First published in Singletrack magazine issue 98
Helmets with a removable chin guard aren’t a new idea, but with previous options it was a little questionable whether they gave more protection or just created a flexible lever that came down too low. The Super 2R takes Bell’s very popular Super helmet and adds in a removable chin guard, that still provides a good amount of ventilation (NB This isn’t retro-fittable to existing Bell Super helmets if you already have one). With chin guard attached the lid comes in at 729g (without, it weighs 381g); compared to most full-face helmets it’s pretty damn light, but it’s still slightly heavier than the equivalently-sized MET Parachute.
On its own without the chin guard the Super2R helmet offers fantastic coverage. It is noticeable how low it comes down the back of the head and near your ears – in fact, the top of my wingnuts sit just inside the lid. Some people don’t like how wide it is, but as a spectacle wearer I appreciate it, because there’s enough space to wear glasses without interference.
The large moto-style visor with breakaway screws sits outside the field of vision and can be easily raised to comfortably house goggles when they’re not being worn. The Super2R’s retention system is adjustable to three heights and can be easily done on the fly, or at least with the helmet on your head. The barrel adjuster is easily operated with thumb and index finger, so on-the-fly tweaks to fit are a cinch.
The chin guard is a single unit made up of three pieces riveted together. The main front piece attaches to the side of the lid by two hooks, then the two rear pieces wrap around and are joined together with a secure catch that’s something like a ski boot buckle. Providing comfort in the chin guard are two removable cheek pads, held in place by plastic poppers. Adding to the adjustability, the chin pads have two foam inserts – one soft open-cell pad and a thinner, closed-cell pad. I personally left both in there and found it just fine. Those riders with a bigger jaw line or cheeks may choose to remove one out of each side to fine-tune the fit.
Installing and removing the chin guard is simples! To remove it, unclip the rear buckle and then the slide clips, give it a little pull and away you go. To put it on, just reverse the same process. A point to note is that the side clips do need pressing in towards the lid with the palm of your hand before you secure the buckles – this ensure the hooks are correctly in place.
I’ve stashed the chin guard with ease on the back of various sized packs, usually with the base of it facing the pack. On some shorter climbs I have just removed the guard, re-clipped the rear buckle and worn it hanging around my neck; get to the top, clip it on and away you go.
At the time of writing I haven’t tested the chin guard’s strength on impact with the ground – thankfully. Although it doesn’t meet the ASTM full-face helmet certification, it does add so much more protection that a standard open-face lid, and I’m sure you know of a ride where that could come in useful.
The Optimus Prime of helmets is comfortable and feels like a full-face helmet, but with masses more air flow. It’s not cheap but it’s versatile, and you’ll get so much use out of it.
Deals on Bell Super 2R Helmet
|Product:||Super 2R helmet|
|Tested:||by Rich for Five months|