Full disclosure before we get started: This Bell Race Star Flex helmet review is going to be a little unorthodox; I go from the inside out.
That should be the “correct” way of thinking about a motorcycle helmet anyway, right? After all, you don’t wear the outside of a helmet, do you?
The Bell Race Star Flex is comfortable and quiet
And thanks to an innovative interior design, this Bell is so comfortable. While a well-fitting helmet would mean feeling some pressure on your cheeks, the Bell’s cheek pads are ultra-soft, a factor that matters if you’re putting in a few hours on your bike.
A helmet that is too tight is no fun, but a helmet that is too loose can be dangerous. Soft, magnetically anchored cheek pads provide a snug fit that is both more secure yet comfortable and a snug fit that reduces the amount of wind blasting around the bucket, which is part of the reason so many helmets are exceptionally loud when you are flying at 65 mph.
To suppress that roar, Bell also adds a solid neck roll behind your head and a generous chin guard, and the visor seals really well and tightly; there is an audible interruption when you slam it, like turning off a waterfall of sound.
The Race Star Flex goes well with a Cardo Packtalk
Bell is smart too: They use magnets to secure those cheek pads. If you look at the image of this helmet from a few angles, you can see that I’ve attached the harness for a Cardo Packtalk Bold, a Bluetooth headset/transmission system that many riders want so they can make phone calls on the fly, listen to music and get turn-by-turn navigation from a paired phone, and talk to other riders on their team.
But here’s the thing: You’ll need a silent helmet to hear those inputs, as well as one that allows you to attach such a system without messing up the internal pad system. (Believe me, that doesn’t come naturally with a lot of lids.)
The Race Star Flex has in-ear pockets for the speakers you need, and those magnetic cheek pads pop right out so you can easily route the wiring and reach the speaker cutouts. Then they go right back into place without any annoyance. The neck curtain also pulls off and snaps back easily, making it easier to wash these components easier and remove them with less hassle than many covers not designed for adding a system like the Cardo.
Magnets are also used on the dangling end of the chinstrap, rather than poppers, making it easier to loop this through the double D-rings and then secure it so it won’t wiggle in the wind while you’re on. bombing are the highway.
The Race Star Flex has a self-tinting visor
If you’re not driving six highway lanes, you could be a two-lane dancing under a sun-filled canopy. Nice…unless that sunscreen combination dazzles you.
Here too, Bell technology comes to the rescue, with a photochromic visor that brightens or darkens depending on the available daylight. In the shade it is as clear as any visor I have used. Hit full sun, and it’s cyborg eyeball smoked. That’s much safer than pulling out sunglasses to wear behind a visor, only to sneak into a cloud and blacken your whole world.
This Bell helmet is aerodynamic
Bell applied more technology to the lid shape, which is exceptionally aerodynamic, with a spoiler that wraps around the rear to allow air to escape and reduce turbulence that can knock you out. I’ve tested this helmet in all sorts of riding conditions, including the teeth of headwinds on a naked bike and stiff headwinds that pushed my bike aside. The helmet remained smooth and imperturbable – unlike its wearer.
It’s also fairly cool, with ventilation at the mouth, forehead, peak and exhaust at the rear. My only problem is that I would find an easy way to get more air in when riding on slow, technical grass, but this is a highway oriented helmet so it’s understandable that a large duct somewhere will reduce the low drag coefficient would ruin.
The Bell Race Star Flex is very safe
Last, but really the first, the Race Star Flex is designed to be very safe. It receives a five-star rating from the British rating agency Sharp, and Bell uses three densities of foam designed to compress in response to a crash force, slowing that energy so that it dissipates in accordance with the speed and force of a tumble.
Ideally, you never test the effectiveness of that design, but wear a helmet for that creepy “if.” In this case, you are as comfortable and safe as 21st century technology can make you.
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