If you're looking to take on an enduro event this year, or just want a helmet with a more coverage, then the all-mountain Bell Super helmet will be right up your street.
Bell are one of the big brands when it comes to bike helmets, and they've got a long heritage in impact protection. Born in the 1950's from the motor racing scene, they've taken the technology developed from that field and transposed it to designing cycle specific helmets.
The Super was one of the first of the new all mountain or 'enduro' specific helmets. The MTB enduro race format hit the headlines last year with the launch of the inaugural Enduro World Series. It essentially consists of a number of stages spread over a couple of long days, with relaxed travel stages between timed downhill stages.
Because riders need extra protection for the timed technical sections, but don't want to boil during the travel stages, a whole load of new products have emerged to cater for this market.
If you're thinking this type of riding (pootling along chatting to your friends along flattish sections, followed by fun descents, which is what most of us do anyway) then these 'enduro' products may well be suited to you even if you are not an enduro competitor.
With more protection than an XC helmet, but not as full-on (or hot!) as a full-face, they're great for trickier trails, or for when you are exploring natural terrain. The all-mountain coverage essentially means the helmet sits lower at the back, covering much more of your head.
With a 54cm head, I opted for a size S and it fitted perfectly. It felt comfortable around my head, with room for adjustment up and down - I wore it with a buff up over my ears on a particularly chilly ride and had no fit issues.
The dial ratchet fastening was fairly easy to use one handed with gloves on, though it did catch a little sometimes. You can also adjust how low the back of the cage sits on your head, and there's the usual padding where you'd expect it to keep things comfy.
Plenty of vents, including some at the forehead, do help channel the airflow over your head. However the increased coverage does mean this helmet is more toasty than your average cross country helmet. In my experience, riding on a cold and windy winters day in Wales, this was a definite blessing!
For those of you who like to capture the action, you'll be pleased to know that the Bell Super comes with an integrated (but removable) GoPro camera mount. As I am sans GoPro, I sadly couldn't test the effectiveness of this, but the mount seemed pretty sturdy and secure when in place.
Another good design feature of this helmet is its compatibility with goggles, which is very handy if you are riding in muddy conditions. My Fox goggles fitted into place fine, and didn't slip out of place at the rear or front.
The helmet has a longer than average visor, again an element of its 'all-mountain' design. It kept sun, rain and aggressive branches out of my face, and should you happen to hit the deck will help keep your face away from the ground too. You can slide it up if you want it higher off your face, and this is also perfect for resting your goggles up on.
Now for colours; I mention this because not everyone is going to like the skull and roses pattern. This isn't designed to be female specific helmet, and there are a good range of other plain colours available including red, black, green, blue and white.
This particular design is part of Bell's artist collaboration series, and is by artist Taylor Reeve. As I'm a bit of a fan of skulls, I totally love this style but am well aware it may not be to everyone's taste!
Great for long days out on the bike, especially when you are planning on doing some more technical riding and want more protection, but a full-face helmet would be too much. I also think they're a great option if you ride a lot in wet, cold and muddy conditions. So that's most of the UK and most of the time, then.
- More all-over coverage and protection for your head
- Also helps keep you protected from the elements
- Goggle and glasses compatible
- Integrated GoPro mount
- At 390g, it's not the lightest!
Size: S (52 - 56cm) M (56 - 59cm), L (59 - 62cm)
Price: RRP £99.99
More info: Bell
What Bell say about the Super MTB helmet:
Though the line between gravity mountain bikes and cross country machines has been blurred the last couple years, most associated equipment is still high-contrast - either overbuilt for DH gear or wispy light for XC. The new Bell Super aims to split the difference, riding that all-mountain line perfectly.