Bell Helmets long ago secured its place in the protective realm. Born in the 1950’s California hot rod and racing scene, Bell founder Roy Richter built a legacy by anticipating the unmet needs of those with a need for speed. When they wanted to race, he built them race cars. And when that risk-taking proclivity started to reveal some grim realities, he did something about that too, founding Bell Helmets.
Richter spent his life pushing the limits of what was possible — and his unlimited spirit has been Bell’s guiding light for nearly 60 years, earning the trust of generations of drivers — and bike riders. Throughout those years, Bell has been at the forefront of helmet design. And that drive to anticipate and create continues today.
Take for example the removable chinbar helmet for mountain biking, which debuted as the Bell Super 2R in late 2014, and has since been updated with the release of the updated Super 3R. Motivated by the emergence of enduro racing, Bell was first to market with the current generation of one of mountain biking’s most popular helmet styles.
“We started to see a big growth and increased interest in enduro-style riding about 5-6 years ago,” recalled Hilgard Muller, Bell’s Director of Research and Development. “Bikes and the people riding them were progressing really fast, and more and more people were carrying two helmets at enduro events. So when we launched the original Super helmet we made sure to build a platform that could have a removable chinbar added later because that was always our intention. Turns out our timing was perfect.”
Indeed, events such as the Enduro World Series, which debuted in 2013, helped drive rider need for dynamic head protection that’s light and breathable going uphill, but still offers top line safety features when it’s time to head down.
“The emergence of enduro really was the genesis,” continued Muller. “You have a rider saying,
‘I have hydration pack to carry gear, I’m climbing a large portion of the day, but I only need a chinbar descending. There has to be a better way?’”
Like so many times in the past, Bell was ready with the right answer. The original half shell Super trail helmet incorporated a ridged injection molded plate that later became the foundation for the chinbar attachment in the Super 2R.
Since then there’s been near industry wide adoption of an idea Bell pioneered. Today, Giro, Leatt, Uvex, and Lazer are just some of the manufacturers who’ve released their own versions of removable chinbar helmets. “I love seeing that we created a new category,” said Muller. “That ethos of innovation has always been part of the Bell DNA.”
Indeed, whether your riding centers around enduro, downhill, road, or just commuting to the coffee shop, Bell has a bicycle helmet to fit you and your needs. Here are 10 of the best Bell Bike helmets.
Bell Sixer MIPS Equipped
The last thing you want to be thinking about in the middle of a long back-country ride is your helmet. It should be well ventilated. It should protect your head. And it should fit so well that you don’t know it’s there. The Bell Sixer takes to the trail with integrated MIPS technology, resulting in a sleeker, closer-to-the-head fit that combines with a Float Fit system and proprietary Sweat Guide to ensure comfort. Goggle compatibility complete with a strap gripper at the rear of the helmet, adjustable visor height, integrated camera/light mount and a full hard shell rounds out the package. Bell sweated every detail on the Sixer so that out on the trail, the only sweating you’ll have to worry about is your own.
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Bell Super DH MIPS
In addition to the protection offered by MIPS Spherical, the Bell Super DH is loaded with features, including a 360-degree wraparound, tool-free removable chin bar beefy enough to satisfy the rigors of ASTM 1952 testing, huge eyeglass and goggle friendly eye-port, adjustable-height visor, snap-in camera mount, Overbrow Ventilation and X-Static padding, and a fit that is superb. The end result is uncompromising protection and performance, and unparalleled versatility. The Super DH is ready to take World Cup DH runs on the chin, bang out bike park laps until the chairlifts stop running, or settle into hours of back-country uphill grinding in search of that perfect ribbon of high-consequence singletrack.
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Bell 4Forty MIPS Equipped
Mountain biking is a demanding sport – compromises and shortcuts when it comes to gear are never a good idea. The 4Forty is built to withstand the rigors of a trail riding life and features ample ventilation, the comfort of Float Fit and built-in Sweat Guide, extended rear coverage, a full hard-shell, adjustable visor, and the option of integrated MIPS protection. Boasting the comfort, protection and capable features of helmets costing twice as much, the 4Forty is an all-conditions, all-kinds of trail champion.
No other helmet manufacturer has deeper roots in motocross. Much of what Bell engineers learned from creating the award-winning Moto-9 helmet went into the Bell Full-9 full-face mountain bike helmet. Take that experience, combine it with feedback from downhill and BMX pros, and you have a winning formula. The Full-9 meets the most stringent ASTM Downhill Mountain Bike Racing standard as well as CPSC and CE bicycle safety benchmarks. Additional motocross trickle-down technologies include the Eject Helmet Removal System and magnetic cheekpads. Beyond that, the Full-9 includes features like Soundtrax built-in speaker pockets and audio cable routing, and an integrated breakaway camera mount. Add in a lightweight carbon shell, a wide field of view, Overbrow Ventilation intakes and Velocity Flow Ventilation and you have a highly advanced helmet for DH or BMX.
Bell Spark Junior MIPS
Pulling its DNA straight from its big brother, the Bell Spark Junior employs the same crisp style in sizes designed around younger heads. Full-grown safety features including MIPS focus the Bell reputation on protecting young riders so you can breathe easy as they explore their limits.
Bell Lil Ripper Child
Whether they are enjoying the ride in a trailer, or balancing on their own two wheels, your youngest shredders can ride in style and safety with the Bell Lil Ripper. A compact shell is available in two sizes, with a fit system to dial it in perfectly to your child’s head. The no-pinch side buckle means it can be fit easily and quickly to squirming kids, and the fun graphics mean your child will WANT to wear this helmet.
Bell Stratus MIPS Equipped
Built with the same core design principles as the pro-level Z20, the Bell Stratus combines lightweight aero efficiency with cutting-edge comfort technologies. The shape was refined for all-around road performance — ventilated for long climbs but still fast for the flats — and the integrated Float Fit system offers comfort and security with a streamlined fit and an oversized dial that’s easy to adjust with one hand. The Overbrow Ventilation system pulls cool air in through the front and pushes it through an air-channel matrix to reduce overheating. And thanks to the adjustable No-Twist Tri-Glides, the straps stay flat and properly positioned no matter how hard you’re hammering. This model also includes MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) for added protection in certain types of impacts.
Bell Annex MIPS Equipped
Commuting by bike can be exhilarating yet challenging, and the Bell Annex is designed to help empower your mission. This is a MIPS bike helmet (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System), which can provide an additional measure of protection in certain impacts. The Active Air Slider vent lets you regulate temperature for cool comfort. The Float Fit system gives you a perfect fit with no fussy adjustments. And special features — including integrated reflectivity, integrated light mount and weather-considered soft-brim visor — give you all the tools you need to be self-sufficient and super mobile.
Bell Formula LED
It is widely regarded that increased visibility equates to increased safety. To that end, Bell has taken its all-rounder, the Bell Formula, and incorporated a bright, 20-lumen rear LED into the fit system. It’s unobtrusive, highly visible, easily rechargeable with an included micro USB, and it just might make the difference between being seen and not.
When it’s you against the clock, every second counts. Small gains in aero efficiency make a big difference in your results. The Javelin time trial and triathlon helmet, developed in the wind tunnel and proven at pro races around the globe, gives you every advantage in triathlons and time trials. It’s designed to not only shave seconds against the wind, but also be comfortable in real-world conditions. It’s got just enough ventilation to keep you cool without sacrificing speed. It comes with a detachable visor, and the SeamFlex ear flaps make it quick and easy to put on or remove — a handy feature when you’re rushing through the T1 transition.
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