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Tried & tested – Bell Bullitt helmet | Riding Gear + Equipment | Tested

Old’s cool

The name Bell is one of the most recognisable brands in the helmet industry. Look back through the history of motorcycle racing, both on and off road, and you will see the famous Bell logo in photographs dating back to 1971. The American company actually began manufacturing helmets for motor car racing in 1954, making it almost as old as AMCN.

When Bell decided to produce a heritage range of full-face helmets it didn’t need to look too far for inspiration. It was Bell that pioneered the full-face helmet back in 1968 with its Star model.

While Bell had prior form producing funky 1970s helmets, designing a heritage range was a much greater task than just pulling out the old plans and getting to work. Modern day safety standards mean the 21st-century motorcycle helmet incorporates safety technology unheard of back in the days of flared pants and free love. What Bell has ended up with is a range of heritage helmets which, on the surface, look as fly as the Steve McQueen character they are named in honour of, but underneath the skin lurks modern technology to protect your noggin.

Outer protection is provided by an ultra-low-profile fiber-composite shell manufactured in three sizes to accommodate the XS – 2XL sizing. Protection hidden behind the gorgeous brown leather-trim lining meets all the stringent modern-day safety standards.

We liked

The retro colour schemes, bubble visor and huge apertures scream pure old school, but the large opening at the front is for more than looks. Wearing a Bullitt gives you the feeling of an open-face helmet, but with the added protection of a chin bar. If you want to look truly retro, remove the visor and wear motorcycle approved goggles or sunglasses.

The brushed aluminum visor pivot discs are an external indicator of the Bullitt’s quality, but take a look inside and you will discover the top-class workmanship there too. The lining is an über-stylish brown micro-suede with leather trim. The 3D-cut cheeks are fitted with speaker pockets for an intercom and the whole thing is removable for cleaning.

Three models of the Bullitt are available; Bullitt, Bullitt Special Edition and Bullitt Carbon, the last an interesting fusion of old-school style and modern composite materials. Each model has a range of colours – my pick is the Special Edition Barn Fresh (pictured).

You can personalise your Bullitt with a range of bubble and flat visors in clear, tinted and iridium. The helmet is shipped with the clear bubble visor fitted. If you want the spaceman look of the 1970s formula one racers, go with the bubble, but the flat visors accentuate the size of the aperture. All the visors are held closed by a smart magnetic tab.

We didn´t like

It’s hard to fault the Bullitt; the build quality is top shelf, as you would expect from Bell. The liner feels as gorgeous as it looks, but it is quite firm due to the materials used. It doesn’t instantly mold to your head in the same way as the super soft linings found in contemporary helmets. Because I’m not wearing my Bullitt all the time it’s taking a while to break it in and mold to the shape of my head.

Verdict

There’s now no need to dig through the old wares shops for an outdated and dangerous second’hand 1970s helmet, Bell can take you back to the 70s with its Bullitt range which will protect your head 21st’century style.

I wonder if in 40 years’ time people will look back at today’s modern Bell helmets and giggle at their kooky styling?

STAR RATING 4/5

PROS

Looks

Build quality

CONS

Smaller chin bar

Wind noise

Colours: 14 Styles and colours available.  Check the web page for the full range.

Our pic. Barn Fresh, Blue Metallic Flake and the RSD Viva

Sizes XS – XXL

$559.00

Monza Imports

(03) 8327 8888

monzaimports.com.au

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