Bell Introduce 3 New Helmets for ’13 – Full 9, Super & Segment
September 10th, 2012
Purpose, Passion, Action. If you roll back fifteen years to a time many consider as the golden era in downhill racing, there was really only a few choices out there for gravity riders looking for quality equipment to get them down the mountain safely and in style. With riders like John Tomac, Brian Lopes and even Rob Warner rocking their helmets on the world stage they became hugely popular. In recent years though, it’s fair to say the brand has been pushed to the back of the ‘brand to be in seen in’ list, but that was then and this is now. So what’s changed? Well, if you haven’t noticed from watching footage from the World Cups this year, 2012 marked the brands resurgence in downhill with likes of Aaron Gwin, Loic Bruni, Sam Blenkinsop, Manon Carpenter, Graham Agassiz, Sik Mik and Cam Cole to name but a few of the pinners that Bell has on their roster right now. So, they’ve got the talent, but what about the product? Enter Bell’s 2013 range of DH, Enduro and Dirt helmets…
Bell Full 9 DH Helmet.
Nope this isn’t their moto helmet! This is the all new Bell Full 9 bicycle helmet – a slimmed down and to-the-point variation of Bell’s award winning Moto 9 helmet – the one you’ve seen the team wearing leading up to the Full 9′s debut at Leogang for the 2012 UCI Downhill World Champs. Nice isn’t it? Full carbon construction that puts the Super 9 at 1050 grams and right up there with the competition. See that pipe popping out the bottom? That’s for the eject system and yeah, this thing is dialed!
Bell have a heritage in helmet design and manufacturing that goes back decades, even Steve McQueen wore a Bell and if your into the vintage motorbike scene right now, Bell are right there and very much the lid to be seen in right now. In moto, Bell’s latest, the Moto 9 has already won several awards in the US MX press and this is where the Full 9′s story begins. Taking the Moto 9 as a design base for their new MTB helmet, Bell re-engineered every aspect of the moto number into an all new helmet designed specifically for today’s discerning DHer.
Sik Mik in the Full 9 and on his way to fourth place at the 2012 UCI World Champs in Leogang. Rocking what I think will be the colour to have and available in 5 other colours/ designs (including the Gwin model we’ve focused on) to suit all tastes and persuasions.
This colour-way is the Aaron Gwin signature model and in the flesh, looks pretty rad I have to say! DH riders really want look as much like MXers as they can, or is that just something MXers say? The two sports are so intrinsically linked these days and its great that the manufactures who make gear for both ends of the ‘dirt bike’ sports spectrum are producing kit specifically designed and manufactured to meet the specific needs of the end user head on. Featuring 10 Vents and available in a staggering 6 sizes means this one helmet designed to exceed your expectations.
Ventilation is taken care of with 3 well placed vent ports on the brow that suck air in through the front and via a sculpted EPS liner, channel the air over your head, cooling you down in the process and back out the rear.
I’ve never really had any issues with GoPro’s adhesive helmet tabs, other than they can look a bit crap on your expensive helmet when there’s no helmet on there and being disposable, can mean you can find yourself with no mounts when you actually need them. The other issue is that the some helmets don’t really mate very well with the curved adhesive tabs and at the end of the day, the last thing you want to happen is loosing that expensive camera on a mountain side! Bell have realised that helmet cameras are becoming increasingly ‘standard issue’ amongst riders and racers alike, so offering a well designed solution was imperative to releasing a helmet in the day in age of the POV video (Point Of View).
Bell have addressed the helmet camera mounting issue with integrating a rather unique helmet mount into the Super 9. It sits discreetly behind the visor and also represents an answer to one of the biggest questions asked by POV video enthusiasts – “where exactly should it go?” – right there buddy!
More detail of the venting under the brow. The feel and dexterity of the Full 9 was pretty impressive to say the least!
Yes that’s a Skull Candy adapter. The Full 9 is ready and waiting for surround sound and with so may garment manufacturers making audio friendly jerseys, there’s never been a better time to get some pumping tunes in your ears!
The speakers are an after market add-on, but are easy to source and install should you need some inspiration while taking in the scenery on the lift and could one day be standard in all helmets?
Add-on number three – an inflatable eject system. This inflates via a tube at the bottom of the helmet, so when first responders (medics) get to to you lying by that big jump you really shouldn’t have hit, they can inflate this bag, which sits at the top of the helmet and with the cheek pads removed, the helmet rises gently off your head without any need to pull and force the helmet off increasing the risk of further injury.
Talking of cheek pads and first responders, the Super 9′s cheek pads are held in place by magnets for easy hassle and vibration free removal. What Bell call the ‘Magnefusion’ is a unique take on a age old design problem and one we think is pretty rad!
Manon Carpenter in the Super 9 and on her way to a bronze medal in the senior women’s DH race at Leogang. Packed with unique features and with a look and feel that we think will certainly put Bell back on the map for full face helmets, the Super 9 looks every bit the product that today’s DH racer and gravity pinner could very well be looking for. Retailing at £399.99 the Full 9 is pretty well priced too… More on this helmet when we get our hands on one!
Bell Super Enduro/ AM Helmet.
Upon closing in on Bell’s ginormous booth at Eurobike, this was the first thing that grabbed my attention and at first I thought it was some kind of retro BMX off-shoot, but no, what this is, is one hell of a promising bit of kit. Designed from the ground up for the needs of today’s aggressive trail riders with moto styling, retro aesthetics and thankfully not another roadie off shoot helmet with a visor attached and re-marketed to a distinctively different rider with distinctively different needs.
The Super looks awesome and this retro offering in matte black is certainly going to be a winner when they eventually hit the shelves next Feb/ March. Weighing in at 375 grams and featuring 25 vents including 4 in the brow, this is gonna do three things: make you look cool, actually keep you cool and of course, keep you safe and in one piece should you get carried away!
Like the Full 9, the Super also has an integrated, removable camera mount, but more importantly, the Super has got more coverage to the rear and sides and combined with a big adjustable visor, goggle compatibility and great styling will get all those retired DHer’s come Enduro pinners pretty excited I’m sure. Available in 7 colours and retailing for £124.99, the Super will be a helmet quite a few riders I know will be gagging to get their hands on!
Overbrow ventilation in an open face? Featuring 9 brow vents, this helmet has been extremely well designed from top to bottom and it shows that Bell have certainly done their home work on this one…
The familiar and outstanding retention system, aka the “Speeddial”, employed in all Bell helmets and a necessity with a heavy camera on your head! Cameras aside, this will keep the Super where it needs to be when you need it to be there.
You also have an option to remove the peak should you wish and install these ‘retention arms’ to keep your goggles in place.
Bell Segment Trail/ BMX & Skate Helmet.
Skate style helmets can more often than not make you like one of those mushroom dudes from a Mario computer game, but that ‘mushroom’ shape is there for a reason; protection. This issue therefore is only an aesthetic one, but one that needs to be addressed if we are to get more people riding and skating in helmets. Bell have had a successful line of skate style lids for a few years now (got one myself) that I always thought looked pretty good in the mushroom department, but Bell being Bell and wanting to make a splash in 2013, went back to the drawing board…
The Segment looks like any other skate style helmet right?
To reduce the external size of the Segment, Bell have designed the EPS liner literally out of segments that when combined with a flexible outer shell and soft inner liner, make up for one crazy helmet that not only looks good with a visibly smaller outline on your head, also meets all the safety standards too! Crushing the Segment in your hands and you can see how it will react in an impact – pretty impressive.
Weighing in at 410 grams, featuring 8 vents and available in three sizes and 9 colours, the Segment will be available early next year for £44.99 – £49.99 depending on the design.