Updated: Apr 14, 2020
Bell helmets have been my go-to since the first Super was released back in 2013. After the OG Super, I bought a Super 2R, then went back to using the original Super because it fit a little better. I then bought the 3 because it didn’t crush my temples like the 2 did - and now, I’ve added the new Super Air R to my line up.
“I haven’t crashed in the helmet, so I haven’t been able to really test it!” - is a line thrown around in almost every helmet review. Classic! The same is true here; I haven’t crashed in the Super Air but let’s be honest - most people are way more interested in how well the helmet vents and how compatible it is with goggles, because #enduro.
The helmet does a pretty good job of staying cool, with 26 vents (18 in the helmet, 8 in the chin-bar). I was a little sceptical at first, given the solid patch of helmet without vents on the back of your head, but Bell’s done a good job of directing the air around your head. I had the new Specialized Levo SL under review for part of the time I was reviewing this helmet so I thought, what better time to cut some full-face laps? And even with the chin-bar, the helmet doesn’t get too hot climbing (granted, it was assisted climbing). You do definitely heat up more though with the chin pads, so if I was embarking on a longer climb I’d probably opt to remove the chin-bar.
Goggles and glasses fit well in both open and full-face modes, and while it was a little bit of a squeeze to get my 100% Armegas to fit under the visor, they’d stay put for the most part. and besides, I’m more of a goggle-round-the-neck kinda guy anyway. The fit was great and easy to adjust with Bell’s Float Fit system. But helmet fit is subjective and everyone’s head is different, so if you wanna be safe - try before you buy!
So, what are my overall thoughts on the Super Air R? For most of my riding up here in Auckland, where there’s not a ton that’s super rough or steep, it’s perfect. In open-face it’s comfy, breathable and for the most part I completely forgot about it. If I wanted to go ride laps at 440 or a local shuttle day, the chin-bar is perfect and adds extra protection, while giving me the option to take it off and ride open-face if it gets super-hot or if I want to do some pedalling later on. If I spent more time racing Enduro, or lived somewhere with a lift, I’d lean towards the Super DH or a dedicated full-face.
Words & Images: Cam Baker