Bell Adds a Flip-up to the Lineup
The Bell Revolver has sharp, angular, modern styling and a few of the excellent features that characterize recent Bell helmets.
It’s a solid performer and a good first effort at a flip-up for Bell and a few design tweaks might just make it the best of the bunch.
And it’s not over yet; we have a Bell RS-1 review in the works also.
In fact, 2011 is shaping up to be the Year of the Helmet, with many new designs from all of the major manufacturers filling the webBikeWorld review queue.
The Bell Revolver was previewed in Rick’s report from the 2011 Dealer Expo and in fact the helmet arrived during that show. We had so many requests for a review of the Revolver that it was “fast tracked” and this is my report.
I’m the default flip-up evaluator around here because it’s just about the only type of helmet I wear. Fast-tracking the Revolver means I only had about 2-3 weeks to check it out, compared to about twice that amount of time for a standard evaluation period.
But we’re lucky, because the weather cleared up pretty nicely and with a bit of extra stuffing under the old jacket, motorcycle riding is becoming a pleasure once again. It gave me plenty of time to give the Revolver a full workout.
The Bell Revolver is the company’s first flip-up and it incorporates many of the features that Bell has developed for the rest of their modern and updated line of helmets. The story of this company has been told many times and it’s wonderful to see such a fantastic revival of this well-known and respected brand.
So let’s take a look at the helmet that so many webBikeWorld readers have been clamoring for and see how it fares!
The Bell Revolver – Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality
The Revolver stands apart from your average, run-of-the-mill flip-up helmet with its angular and modern styling, which makes it fit quite well into the new Bell family of motorcycle helmets. I’m referring to the Bell Star (review) of course; the flagship of the current Bell lineup and a helmet with a standout design that looks just as fresh today as when it was released in 2008.
The Revolver has a little of that “Sonic the Hedgehog” look mentioned in the Bell Star review. I think it’s the top vents and rear exhaust that are the cues for that thought, along with the sharp angles.
The helmet comes in only a few solid color choices and one “Rally” stripe black/white graphic, which is a bit surprising, since Bell offers most of their other helmets in a wide array of graphics, patterns and colors. Flip-up helmets always seem to get the most conservative colors for some reason; are their owners all funeral directors or something?
Nevertheless, the gloss black in this Revolver gives it a nice, sharp look in my opinion…even though I’m not a black helmet kind of guy. Cut out a few Day-Glo decals in angular patterns and stick them on here and there and you should be good to go.
The paint is very smooth, with nary a hint of orange peel, drips or dust bumps, which is a great reflection (pun) on the conditions in the Bell helmet factory.
Shiny black paint unfortunately shows “spider web” scratches pretty easily though, and although I haven’t been wearing the Revolver more than a few weeks, it seems like the clear coat may be a bit soft, because the tiny webs seem to have appeared pretty quickly.
Buy the silver or white version instead and you should be fine.
The moving parts are all of good quality, appropriate to the price, but some of the parts could probably stand to be improved just a touch.
For example, when the flip-up visor is rotated upwards, the breath guard catches against the top of the eye port and the eye port gasket, and it looks like this rubbing could and will eventually either pull the breath guard loose or tear it from its moorings.
Also, other than the fantastic Bell “Click Release” face shield (which doesn’t seal correctly on this helmet; see the face shield section below), the vent switchgear on this helmet doesn’t feel as precise as, say, the current flip-up champ, the Nolan N90 (review) or even the $100.00 Bell Arrow (review) for that matter.
Nothing dramatic or a deal-killer, but I think Bell has raised expectations so high with their other outstanding helmets recently that perhaps a bit more was expected here.
Finally, the liner fits well but it unexpectedly popped out a couple of times around the eye port during my handling of the helmet in normal use. The liner retention design seems a bit weak in some locations.
Overall, the quality is good though, and it’s consistent with the pricing of the helmet.
Score: I’ll give the Bell Revolver an “Excellent” rating for paint and overall quality. The clear coat does seem slightly soft and I’ll describe the switchgear in the following sections in more detail. See the Summary Table at the end of this page for a description of our rating system.
Bell apparently has not settled on a standard internal shape for the various helmets in their lineup and maybe that’s good or maybe not. The last helmet we reviewed, the Bell Arrow (review), had a round internal shape.
The Revolver feels like it has a fairly neutral fit along the top and sides that tends towards slight narrow as the sides taper in towards the bottom.
