UPDATE: Bell Star 2010 Helmet Review
The new Bell Star helmet was introduced at the 2008 Powersports Dealer Expo (report) in February of this year.
I took some photos (below) at the time and we quickly placed an order.
We've been waiting ever since -- as have many of our readers, who have been asking for a review of this helmet.
We recently discovered that Bell is having problems with the large sized shell for the size XL and XXL Bell Star.
So the full review will have to wait until the issue is solved and the helmets are shipped to the retailers.
(June 14, 2008) - After talking to our contact at the Motorcycle Superstore about this problem, they sent a Bell Star in size large for an evaluation.
Unfortunately, I found that the size large didn't fit any of our local evaluators, so we still weren't able to conduct a full webBikeWorld evaluation, but I was able to record my first impressions and we took some photos and even made a webBikeWorld video (below)!
It's curious to note that several sources, including our contacts at the Motorcycle Superstore, told us that the Bell Star is sized slightly large. So we assumed a size large would fit, but the size large helmet we received actually runs small! We think it's about 1/2 to 1 size small, compared to other size large motorcycle helmets we've reviewed and have on hand.
The Bell Star I received also has an internal fit that something between an "intermediate oval" and "long oval", in my opinion. It seems to have a round shaped crown and it's narrow on the sides.
I'm surprised at this rather unusual internal shape that varies from the more popular "neutral" shape. This, combined with the slightly smaller size and also a slightly shorter height, means that the helmet didn't quite fit any of our evaluators.
We also found that the padding seems rather thin. There's a spot just above the ear pocket where the lining for the pocket fits under the thinly padded section that runs around the top of the helmet, above the rider's eyebrows and along the side of the head and around back.
The seam where the top of the ear pocket material runs under the brow padding can be felt, and the narrow "intermediate oval" sides of the helmet caused some pressure against this seam, making the helmet feel uncomfortable to all who tried it. We'll have to wait until we get a size XL to learn more.
Overall, I think the new Bell Star exhibits very high levels of quality, lots of attention to detail and perfectly applied paint and graphics.
But what's really impressive about this helmet is the way the features have been so artfully blended into the design.
The Bell engineers were very obviously working very closely together with the designers and stylists to create a beautiful-looking helmet that incorporates some new features so well and so smoothly that we think it actually has evolved motorcycle helmet design in general.
Thus, the new Bell Star not only looks great, it has a host of features that are unique. We can't wait to see how these features work during a ride, so let's hope a size XL arrives soon. Here are some photos, and then will describe our first impressions:
UPDATE: Bell Star 2010 Helmet Review
The chin vent opens and closes with a slider switch -- down to open and up to close. There are four winged-shaped vent openings on either side of the slider, and the inside of the chin bar has air passages to allow the air to flow on to the rider's face.
The top vents on the Bell Star are also its coolest feature, if you'll pardon the pun. The vent slider opens a wide passage down into the helmet, and you can actually look down into the vent and see right through the bottom of the helmet!
The EPS foam liner has large air vent channels molded right in, and we're anticipating that this helmet should have plenty of air flow. There are no other helmets in the webBikeWorld inventory where you can look down into a big, wide vent and see a direct passage down on to the rider's head.
The back of each top vent has a small exhaust hole, and we think these are designed to either bleed off air at high speeds to prevent backpressure or to somehow enhance the ability of the vent in general. Again, this is something we've never seen before.
The Bell Star also has a wide brow vent across the top of the visor, again something new and unique. This vent system opens with a centrally located slider, and it's backed by air channels through the EPS foam liner and padding to allow air to flow on to the rider's brow and head.
At the rear of the helmet there are two vertical exhaust vents, and horizontal exhaust vents under the very cool-looking spoiler. I can't help but think that the Bell Star reminds me of something like a cross between Sonic the Hedgehog and the trailing edge exhaust ports of an F-117 Stealth bomber!
This Bell Star in size large weighs 1559 grams (3 lbs., 7 oz.), which makes it moderately light weight (see the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Weights page for charts comparing all helmet weights). It isn't the lightest helmet we've ever put on the Polder scale, but it sure feels that way!
