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Bell Road Cycling Helmets

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Bell Road Cycling Helmets

Old 06-22-22, 02:24 PM
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DB77
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Bell Road Cycling Helmets

I just got back into road cycling after about 20 years of not doing it. I have an old Bell Influx helmet from the late 90's that I've been using and I want to get a new one. I was looking at Bell's current lineup of Helmets and saw the Z20 is highly rated but is close to 200 dollars. I also saw the Stratus and Drifter. All three are MIPs but the Drifter is the most affordable. Does anyone have anyone real world experience with these helps that can tell me what the practical differences are?

-Thanks
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Old 06-24-22, 10:46 PM
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In general, most (if not all) name brand helmets have a similar amount of protection and are rated by your locale's testing agency. The higher priced ones tend to be lighter and/or more ventilated.
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Old 06-25-22, 08:18 AM
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I have a Z20 Mips, don't wear it much. Nothing wrong with it, though it is quite heavy relatively speaking given its MSRP. Comp Cyclist has them at ~$140 atm. About same weight as a comparison, a Lazer Sphere or Blade+ MIPS can be found for less money.
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Old 06-25-22, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
In general, most (if not all) name brand helmets have a similar amount of protection and are rated by your locale's testing agency. The higher priced ones tend to be lighter and/or more ventilated.
This. You can usually find a deal on last year's models and colors that weren't popular. I have a Bell Falcon MIPS.
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Old 06-26-22, 03:29 AM
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I have a Z20 MIPS. it looks great and is comfortable. As already mentioned above it is heavy, relatively speaking.
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Old 06-26-22, 04:12 AM
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Best advice is go for fit and comfort. You may want to consider the Virginia Tech ratings as well:

https://www.helmet.beam.vt.edu/bicyc...t-ratings.html
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Old 06-26-22, 06:52 AM
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You want a helmet that is (1) light, (2) has high safety ratings, and (3) is inexpensive.
Pick two.
Ask yourself how much your brain is worth.
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Old 06-26-22, 07:00 AM
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Old 06-29-22, 01:44 PM
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Simply buy a helmet that you can actually try on that fits, is within your price range and you like the looks of. Don't be brand specfic.
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Old 06-29-22, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
You want a helmet that is (1) light, (2) has high safety ratings, and (3) is inexpensive.
Pick two.
Ask yourself how much your brain is worth.
There's no evidence more expensive helmets provide more protection. I realize your dilemma allows for this with a cheap, heavy helmet that is protective. Besides lightweight, we could add aerodynamic, and effective ventilation. Some helmets can expensively achieve low coefficients of drag, with low weight, and good ventilation, all at great cost without providing good protection. Conversely, a helmet can provide good protection, but be heavy, hot, and not especially aero.

Specialized markets their S-Works Evade II helmet with this copy: "Helmets have long been plagued by an unspoken rule: Light weight, ventilation, aerodynamics—pick two, there's your helmet. As you can tell by now, though, we don't play by these rules—"

Notice they don't mention "protective." The Evade II flunked Virginia Tech's helmet testing. Despite its price in excess of $200, an $18 Schwinn helmet was rated substantially more protective.

I don't know how much credence to give VT's helmet testing. It's independent, it's objective, it's also unclear to what degree the results reflect protection from actual injuries. Nevertheless, it should be obvious that protection is not even the chief criterium for helmet design -- otherwise we'd wear full-face motorcycle helmets. Most people want something at least cooler and lighter weight, and cyclists that spend most of their time at 20mph or faster care about aerodynamics or they wouldn't wear those ridiculous lycra outfits.
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Old 06-29-22, 03:43 PM
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I have a Bell Z20 Mips. To be frank, I don't understand why this helmet is $200. It's fine - I wouldn't describe it as heavy but it's also not feather weight. Bell lists it as 310g. Ventilation? Adequate... not great but not bad. Pretty much like every other bike helmet I've ever owned. I mainly bought the Z20 because it fit well and I liked the way it looked. The LBS had a cheaper Bell helmet that also fit the same, but I didn't like the color, so... yeah, I spent extra because I liked the way it looked.

I have a helmet from another manufacturer that is 276g and can assure you that the extra 34g on the Bell is not noticeable. Unless you're a true weight weenie this seems like a non-factor.

In terms of safety - All Bell helmets meet the same CPSC certification standard, and they all use the same or similar retention systems. Bell has a $65 MIPS helmet on their website that is just 15g heavier than the Z20 and I suspect the only measurable difference is the appearance and colors.
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Old 06-29-22, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by greatbasin View Post

I don't know how much credence to give VT's helmet testing. It's independent, it's objective, it's also unclear to what degree the results reflect protection from actual injuries. Nevertheless, it should be obvious that protection is not even the chief criterium for helmet design -- otherwise we'd wear full-face motorcycle helmets. Most people want something at least cooler and lighter weight, and cyclists that spend most of their time at 20mph or faster care about aerodynamics or they wouldn't wear those ridiculous lycra outfits.
Let me guess - 32 lb steel cruiser, flat pedals, sneakers, baggy shorts, tank top, no helmet. Am I close?
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Old 06-29-22, 06:03 PM
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No: chinos, oxford, and helmet, and my pedals have Christophe toe clips.. My touring bike is 32 pounds unloaded and I do wear sneakers.