This is somewhat accentuated because the helmet has a set of uniquely designed cheek pads that taper out thick towards the bottom.
This probably helps keep noise levels lower than they would be otherwise because thick padding around the neck helps to prevent buffeting noise from being heard.
But combined with the slight inward taper shape of the helmet shell, the Revolver can feel like it fits pretty tight from the temples down to the area around the lower jaw, especially on round-headed riders.
The thick cheek pads and snug fig on the sides also make fitting eyeglasses somewhat of a problem, which is ironic considering that many motorcycle riders buy a flip-up helmet because they think it may be better for wearing glasses.
I can fit a pair of cut-down sunglasses in the Revolver by squeezing the frames in between the cheek pads and my face once I have the helmet on, but it’s a very tight fit, more than most of the other helmets I can think of, flip-up or not.
If I pull the sides of the open Revolver out as far as they will go and “walk” the helmet down over my head while I’m wearing the sunglasses, I can get it on but I can feel the pressure on the sides and it can become uncomfortable after a few minutes.
Besides the slightly narrower shape, I think some of this may also be a result of the large and deep “ear pocket” design, which may be well suited for speakers but can make it difficult to squeeze in a pair of eyeglass frames over the ears.
I wanted to see if it was just me and my fairly neutral head shape, so I lent the helmet to both Bill and Rick, who agreed. I’ve seen a few owner reports also that mention this issue, so I guess I’m not the only one.
The bright side is that the Revolver may be one of the only flip-up helmets more suited to riders with a narrower head shape, rather than round and, in fact, none of the above may be relevant at all to them.
We get occasional emails from readers asking for recommendations on flip-ups with a narrower fit, and the Revolver may be an answer to that.
Note that I don’t think the Revolver is the equivalent of that Arai Profile, but I do think it’s shaded towards the “slightly narrow” side of neutral.
I usually take a size large and the Revolvers seems true to size. Bell says the size large should fit heads with a 59-60 cm circumference and I think this is correct.
One other note: the internal sun visor works with a rocker-type lever embedded in between the helmet liner and gasket on the lower left-hand side. Unfortunately, it’s just about in the location where you’d want to insert an intercom clip.
The styling of the helmet shell has an indent just above the rocker lever, making it difficult to fit the larger-sized intercoms using the stick-on double-sided tape method. However, the Interphone F4 intercom (review) will fit using the stick-on method.
The rear of the helmet has a fairly dramatic inward curved shape, so it may also be difficult to fit an intercom that attaches in the rear.
So if you’re planning on using an intercom system, as many flip-up owners do, make sure your specific type of intercom fits before you buy the helmet…or wait for Bell to incorporate an internal system.
The liner is removable and it’s well padded. It would be wonderful if Bell offered either thinner cheek pads or differently shaped cheek pads as an option, which might then allow the helmet to fit a wider range of head shapes?
More information on helmet fit can be found in the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page, along with the chart that lists the helmet weights of webBikeWorld reviewed helmets and also by shape on the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet Shapes page.
Score: This is a difficult call, but I’ll give the Bell Revolver an “Excellent” rating for comfort and fit, especially for slightly narrow shaped heads.
Bell Revolver Face Shield, Eye Port and Visibility
The Revolver uses the Bell “Click Release” face shield, also found on the Bell Vortex and Bell Star. This is one of the best (if not the best) removable face shields in the business.
It has a small first opening for defogging, then a whole bunch of tiny little solid-feeling clicks as the shield is moved up and down through its range.
It’s incredibly easy to remove and re-install, as you can see in the video below.
Why other manufacturers seem to have so much trouble with this — although some of the recent designs seem better than they were in the past — is unknown.
Take a lesson from Bell; I wonder if they can license this system to other manufacturers? Of course, the other manufacturers are probably too proud to admit that Bell’s design is superior.
The Click Release face shield comes in a bunch of different tints, with the “Nutrafog” anti-fog version installed as standard equipment on the Revolver. It works very well in preventing fogging, as I discovered.
It’s also absent of any distortions and has a very high quality feel.
The face shield is marked as meeting the VESC-8 standard and it measures 2.26 mm thick. The lift tab is located on the lower left and it’s adequately sized, but it wouldn’t hurt to make it a couple of millimeters larger.
The Click Release shield has a locking tab that is non-functional on the Revolver; it works on the Star.
