A face mask, huh? The Bell Rogue attempts to cover the faces of open-helmet enthusiasts with a non-protective fascia. It's mostly about looks, with a little added wind protection. It also shoots for half-helmet looks with 3/4 protection by adding an EPS "neck roll" bellow the half shell. How's all that work out in the real world?
Photos: Ben Zales
The Bell Rogue was created with the cruiser market in mind, taking a traditional, lipped half-helmet and trying to update the well-known design. Half lids (which only cover the top of the skull) have never been very safe helmets and were usually worn by Harley riders to make some sort of outlaw statement. Bell tried to convert this image into a three quarter helmet (which cover the back and sides of the head with some sort of space age mask that does little more than make you look like a character from Terminator or Halo. It is also not technically a three quarter helmet. It is a half lid with some extra neck protection composed of an EPS helmet liner, sans shell. The safety may be improved over a half-helmet, but not considerably so.
Fit and Comfort
Sizing on the Rogue is pretty consistent with the rest of the Bell three quarter line. Its sizing was consistent for me and is a pretty standard medium it wasn’t too tight or too loose. The Rogue, much like other open face helmets, is comfortable at low speeds but once moving quickly it moved around a bit and created un-necessary tension on your neck around the strap. The Rogue quickly becomes a nuisance when the mouth guard is added.
The mouth guard does absolutely nothing for protection; it is simply an odd snap-on device that is supposed to keep rocks and debris from hitting your chin. Once attached it is a complete nuisance. It completely inhibits your ability to wear any type of eye protection beyond sunglasses and it was consistently rubbing on my nose, it made the helmet much less comfortable to wear. I understand that a bandana does little to protect your face, but I would put this facemask up there with the same level of protection minus any level of comfort.
Visibility and Noise/Sound Attenuation
Open face helmets offer a wide angle of view, but if you can’t wear proper eye protection they are pretty useless. This helmet when worn with the optional facemask makes it impossible to comfortably where any eye protection. The mask limits even the smallest of sunglasses, eyeglasses or goggles. It jams your frames up against your face making them incredibly uncomfortable and intolerable for any extended period.
Wind noise is common with open face helmets and this space creation is no different. There was an annoying whistle whenever your head is turned and the mask just adds to it. This helmet does little to help with noise reduction at all.
Weight and Balance
The helmet is pretty light, but considering it’s only a half lid there shouldn’t be much expectation of a heavy helmet. It sits balances although, like most open face helmets, once you start moving it slides back and catches the wind. Effectively becoming a futuristic parachute for your melon.
Open face helmets are wonderful for ventilation; they let you feel the wind in your ace as well as the smog from LA. They also let all the dust, grime and bugs in your teeth as well. The mask does its job of keeping the dirt and other material out of your mouth but does little to protect your eyes. It also limits your choice of eye wear as I noticed before, so it leaves you vulnerable to inhibiting your most necessary sense on the road, vision. The ventilation is wonderful in the summer but during colder periods it will do nothing to keep you warm. There is also no real adjustability of your ventilation level.
Graphics and Finish Quality
There are no graphics, which to be honest surprises me. I will give them credit for leaving the horrible skulls, flames and tribal off this lid. There is a horrendous DOT label on the back that is supposed to look like a stamped metal piece riveted on. It’s not my cup of tea, but it definitely isn’t the worst looking graphic or detail I have ever seen.
The helmet is unique; there is no denying that part. The mask and design is a modern update to a classic design for many Harley and other types of riders. It does offer superior safety than an old half-helmet, but it doesn’t come close to fully protecting a rider during a high impact collision. The mask is a unique look, it will set you apart from other riders on the road and it is an alternative to wearing a bandana, it will also do little to save your jaw in an impact.
Value and Desirability
The helmet was made to serve a certain demographic and, in that respect, they hit their mark. At $250, the Rogue is by no means an expensive helmet. Although the Rogue is not my ideal lid, it does not mean there isn’t a customer that will appreciate this modern update to a classic half lid. Buyers will be rewarded with a comfortable, well-ventilated lid that adds protection over a half-helmet, but may find the mask incompatible with their eyewear.