Over the past two years, the Bell Super mountain bike helmet has become the quintessential all mountain/enduro helmet. Now it seems like I can hardly click on a riding video without seeing someone who’s wearing “my” helmet.
I’ve been wearing a Super since Interbike 2013, and here are my thoughts:
The Bell Super mountain bike helmet is designed to split the difference between overbuilt downhill protection and wispy-light cross country lids, and consequently it weighs in at 390 grams. It features 25 vents, and 4 overbrow ports.
According to Bell, other features include:
- Fusion In-Mold Microshell
- GoggleGuide Adjustable Visor System
- Integrated/Removable GoPro camera mount
- Internal Reinforcement
- Lightweight Buckle
- Lightweight Cam-lock Levers
- Lightweight webbing
- Overbrow Ventilation
- Registered Graphics
- Speed Dial Fit System
- X-Static Padding
The Super is available in a wide variety of colors, ranging from subdued black to a brilliant neon green (tested).
Out on the Trail
Immediately after buckling on the Super I could feel the added protection: the front brow of the helmet comes down the forehead a bit more, and the rear and sides of the helmet offer much more protection than an XC lid. However, after a few fit adjustments and a tugging of the straps, the Super snugged up perfectly and felt right at home on my noggin.
In fact, that’s the thing I enjoy the most about the Super: the fit is rock-solid and very adjustable. Once you’ve adjusted the internal up/down orientation of the rear dial to fit your head, you can forget about it. From then on, just snug up the straps (which are conveniently held well away from the face), and use the dial to adjust. Unlike some helmets, the dial on the Super is large and easy to adjust, even with thick gloves on, and it can crank down tightly and go all day without loosening up.
When I spoke with Bell at Interbike, I was very excited to hear about their overbrow ventilation. The concept made a lot of sense, but out on the trail, the overbrow effect was really only noticeable at high speed. I think this design’s de-emphasis on the other vents is a bit premature, as the overbrow effect isn’t enough to compensate for the reduced size and funneling of the other vents. This, then, is my biggest gripe with the Super: it can get a bit toasty on the climbs, especially when compared to an XC lid. But I suppose if you’re truly riding enduro, then perhaps you won’t be doing all that much climbing anyway.
While I admire the inclusion of an integrated GoPro mount, my mount was attached using velcro, with one side connected to the helmet with an adhesive. According to Bell, this is intended to allow the camera to “break away during impact,” but c’mon: do any other helmet mounts break away? I found that the adhesive didn’t want to stick to the helmet, and that even if it did, the mount wasn’t stable enough to eliminate camera vibration. While I think that the idea of an integrated mount is superb, I think Bell’s execution here needs to be refined.
Finally, when grabbing the Super to go for a ride, I really do need to keep the application in mind. If I’m just riding around, or planning to ride some very gnarly, fast trails, the Super is perfect. If, however, I’m going to be on the bike doing an all-day epic, the added heft of the Super really starts to take its toll. But like I said, consider the intended application: the Super is intended for balls-out all mountain/enduro riding. And for that application, it works splendidly.
Bell intended to split the difference between downhill and cross country mountain bike helmets, and I think they accomplished their goal with flying colors. With a burly build offering plenty of protection, yet excellent comfort and reasonable cooling, the Super is a fantastic all mountain/enduro helmet.
Thanks to Bell for providing the Super for review.