Ever since I laid eyes on a Bell Full 9 full face helmet at Interbike 2012, I was keen to get one out on the trail for some serious testing!
The new Full 9 is a great representation of ultimate protection for a DH rider. Nearly all of the safety features that I can think of can be found in this one helmet. First and foremost, the Bell Full 9 carries ASTM F1952-00, ASTM F2032-06, CE EN1078, and CPSC Bicycle certifications. That covers BMX and DH riders alike!
The shell is a mix of UD carbon, kevlar, and fiberglass, with Bell in-mold technology EPS injected into the completed shell. Also, the Full 9 is the first helmet that I have reviewed that incorporates the new Eject system (sold separately for about $60).
For an Eject system to work safely, Bell uses Magnefusion cheek pads. These pads have two powerful magnets that hold the cheek pads firmly in place, but they can be removed in the event of an accident… or when you’re taking a break and want to air them out.
To round out the shell and safety, the Full 9 uses a padded Double D ring strap that is both very comfortable and secure.
Bell has integrated a few other neat features that enhance ventilation and safety. Using what Bell refers to as their Overbrow Ventilation, the front of the Full 9 has three ports that allow a great amount of air flow up along over your brow and down, exiting via the rear vents. The Overbrow Ventilation, in conjunction with the Velocity Flow Ventilation, maximizes cooling efficiency.There are a total of 10 vents on the Full 9 for maximum cooling.
While the construction and safety features are excellent, there are plenty of fun extras integrated into this helmet as well. The Full 9 features an integrated camera mount that makes hooking up your GoPro a snap. In the event that you do eat dirt or try to go under a low-slung branch, the camera mount will pop off without damage to the camera or helmet. Also, the helmet includes speaker pockets that allow for easy installation of a set of speakers. For added convenience and a clean finish, a pathway for the speaker wires, exiting the rear of the helmet, is provided.
Tipping the scales at just a hair above 1000g, the Full 9, although not the lightest, does come in at a very respectable weight.
Out on the Trail
I crashed a few times while wearing the Full 9, but I can’t say that I put so much as a single scratch on it.
As mentioned briefly above, I did choose to install the Eject system. Removing the Eject tab that was clearly marked was dead simple . Once the pad was removed, there was enough adhesive left over to hold the Eject bladder system. I did find running the hose and air port a bit difficult, as there wasn’t a clear path. So it was trial and error for a few minutes until I got the air valve as close to the factory sticker as possible (left side, under the jaw bone).
Other than the Eject installation, the Full 9 was trouble-free! I really enjoy the fit of the lid. Like Kali and THE, the Full 9 has a smaller opening, but then tapers to fit nicely. As always, be sure to try before you buy!
As far as the camera mount, I really prefer using the integrated mount over the stick-on mounts that you would otherwise use. When the trails get really root-filled or rocky, the integrated mount does shake and make some noise, but not too much. The GoPro mounts nicely on the the Full 9, but when viewing video, you will get some of the visor in the shot. To cure this issue, you will need to purchase a boom.
This is a lightweight, safety-conscious helmet that looks good and doesn’t skimp on the fun features, either!
Many thanks to the folks at Bell for sending down the Full 9 for review.