Bell Moto-3 Helmet | Riding Gear + Equipment | Tested
Original not retro
The retro and scrambler craze presently sweeping the motorcycle industry has had a pleasant side effect for us road riders: the opportunity to wear retro dirtbike-style helmets. Leading the way in yesteryear looks is Bell with its Moto-3, but for the 60-year-old American firm, it’s a case of original not retro.
I can still remember when full-face motocross helmets burst onto the scene in the early 70s. Until then we’d all worn open-face helmets with cool-looking, but not so safe face masks. The first big name in full-face MX helmets was Bell with its original Moto-3, and it was a helmet I lusted after but never owned. Now 40 years on, and I have my very own Moto-3 helmet, and it’s brand new with 21st-century safety technology.
The new Moto-3 looks almost identical to the original with its bowling ball roundness and signature vented chin guard. Both also share a fibreglass composite shell, however, modern manufacturing techniques – including a multi-density EPS shell liner – mean the new helmet offers a much higher level of safety. It also provides a greater level of comfort, which is a good thing, because while the opportunities to wear my bright orange Moto-3 have been limited to retro-style bike tests, each has been an all-day affair, requiring the comfort delivered by the removable terry-cloth lining which fits snuggly around my head. Three shell sizes and multiple cheek pad sizes make obtaining the correct fit for most heads easier.
Not so much what I like about the helmet itself, but I’m really enjoying the current retro trend in motorcycling that’s allowing me to wear this helmet more often, on and off road.
Because the Moto-3 does not have a visor, you need to wear eye protection. While this is also a negative, it does mean you can invest in a pair of quality goggles. I chose the Oakley James Stewart Signature goggles, which fit snuggly into the helmet opening.
At just 1400g it’s a light helmet that’s also quite small compared to a lot of modern-styled lids
We didn’t like
Retaining the classic Moto-3 design meant limiting air vents to the chin guard. In hot weather, or when putting in a bit of effort on a test ride, heat becomes trapped inside the helmet. This heat would normally escape through the exhaust vents of a modern lid. Still, that won’t cause major issues when enjoying a sunny Sunday afternoon cruise.
The classic-style peak is held on by five press studs and feels like it’s about to be ripped off by the wind blast when you ride at speeds above 80km/h. I say feels, as mine is yet to unclip even one of the five studs holding the peak.
Buying a Bell Moto-3 is heavily based on emotion. Regardless of the comfort levels, the helmet’s style and design make it difficult to use as an everyday helmet – unless your daily ride is a scrambler. Despite its limited applications, it’s difficult to resist, and for just $349.95 it’s a reasonably cheap investment for a classy-looking product.
- No visor
- Limited venting
Colours: Yellow, Black, White, Orange, Matt Titanium, Chemical Candy
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