Unfortunately, the face shield on this Revolver doesn’t seal tightly against the eye port gasket. The gap is most noticeable at the sides, and the system did not pass our leak-down test, with water easily entering behind the face shield and down into the eye port.
The design of the eye port gasket also leaves a gap at both of the upper sides at the edges.
I suspect the gasket could not be made thicker because it already interferes with the rotating visor as it’s raised, where it folds over the breath guard. Also, there’s a gap of about 2 mm where the top edge of the rotating visor seals against the helmet on either side, which allows water to enter behind the rotating mechanism.
Fortunately, it drips out the bottom split line of the flip-up visor and doesn’t enter the helmet but I’m not sure if this could affect the moving parts over time.
This size large Revolver feels like it must use the largest shell size, which I’d guess fits the L and XL. The shell seems a little big and the helmet is a touch top-heavy. The chin bar also seems very tall, at 4.25″, making the vertical visibility lower than average.
It may be because the liner is so thick or because the shell is large and the plane of my eyes is back farther in the helmet than normal, but the side-to-side visibility is slightly below average also. I can see the sides of the eye port in my peripheral vision.
Score: I’ll give the Bell Revolver an “Outstanding” rating for the overall quality and operation of the face shield but a “Neutral” for the visibility out the eye port.
The Revolver also has an internal rotating sun visor. It works via a rocker lever at the lower left-hand side of the helmet, along the bottom of the helmet shell.
It seems to want to either lower the sun visor fully or raise it all the way; it’s difficult to find a middle position and the system doesn’t seem designed to allow partial lowering of the visor.
The sun visor rotates down far enough to remain mostly out of the line of sight, although a large nose cutout section and sharp upward angles at the sides are visible.
I’d estimate the sun shade allows about 20% light transmission, as I think all of these are by law (in Europe anyway), so it isn’t as dark as my sunglasses.
This one generally works better than most and stays mostly out of the line of sight, but I wish the rocker lever allowed more choices for placement of the visor. We’re still not convinced the added weight and complexity of these devices are worth it, however.
Perhaps if the tint was stronger…
Ventilation and Air Flow
The Revolver is one of the very few flip-up helmets that includes air vent channels through the chin bar. The chin vent works on a slider that moves both sides up and down simultaneously and the air has a clear passageway right through.
The chin vent slider is recessed in a plastic surround, however, making it difficult to find when wearing thick gloves.
The Revolver doesn’t have a chin curtain, and when riding a motorcycle without a fairing, a lot of air enters the helmet from underneath the front, creating a strong draft (and some noise), whether you want it or not.
So the irony is that the chin vent works really well, but there’s so much uncontrolled air flowing in to the helmet from underneath, it’s hard to tell the difference.
Chin curtains used to be a feature included only on expensive helmets, but they’re becoming much more common on all types of helmets today. The Revolver could really use one.
The problem isn’t noticeable, of course, when riding behind a big fairing and the helmet seems quiet then also.
But ride a motorcycle without a fairing and for some reason, the shape of the front of the Revolver seems to force a lot of air up under the chin bar, which is a disappointment.
It’s more noticeable than on any of the other flip-ups I’ve been wearing recently.
Perhaps in the summer this won’t be unwelcome, but in 45-50 degree F weather, it’s too much. Also, the wind noise interferes with the VOX on the intercom system, as I discovered.
The top vents are individually operated, a result of the styling consideration. I’d suggest though that a single lever operating both vents simultaneously would be easier to use. Is there ever a time when you’d open one vent and not the other?
Both of the top vent sliders on this helmet do not have detents, so the sliders move back and forth with almost no restriction. It gives the vents a lower quality feel and I’m never sure whether they are going to stay open or not.
This is illustrated in the video below.
It is difficult to tell whether the top vents flow much air anyway; the vent holes through the EPS are angled forward slightly, so the air has to travel through the small slots at the vent, then down through the EPS at the angle, where it’s directed along the upper sides of the rider’s head.
So far, it’s been difficult to tell whether it’s doing anything or not.
The Revolver has two screen-covered exhaust vents at the rear and a couple of smaller vents along the bottom of the helmet shell.
Score: Another tough call; you’ll get chin venting whether you want it or not (on an unfaired bike) but the top venting seems a bit weak.
Bell Revolver Sound Levels
The Revolver actually seems relatively quiet overall. The snug-fitting cheek pads help control noise around the bottom of the helmet and the top vents don’t seem to add much to the noise levels.
