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DETAILS & RIDE IMPRESSIONS

Bell MTB Helmets Launch 2018

Words Tim Coleman
Photos Bell/Paris Gore and Bell/Brian Chapel
Date Aug 18, 2017

I've been riding around in Bell's Super helmets for some now. You can see the review I did here. So when I was asked to check out the launch of their 2018 helmets, I was keen to see what had changed. Bell has developed three new helmets that were launched here at Crankworx:

  • the Super DH; a DH-certified convertible helmet
  • the Sixer; a feature packed trail helmet
  • the 4Forty; a cost competitive trail helmet

More info can be found on Bell's website here.

Bell Super DH 5

The all new Bell Super DH. A convertible DH certified helmet.

Bell Super DH:

The Bell Super DH picks up where the Super 3R left off. For those that aren't aware, the Bell Super helmets are full face helmets, with a removable chin bar. The intent is free air flow to the face when pedaling up in open face mode, and protection for your kisser when descending. I've used the Bell Super helmets for years now, and while they worked well there was certainly room for improvement. I never liked the styling in the full face mode, and I always wished the chin bar was a bit more substantial. The Super DH rectifies those shortcomings, and is introduced as a new helmet to augment the Bell Super line of helmets.

Super DH Technical feature list:

  • Meets; CPSC Bicylce, CE EN1078, ASTM 1952-00 DH, ASTM F2032-06 BMX
  • Easy tool free removable chin bar
  • MIPS Spherical Energy Management
  • Weight: 850g (size medium)
  • Progressive foam layering
  • Fusion in-mold polycarbonate shell
  • Sizes: S / M / L (52-62cm)
  • Snap in and removable breakaway camera/light mount
  • Large range of visor angle
  • Fit System; Float Fit DH
  • Magnetic Fidlock Strap Buckle
  • Sweat Guide
  • Colors: Black, Black/Gum, Copper, Red/White/Black Recourse, Yellow/Smoke/Black Recourse, White/Emerald/Hibiscus Recourse
  • MSRP: $300 USD
  • Available: December 2017
Bell Super DH 3

Blasting down Top of the World with the Super DH.

Super DH Riding Impressions:

We spent Saturday riding in the Super DH in the Whistler Bike Park. I'll put this simply: I liked the Super DH so much I chose to race in it in the Whistler EWS the following day. That's about as big a compliment as I can pay. Even though the EWS Stages were fast, rugged and LONG, I felt comfortable and trusted the safety of the Super DH. Being able to remove the chin bar for the long climbs was a god send. 


Bell claimed to have worked hard on improving the fit of the Super DH, and for my noggin at least, I appreciate their efforts. The fit system wraps around the entire head and had no harsh pressure points. I was worried about the MIPS Spherical system resulting in excessive wobbling about of the outer helmet, but once on the trail and riding it felt no different than any other helmet I've ridden. 

The helmet ventilates well when moving, and you can feel the improved airflow over the top of the head. The Sweat Guide seemed gimmicky but worked well. Over the long, damp, humid Top of the World to Ride Don't Slide stage I had not one single drop of sweat on my lenses. 

It's a silly thing, but I really liked the magnetic strap clasp, which can be secured and released with one hand, meaning I can do it up while riding. The visor offers a wide range of adjustment from Full Euro (down) to Full Jerry Airbrake (up). This allows for storing the goggles on the brow of the helmet, but still good range of adjustment for keeping the sun out of the eyes. I didn't use the camera mount, but the new system looks pretty slick. 


Bell Super DH 2

Cool as a cucumber.


One unique feature of the Super DH I haven't seen before is the MIPS Spherical. The helmet is composed of an inner and outer helmet, with a slippery layer in between the two. The idea being that the rotational torque applied to the outer helmet isn't transferred to your head in the event of crash. This should reduce the chance of a brain injury. The reason for this design solution was to offer the best qualities of two different types of foam to improve impact absorption, without affecting the overall strength of the helmet. The execution of the concept is polished with excellent fit of the parts. 

After the last couple days of riding I can say the Bell Super DH is a fantastic helmet, and one I'll be spending a lot of time wearing in the future. It's an evolution of the Super 3R in almost every way. It looks great, offers good impact protection, loaded with features, comfortable and ventilates well. It's hard to ask for anything more. Maybe my only criticism is the price; at $300 USD it's not cheap. Then again it's two excellent helmets in one that offers exceptional flexibility; for me, I say it's worth every penny.

