditional handlebar bell on trails with a lot of traffic. As always, say hello, smile, wave and pass with plenty of room. Don’t be a dick.

  • caliente

    I see a real business opportunity in making a strava branded verison.

    • Ken Neville

      GPS-powered Auto-Ring in key trail sections!

  • But does it come in black???

    • I wish.

      • Harry

        Brush on black enamel and get some lovely #beausage

    • Dr. Thunder Gladstone

      Here’s a black one, nice sound & from LA-ish localism (if I recall correctly). This & the CBW have better sound & can be completely silenced compared to bear bells.

  • Joe

    Probably useful for making the local wildlife aware of our presence too I’d assume. Kind of like a bear bell for your bike.

  • kasual

    Honestly, most interesting and unexpected cycling product I’ve seen in a while.

  • Patrick

    I ran AC100 back in August and even in my delirious state heading down into Altadena I heard one of these (or something similar) and was able to step off with plenty of time. Heard/saw a few during those last miles in the run and they were much appreciated.

    • Erik Hillard

      Glad to hear that, Patrick! MWBA.org has been a big proponent of bell use for MTBers in the San Gabriels. I’m glad to hear the bells were appreciated during the AC100. All of the runners are amazing to me and MWBA does our best to support the awesome event.

  • Jano

    Awareness bell? but that’s how I’m legitimizing the purchase of CKs, i9s, or Hadleys :(

    bzzzzzzzzscuse me!

    • They’re not loud enough dude!

      • Andy Moore

        Especially not the CK R45 hubs.

  • Derek

    What a fantastic design. Definitely picking one up.

  • John Jones

    I prefer to abruptly mow people down while screaming “locals only” instead. It’s a sort of awareness bell that last longer, like scars.

  • PabloP

    Is it that hard to ding a bell with your thumb a few times when you come upon hikers or into a blind turn? Or, god forbid, slow down a bit and say hi? It never has been for me. My ears are ringing just from that one video.

    • But what about when you don’t expect someone around a just blind enough turn? I just got back from MTBing and this thing alerted a lot of people hiking long before I rounded a corner.

      • PabloP

        So what? I don’t think it’s appropriate or just to just make a bunch of noise and fly into a blind corner when you aren’t in total control of your bike and can stop. We don’t have the right of way as against hikers or horses and it’s not cool to do that with other bikers, especially those going uphill with the right of way.

        • This does strike me as a polarising product – the buyer will undoubtedly see it as an essential safety aid, whereas hikers (and some other riders) might see it as a tad obnoxious. People walk on trails for a sense of solitude and tranquility (some of us even ride bikes for the same reason) and to have a mechanical noise such as this suddenly clatter through the environment isn’t very pleasant. A human voice is preferable for alerting folks, I think.
          The rider who sets this to ‘on’ as a default on every descent probably has a reversing alarm on their minivan.

          • How much time do you spend on MTB trails?

          • Right now John, not a great deal. Doesn’t mean I’m unqualified to comment, I’ve been riding MTBs for over half my life. As with any innovation, this product is only as smart as the person that buys it. It looks well thought-out and nicely made, so here’s hoping it reaches some intelligent folks who’ll use it when appropriate, and remember that they also have the option of slowing down if they’re afraid of encountering walkers on their descents.

        • Albert

          Agree with this. Undoubtedly this is a neat product that serves a useful purpose but it doesn’t take the place of courtesy and control on the trails.

          • Sean Talkington

            From what i have seen hikers really appreciate when mtb’ers have a bell like this. Most hikers hate mtb’ers and to be honest most of them have good reason. Having a bell is not an excuse for you to ride like an asshole but in the age of Strava we see a lot more people oblivious to their surroundings. If for nothing more than giving a hiker a few extra seconds of mental prep or maybe not scaring the shit out of them (or their dog or their horse) a bell is awesome. The big picture is that this helps everyone… Its social responsibility 101 (in my opinion) :)

  • naisemaj

    But does it come with a hydraulic remote lockout?

    • Ken Neville

      It’s not a stretch to imagine strapping this thing under your saddle rails if you have a dropper seatpost!

      Loop some fishing line around the clapper and tie it so that it’s taut when the saddle is up in climbing position. When you drop a little and start cruising, the line should slacken so that the bell can ring.

  • Ken Neville

    In crowded parks, especially where people are riding and hiking trails in both directions, a bell is just good manners. (China Camp here in the SF Bay Area is a great example.) Not all of us are fortunate enough to have a highly disciplined populace of local riders who all know which way to flow, and heck, sometimes you just want to try “that one section” in the opposite direction.

    I ride a 1×10 drivetrain and have a Spurcycle bell mounted underneath on the left side, where a shifter pod would normally hide. If I’m going fast enough to be off the brakes for a while, I’ve got a free thumb to fire off a few dings. Likewise just before approaching a blind corner. (My brakes are noisy enough to provide the remaining necessary “awareness” anywhere else!)

  • Interesting. I’ve got a cheap magnet-silenced bear bell for hiking but never thought of transferring the concept to riding. Of course, very few of the trails locally see anything besides bike traffic. I wonder if having a “lock out” option leads to riders forgetting to actuate it on the right sections? Would something like this be a good idea in bear-heavy areas like riding the Divide?

  • Andy Moore

    It would be great to add a little loop of video to hear what it sounds like.

  • Felix
  • Sean Talkington

    From what i have seen hikers really appreciate when mtb’ers have a bell like this. Most hikers hate mtb’ers and to be honest most of them have good reason. Having a bell is not an excuse for you to ride like an asshole but in the age of Strava we see a lot more people oblivious to their surroundings. If for nothing more than giving a hiker a few extra seconds of mental prep or maybe not scaring the shit out of them (or their dog or their horse) a bell is awesome. The big picture is that this helps everyone… Its social responsibility 101 (in my opinion)

  • Sam Callard

    Here’s one you can lock off. Been using it a bit, and seems loud enough :) https://www.mtbbell.com/about.html

  • mp

    Maybe I’m particularly sensitive to sound, but man, this would drive me absolutely insane!