Most of the noise I can hear comes from the air streaming in from under the chin bar. I can place my hand there when riding and it blocks some of the air and the noise levels decrease.
I think Bell needs to consider adding a big chin curtain to the Revolver that could potentially solve both problems.
Note that our helmet evaluations are a combined effort of several riders over time on different types of motorcycles with and without windscreens.
Evaluators wear correctly fitted, high quality ear plugs (even when evaluating motorcycle intercom systems).
Always protect your hearing when riding a motorcycle. See the wBW Earplug Reviews for more information on choosing and wearing earplugs.
Note also that perceived noise levels will vary, depending on the individual.
Noise can be caused by many factors, including helmet fit, the type of motorcycle and windscreen, wind speed and direction and even the rider’s clothing.
For more information on helmet noise, visit the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Noise page.
Score: Another split decision. I would give the Bell Revolver an “Excellent” rating for better than average noise control along the top, but only a “Neutral” rating for noise generated around the chin bar.
The size large Bell Revolver shown here weighs a relatively hefty 1808 grams (3 lbs., 15-3/4 oz.). The weight doesn’t help the slightly top-heavy feel of the helmet either, although the comfortable padding and snug-fitting liner helps keep the helmet in place.
The Revolver is also amongst the heavier flip-ups when compared to the other flip-up helmets we’ve reviewed in size L and XL. For example, in the 1800-plus gram category are helmets like theHJC IS-Max (L/XL) at 1803 grams (3 lbs. 15-5/8 oz.).
Just under 1800 grams in size large are the Caberg Sintesi 2, L, 1772 grams (3 lbs. 14-1/2 oz.); theNolan N90, L, 1784 grams (3 lbs. 14-7/8 oz.); the HJC Sy-Max II, L, 1762 grams (3 lbs. 14-1/8 oz.); theCaberg Konda, L, 1755 grams (3 lbs. 13-7/8 oz.).
The Revolver’s closest competitors are probably the Zox Genessis SVS (review), however, a too-heavy helmet at 1900 grams (4 lbs., 3 oz.) or Vega Summit III (review) at 1789 grams (3 lbs., 15-1/8 oz.).
Note also that all of the helmets reviewed on webBikeWorld have been weighed and the weights are available on the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Weights page, along with a chart that lists the helmets by weight and shape on the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Shapes page.
Score: I’ll give the Bell Revolver a “Neutral” rating for its relatively high weight.
The Bell Revolver has a five-year warranty. It meets the DOT safety standard. The chin strap uses the double D-ring system and has the Bell “Magnafusion” magnetic keeper with a stronger magnet than was used in the past.
I’m waiting for confirmation on the number of shell sizes. The Revolver comes in a limited range of sizes, from XS to XL.
- Nice design and modern styling.
- Excellent face shield system.
- Comfortable liner and padding.
- Outstanding warranty.
- Feels relatively solid for a flip-up.
- Fit shades towards slightly narrow, one of the few flip-ups that does.
- Needs a chin curtain to control air flowing up from under the chin bar.
- Top vents need a detent.
- Less than average outward visibility.
- Could stand to lose a few ounces and it’s also slightly top heavy.
- Tall chin bar reduces visibility.
- Fit may not be ideal for wide and/or round head shapes.
- Fitting an intercom may be a problem.
Bell has raised expectations so high with some of their other recent helmets that it’s probably unreasonable to expect another game-changer with their first flip-up.
The Revolver is an excellent first effort and it’s a relatively decent deal for the asking price. There are a couple of minor issues with it though that keep me from gushing over it. Also, the slightly narrow and tapered fit is a mixed blessing — good news for some and not for others, especially anyone with a wide head or larger/wider lower jaw.
With a couple of tweaks, the Revolver might make the King of the pile. I think it really needs a chin curtain to help control the air flow in the front. Fix the top vent issue (and redesign the internal air channels while you’re at it) and tighten up a few of the tolerances here and there and it can be done.
But when compared to the Zox Genessis SVS (review) or Vega Summit III (review), the Revolver is a much better value for the price, and well worth the extra $30.00 to $50.00 or so more in my opinion. I bet Bell had higher aspirations with the Revolver than comparing it to those two flip-ups however, but I think with a little work, the Revolver could go from being a good value to being the game-changer I had originally anticipated.
