Bell Motorcycle Helmets: They're Back and They're Pissed Serious

Bell motorcycle helmets used to be all over the place back in the 70s and 80s, and then seemed to drop off the face of the Earth. I wondered why that was, and decided to find out. Well, Bell Helmets began in 1954 when Roy Richter, then owner of Bell Auto Parts, started making protective helmets for auto racers after two of his close friends died in racing accidents some years before. Soon after that, pro racers began wearing the Bell 500 helmet in races like the Indy 500. The Snell Memorial Foundation passed the initial helmet safety standard in 1959, and Bell was the first company to pass it. Even more interestingly, in 1965, they released a revolutionary new product: the first full-face motorcycle helmet. So, innovation and experience are in Bell's DNA.

That's all well and good, but where did Bell motorcycle helmets go in the 80s? Well, after ol' Roy died in 1983, Bell shifted away from motorcycle helmets to focus on bicycle helmets. Maybe not a bad business decision, but I think it's a shame the company turned its back on its founder's passion for motorsports. Eventually, Bell sold off the motorcycle helmet division in 1991, only to reacquire it in 2002.

Well, enough history. What are today's Bell motorcycle helmets all about? Let's take a look at some of their line-up.

Full-face Models

2010 Bell Star Helmet


This really is an aggressive looking helmet. They say its “super stable aerodynamic signature” keeps it from buffeting and lifting, which definitely can be annoying. And Bell's list of features is impressive and it quickly becomes obvious that their marketing department really likes making up trademarky names for just about all of them. It boasts:

Velocity Flow VentilationTM system with Flow Adjust™ - “Literally pulls air through the helmet with a natural flow engine”. Whatever a “flow engine” is. It creates flow, I guess.

Kevlar® carbon fiber/fiberglass TriMatrix™ shell

NutraFog II ™ anti-fog, anti-scratch and UV protected shield

Inner comfort liner is removable and washable and is also antibacterial/antimicrobial.

Carries Snell M2005 and DOT certifications.

2010 Bell Arrow Helmet


Priced at the lower end of the market (about $100), the Arrow still has a lot of the same features as the higher-end Star.

Polycarbonate composite shell

Anti-scratch and UV coated shield (presumably NutraFog I)

Inner comfort liner is removable and washable and also antibacterial/antimicrobial

Adjustable ventilation system and an adjustable chin vent for controlling shield fogging.

DOT certification only, but that's not necessarily a bad thing...

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