Bell had the Pinstripe Guru “Skratch” make up a line of very, very cool Custom 500 helmets in a limited edition.
These lids hit so many buttons, they give me chills! Retro, cool, vintage and, well, they definitely bring back memories of the helmets from my younger days, I’m afraid to admit.
The “500” refers to the original fiberglass Bell helmet from 1954 which went by that name.
I can’t decide which one I like best and I’m thinking of buying a few just to collect. I’ve added some photos below, along with a Bell video that shows Skratch doing his thing.
Here’s an edited version of the Bell Helmets press release for the Custom 500 and Custom 500 Skratch Limited Editions:
Bell Powersports has teamed with fabricator and pinstripe artist “Skratch” to collaborate on graphics for the company’s Custom 500 classic-style open-face motorcycle helmet.
Popularized in the ‘50’s and ‘60s California hot rod scene, and later on by custom motorcycle builders, pin striping is a form of custom painting that takes a steady hand, perfect technique and an eye for detail.
With his own style that combines pin striping and airbrushed “fish scales”, Skratch has built a following of custom car and bike show aficionados.
Doing a graphic for the Custom 500 is a first for him, but not his first experience with Bell. “I guess you could say I grew up with Bell” he recalled. “When I was a kid, my uncles had mini bikes and go-carts and they all had Bell helmets.
When I got older and got my own dirt bike, I got another Bell helmet from my grandparents — a blue metal flake one. So we’ve got some history together”.
The Custom 500 paint scheme Skratch has done for Bell is called “Skratch Deluxe” and it harkens back to those early days.
“Skratch started with a silver metal flake base” explained Bell Creative Director Casey Potter. “He laid out some side panels and filled them with fish scales, then finished it off with some crazy red candy and pin striping.
It turned out gorgeous — the colors are really rich and the paint has a deep texture to it”.
The Bell Skratch Deluxe is a limited-edition helmet which hits the stores in February and has an MSRP of $139.99.
Throwbacks and retro lids are nice, but nothing beats an original. Back in 1954 Bell founder Roy Richter formed his first helmet out of fiberglass and named it the “500”.
That moment was ground zero for the modern motorsport helmet and it gave rise to an entire industry.
Bell’s new Custom 500 pays homage to Richter’s original design and adds modern protective technology to bring the design up-to-date while still keeping the original’s aesthetic.
By combining a custom fiberglass layup with a specially designed EPS foam layer, Bell engineers were able to craft a helmet that is at once light-weight, narrow in profile, and DOT-compliant.
Adding custom paint-inspired graphics, chrome trim work (on some graphics) and a quilted liner, the new Custom 500 custom looks as good as it performs.