Actually, the 1559 grams puts the size large Bell Star in the lowest 1/3 of helmet weights of all the helmets we've tried, which is excellent, especially considering the helmet meets both DOT and Snell 2005 safety standards!
And by the way, unlike most helmet manufacturers who list the smallest size helmet weight in their advertisement, at least Bell advertises the size large weight. These figures are meaningless anyway without knowing which helmet size they're referring to, but at least Bell is trying to be a bit more honest.
The clear face shield release mechanism is designed to allow the visor to be cracked open about 6 mm or so for ventilation. The detents are very close together; "micro adjustments" is what I guess they could be called.
It works well and a metal lever on the left-hand side can be turned one way to pop the visor open to the first ventilation setting, then turned the other way to hold the visor closed for high-speed running, although the face shield on our example could still be opened at the locked setting.
The Bell Star has hands-down the easiest-to-use face shield removal system I have ever tried. Ever. It's so simple, and works so well -- why haven't other helmet manufacturers thought of this? They should study Bell's design and copy it as closely as they can. Let's hope Bell didn't patent it -- they should have, and then licensed the design!
No broken fingernails here -- simply touch the lever and the visor pops right off. You don't even have to hold the visor with the other hand! See the demo in our video... The face shield installs as easy as it comes out. Amazing. Beautiful. Bravo!
Here's the one chink in the Bell Star's armor. The padding feels unusually thin, as mentioned above, and this may be one of the reasons for the helmet's light weight.
The cheek pads and chin curtain on ours were slightly loose; the strips of plastic that fit between the EPS foam and the helmet shell just don't have enough friction to adequately hold them, and both started coming loose. Let's hope this is due to teething problems on the first run and that this issue will be resolved soon.
The Bell Star is delivered inside one of the nicest helmet bags -- no, THE nicest helmet bag we've ever seen. It's very well made and even has an embroidered Bell logo on one end!
The Bell Star uses the tried-and-true, classic, infinitely adjustable, no-moving-parts, simple, elegant and lightweight double D-ring.
The Bell Star is labeled as meeting DOT and Snell 2005 safety standards.
UPDATE: Bell Star 2010 Helmet Review
We don't understand what the holdup is on the larger shell sizes; either some problems at the factory, or in testing, or safety standards...who knows? UPDATE: See comment from A.L. below.
But here's a caution: There are many unethical online retailers who are taking orders for the Bell Star in size XL (and other products), knowing full well that they can't deliver. They process the order and then email the customer days or weeks later with a backorder notice.
This has happened to us more than a few times, and it's unethical at best and perhaps illegal...or should be. There is no excuse for this -- the retailers know they don't have the product in stock, so they shouldn't be taking orders. Period.
This is happening with the Bell Star and it's also happening in the UK with the new Shark Evoline helmet. Several UK retailers have the helmet listed for sale and are taking orders, knowing the helmet is not yet available (we hope to get one of those also as soon as we can).
What can you do? One thing you can do is to buy from our affiliates. They are one of the few online retailers that will tell you if the product is out of stock before you order! Choose a size in the drop-down box, and if the product is out of stock -- including the Bell Star -- they'll let you know before you place the order.
wBW Lightbox - The Bell Star Helmet - Click photo to view.
|Nice Helmet Bag!||Indy Show 2008||Bell Star Colors||Bell Star "Viper"|
We've done everything but ride with the new Bell Star! The helmet looks, feels and works very well indeed, and it brings a refreshing new style and functionality to motorcycle helmet design. Whether this will translate to performance in actual use remains to be seen.
UPDATE: Bell Star 2010 Helmet Review
From "R.F." (October 2013): "Stumbled across your helmet review after searching a list of helmet weights. This comment may now be dated so take it for what it's worth.
First I was puzzled by your sizing comments saying that the Large ran small. My two previous helmets were an HJC and a Scorpion EXO-700 (review), both were in XL and fit comfortably. However I needed to purchase the Bell in a Large to get equivalent fit which is quite the opposite of your findings.