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From “M.T.” (April 2015): “This is an Update on my Bell Revolver EVO after riding 700 miles. It’s heavy and I’m not getting used to the weight.
The inner shield has stopped completely retracting and I contacted Bell for assistance. Bell customer service said the problem may be in the inner shield itself. I don’t see that, but it’s their helmet. They are sending me a replacement inner shield to try and see if that is the problem. I’ll try it but I don’t see the shield as the problem as much as the weak spring mechanism.
If I lift the outer shield and push the inner shield the rest of the way up it stays and it takes little pressure to raise it. It does not fall or creep down once up all the way.
I found the upper head vents rattle from the wind when closed. They are a loose fit closed and you can hear the rattle with ear plugs in. Open, the rattle cannot be heard over the noise. There is a 20% increase in noise when the top vents are open and very noticeable even with ear plugs. Couldn’t tell if they rattle when open because of the rise in decibel.
Chin curtain needs to be redesigned for a better seal once the helmet is closed. It stops little to no wind and the attachment point upper extra material “flaps” catch on the upper helmet shield gasket when opening the front face. I used double-stick tape to try and keep the extra material flush against the front faceplate.
Conclusion; would I buy this helmet again? No. I’d find another modular or full face.
Pros: on this helmet are price, paint job (superb), external shield design/replacement availability.
Cons: on this helmet are weight, noise, weak inner shield retraction, loose fit of top vent buttons, poorly designed afterthought chin curtain.
Bell needs to do a redesign IMO. I really wanted to like this helmet as the look is great and a Bell TX500 was my first MC helmet in the good ‘ol days.”
From “M” (March 2015): “I just took delivery of a Bell Revolver EVO in warp graphic. It was dated 07-2014. The magnet is now sealed in a plastic rivet and cannot fall away like they did with the cheap glued stickers that they used to fasten it with on earlier units. Much better, and it works.
The Warp graphic is discontinued and that is a shame. It is an awesome graphic and the high gloss really sets this helmet apart from the usual subjects.
This helmet runs a tad smaller than others I wear and I had to go with a large rather than my usual medium. If I put on the medium Bell Revolver it was so tight that the internal tinted visor would not deploy. I tried several of the Bell Revolver helmets and all the mediums were too tight to drop the internal shield on my head.”
From “M.H.” (August 2014): “bought a Revolver EVO Hi-Vis last week. I’m so disappointed in Bell. First on my list is how they market the helmet. I’m fairly sure Bell supplies their venders with product photos. All the revolver images show the helmet with a dark visor. When I received my helmet the visor was clear.
Next is the sun visor. My scale of lite = 0 to dark = 10, I would say the revolver sun visor is a 1. Way too light, it should be a 5. Yes they make a darker one but how am I to trust the photos? Continuing with the sun visor: the up and down action is jarring and loud. When down the edge of the visor tickles my nose causing it to itch. We all know having an itch in a helmet is not good thing. The plastic rattles and bounce and not rigid thus adding more noise to the helmet. Last, the plastic is not very good, I see a wavy line and my view is distorted.
The new helmet smell is so strong. I don’t remember that in any other helmet I’ve bought. There is a large safety label in the top of the helmet covering the vent holes. WTH?
There’s a groove between the forehead padding and the cheek padding that traps my glasses so the won’t sit on my noise. My glasses just float in front of my eye adding to the bad vision issue.
The chin strap. It sits so far back that I need to push it up to the tip of my chin to tighten it. Otherwise it chokes me. I thought I’d like the magnet instead of the snap at the end of the strap but I find it more of a hassle. With the straps so far back on the helmet it makes it harder to strap the helmet to my bike.
The main visor open lip is off to one side and too small to feel with gloves on. I wish it was in the middle right under your nose. Next issue: wow is this a loud helmet. The wind noise is really bad. Why can’t they make a quiet helmet?
Last issue: TheRrevolver is a modular helmet. The retractable chin bar doesn’t have a real positive feel to it when it closes. I know it locks but it just doesn’t have a good feel.
I would have returned this helmet but between the restocking charge and the shipping I will have to eat this one. My last helmet was $100 and was so better designed and made. I guess I’ll have to buy one to replace this Bell Revolver.Thanks for letting me vent. Now I know why the called it the revolver. It’s like playing Russian roulette. BAM!”
