The Bell Star is supposed to be the helmet that puts Bell back on the map with motorcyclists. It’s supposed to finally rival Shoei and Arai on looks, comfort and quality. Does it? Well, on looks maybe.
The Star strikes a unique shape that’s supposedly based on wind tunnel
tests, making it stable at high speeds and at all angles. The profile
was lifted from the Feuling SS open-cockpit car racing helmet, while
the shape of the chin was developed in conjunction with Eddie Lawson in
the 1980s. The aggressive profile comes to a four-pointed peak at the
rear, creating a helmet that’s a bit wild-looking in black and
over-the-top in any of the replica color schemes. The Roland Sands Bell
Star C-Note actually manages to disguise all the angles in its busy
On track and at very high speeds on the road on a variety of bikes I
never had a problem with stability, but the Star did seem to create a
little more drag than I’m used to.
An additional aerodynamic goal for the Star was to give it excellent
hot weather ventilation. I’ve worn the helmet everywhere from 90-degree
plus track days to the Mojave desert and never wanted for more airflow,
while below 45 degrees, with all the vents closed, it did a good job of
keeping my head warm.
Sadly that ventilation isn’t enough for comfort over long periods.
After an hour or two the thin padding compresses, creating pressure
points across my forehead. This occurred on a variety of bikes from a
Buell XB12R to a Kawasaki Concours 14, even with the latter’s
adjustable windshield. This problem was exacerbated by the aerodynamic
Quality doesn’t appear to be present in huge amounts either. The first
time I put on the Star, the chin curtain tore right in the middle and,
after about 3,000 miles of use, a spring on which the visor mechanism
literally hinges snapped off, rendering the helmet useless. That
occurred while the helmet was in its cushioned bag in the back seat of
a car. I treat all of my helmets like babies, but I’d expect any of
them to stand up to much more abuse than this. None of my Shoeis or
Arais have ever had a similar failure and those have covered many times
the Star’s mileage in much harsher conditions.
The Star’s weight is officially listed as a fairly light 1550g, but feels heavier than my 1750g Arai Corsair V.
At $550 in plain colors, the Star is about $250 cheaper than the
range-topping Arai, but it’s on par with the Shoei X-Eleven and AGV
GP-Tech, both of which are lighter, have equivalent ventilation and
considerably higher quality. Bell needs to do better if it hopes to
rival these three companies.