I can pretty well agree with most of your other comments. The shield release mechanism is the easiest I've ever used, especially coming from the other two brands. The Scorpion which was touted as being "quick release" was the most problematic I've ever used.
The lighter weight of the Bell as compared to the other two has been a real blessing on long riding days as the Scorpion would wear me out and make my neck ache.
One problem area for me with both the HJC and Scorpion is that the vinyl padding covering around the base of the helmet would begin to crack and split in short amount of time, 3 months with the Scorpion, due to reaction to the oils in my skin. While replaceable it was discouraging to have to replace the padding on the Scorpion at 3 month intervals to keep it looking good and from being scratchy around my neck. With the Bell the original plush feeling sueded vinyl covered padding took 2 years to degrade. By then it needed the padding replaced anyway.
My only complaint is the optical quality of the shield. I've used the clear, light smoke, dark smoke and amber shields available for the model and all have what to me appears as a ridge or ripple running vertically right down the center of the shield. In 3 years I've grown used to it but was initially disappointed after the visual quality of the Scorpion.
Just the same I now own 3 of the Bell Star (helmets), one with a dedicated Bluetooth headset, and rotate them out dependent upon what gear I'm needing or using."
Editor's Note: If I remember correctly, Bell said that the initial manufacturing run of Bell Star helmets back in 2008 was either mis-labeled or not sized correctly. This was corrected in later production.
From "D.W." (5/10): "Just picked up a 2008 (I think) Ace of Diamonds, and wanted to mention a few things I have noticed.
I don't have the cool magnet (chin strap retainer), but other than that the helmet seems to have the updated liner and is far and away the nicest helmet I have ever worn.
I agree about the venting and quality, but noticed one thing about the noise factor. I ride a 2006 BMW K1200R, so basically (without a windscreen), and the wind hits cleanly from about navel up (YMMV). The helmet's noise is all wind whoosh, no booming or Coke bottle.
But, interestingly, if I put my head tilted forward in a tuck, the noise drops about 75% right as I get into a 'race' position, looking out of the top inch of the face shield. Try it, the sound drop is incredible! Other than that- thank you for the great site."
From "A.F." (12/09): "I picked this helmet up due to a crash I had on the 5 freeway of California. My helmet was replaced with the Bell Star model. My previous helmets were a Shark RSI, Scorpion EXO-1000, and Suomy Vandal. I hoped it would compare in comfort and airflow.
I wear a size small in Bell size charts. First off, I like the longer chin cover that extends much further then what I had become accustomed to as the industry 'norm'. The weight is much lighter then my RSI in the S size.
The cheek pads are soft and supple and they extend underneath the bottom of the ear and behind, greatly reducing the booming noise from the open area. The wide viewing area greatly made things much easier by doing a simple eye check over needed a head check.
The ventilation was hands down awesome. I did a weekend at California speedway with mid 80s to mid 90s temps all day. Generally you would consider me to be a person who is a perspiration machine at the slightest whim of 70+ temps. During every 20min session while on track my head was cool and dry the entire time.
When in full tuck the upper brow and top vents kept me cold actually, I would only start to perspire on the trip in the pit lane and even then it was very minimal. I also was very assured at the locking tab on the visor. Heading out on track it is very assuring knowing something more then just a firm rubber seal would keep the visor down in the event of a mishap.
I always wear proper ear protection when riding, especially on track events. The noise level is very manageable when running at speed with my head out of the slipstream, and eerily quiet when behind the screen which I was enthusiastically surprised to learn. Hands down I have jumped ship to the Bell Star."
From "J.W." (2/09): "I bought the Bell Star about three months ago following some bad news that I have a weird shaped head, and that the only helmet manufacturers that would fit my dome are Arai, Shoei, Suomy and Bell--GREAT!.
For those of you who are wondering, my head is flat on the top, and kind of elongated--think of the creatures from the "Alien" movies, and my face is egg shaped with a fat, wide dome coming down to a narrowish chin. I tried many of each said brand, but since Bell is by far the least expensive, I decided to take a look at them more closely.