From “B.C.” (December 2012): “I bought a Revolver a little over a year ago, best helmet I�ve had for years. A bit noisier than a full face, but with ear plugs, not a problem. Chin curtain…..I bought one that is specific to the Revolver early last year for $9.95, works great.”
From “S.B.” (July 2012): “I have worn this helmet now in all types of conditions for about a year, so that has given me time to develop some opinions.
I own 3 different types of motorcycles, dual sport, sport, and sport touring. My head tends to be more rounded than long, so the Revolver feels tight on my temples and cheeks. Wearing prescription glasses results in a migraine type headache after about 45 minutes due to the lack of any eyeglass channel in the side pads but the fit is tolerable otherwise�but not particularly good. Internally the feeling isn�t anywhere near as “safety plush” as even my cheaper Scorpion EXO-400 (review) feels.
There is not enough forward cheek padding to keep my face from slowly creeping until it touches the face bar at interstate highway speeds on a sport bike. It is sort of like my face is actually being moved forward due to the lack of any wrap-around cheek padding which can�t be great from a safety standpoint I wouldn�t think. This happens despite the fact that the helmet is slightly too narrow.
I have the snap-in chin curtain, but when it is installed with the helmet flipped up it blocks forward vision so I�ve ended up just living with the updraft and occasional bugs inside my face area. In winter at low speeds it also sucks your breath immediately onto the visor�so don�t slow down.
I agree with those who say they can�t feel any top venting. My head sweats like crazy when jeep trail riding this thing in hot weather even with the chin bar up.
This helmet is best used for dual sporting in my opinion where speeds are not high enough to squish the chin bar until it touches your face. Wind noise becomes very loud at higher speeds anyway. Without the chin curtain it can be flipped up for moderate trail riding�although beware if the trail gets really technical the bar begins to droop!
My experience is also that the external visor won�t stay put at highway speeds either and simply blows shut. My chin strap magnet simply fell out after about a month. Bell sent me a repair kit, but after looking it over I simply used some super glue to repair the adhesive that failed on the first one.
Overall I think this helmet is priced about right for what it is�a mediocre modular helmet that works just well enough not to throw out. If it were not modular I wouldn�t expect to pay more than $100 for the quality of what it is. I think it works best as a dual sport helmet personally.”
From “B.S.” (June 2012): “If ordering, you might want to go a size up. And work out your neck muscles… its a heavy sucker. They would do better to make it from something lighter, like cast iron.
The vents feels cheap, and the rear lower ones generate an ungodly howl in the wind when you move over 5 mph. The eyebrow vents work moderately well. The mouth vents seem to just do a good job of keeping your breath in one place, and pushing moving air into your eyes with the deflector. Have fun with that if you live in an area that has dust, like planet Earth. The top vents seemed to do nothing, although one doesn�t lock positively on this new helmet right out of the box.
Overall, I ended up riding with it for 2 days, it gave me a neck ache from the weight (in 9 miles), and I’m off to try and find another helmet. I’m going back to my HJC CL-14 (review) for the meantime.”
From “R.H.” (May 2012): “I bought the Bell (Revolver EVO) because it was on sale, didn’t really need a new lid but figured what the heck, its a good looking helmet.
It does have some nice features like the sunshade and the little magnet to hold the loose end of the strap. Like most other helmets, the vent system does absolutely nothing. I can open the vents on a really cold day and I can’t notice any air at all flowing thru the helmet.
Fit-wise, it’s pretty decent, if not a bit tight on the temples but I’m sure that it would break in if one wore it long enough. Unfortunately this helmet is so noisy I am not ever going to use it. I have 2 other modular helmets and although you couldn’t describe them as real quiet, in comparison to the Bell they are. I would recommend that this helmet is only used for “in town” riding, where speed doesn’t affect the wind noise.
As usual, you get what you pay for, and in the case of this helmet I would recommend you pay a bit more and get a helmet you can wear without the noise driving you crazy…it really is that bad.”
Editor’s Note: Note that we always wear high-quality, correctly inserted ear plugs when riding and during all helmet and intercom evaluations and our conclusion on noise levels reflects that practice.
From “C.P.” (March 2012): “I have the Revolver for almost a year now I like the overall design and the Bell Transitions face shield. I’m not satisfied with the noise level at speeds above 100KM/h, especially that my bike doesn’t have a windshield.
The speakers which I installed in the helmet you can barely hear them, I even got a headphone amplifier.
