Bell RS-1 Helmet | MC TESTED

We test Bell's mid-level Kevlar/fiberglass full-face helmet

Whether it's cell phones, insurance plans, or motorcycles, consumers want features. When it comes to helmets, that usually means lots of vents, a multi-density EPS liner, high-tech shell construction, a removable interior, speaker pockets, a wind tunnel-tested shape, and an anti-fog shield.

Bell's $400 RS-1 aims to offer all of that and more. The RS-1 is Bell's middle-of-the-road lid, said to bridge the gap between the premium $550 Star and the value-oriented $180 Vortex in terms of features, weight, and price.

The RS-1 fits true, cradling your head in a well-contoured and decidedly plush liner. A Kevlar/fiberglass-composite shell is perforated with a total of 13 vents and retains an effective NutraFog face shield via Bell's simple and easy-to-use ClickRelease mechanism. Since riders like features, Bell factored in a few unique ones: a clever magnetic restraint on the end of the chin strap and the option to upgrade to a photochromic Transitions SolFX face shield—a former Best New Product runner-up (Sept. 2011, MC).

On the road, the RS-1 feels light and balanced, and has excellent aerodynamics when facing forward, but turn your head to the side and the helmet wants to lift and roll. Airflow issues exist with the vents, too. The sliders and latches feel thin and cheap, and worse yet, it's difficult to tell when any particular vent is open or closed. Even with the vents closed and the chin curtain installed, there is always turbulence behind the face shield. On hot days, the RS-1 doesn't seem to move enough air, yet on cold mornings it seems to flow too much.

Ostensibly, the RS-1 is an attractive and comfortable helmet with features comparable to the top-of-the-line Star, but for the price I expect more refinement and better functionality from the vent system.

Ostensibly, the RS-1 is an attractive and comfortable helmet with features comparable to the top-of-the-line Star, but for the price I expect more refinement and better functionality from the vent system.

BELL RS-1 HELMET
Price: $400–$450
Contact: bellhelmets.com
Verdict  3/5 Stars
It would be an exceptional helmet—if it cost $250.

Bell RS 1 Helmet