Review: Bell’s Radical New Super Enduro Helmet

Bell Super Helmet (6)

Over the past few years, the industry has seen a major shift towards the all capable trail bike. The mythical 5″ or 6″ travel quiver killer that gets rallied like a downhill bike and climbs like a carbon XC rig. But what about the other gear that gets you there?

While many companies are busy relabeling products “Enduro,” or adding improved rearward coverage, Bell Helmets took a careful look at the needs of modern trail riders and produced a remarkable new helmet – the Super. Designed for people who pedal, rally, and sometimes race, this new helmet has more innovation built in than your average new 650B wonder bike. 

Bell Super Helmet (4)

Starting with protection, Bell chose to give the new lid lots of rearward coverage and more above the ear protection than any other helmet we’ve tried. To compensate for all the heat that extra reckless confidence, er protection, may generate, they’ve added twenty five vents.

The large visor is adjustable and offers good protection from the sun but can also be retracted far enough to stash goggles below. For those too cool for a visor, Bell includes goggle clips in the box so you can securely stash your goggles.

Bell Super Helmet (2)

The helmet retention mechanism has a three point adjustment system that changes where the helmet sits on your forehead.

Bell Super Helmet Details

Over the brow, a series of four vents help funnel air directly to your forehead. A feature also found on the carbon Bell Full 9 Full Face.

Soft anti-bacterial padding lines the interior of the helmet. The company claims the X-Static Pads, which are used by NASA Astronauts and US Special Forces, will eliminate odors permanently. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find anyone brave enough to sniff the inside of the Super to verify that claim.

One of the vents can be converted to a GoPro mount using an included plastic piece, which straps into Velcro tabs located under the helmet padding. Be careful when swapping the piece in and out, because you could easily detach the adhesive holding the Velcro backing onto the helmet.

Bell Super Helmet (1)

Personally, the only thing hindering the Bell Super’s on trail performance is this Ed Hardy meets Affliction inspired graphic. If mountain biking were a fashion show, I would never have left my house with the review helmet on my head. Luckily, the helmet is available in a variety of other colors, including plain black.

On the Trail

Bell Super Helmet Fit

The Bell sizing chart placed me in a size small based on my hat size, which fit perfectly. The fit isn’t quite as comfortable as my Kali Avita Carbon, but it ventilates better than anything short of a full-on XC helmet. After a few rides switching between helmets, the Bell is easily the most protective and well ventilated brain bucket I’ve ever worn.

Throw a GoPro on the top of the helmet (or more realistically in my case – a light) and the weight doesn’t overwhelm the retention system. Unlike some helmets which tend to sag or bob when night riding with a light mounted, the Super stayed put firmly, which we have to credit to the excellent helmet retention system. We’d love to see Bell offer something like a blank version of their Go Pro mount (like this), so that users can attach their preferred mounts.

As a prescription wearing four eyed freak, I found that my normal glasses and sun protection were unencumbered by the helmet shell, but the big draw of the Super is it’s goggle compatibility. The helmet worked flawlessly with numerous goggle combinations and the racing inspired goggle stash was perfect for climbing and breaks during both wet and dusty adventures. Some will inevitably make a snide comment about wearing a half lid and goggles, but nothings worse than having to slow down because your eyes are watering.

The biggest benefit to the goggle stash was the gigantic visor that tops the helmet. During early morning rides or late evening descents, the visor could be stowed up for maximum visibility, and smashed down to protect from those harsh lingering rays. The Super’s visor offers 30 degrees of adjustment, twice that of a popular helmet like the Giro Xen.

While many of the Bell’s innovations come in the form of goggle management or POV integration, features targeted specifically towards (and much appreciated by) the racerboy crowd, anyone who likes to get out there and rally will appreciate the new Super. At 390 grams, the helmet is roughly 50 grams heavier than most of it’s competitors, but the incredible ventilation and excellent coverage put this half lid in a CAT of it’s own.

You can pick one up at your local LBS for $125.

Comments

Seraph - 07/30/13 - 8:37pm

I think that the graphic scheme is much more “Dia de los Muertos” than Ed Hardy.

Dave - 07/30/13 - 8:44pm

Bought a Bell Super 3 weeks ago. I ride 5-6 days a week anywhere from 15-25 miles per outing. Most comfortable helmet I’ve owned. Sits low and surrounds the lower part of the head. I don’t use a cam, but the mount is well-designed and easy to remove or install. Also tried on the TLD A1 when I was shopping and the Bell just fit better for me. Good investment.

stampers - 07/30/13 - 10:27pm

Got it…and for me it fits better than any I’ve tried. Features are nice too. Recommended highly.

landoobi - 07/30/13 - 10:28pm

thought the same thing, Seraph.

Paul in VA - 07/30/13 - 11:03pm

“couldn’t find anyone brave enough”?!? Hey, journalism is not pretty…

Big Cow - 07/30/13 - 11:56pm

the big cow was enduro before you were all freeride

Gary - 07/31/13 - 2:27am

Why isn’t this new helmet (and other new helmets) designed to the MIPS standard to reduce concussion risks? See the article, “Senseless,” in Bicycling magazine.

Kimmer - 07/31/13 - 4:55am

Sadly Madison (UK distributor) has decided to drop Bell this year so it’s proving rather difficult to get hold of in the UK. Otherwise I’d have been all over this since the goggle stash function is a really handy feature.

Ham-planet - 07/31/13 - 8:28am

“You can pick one up at your local LBS for $125.”
I might have to enter my PIN number in an ATM machine first.

nanci djreaux - 07/31/13 - 10:16am

hi saris,
you have gorgeous hair!

ryand - 07/31/13 - 11:45am

@Gary I agree. The Super is a cool helmet, but a total waste of technology. To see a helmet marketed toward enduro riders/racing without having the MIPS certification just seems senseless. I’d go with a Poc or a Scott over this (probably a Poc since the Scott’s don’t cover the back of the head that well).

@Ham-planet YES.

Z1ppy - 07/31/13 - 6:29pm

Kimmer, zyro picked up the distrib deal in the UK & have been shipping them out over the last week or so. My local lbs had sold all but two & had taken delivery of two shipments, there selling fast. They only had a white/grey large left, so I ordered a black (white stripe) from the fatbirds website & used it tonight for the 1st time. I’m replacing a very tired giro xen, & am really pleased with the coverage & fit. I was annoyed to find the giro xar didn’t fit my headshape & thought the Feature lacked vents, hence this has been on my radar for a while. Really pleased with it in use, it feels more secure on my head than the xen, which used to feel like there was a lot more slack between the cradle & helmet. Vents seem to work fine, even the micro vent on the front directing air into you forehead worked. Only small issue I have is the vents are a little on the small side, so you can’t poke through to have a scratch, a small minor point :D One other thing to watch is the screws holding the visor on, apparently fall out quite easily, the one in the lbs was missing one, so I assume some-one had managed to loose one already. Popped some low strength locktite on mine.

Kimmer - 08/29/13 - 11:45am

Z1ppy, just re-visited this. Thanks for the heads up (vague pun intended) and the review – really helpful. Cheers

Joe - 10/13/13 - 9:07pm

Are there any lights out there that will attach directly to the Super’s integrated GoPro mount?

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