Another point which I’m not sure if it contributes to the noise level are the side gaps between the modular face part and the helmet. As I don’t often use the modular function, I might just switch to a different type.”
From “M.M.” (January 2012): “It was time to replace my Scorpion EXO 700 and I went with the hi-viz Revolver. I sprung for the Bell SolFX photochromic visor as well.
Bell must have sorted all the issues identified in this review because this helmet is the best! The detents in the upper vents are solid, the visor fits snug all around, and I can�t say enough about the ease of Bell�s shield release system.
True, it�s a little heavy, and the chin bar cuts into the bottom of my peripheral vision, but I still have plenty of visibility. I agree the internal sun visor feels cheap and is not tinted enough to make a difference, but with the transitions face shield, I don�t need it anyway.
My helmet came with a chin curtain installed, and on my first ride with it in 34-degree (F) weather, no fogging whatsoever. I also applaud any helmet manufacturer who stays with the double D ring closure, no need to fix something that ain�t broke.
Good job Bell! Now I have a hi-viz yellow, flip up helmet with a face shield that has the perfect tint anytime, all for around $200!”
From “R.H.” (November 2011): “After reading your review I was a bit hesitant, but given the price drops on this helmet I decided to give it a try. It is the first modular helmet I have used, and while I have only had it a few days I am happy with it.
The reason for writing was to let you know that both the helmets I bought (got one for myself, and one for my fianc�e) came with a chin curtain installed. They have a manufacture date of 8/2011, and both are hi-viz yellow. It attaches to the vents on the inside of the chin bar.
It makes a very noticeable difference, but does have a little interference with the weatherstripping at the top of the visor opening. It hangs up in that area when opening the chin bar, but with a little force you can open the chin bar fully.
I’m not sure this is a good trade off though, better air control in exchange for something that obviously seems like an after thought, and may cause the weatherstrip to wear prematurely. I have attached a few pictures from my phone, but I can get better ones if you would like. Thanks for all the great reviews.”
From “R.N.” (October 2011): “I have been a webBikeWorld reader for a few years now and have purchased all of my riding equipment based off reviews I read on your website.
With that being said, I have been in the market for a flip-up helmet for the last year or so and finally pulled the trigger on the Bell Revolver.
I am a long oval headed rider and have owned a Shark RSI helmet (review) for the last 3 years which has been the best helmet I have ever owned. As you know, long oval headed riders have a limited amount of flip-up helmets to choose from and with the exception of the overly priced SCHUBERTH C3 (review) there are no other choices with our specific head shape in mind.
After reading your review I decided that I would give the “slightly narrow” Revolver a try. I purchased it online from a retailer that was blowing them out at $100.
My metallic silver colored Revolver arrived at my door last night. The first thing I noticed was that the external shape of the helmet is much more round shaped than my Shark RSI. I put the helmet on and walked around the house for a bit and noticed right away that there is a slight pressure point on the front of the helmet where it rests against my forehead.
It’s not nearly as bad as my old HJC Symax (review) but it is definitely something that I hope can be “broken in”. The nose / breath guard also has a bit of a sharp edge to it and when the helmet is shifted down so my eyes are in the middle of the eye port the breath guard rubs on the tip of my nose.
I think Bell needs to make that a little more rounded but I understand the limitation that exists when the chin bar is flipped up. I will most likely trim mine.
Last but not least, I would have to say this helmet is a tad louder than the Shark RSI as well. You can definitely hear the wind noise coming from under the chin opening.
For the price I paid I am happy with the helmet and it serves the purpose I need it for which is my daily commute. However, I don’t think I could do much more than 50 miles in this helmet if the pressure point in the front doesn’t go away. Thanks again for the great reviews. Keep them coming!!”
From “J.L.” (06/2011): ” I also had the magnet fall out of my strap after a few weeks (brought the helmet in April). When I e-mailed customer support, they told me that they do not offer this part separately and to contact the Warranty Dept. I hope they display the same courtesy to me (it is my only helmet).”
From “F.G.” (05/11): “In reading your review after buying one I can give the flowing comments and suggestions:
You can easily fit the Sena SMH10 system on this helmet. It fits just behind the visor mechanism and allows you to still use the mechanism w/o a problem.
One thing I didn�t like was the speaker pockets on the install. I figured the slightly recessed area in the foam would place the speakers in just the right spot so I Velcro’d it to that area. Unfortunately, the speakers aren�t even close to the ear canal there. Then, when I tried to get them into the right area they were too far away.