Since price is definitely an issue with me, I was looking at the Apex, until I found some ridiculous deal at bellhelmets.com that listed certain Star models for $300 (as opposed to $525+), so I got the Ace of Hearts, and figured that I would just paint it if I didn't like the design.
The Star is my second helmet as a rider (I had several helmets growing up when I rode with my dad, but I have only been 'driving' for a little over a year), the first being the KBC VR-1X, which I bought a medium in--which is what I wear in pretty much every other helmet manufacturer, save Bell and some Shoei--thanks to my goofy dome.
The problem with the KBC is that while the head fit--ish, the face was too roomy, so I would need some bigger cheek pads…if they made them!
Length of wear: 3 months
Fit: Perfect for my size (US 7 1/8) and shape head. I got a small
Liner: Very comfy. Seems a bit thinner than my KBC, but more comfortable somehow.
Venting: AWESOME! All the vents seem to work well, especially the front and top vents--which are a little difficult to operate with gloves, but move air REALLY well. It's not summer here in Florida yet, but I'm sure that they'll work way better than my KBC vents.
Noise: LOUD! This is one thing that I immediately noticed in comparison to my KBC. And it's easy to pinpoint the source of the noise: the ear vents! In the summer, I hope they make up for it in coolness, but right now, those big ear vents are just LOUD! I read a lot on forums and wBW about wearing earplugs and stuff and always thought it was for Harley riders and such. NOW I know why sport riders might need them! I just took it for granted with the KBC.
Buffeting: Seems to be a bit better than my KBC, not a huge difference, but noticeable.
Visor: Doesn't seem especially clear or distorted--same as my KBC, but I did notice a whitish film that came on it that took several minutes of cleaning to get off--don't really know what it was.
Quick Release: It IS quick, but beware: if you tap the little latch release on the side for whatever reason while the visor is open, it will release that side, and it is pretty easy to do--I did it twice while I was riding in the first week I had the helmet.
Design/Graphics: If I had a choice, I would have gotten the flat black--that paint was just smooth and looked really nice on this helmet, but since I got the helmet for $250 off, I chose the Ace of Hearts scheme, which is an odd clash of a normal, every day design, with an edgy, darker 'heart' design on the top. I like the heart, but am not to big on the rest, so I'm gonna try to get it painted flat black and keep the heart.
Paint Quality: I could really give two craps about paint quality on a helmet, but it seems nice enough to me.
Size/Weight: Along with fit, the other thing that I immediately notices was the compactness and lightness of the helmet. My KBC seems like its made of boxy steel compared to the Star. I doubt that there's any actual difference, but it seems like the KBC is a lot thicker (from liner to the outside of the shell) than the Star.
Extra stuff: The bag it comes with is AWESOME! I've never seen anything like it. BEWARE: Those buckle kits that you snap on to the chinstrap so you don't have to crochet it on and off every time you ride DOES NOT WORK with the chinstrap. At least the one I got didn't. So check that before you get the kit."
From "M" (12/08): "I have been using this helmet now for about 4-5 months. I primarily became interested in this helmet because of the good venting reports and I am a former satisfied user of Bell helmets back in the day.
First, before I say anything about the helmet, the helmet bag that is included with the helmet is just phenomenal!! I thought getting a sock with a helmet was a pretty cool deal, but this bag knocks the sox's off of a sock.
On to the Star helmet. First thing I noticed was how plush and comfortable it was on my head and how light it felt while wearing it. It literally feels like your wearing a baseball cap compared to the HJC I was using before. My HJC would also develop a pressure point above my forehead on occasion, nothing like this ever occurs with the Star .
Another thing about the Star is at speeds above 60 mph it cuts thru the wind with ease, any other helmet I have worn felt like I had a door strapped to my head.
As far as venting is concerned, while I have not had a chance to try this helmet during mid July Texas heat, I have opened the vents for a little while on some 60 degree rides this fall. Thing got pretty chilly in a hurry on this ol' balding head........I think this helmet will be plenty cool come summer time which was one of my primary reasons for buying it.