Specialized conducted a wind tunnel test to compare lycra to baggies and a loose shirt -- for mountain bikers, of course, because the road guys are already sold. They were astonished to find the baggies cost 70 whole seconds over 20km. There's no argument that anyone racing doesn't want to forgo that savings in time. For non-competitive cycling? It might depend on how fast you want to go and whether the greatest portion of your effort is going into overcoming aero drag or hills. 70 seconds over what I typically ride in an hour? Also factor in that the overwhelming portion of effort in my riding is lifting weight up hills, and aero just doesn't mean much.

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Old 06-29-22, 07:27 PM
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Two hundred dollars for a helmet seems a bit high. Naturally, manufacturers want you to believe that the higher priced ones are safer, but I don't trust them. A basic model from a reputable company should give you adequate protection.
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Old 06-30-22, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by greatbasin View Post
There's no evidence more expensive helmets provide more protection. I realize your dilemma allows for this with a cheap, heavy helmet that is protective. Besides lightweight, we could add aerodynamic, and effective ventilation. Some helmets can expensively achieve low coefficients of drag, with low weight, and good ventilation, all at great cost without providing good protection. Conversely, a helmet can provide good protection, but be heavy, hot, and not especially aero.

Specialized markets their S-Works Evade II helmet with this copy: "Helmets have long been plagued by an unspoken rule: Light weight, ventilation, aerodynamics—pick two, there's your helmet. As you can tell by now, though, we don't play by these rules—"

Notice they don't mention "protective." The Evade II flunked Virginia Tech's helmet testing. Despite its price in excess of $200, an $18 Schwinn helmet was rated substantially more protective.

I don't know how much credence to give VT's helmet testing. It's independent, it's objective, it's also unclear to what degree the results reflect protection from actual injuries. Nevertheless, it should be obvious that protection is not even the chief criterium for helmet design -- otherwise we'd wear full-face motorcycle helmets. Most people want something at least cooler and lighter weight, and cyclists that spend most of their time at 20mph or faster care about aerodynamics or they wouldn't wear those ridiculous lycra outfits.
A lot of people have described the VT testing procedures as hokie, at best.
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Old 06-30-22, 08:11 AM
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I wear Bell helmets because they fit my head. Find a brand that fits your head well. Then go down their product line and find the best combo of features/price that works for you. Then go online and search for bargains.
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Old 06-30-22, 09:07 AM
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I'd go for something newer than a helmet from the 1990's. Maybe the foam and other components are in perfect working order. But you won't know, even if you have a crash and survive. You'll be like me with my 11 year old Giro Interceptor that I had on when I crashed. I'll always now be wondering if a newer helmet might have prevented the severe concussion I got from my wreck along with the five months of feeling in a fog and things around me being surreal.

Personally, I'd rather just have the best head protection I can afford and no wreck at all. Knowing what I know now Having experienced a bad concussion with fractured eye orbits and inline fractures of my skull, I'd much rather imagine I'm wasting my money on helmets and not have ever had that one bad crash out of the many that weren't anything.

Is your helmet CSPC certified? They didn't require bicycle helmets sold in the USA to have that certification until March of 1999... I think. Even if it does, it's still old. The CPSC recommends replacement every 5 to 10 years.

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Old 06-30-22, 11:51 AM
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This was the model of my first helmet. Bell. 1979. Pretty sure it was worth upgrading from several times over the years. On the other hand, I think there were years that some helmets were produced wherein protection took a back-seat to fashion, vents, aerodynamics, and lower weight. I can remember a period when cloth-covered foam was the trend.
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Old 06-30-22, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
I wear Bell helmets because they fit my head. Find a brand that fits your head well. Then go down their product line and find the best combo of features/price that works for you. Then go online and search for bargains.
But don't use a local shop's inventory to figure this out, then buy it on the internet.
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Old 06-30-22, 02:05 PM
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I have the Bell Z20 helment and it vents well and fits well and does not block my forward vision at all. With previous helmets I had to trim away the foam in the front to be able to see far enough down the road. It is a MIPS helmet which is why I bought it in order to gain the additional protection. The strap adjustment works very well and I now longer have and chaffing issues.

I like when it is possible to go to a store and try out the helmets (as with REI) but these are often out of stock of the size I wanted or not had the ones I wanted to try.
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