What I ended up doing was cutting some foam off a memory foam pillow so it would space them closer to my ear. The liner actually worked as a pocket to slip the foam behind and sandwich the speaker between the liner and foam to old it in place. Now it�s plenty loud.
Another thing I did was use my heat gun to heat the breath guard and reshape it so it didn�t rub when I raised the chin bar up.”
From “J.B.L.” (04/11): “I purchased my Bell Revolver to replace my Scorpion EXO 900. The first occasion I had to use it was on the 9/11 Escort Ride from Richmond Indiana to Indianapolis, Indiana with over 11 thousand bikes that stretched over 50 miles…in the rain!
We rode over in the morning in 43 degree weather and the Revolver proved to be a great cold weather helmet, I never even thought about the cold with it on and at 70 mph in the cold it was quiet and comfortable with just a bit of fogging…but with the conditions that day everyone’s helmet was fogging.
Arriving in Richmond, Indiana we spent almost 3 hours in our rain suits and helmets in a heavy downpour and severe thunderstorms while we waited for the ride back to Indianapolis to begin. I was amazed at how well the Revolver kept the rain out..I was comfortably dry the whole time.
The rain was still falling at a moderate pace when we began the return trip and even in a steady rain at speeds up to 65 mph I remained dry (and so did one of my fellow riders who bought her Revolver Helmet upon my recommendation).
The storms passed along the way and the sun came out and that was when I was really impressed with the flip down face shield, it worked like a charm as we headed West into the sun. It was one of the longest days I have ever spent in a helmet, mostly because it was such good protection from the rain, even when we were stopped, and I was never uncomfortable in the Revolver helmet.
I’d say it passed it’s baptism under fire with very high marks. I am totally satisfied with it and I can recommend this helmet to everyone who is interested in it.“
From “D.B.” (04/11): “Just a quick update, I’ve had the (Revolver) a few weeks now and the magnetic holder on the strap has already pulled loose. The thing is a crappy installation, apparently glued with a couple of circular dots to the strap.
Talked to Bell Sports customer service. They have not seen this problem yet, but she said she would send me a new helmet and a call tag to return mine. Kudos to Bell customer service.”
Follow-up from “D.B.” (04/11): “Another update on Revolver. As I mentioned previously, this helmet is very noisy. I may have discovered the reason and it is part of the basic design. There are two small vents on the lower rear of the helmet that go through to the ear openings in the helmet. I tried covering these vents with some tape as an experiment and the noise level dropped probably 90%. I’m going to try some more permanent fixes after the success of the trial.
I went to the Bell from a Shoei Syncrotech. My first comments rated the Bell as much louder than the Syncrotech. I always wear earplugs on any ride over a couple of blocks. I like all the features of the Bell and I have probably 2K miles riding with it. It was loud to the point of uncomfortable. Covering those vents reduced the noise level dramatically. Try it.”
From “B.C.” (03/11): “I bought this as soon as it was available to replaceaugment the HJC IS Max I ride with. First impression is the helmet is really nice, good fit and finish. the helmets shell is significantly wider and longer than my HJC.
I noticed it is a lot noisier and I truly dislike the flip down visor. The sides are made with a large flat area that interferes with my peripheral vision. It might be something you could get used to but it is a distraction. Ventilation is very good and the overall helmet is decently made. I agree with other reviewers that the helmet is noisier than I am used to.”
From “S.C.” (03/11): “Having no hi-viz colors is a deal breaker for me. My Nolan is bright yellow and I get a lot of comments on how I stick out form riders and non riders. You would think that by now that all helmet manufactures would offer a bright color in their helmet lines.”
From “D.B.” (03/11): “Good review of the latest Bell helmet. I recently purchased one and discovered a couple of things:
First, compared to my Shoei Syncrotec, I find the Revolver considerably noisier and the Shoei was far from quiet.
I was able to use the clamp mount for the Cardo G4 intercom (review), but the the available volume is dramatically reduced, which could be the result of Velcro-ing directly to the the helmet shell in the ear holes. There also seem to be air leaks that may take more time to identify the source.
One thing that is really nice, albeit expensive option, is the Transitions SolFX photochromic face shield (review). It responds very quickly and in conjunction with the flip down visor may be adequate to replace sunglasses.”