Bell bicycle helmets may be just what you’re looking for to protect that delicate head of yours. Bell is by far the world’s largest helmet manufacturer and at one point held 70% of the market. Of course much of their business is making motorcycle helmets, but they are the major player in bicycle helmets.
In 1995 Bell began buying other cycling helmet manufacturers including Giro, which by outside appearances appears to be the second largest producer of cycling helmets.
Being the detective that I am, I’ve confirmed the above to be true through independent sleuthing. And…I’ve also found out that Bell was acquired by the parent company of Riddell. Riddell makes football helmets and it’s at this juncture that the plot thickens.
The plot doesn’t really thicken. I was having a hard time trying to end the last paragraph so I made the last part up. Just like you, I find the history of the Bell bicycle helmet to be extremely boring. How about if we just talk a little bit about what makes a good cycling helmet.
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Bell Bike Helmet Review…Helmets And Coffee Cups Share Something In Common
Bell bicycle helmets are made of polystyrene, just like the rest of the cycling helmets in the world. Polystyrene is what disposable coffee cups are made of. I’ve wondered why my helmet is so hot during a ride. Well, can you imagine what kind of insulating qualities you’d get from a coffee cup that was one inch thick. The ole cappuccino would still be hot at bedtime.
Why polystyrene? Polystyrene is very ‘crushable’. Bell bicycle helmets protect the skull differently than a motorcycle helmet does.
Cycling helmets don’t have much of a hard shell on them so their function isn’t so much to deflect energy away from the head, but more to absorb that energy by allowing itself to be compressed. In other words, better the helmet gets crushed than the skull.
The amount of energy that a cycling helmet can absorb isn’t really all that much. The standard to which the industry is held is relatively mild. Let me repeat what I’ve written on another page.
Helmets are tested to withstand an impact equivalent to an average sized rider traveling up to 12 mph, falling onto a stationary curb-shaped object from the height of one meter.
Enemies of the Bell Bicycle Helmet
There are opponents to the wearing of cycling helmets. Wait, hold the phone! Yes Virginia, there is an element in the underworld who think that cycling helmets don’t offer enough protection to warrant their use. Some opponents even propose a corporate conspiracy.
These renegades rightfully point out that most serious accidents involve the dreaded nemesis of the cyclist, the automobile.
Because cycling helmets, even the much-loved Bell bicycle helmet, are woefully underpowered to withstand a collision with an auto, the usefulness of the helmet is questioned.
What does Bell think of this? “Man, these guys are bad for business.”
What Details Does This Bell Bike Helmet Review Serve Up?
Anything Else In The Bell Shell?
Is there anything else to be said besides polystyrene and a long, windy discussion of the merits of the helmet? Well sure. I should point out that the helmet is covered by a thin shell of plastic. The plastic keeps the helmet together in the event of a collision.
Ventilation Holes In Bell Bike Helmets Are Now Very Aero
The Giro bike helmet company was a pioneer in making the ventilation holes in helmets aerodynamic. So when Bell bought Giro that beneficial trend made it into the Bell camp as well. The more ventilation holes the merrier.
Don’t go overboard or you might as well be wearing a doily on top of your head.
Straps Vary Between Bell Mountain Bike Helmets And Road Bike Helmets
Straps are what hold the helmet on your head. Straps on mountain bike helmets tend to be stronger and thicker, while straps on road bike helmets are lighter and more aerodynamic. Higher end helmets have straps that are held together by a pinch-preventing buckle. This is helpful if you’ve got a lot of excess floppy skin under your chin. Now that’s an ugly visual.
Visors Go On Bell Mountain Bike Helmets, Not Road Helmets
Bell bicycle helmets with visors are more appropriate for mountain bikers than for road bikers. Road cyclists are leaning too far forward with their head down to be able to see very well with a visor on their helmets.
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