Now that the new Bell Helmet Company has served the mid-priced motorcycle helmet market for the last several years with some success, it has opted to throw its well-recognized name back into the premium full-face helmet ring as well. The new Bell Star could really be thought of as the Bell Star II, as the original came on the market in 1966 and was the first full-face helmet. It was made up of a shell, energy-absorbing liner and retaining straps with D-rings. Lest you think the helmet designers have merely been sitting in the back room for the past 40 years, drinking coffee and discussing 401k plans, think again.
This new Bell Star motorcycle helmet is a very sophisticated piece of gear, beginning with its shape. Back when motorcycles were lucky to reach 100 mph, helmet design was pretty basic. Now that most sportbikes can go past 150 mph with ease, the actual curves on the helmet mean a lot. You will notice that the back of the helmet has a spoiler, and is tapered rather than round. All the better to keep the rider’s head steady at racetrack speeds, because the last thing he or she wants is head buffeting.
Bell used a wind tunnel to evaluate airflow, to see how the helmet would respond to very high speeds, and to having the rider make a quick look over his or her shoulder at 150 mph. Helmet stability is the primary concern, which relates not only to a rider going 180 mph, but also 80 mph. Along with the helmet comes a little package labeled: “Track Strip: Speed Performance Enhancement,” a small, easily applied strip which adheres to the spoiler–said to be useful at speeds over 130 mph. I have not used mine…yet.
Another design aspect that Bell engineers put much thought into is ventilation. The Star has lots of it, with closable chin, forehead and top openings allowing air in, and vents at the back for air egress. All very comforting on a hot day. The only flaw I noticed was on a cold day that the forehead vents, though closed, did allow a little draft in to cool my temples; nothing drastic. All the interior padding is removable, washable and comfortable.
Changing face shields is delightfully easy thanks to a well-designed toolless mechanism. The shield itself has NutraFog II anti-fogging built in, which does a commendable job when helmeting up on a cool, damp morning and you have to wonder if you should hold your breath until you get out on the road. A little lever on the left can lock the closed shield in place, a benefit to racers, or prop it just a teeny bit open. Good design.
All this fits onto and into the composite Kevlar/carbon fiber/fiberglass shell. The Star looks good, both in styling and in decorative features. The one that I wore is called the Ace of Spades, and there are 10 other designs and colors. Bell uses three different shells for a good fit, S, M and L, with two sizes per shell, and a medium weighs 1,550 grams–less than 3.5 pounds. This is an excellent helmet, with a $550 suggested retail price comparable to other premium lids.
For more information see your dealer, www.bellpowersports.com or call 800-456-BELL