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REVIEW

Bell Full 10 Spherical Full Face Helmet

Words Tim Coleman
Date Feb 16, 2023
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It's a big day today, Bell is launching their new top tier downhill helmet. The Bell Full 10 Spherical is Bell's successor to the Full 9. Why is this launch a big deal? Because the Full 9 was launched in March 2013, almost 10 years ago! The Full 9 has had a long life for good reason too. I've had a Full 9 for a few years now, and I adore it. It's the helmet I chose to race Masters World Championships with in 2019. So when I say the Full 10 has big shoes to fill, I mean it, because it only has to be better than my favourite full face helmet to date.

Bell Full 10 Spherical Highlights

  • Light carbon shell with progressive layering
  • 1,000 gram Certified downhill helmet
  • $799 CDN / $650 USD Retail Price

The Full 10 Spherical is loaded with features. Much like the Giro Insurgent I reviewed last year, the Full 10 uses a ball and socket, double helmet, architecture that Bell claims can significantly reduce the transmission of rotational impact energy to the brain. This design is developed with MIPS, but rather than a slippery layer between the helmet pads and the shell, this ball and socket has the helmet pads on an internal helmet structure, around which the outer shell can rotate around. This allows for better cooling ports through the internal structure, the internal structure can be made of different materials to optimize the impact adsorption, and the inner helmet can provide better fit. Bell's goal was to set the bar for full-face downhill helmets. The Full-10 is CPSC certified, ASTM DH and BMX certified, as well as complying with the new NTA e-bike certification. All this protection comes in at a claimed weight of 1,000 grams. The pre-production medium I have (including some parts of the Whistler Bike Park) weighs 1,070 grams. This is 50 grams lighter than my Full 9 in the same size, and is also lighter than the Giro Insurgent, again in the same size.

While safety and protection were the primary focus for the Full 10 development, Bell has also made large advances in the ventilation of the Full 10. The intake vents are well placed and large, but the exhaust vents are enormous and dominate the styling at the back of the helmet. Large channels for air to pass through the helmet connect these front and rear ports.

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Note the two large ports above the goggles, just under the visor screws, and under the center portion of the visor.

While the structure and ventilation of the Full 10 are the headliners, all the features of the Full 9 remain, with some notable additions. The magnetic cheek pads, which can be removed and installed in seconds (useful if you need to do a climb with the helmet on), have a honeycomb structure for better ventilation. The titanium D-Ring buckles remain, giving a secure fit. There is now a magnetic feature on the end of the strap that holds the loose end to the D-Ring instead of a snap. The visor is designed to breakaway, but now has a small integrated lip on the helmet that prevents your strap from catching when you pull your goggles off. There is an integrated breakaway camera mount, very similar to the one from the Full 9. Ionic+ Antimicrobial Comfort Padding is used inside to keep the stink at bay. Simply put the Full 10 is packed full of features.

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Interior of the Full 10. The red feature on the D-Ring is the magnet that secures the tail end of the strap. You can see the ventilated honeycomb structure in the helmet padding. The cheek pads are secured to the outer shell, while the bottom pad is secured to the piece of gray inner helmet that slides relative to the outer black shell. Photo - Ian Collins

Bell handed me the new Full 10 at Crankworx last year, and said I could ride and race in it. Race in it I did. My first day in the Full 10 was racing the Air DH, and a few days later I raced the Canadian Open. I was immediately comfortable in the Full 10. The fit of the medium helmet on my medium sized head was perfect out of the box. The helmet feels secure, and I didn't notice any jiggling or noise coming from the Spherical MIPS system.

tim coleman with winnings

My first week with the Bell Full 10 Spherical was successful. Second in the AirDH and first in the Canadian Open later in the week.

On hot days, the ventilation was exceptional. Once up to speed you can feel the wind in your hair. The sweat management is excellent too, and I didn't have any drips of sweat on my goggles this summer. This is easily the best ventilated, least sweaty, full face helmet I've worn. There are a number of trails I enjoy that are particularly physically and technically demanding and having a well-ventilated and protective full face is amazing in these situations.

tim coleman trespasser

So glad to have the Full 10 on this trail.

While the Full 10 is excellent, it does have one minor quirk. Under severe compressions (like racing A-Line and WAAYYYY overshooting the landings) the outer helmet would rotate down, pushing my goggles on my nose. Some goggles were worse than others, and these would block my nostrils in severe cases. There are two good solutions here; use a bit more goggle tension or have more talent and don't overshoot the jumps.

bell full 10 a-line

The Full 10 kept my head as cool as a cucumber even on hot days. I also think the Full 10 looks fantastic.

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Jill Kintner stylin' in the Full 10 with the Red Bull livery. Photo - Austin White

Having spent a few months in the Full 10, I can say it's a worthy successor to the Full 9. It's light, very well ventilated, comfortable, protective, it looks great and is filled to the brim with nice features. It is also very expensive at $799 CDN / $650 USD. Bell claims this is the most advanced full-face bicycle helmet they've created. That's a bold statement, but taking it a step further, I can't think of a full-face bicycle helmet on the market that is as advanced as the Full 10. It's a phenomenal helmet, and now the full face helmet I reach for first. The price of admission is steep, but I think the Bell Full 10 Spherical is well worth looking at if you're in the market for a top tier downhill helmet.

Bell Helmets

Timmigrant
Tim Coleman

Age: 40

Height: 183 cm / 6'

Weight: 89 kg / 196 lbs

Ape Index: 1.055 / +10 cm

Inseam: 81 cm / 32"

Preferred Riding: Enduro and Downhill

Bar Width: 800 mm

Preferred Reach: 500 - 520 cm (but this is stack and head angle dependent)

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Comments

just6979
Justin White
1 month, 1 week ago
+1 OldManBike

Kudos to Bell for providing breakaway camera/light* mounts on so many of their helmets, from 85USD Sixer to 650USD Full 10. And though there are no direct pictures of it here or even on Bell's Full 10 page, looking at the spare parts page they all look to share the same "fingers" part that clips into helmet specific bits. Might now be different from my '21 Super 3R mount, but that one's breakaway ease vs non-shaky mounting combo is good, so these are probably similar or better.

*(99% of the time I have a light on mine, but supporting the de facto standard of GoPro fingers is smart. And sometimes even I do pop a camera on for some follow-cam footy for/of the mates)

Reply

Timmigrant
Tim Coleman
1 month, 1 week ago
0

The camera mount on the Full 10 works well too. I used it mostly to film my practice runs at DH races so I can review the course / my lines after practice. The mount is good enough to provide non-shakey footage, easy to remove and secure.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
1 month, 1 week ago
0

For sure. It's frustrating when companies try to force their own standard or just blatantly ignore the fact that for most people, the GoPro mounting standard makes most sense. They already have the accessories, and it works well, so why fight it?

Reply

just6979
Justin White
1 month, 1 week ago
0

And if you need something "de facto" with a lower vertical profile, you go with Garmin quarter-turn, which of course has all manner of gopro-fingers adapters already available. My GloWorm light has bolt-on options for both, but I can also leave the bolts alone and adapt either way quickly and easily.

?Hooray for "standards"?

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