THERE’S SIMPLY NO BIGGER legend in the complicated and competitive field of helmet design than the Bell Star. In fact, I can remember being in awe of my dad’s new Bell Star in the early 70s, staring into it like some sort of shiny white glass fibre oracle to motorcycling’s future, and in some ways it was.
The oracle lives on, and it’s what I choose to protect my fragile mind with, some 40 years down the track. The latest in this long line of legendary lids comes in three all-new models. As well as this road-focused Bell Star, there is also the Race Star and Pro Star, both of which are aimed at racing and are due to land in Aussie stores toward the end of 2016.
All three Star models benefit from a new sizing system which uses five unique shells in combination with six EPS sizes. There are also interchangeable cheek pads to further tailor the fit. Although I wore a size small in the previous Bell Star, with the changes in sizing, I felt more comfortable in a medium. At first I was concerned the medium would be too loose at high speed, but the result has been a more comfortable fit than my old Bell Star, and with the same excellent high speed stability. It’s almost the holy grail – a helmet that feels looser, but moves around less.
The new push-button visor system is easy to operate, and there’s a big range of class 1 optical visors to suit all tastes, including a Transitions® photochromic shield. The improved field of peripheral view offered by the Star’s new PanavisionTM visor shape is instantly noticeable. The new Star is also one of the quietest helmets I’ve ever worn.
We didn’t like
Because the Star is primarily for road use, it features a visor orientation suited to an upright or semi-crouch riding position. While racing our KTM RC390 recently, I found the top of the visor port was slightly too low when I tucked into the extreme race crouch necessary to squeeze speed out of the little Kato on long straights. This is where the Race Star and Pro Star would be a better choice, as those models have the EPS positioned to adjust the visor orientation for riding with your chin buried in the tank. However, I would still highly recommend the Bell Star for track use, as this extreme riding position is far from being typical, and I didn’t experience the same issue when riding several big capacity sportbikes recently at Sepang.
This is a helmet well worthy of its rich heritage. It’s quiet, comfortable, keeps you cool, looks cool, and most importantly it protects your head with quality materials and intelligent design.
By PAUL YOUNG