Graphics and finish on the helmet are excellent. I have found only one minor negative with this helmet. I wear prescription glasses when I ride and on cool days at slow in town speeds, my glasses fog up with the visor down. Even with the installed breath guard, this is a problem.
I think the visor seals so well to the eye port, that my breath rises up to my glasses with no way to escape. I can either crack the visor or open the brow vent to stop the problem, but it gets kind of tedious opening and closing vents/visor every time your glasses fog.
My HJC doesn't have this problem, so my ultimate solution may be to use the HJC during winter and the Star during summer.
All in all, I give the Star many thumbs up and would consider getting another when the time comes to replace it."
From "S.Z." (10/08): "I called a place that was about an hour's ride from my apartment and they had the Bell Star in stock. I took a little Saturday morning ride. When I got there they had sizes S, L, and XL on display, so I tried on the size large in matte black.
I have a 60mm semi-oval head (upper end of a size large). It felt good,
but I thought maybe a bit loose. I asked the salesperson to break me out
a medium to try on and he happily wandered off to the stockroom. He unboxed
a medium black/silver Recoil. It was snug. GOOD snug! I wore it for
about 20 minutes and found no pressure points, and oh, so damn comfy!
Visor down, I could not fog the visor.
Now, my intentions are that I always find a place to just try helmets
on and then I go online to find deals. There ARE no deals on (the Bell Star)
online people. The salesman told me that the Bell Star was on sale. He stated
no one really has any keen interest in them. They weren't selling well.
He told me that the Recoil was on sale for $299.00!!! That was $150.00 off!!!
I couldn't pass it up. I also purchased the dark smoke visor for $49.00,
bungeed the box to the back seat on my 2006 Interceptor with my XPEED inside,
the clear visor snug in it's soft liner, and headed merrily home on an hour
long test ride.
Dirty air hits me in the dreaded high shoulder/neckline area. I am 6'2". The helmet was quieter than my Arai and Shoei, but I would still classify it as on the slightly noisy side. I'd say the snug fit helped quell a lot of it though. I didn't get much low boom. More on venting and noise in a bit.
Before you read this diatribe let me preface it by saying... I have nothing
bad to say. Sorry.
Fit - Yes, it runs small, meaning order a size smaller than normal.
I have NEVER worn a medium in my life and this was strange to me, but who
cares! Smaller shell, lighter weight! (Medium/Large share the
same shell, then XL/XXL share their shell).
In regards to your comment on your video review about the cheek pads
and chin block being loose... Not the case. Mine are snug if not tight.
No hint of looseness. Maybe you got a bad prototype. Snug cheek pads, to
me, mean that when you try and close your teeth together it's kinda tough
to do without biting the sides of your cheeks slightly. I can only imagine
how tight it is with the firm cheek pads (see below) installed.
Another thing to note is that the chin block is not flush with the inside of the helmet, but rather it juts out flush to the front of the helmet, aerodynamic, with hard pre-formed rubber like an air dam - quasi Arai-ish, but non-retractable. This keeps the air out of the helmet more efficiently than just a flimsy interior chin block. That in turn lessens any buffeting from rough air that gets in through the neck.
This helmet is perfectly stable at speed. No buffeting whatsoever. The
chin block directs the air down away from the chin and very little air really
gets in via that slight gap in your neck and the chin block fabric.
Also, I didn't find the padding to feel thin at all. This is more plush,
if fit to size, than any helmet I have owned. And you know, I have an Arai
Corsair and Shoei X-11 in my arsenal. If anything, the Shoei has always
felt cheap and thin to me.
Quality, Fit, and Finish - The Recoil I have has a perfect finish.
no blemishes, no flaws, high gloss, great fit, and is balanced perfectly.
The graphics accentuate the vents by outlining them.
Chin Vent - Your assessment is accurate, but you neglect to mention
that it has two positions. The first position down is designed to flow the
air up along the visor. It does. The second position, all the way down,
also opens up airflow to the lower aspect of the face (below the nose guard/deflector).
It does. I fiddled with vent combinations on the ride home and you can tell
the difference between the two positions.
