There was a time, not too many decades ago, when everyone wore a Bell. Way back in 1966, the Southern California-based company pioneered the first full-face helmet, christening it the Star. Bell went through some growing pains in subsequent years—its auto-racing, bicycle and motorcycle divisions going their separate ways—but recently got back on-track. The newly renamed Bell Powersports is now headquartered in Northern California, and one of the first things the reborn brand did was bring back the Star.
We’ve had a few of these come through our offices, including this understated Metallic Silver Solid example which I’ve been wearing almost daily for more than a year. It’s an excellent helmet: lightweight, quiet, stable and well-ventilated. Sizing is on par with that of Arai and Shoei, and my size XL fits my intermediate-oval head almost perfectly. Unlike some previous-generation Bells, my face isn’t rammed into the chinbar. The interior padding is comfy and easily removable for laundering.
Collectively, we have a few criticisms. First, while we love the photo-sensitive Transitions SOLFX faceshield, it’s a little too dark on overcast days. Second, while the shield is easily removable for cleaning, I managed to break a mounting tab, necessitating a $119.95 replacement (standard clear or tinted shields cost $39.95). Third, while the chin curtain does a great job of keeping things quiet (and, on a cool day, warm), I managed to lose mine. Last, and most significantly, the little vinyl tab that secures the clever chin-strap magnet fell off on a couple of our lids, forcing us to “fix” them with electrical tape.
Frankly, we expect more from a helmet that costs this much.
Bell Star Helmet
CONTACT: Bell Powersports, www.bellpowersports.com
Verdict: Four out of five stars.
Fine-tune a few things and this could be the best full-face helmet on the market.