Personalized Helmets for Motorcycle
Byron Wilson | August 28, 2015
Bell Helmets solves the riddle of finding the perfectly sized motorcycle helmet with its proprietary 3D imaging custom fit program. Bell will put a cap on your head, take a measurement, and construct a Star Carbon or Moto 9 to your exact specifications. It’s a luxury that’s long been reserved to racers and professionals but now, at any of Bell’s scheduled imaging events, average-Joe riders can take the first step toward a personalized lid. I was fortunate enough to receive a custom-fit Star Carbon some months back and now wonder if I’ll ever be able to wear another helmet again.
A properly sized helmet is essential, both in terms of optimizing the effectiveness of impact protection and comfort. Too large and your head could rattle about like a penny in a coke can in the event of a crash and too small means pressure points, reduced field of vision, and a generally irritated attitude after any extended period on the bike. Some helmet brands also vary in head-shape design as well, so for those of us with more oblong shaped noggins an XL in one manufacturer’s line may be perfect while an XL in another’s results in hot spots and headaches. This has definitely been the case for me, some brands proving to be unwearable due to pain inflicted on the upper portion of my forehead.
So at last year’s AIMExpo in Orlando, Florida, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down at Bell’s imaging station to get my own 3D scan. The process takes just a few minutes and once done, the information is taken back to HQ for construction.
In addition to forming the helmet to your head shape, Bell also provides three different sizes of cheek pad inserts to further tailor fit to each individual rider.
Mine arrived in early January of this year and it’s been my go-to ever since. The Star Carbon on its own is already top-of-the-line, the exterior constructed of a lightweight TriMatrix composite carbon fiber that’s been shaped to cut like a hot knife through butter, aerodynamically speaking of course. A large multi-position chin bar vent is complemented by a four-hole brow vent and two crown vents, pushing air toward the exhaust ports out back in Bell’s effective and thoroughly appreciated Velocity Flow Ventilation system.
The removable, washable interior snaps securely in place and the aforementioned cheek pad size options provide for a more refined fit. Other nice interior features include integrated speaker pockets and a padded, plush chin strap. We also highly recommend the Transitions face shield, which darkens and lightens depending on lighting conditions. It’s proved extremely useful on rides that start in the blinding sun of the day but don’t end until well after nightfall. Bell’s click-release visor system is idiot-proof and there’s a pinlock system which secures the visor when the pace really begins to pick up.
But elements like these can be found on plenty of helmets, right? What makes this Star Carbon stand out is the fit. The 3D imaging program yielded a helmet that hugs my head in all the right places, its snug without being restrictive and I can feel it contact all points on the crown of my head with no gaps. There’s absolutely no hot spots or points of pressure and when coupled with its lightweight, the lid really does feel like an extension of my body. Buffeting is minimal throughout the speed range and it’s absolutely all-day comfortable. I’d even consider using it to keep my ears warm during the winter in lieu of a stocking cap.
There are some small issues however. The helmet tends to be louder than others I’ve worn, the cutouts for the speakers amplifying road noise at higher speeds. I’m also not a fan of the Magnefusion Magnetic Strap Keeper. About 95% of the time it stays secured in place, but once in a while the magnet will come unstuck and leave you with a strap flapping in the wind. It’s easy enough to get it back in place, but an irritation that hasn’t been an issue with snap button strap keepers.
Beyond those quibbles, the custom-fit Star Carbon helmet is as close to perfect as I’ve found in a motorcycle lid. I’m even a fan of the matte-black, carbon fiber aesthetic of the exterior. It takes some work to get ahold of one unfortunately at this point, as currently scans are only available at designated stops on the Custom-Fit Tour and trade shows. Like a tailored suit, the custom-fit Star Carbon comes with a tailored price of $1000. Bell representatives have informed us, however, that they’re in the process of equipping regional sales representatives with scanners as well. If you have any questions or would like to find the closest fitting, shoot an email to email@example.com.