Gear: Bell Star helmet

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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
paint job.

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.

Bell Helmets

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  • Rocket Punch

    Thats why the helmet had a street price of around $250.

  • Marco

    Finally a decent and more believable review of the Star. Though you forgot to mention the fitting issue, which made step back in considering the Star my new helmet. I just could not get any precise info from any source whatsoever. Online stores and Bell itself received tons of emails from my outbox and I didn’t get any help on what size I should pick – based on losts of other reviews which state the Star size runs smaller.

    Is it so tough to build a standard shell like other brands, so that to avoid this kind of problem?! Gotta go back to Nippo lids..

    • Wes Siler

      Fit is so individual that’d I’d never buy before trying it on myself.

    • Isaac

      You say a more believable review. How can it be more ‘believable’ if you have never tried one? As far as fitting goes if you can wear an XL in ICON then an XL will fit you in Bell.

      I happen to own this helemet, the exact one pictured, and it has been fine for me. I really don’t know where the author gets the idea that the helmet is somehow lower quality. For a race/street helmet it is very comfortable.

      The only cons I can tell you from my ownership experience is that it has some serious airflow noise. You’ll know when you hit about 90. Airflow in the helemet is supurb. If anything is low quality about it, I’d have to say the paint job. One little bump and it is curtains for the gloss finish.

      It has by far the easiest visor change ability of all the helmets that I have owned, even easier than the Scorpion ExO. It comes witha really sweet helemet bag too, no extra visor though.

      I think this guy (the author) feels the way he does because he spent so much on his Arai. So, psychologicaly it must feel like that to him. And babying his helmets adds to that effect. If you’re not used to something it will feel amplified the first time it happens, rember your first track day? Now how does it feel when you tear down the straight? Pretty comfortable huh?

      Anyway guys sorry for rambling and this was not bashing of anyone.

      • Wes Siler

        “This guy”? Haven’t been reading long enough to know my name Isaac?

        At what price point do you find complete failure after 3k miles acceptable?

      • Marco

        “You say a more believable review. How can it be more ‘believable’ if you have never tried one? As far as fitting goes if you can wear an XL in ICON then an XL will fit you in Bell.”

        I say it is more believable due to some imperfections. I cannot go with reviews that say the lid is flewless. This is what I meant, sorry bout misunderstandings.

        As to the fit problem, unfortunately I can’t afford to travel 5000 miles to try on the Star. I have to buy it online. I can’t find any american helmet in Brazil.

  • Ben

    Great review. I agree with the above commenter about the reality of the review – something desperately lacking from most American media sources. When a helmet is selling for $250 and claiming to be equal with the top helmets in the industry, something’s fishy. Suspicions validated.

    FYI, Wes, this line may need reworking: “…a spring on which the visor mechanism literally hinges snapped off…” Looks like you juxtaposed literally and hinges.

    • Grant Ray

      Makes sense to me. The entire visor release mechanism is held together by this tiny little metal spring, the snapped base of which is visible in the pictures above. It’s maybe 1.5mm thick. If i’d been on a long bike trip and this had happened I would have had to wear gas station sunglasses for eye protection or something. Seriously bad.

      FYI, this release mechanism is meant to replicate the system Shoei perfected in the early ’90s. I’ve never had one of those brake and I’ve probably put 100,000 miles or more on Shoei helmets.

      • Ben

        Good call, Grant. I should listen to that little angel on my shoulder that says, “Shut the hell up!” At least every now and then.

  • Ben

    Also interesting is comparing your comments on style with WebBikeWorld’s review.

    “The Bell engineers were very obviously working very closely together with the designers and stylists to create a beautiful-looking helmet that incorporates some new features so well and so smoothly that we think it actually has evolved motorcycle helmet design in general.”

    This in reference to one of the standard graphic jobs. Wow.

  • geonerd

    I thought it looked good, at least from the side profile. Then I actually saw someone at a stoplight recently and changed my mind. That giant airfoil, spoiler thing in the rear is way over the top. It looks like an Icon design i.e. tacky.

  • motorcycle helmet

    This helmet will give complete protection. This one is stylish also.