Bell Falcon Helmet NSMB Andrew Major

Bell Falcon XR & XRV MIPS Evolve Helmets

Photos Andrew Major
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It's Not Custom

Before I say anything more about Bell's Falcon helmet lineup I just have to put it out there that no, I did not get a helmet custom painted to match my Waltworks V2. You know it's true because if I did, it would be a full face.

As it turns out, the folks at Bell just have really, really, good taste in colours, although 'Matte Purple' doesn't sound half as exciting as 'Cosmic Lilac.' Sadly, while they make eleven different colourways in the Super Air R Spherical none of them are this awesome. So, I only get accused of full-on vanity when I'm commuting.

Bell Falcon Helmet NSMB Andrew Major (2)

No, I did not get a Bell helmet custom painted to match my 'Cosmic Lilac' bike.

Bell Falcon Helmet NSMB Andrew Major (3)

Yes, I do wish that Bell made a Super Air R MIPS Spherical full face in this colour.

Even then, I find that between the matte blue/grey Falcon XR and the lilac Falcon XRV, I generally reach for the XR. Not because of any colour preference but rather for the gravel and commuter riding that I use a bucket for, I prefer the look of the visorless setup. Let's be up front, the XRV lid's visor is purely cosmetic and provides zero protection from rain, sun, or low-hanging branches.

For the purpose of this review, I'll be considering both lids as one. Choose the aesthetic you'd prefer as the fit, feel, and function are identical.

Bell Falcon Helmet NSMB Andrew Major

The Falcon helmets are available with or without this excellent semi-integrated Blackburn Grid LED light.

Get The LED Out

The Falcon lids use MIPS Evolve and a BELL-branded Fidlock buckle but the detail most folks notice is the semi-integrated Blackburn Grid LED light. The light has four different modes and is daytime visible. It's relatively easy to remove to charge or swap between the two lids and it's available separately.

On that note, Bell has four different options for the Falcon lids which are in turn available in a host of colours. The Falcon can be bought with or without a visor - XR vs. XRV(for visor) - and with or without the Grid LED light. Whether the Blackburn light comes with a lid or is purchased separately, the 30-lumen LED adds 20 USD to the bill.

Bell Falcon Helmet NSMB Andrew Major (4)

All Falcon helmets are LED compatible whether they ship with the Blackburn light or not.

Bell Falcon Helmet NSMB Andrew Major (5)

The light has a spring-loaded slider that allows it to interface securely with the Falcon helmet.

Bell Falcon Helmet NSMB Andrew Major (6)

It may take a couple of removals to get a hang of the slide-and-push motion.

While I'm on the subject, I wish that Bell would integrate their light mounting standard into all their trail helmets as well. With how much I ride to and from the trails I'd be very keen to have this same high-and-bright LED setup on a Bell Super Air R.

I'm not saying they need to add a bunch of SKUs for full-face helmets with integrated lights, but I'd gladly buy the 20 USD add-on Blackburn flasher if there was a port for it and I can't think I'm the only person in that boat.

Bell Falcon Helmet NSMB Andrew Major (7)

I always wear a full face for mountain biking, so the Falcon XR is a perfect partner for my commuting and fitness riding. Photo: The Clairebarian

Bell Falcon Helmet NSMB Andrew Major (8)

After being hit in December, I ride with the Blackburn light on day and night when I'm around cars. Photo: The Clairebarian

Fit & Features

Helmet fit is personal: test ride, then decide. All the other fit caveats apply but as someone who generally prefers pad-fit helmets I have to say the Bell 'Float Fit' system makes the Falcon the most comfortable bucket I've worn. Sweat management is excellent, the straps stay flat, and I never had any of the hot spots and headaches that generally come for me on long rides wearing a ratchet-fit lid.

Aesthetics are also personal, and that's a reference both to the choice between a visor or none, and also the Falcon's appearance with is neither smooth-legs-and-Lycra nor Enduro-Bro.

The Falcon helmets come in small, medium, and large and I'm wearing a medium as I usually do.

Bell Falcon Helmet NSMB Andrew Major (9)

Visor or no visor.

Bell Falcon Helmet NSMB Andrew Major (10)

Light or no light.

The Falcon lineup uses MIPS Evolve technology that is a nice improvement on the previous MIPS slip plane. It fits better, it breathes better, and, most importantly, it doesn't squeak or creak.

If I was the head of Bell I'd cut a giant swath through my Falcon options and only sell the XR version with the Blackburn LED included. I might feel differently if the XRV version had a proper visor instead of the super stubby stock unit but even then folks looking for a visor aesthetic will probably be more inclined towards their mountain bike-styled open helmets.

Bell Falcon Helmet NSMB Andrew Major (11)

No squeaking or creaking here. MIPS Evolve is, at the very least, superior on the noise and fit front.