Bell Sixer Helmet:

The Bell Sixer is a replacement for the Stoker helmet. The Sixer is a premium trail helmet that focuses on fit and ventilation, while offering good impact protection and a host of other features.

Bell Sixer 4

The new Bell Sixer trail helmet.

Sixer Technical features list:

  • Meets;  CPSC Bicycle and CE EN1078
  • MIPS energy management
  • Weight: 410g (size medium)
  • Sizes: S / M / L / XL (52-65cm)
  • Progressive foam layering
  • Fusion in-mold polycarbonate shell
  • Snap in and removable breakaway camera/light mount
  • Dual Flow ventilation
  • Goggle friendly four position visor adjustment
  • Goggle Gripper
  • Fit System; Float Fit Race
  • Sweat Guide
  • Colors: Black, Black/Retina Sear, White/Black, Hibiscus/Black, Copper/Black, Emerald/Black
  • Women's Joyride Colors: White/Cherry Stone, Navy/Cherry Fibers, Lead/Iceberg Dissolve
  • MSRP: $150 USD
  • Available: November 2017

Bell Sixer Riding Impressions:

We did a day pedaling around Squamish to get some first thoughts on the Bell Sixer. Similar to the improved fit of the Super DH the fit of the Sixer was excellent. I'm right in between a Small and a Medium, but there was plenty of adjustment in the fit system to allow a snug but comfortable fit. Ventilation was excellent. All the incoming air vents have a clear path to exit out of the back of the helmet. I've noticed a trend with helmets lately that focus on number of vents, which is meaningless if the flow stagnates on your head. The Sixer has scallops and paths for air flow over the top of your head, to keep your noggin cool. 

Bell Sixer 8


The Sixer comes with MIPS only, which is fully integrated with the fit system. This seems to improve the fit, but with the integrated layout should also improve the protection the MIPS system offers. 

Bell Sixer 6

Similar to the Super DH the visor is fully adjustable from slammed Euro spec, to airbrake Jerry style. Again this opens up loads of options for storing goggles, glasses, and various angles to keep the sun out of your eyes. The Sweat Guide worked better than expected. After a hot day pedaling around Squamish I had only a single drop of sweat on my lenses, which would have been covered in salt otherwise. Talking of lenses, the Sixer works well with glasses, or with goggles. The rubberized Sixer logo on the back works to keep the goggle strap in place. 

Bell Sixer 1

I'll be honest I hadn't heard of or seen the Stoker before this weekend. However, I think the Sixer will be a worthy replacement that will bring Bell helmets to the fore as an aggressive trail riding helmet. It's loaded with every feature you could possibly ask for in a comfortable and well ventilated package. I'm certainly looking forward to spending a bunch of time with the Sixer around the local trails. 

4Forty Helmet:

We didn't get to ride or test the 4Forty, but this helmet is aimed at being a cost competitive, aggressive trail riding helmet. It looks great, light on your wallet, but doesn't appear to be light on features.

Bell-4Forty-MTB-Helmet-Coloways.jpg

The new Bell 4Forty helmet in various colour ways.

4Forty Technical feature list:
  • Meets; CPSC Bicycle and CE EN1078
  • Sizes: S / M / L / XL (52-65cm)
  • Weight: 338g (non-MIPS size medium) or 380g (with MIPS size medium)
  • Optional MIPS energy management
  • Fusion in-mold polycarbonate shell
  • Wide range of visor adjustment
  • Fit System; Float Fit
  • Sweat Guide
  • Colors: Black, Retina Sear/Black, Hibiscus/Smoke, Copper/Black, Gunmetal/Tropic, Pacific/Black, Smoke/Pear
  • Women's Hela Colors: White/Cherry Fibers, Navy/Cherry Fibers, Lead Stone
  • MSRP: $95 USD (Integrated MIPS) or $75 USD (Non-MIPS)
  • Available: October 2017
Bell-4Forty-MTB-Helmet-Brush.jpg

The 4Forty is a smart looking helmet for a reasonable asking price.

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Comments

JBV
+2 Tim Coleman Andrew Major
James Vasilyev  - Aug. 18, 2017, 5:08 p.m.

Mr Coleman gives excellent reviews, well up the list of most credible review sources on the webs.

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Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - Aug. 19, 2017, 12:21 p.m.

Thanks James, I try my best to give as honest reviews as possible. You made my day!

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LIExpress
0
LIExpress  - Dec. 30, 2017, 7:27 p.m.

Can you share the brand of glasses on the white Sixer helmet? Thanks!

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Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - April 29, 2019, 10:04 a.m.

The glasses are the Julbo Race 2.0

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