Bell make helmets and protective headgear for bicycles, motor racing and motorcycles. Established in 1923 in Bell, California, the company began as Bell Auto Parts and didn’t produce its first race car helmet until 1954. After this the Bell Helmet company was created as a division of the original auto parts business. In 1975, it introduced its first bike helmet.
Naturally, given their automotive origins, Bell retains a lot of focus on what it terms ‘powersports’ but over the course of the corporate history, the cycle helmet division has stood alone as its own individual company, so there is no question of cycling being of secondary importance. The UHC Pro Cycling Team are sponsored by the company and when competing around the USA use both the ‘Gage’ and the ‘Javelin’ helmets. They also sponsor a lot of different MTB and BMX riders, including rising BMX Street star Chad Kerley and pioneering MTB freerider Wade Simmons.
All Bell products are designed with function firmly foregrounded over form. They believe that their products are built to do a job and any aesthetics will grow out of a rigid adherence to the utility of the item. A good philosophy to have when dealing with such key items of safety equipment. Bell helmets are not broken down exactly by cycling discipline, but instead into the categories ‘Pavement’ ‘Dirt’ ‘BMX’ ‘Recreational’ and ‘Kids’. Bell apparel is more about casual wear than technical garments. They produce a range of t-shirts, shirts, jeans, hoodies and the obligatory trucker caps.