Top vents - Only one choice. Open or closed. Open you feel two
distinct streams of air brushing the top of your head. Tilt your head left
or right, downward, or for hard left and right head checks and you notice
an increase in the airflow! I believe the side vents actually keep
the top vents from whistling. I could not get the helmet to whistle, but
I could hear the vents increase their 'air sucking' sound. You may be right
about the pressure relief, but I think that would only be at race speeds.
Brow Vent - Up to open, down to close. Again, it works! What more to say? Ok, I'll say this - With all vents open you can actually tell which air is coming from which vents! No lie! All vents open and the helmet vents with an excellence I have never felt. It is never a blast in the face, even with the visor in the 'cracked' position.
The Arai Corsair and Shoei X-11 have a problem - they always give too
much air at higher (highway) speeds and it becomes distracting. The Bell
Star diffuses incoming air so that it merely bathes the face and interior
neck with a comfortable breeze. Even at a stop light, if you turn your head
you can feel the breeze flow into the helmet!
Rear Vents - Today is Sunday, and I rode out without earplugs. Yeah, I know, I know! The helmet is tolerable at speeds of 70mph and less and gives excellent perception of a car's engine noise as it comes up at you from behind. I can actually hear and slightly FEEL the helmet venting air OUT of the helmet at the back of my neck! You can actually tell it's a sucking sound at the rear of the helmet. I am sure with earplugs none of this would be noticeable.
I usually listen to music when riding, and I could still hear around
me. I have to turn my music up more than I do for my XPEED which is my quietest
helmet, and my Akuma Street Fighter. The later pushes more air into my face
than the Bell, but it's not regulated, it's blasted like the previously
described Arai Corsair and Shoei X-11. Not good. Distracting, and they let
in particulate matter occasionally that hits your eyes! Not so with
the Star. Hell, my XPEED is better in that area than my Arai or Shoei. I
have better control of airflow with my XPEED than those two.
Bell has a couple very cool
vent tests on their site. Check it out! The upside-down visors
are two different videos. The one on the right shows all the venting tested
with dye to actually show vent flow and even the defog airflow... very cool...
and I would say very accurate. Look how the dye is diffused and not blasted
into the helmet.
Weight - Pretty light if you consider they're SNELL certified
AND use carbon fiber layering. Only way I can see it any lighter than it
is would be to get rid of the vents. Fat chance! Balance is perfectly
Visor - I have the dark smoke installed. No distortions. The lever cracks it open in a defog position which really is not needed. I can't fog the visor, but my glasses sure fogged up when I tried! The nice thing about this position, which is overlooked in the reviews, is the fact that when you flick the lever back to neutral, the visor slams back down SHUT, as if spring-loaded. Maybe it is. Arai and Shoei's crack positions stay cracked open till you take a hand to close them again. Kudos Bell!
The first real detent on the Bell Star visor is almost a 3/4 inch opening,
and then, as you say in your review, it clicks in rigid micro adjustments.
I'll add too, that ALL helmets that have a lock position can be opened with
slightly more than normal force. Probably some sort of safety feature (In
case of accident a passer-by can open your visor no matter what, to be able
to talk to you and assess your condition.).
The visor latch takes a bit of practice to know where it is, but so does
the Shoei's. Visor thumb tab is typical left side and easy to find.
Visor Removal - This system makes me laugh at all other attempts.
So easy, a caveman can do it! *lol*
Liner - As stated above, I disagree with your assessment. I find
it nicer than my Arai. By the way, you neglected to mention that Bell, along
with the nice bag (below), gives you an extra set of FIRM cheekpads (for
track days or merely a slightly tigter 'Arai type' feel). You'll find them
in the bag along with the ALSO free 'racing strip' that slides onto the
rear wing of the helmet - for track use with speeds in excess of 130mph.
I doubt I'll use mine. The only thing Bell DOESN'T give you is a free dark
smoke visor, and believe me, I contacted them and suggested it to their
marketing department. They said they'd forward that...lol
Helmet Bag - Where's the competition? This bag is AWESOME!
