What is it?
Bell’s top of the line helmet. Not cheap, but the tech is formidable. Lightweight carbon composite shell, three-layer liner designed to manage impact-created energies, adaptive fit (it actively moulds to your head shape), rotational energy management – a slip-zone allows movement between the layers and so reducing rotational energy transfer (which leads to concussion) – and through segmented liner design a superior airflow/ventilation system.
How does it rate?
Warren M.: The tech is based on similar thinking to that found in the 6D ATR-1 (reviewed in RUST 21), in that the helmet allows for limited rotation of the head within the helmet (in an impact) so as to reduce the transfer of energy and thus reduce the possibility of concussion type injuries. 6D use omni-directional suspension (ODS), Bell use a triple liner with varying densities and capacity to slip.
I’ve not yet had cause to test the tech but the helmet impresses nonetheless. It is very comfortable – two days at the rally raid, plus the Welsh Two Day with an earlier example – and no issues. I rate the ventilation as probably equal best in the market, with the 6D. I like the comfort of the liner, and given time I would indulge in the fit customisations that you can achieve through opting for different cheek pads.
In all, as with the 6D, I’m convinced this is the way forward for helmet design – an intelligent next step in helmet design that goes beyond simply expecting some Styrofoam to absorb an impact.
JB: I expected quality with this helmet, and I got it. The fit and finish is excellent and the tech is convincing. The helmet creates a bubble of comfort and the ventilation certainly allows you to keep a cool head. The peak comes without a centre locking screw so you need to keep the two screws nipped up tight, or tightish – it was handy to be able to lower it slightly when riding directly into the sun.
Goggle aperture is ample and worked well with both my regular Scott Hustles and new Oakley Airbrakes. The magnet that locates the end of the strap next to the D-ring helps too – nice detail.
Supremely comfortable and reassuring. I just hated it when I struck the odd low-hanging branch in the woods, this is too nice a helmet to start scratching so soon…