Video: Bell Full 9 – Review and Design Team Interview

Company Spotlight Helmets
The Bell Full 9 continues the rebirth of the Bell brand with the introduction of their new full-face helmet.

Different Color Options for the Full 9.

Bell took their highly acclaimed motorcross helmet called the Moto 9, worked with Aaron Gwin and created the Full 9.  They retained the fit but optimized the Full 9 for protection, weight and features ideal for downhill mountain bike racing and bmx racing. Check the video below for design insights on this project.

Video: Bell Factory Tour and Design Insight on Full Nine Helmet.

Bell Full 9 Overview
  • Full carbon shell
  • Wide opening to maximize rider peripheral vision
  • Available in five different design schemes
  • Integrated, breakaway helmet camera mount made for GoPro and Contour
  • Eject Helmet Removal System compatible – airbag system for safe helmet removal
  • Overbrow Ventilation that directs air from the front to the back of the helmet
  • Magnetic, removable cheek pads
  • Built in speaker pockets
  • Weight: 1050 grams
  • MSRP: $400

Removable Magnetic Cheek Pads.

Riding Impressions

I’ve been using the Bell Full 9 for a couple months and have been extremely pleased with it. The best part about it is the fit is extremely comfortable on the head with pads that seem to float and keep my head in good comfort even in the roughest terrain.

Another notable feature of the Full 9 is the front opening is rather large, so my field of view seems unrestricted compared to other full-face helmets. On the left and right side of the helmet, I seem to be able to see better than other helmets. As an occasional user of full-face helmets, the lack of peripheral vision is probably what bothers me the most with other helmets as “I just can’t see right and feel comfortable immediately.”  But the sides, visor and nose of the helmet are out of the way from view so my vision was not compromised.

Overbrow Ported Ventilation.

Venting is also excellent too as airflow can be felt in the helmet while traveling at speed.

Crash Breakaway Camera Mount.

And the GoPro/POV Camera mount is an excellent feature not only because it’s integrated, but also because it breaks away during a crash. Most folks put a GoPro on the helmet without thinking about the consequences when they crash. The camera sticking out can easily get caught on the ground or branch and twist the head of the rider causing severe injury. Bell designed this GoPro mount to detach at a certain force and we tried to detach it with a blunt hit and it does indeed work from any angle. Our only wish is that this system becomes universally accepted for all camera and bike lighting mounts.

The visor is quite functional, it can be moved out of the way easily and it stays in place. It is also nice that the nose of the helmet is not too long and seems to be just the right size to give the rider room yet keep the rider safer with less rotational force during a fall.

Other features such as the integrated earbud locations are neat but we probably won’t use them. Also the eject system is something we won’t use, but it’s nice to know that it’s available and that the industry is moving towards the way of safety.

Removable Magnetic Cheek Pads

The cheek pads on this helmet are huge and are key to keeping this helmet in place on the rider’s head. Bell made these pads removable by using three small, powerful magnets that keep the pads in place. The pads can be pulled off easily and the magnets guide them back into place when replacing them. We were hoping these would make the helmet easier to put on by putting on the cheek pads after the helmet is worn on the head, but that doesn’t really work since it’s such a tight fit. Rather, the pads can be removed when taking the helmet off.

So when you feel your ears are going to get sheared off every time you remove your full face helmet, on the Bell Full 9, you can pop one or two cheek pads off and this will create much more room when you take off the helmet. And more importantly, when emergency responders come to remove the helmet, less stress is put on the neck by removing the pads first.

Bottom Line

The price on the helmet of $400 is quite steep, but it is comparable to other top end helmets from other manufacturers. We particularly like the five available graphic options on this helmet. Finally, we love supporting the brand we grew up with once again, as they’ve been doing great things to improve their mark and have been doing a lot in the bike community to support trail building and the growth of the sport.

Shaping Sometimes Done by Hand.

In the future, we hope this design trickles down to a $200 price point, perhaps with less features. But that will put it within reach of many more riders.

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.

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