Soft, soft, soft interior and same for the extra visor sleeve. There is
also a large zippered compartment on the outside as well as a smaller fishnet
compartment. This bag has more room in it than my hard side cases on my
Interceptor! God, I hope it fits in them! This helmet and bag
and accessories wreaks of QUALITY people!
Chin Strap - Nice and soft, wide, non-irritating. Good job. Fat
pull tab. I'll say that it takes more force to open the slack of the strap
than any I have ever owned, but this is not a negative in my book. This
only means to me that this is not going to slip out of adjustment. Probably
a carryover thought from their racing department, and good to know that
the helmet's not going to budge if you find yourself in an accident.
I've written my impressions on a few helmets that your reviews have peaked
my curiosity on. This you guys know. I jokingly stated that I am in search
of the Holy Grail of helmets. Well, the search is over and the helmet's
been found; The Bell Star. This helmet, even priced as much as my Corsair,
would still be a better helmet. The kicker is that it's relatively affordable
as far as high end goes. If this is the most expensive that Bell's gonna
go, then it bodes really badly for Shoei and Arai's futures.
There have been some concerns raised by other reviewers about the numerous
moving parts associated with the venting system. I say who (cares)?
It's got a 5 year warranty people. Besides that, all the vents have a positive
feel and click. I doubt very seriously I am going to be having problems.
I just pray they make this model long enough to get replacement pads and
From "A.L.": "I came across your review
of the Bell Star. My company was contracted to Bell to help launch that
new helmet. Our engagement is up and I no longer work for them, but I was
close to the development of the helmet and know about some of the concerns
The Bell Star is the first street motorcycle helmet Easton Bell Sports
has produced since they repurchased the Bell brand. Back in the early 90s,
the Bell motorcycle brand was sold to Bieffe as Bell wanted to concentrate
on the booming bicycle helmet market. Unfortunately, Bieffe took the industry-leading
Bell brand, the one that invented the the Styrofoam liner and the full face
helmet, and they drove it into the ground with lower quality, inexpensive
So after buying the Bell motorcycle brand back from Bieffe more than
five years ago, Bell tasked their best auto racing, bicycle racing and newly
acquired motorcycle helmet specialists into building the finest street helmet
on the market. Bell does all R&D, prototyping and testing in the U.S.
in their state-of-the-art lab in California. They spent three years building
the Star and, from a guy who has worn Shoeis and Arais all his life and
has worn a Star for the past six months, I think they have built a helmet
that can go up against any helmet in the world for performance, and more-so
Enough of my cheerleading. The delay with the XLs is that the Stars are
hand made in small batches. Production takes longer than lesser helmets.
When they looked at which shells to build first, they built the medium size
(helmet sizes medium and large), because it would make up the majority of
their sales. The small shell size (used for small and x-small) would come
next and then the least-selling large shell size (XL and XXL helmet sizes).
When faced with getting the most popular sizes to the market in Spring
of '08 or holding those until the large-shell-size helmets were ready in
July, they chose to get the extra-small through larges out in the Spring.
All their sales reps were briefed on this situation and were to communicate
this to their dealers.
I read your concern about the padding, and in my 3500 street and track
miles with the Star, I haven't noticed it being uncomfortable. What's neat
is that it comes with two sets of cheek pads, one firm and one soft. When
I want a Shoei-like fit I put in the softs and when I want an Arai fit I
put in the firms.
The most noticeable strength of the Star is how much air it flows. You'll
be blown away when you wear it. Their bicycle-helmet designers were disgusted
with how little venting actually takes place on motorcycle helmets, so they
designed a system, within Snell standards, that flows a ton of air. If it
isn't above 70, I have to keep all the vents closed, or my skull gets too
cold. One drawback of this much venting, though, is the helmet is a little
louder than others. When that much air is flowing through it, it just makes
more wind noise. I wear earplugs and don't notice it, but when without them,
it is louder than my RX7RR.
When we were working with them early this year they told the press the XLs would be in dealers in July, so I hope you'll get one soon. Thanks for reading my rant. I just feel so strongly about this helmet, I wanted to give you some additional background."