Bell Falcon Helmet NSMB Andrew Major (13)

The Float Fit harness is excellent. This is the most comfortable non-pad-fit open-lid helmet I've worn.

Bell Falcon Helmet NSMB Andrew Major (12)

Fidlock magnetic buckles are awesome. I can buy into why some folks prefer the security of a D-ring but this is perfect for me.

Even if they did decide to keep both the peaked and un-peaked looks I'd think that most customers for the Falcon would be well served by the Blackburn blinky at some point in their riding experiences. It's high, tight, and bright and I'd highly recommend getting the LED for the extra twenty bones.

All told the fit is perfect for me and I very much like the features it delivers. The Falcon XR MIPS LED sells for 140 USD including the Blackburn light and the XRV MIPS LED adds another ten dollars to hit 150 USD. Subtract 20 USD if you'd rather not have the blinky option.

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+3 fartymarty Andrew Major OldManBike

Thanks for the Russian language lesson. :-)



Credit to Lazarus Cycling in Ukraine for that.


+2 Andrew Major Lynx .

There is no question that flashing lights are more noticeable than solid. Whether that's good or bad is up for debate. I want drivers to notice me when I am on the road, so I definitely prefer a flashing light on the back of my helmet.

I love the integrated light on these helmets. Too bad the visor is useless. I have an old Giant branded helmet with a proper visor and I love it for commuting when it's sunny or raining.



I get the visor thing. Many commuters have a fairly large saddle-to-bar drop - whether running flat bars or drop bars - and it's certainly less straining on my neck looking far ahead without a practical visor there. At the same time, a big adjustable visor as I have on my Kali mountain bike helmet would never fly aesthetically and they do add noise. 

I imagine most folks wear glasses too. 

Anyway, it wasn't to hate on the lack of a practical visor (I understand why the Falcon doesn't have one) only to note that it truly is an aesthetic choice in this case.


+2 Andrew Major Skooks

It's great seeing more integrated rear lights coming in helmets. I've spent too much effort making blinky lights mount on the back of a lid. 

High-vis yellow colour option is required IMHO.


+1 Skooks

I feel that we’re on the cusp of having a bunch more reflective/high-viz options in high end gears.

It just makes sense for weatherproof jackets/pants, weatherproof shoes, gloves etc. and indeed in amongst all the colourways it would be rad if they did one that was high-viz.

Great callout!


+1 Andrew Major

LOL PUTIN HUILO.  I'm ordering several.



I’m pleased to have put you onto them. Enjoy!


+1 Andrew Major

Here's one I made earlier...


+1 Lynx .

Appreciate what can be accomplished with a couple zip-ties or some 3M double-sided tape. 

I would love what it says about encouraging riders to pedal from somewhere if Bell more universally applied their (very clean) light mount standard.


+1 Andrew Major

It aint pretty but it works.  I'm trying to sort a neater version for my new POC lid.

I would love a front and rear version of this.  Even if you don't use it you have a light on your lid.

Hopefully others will follow suit as this is a very good reason for me to buy this lid.


+1 Andrew Major

Three comments:

  1. Bell totally missed out on an age group marketing opportunity by not offering a Millennial Falcon edition.
  2. Clearly Andrew needs a custom painted FF helmet.
  3. I'm a solid rear light in normal conditions and only flashing strobe rear in unusual situations. You can run around with your "high beams" on in you car to improve your visibility/safety, but that just starts an anti-social arms race of light weapons.



I totally need a Cosmic Lilac full face. 

Re. The anti-social arms race. I’ve had a few people make similar comments to me but I do note none of them live in denser higher-traffic areas where a cyclist is trying to be seen by ever-increasingly distracted and impatient motorists over a myriad of other light sources.

Food for thought anyway.



Great to see all the rear light options being used for cycling safety these days.

But don't run it in blinky mode, just have it on. It has been shown that the people who tend to hit and kill cyclists (inebriated a-holes) are in fact drawn to blinking lights. Have it on solid for visibility, but not blinking to attract the drunks.



There is so much contradictory information out there re. blinking vs. solid it’s hard to make an educated choice.

I run my front light on solid, because blinking would drive me insane. I’ve gone back and forth with the rear.

Since I was hit from behind in December (two rear lights on solid - maybe blended in with all the red street lights/tail lights?) I’ve switched to blinking. Not very scientific, I know, but I’ve never been smoked from behind while stopped with my lights flashing - and all the drivers I’ve ever had roll down their windows to complain about my obnoxious lights (it’s happened a few times over the years) have been when my lights are flashing.

To each their own though. I’ve also added passive reflection (3M stickers) to my bike at various locations.


+2 Andrew Major Skooks

As a driver blinking (and stupidly bright) is annoying as such it lets me know someone is there.  Solid can tend to blend into all the other lights.  Maybe both is the best answer (some do solid with a flash) - and multiple lights.


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