The Bell Super 3R MIPS helmet is a (surprise, surprise) MIPS equipped lid with removable chin bar, but as a touch lighter than Andi’s Editor’s Choice Super DH MIPS helmet, this one is designed for trail riding rather than more extreme downhill stuff. With 23 vents in the helmet and six more in the chin bar, it should be suitable for both pedalling and plummeting. Having recently narrowly avoided expensive dental work after a face first crash, I was keen to see whether the Super 3R would be comfortable enough to ride with on normal rides as well as the planned crazier ones.
Comparing my medium Super 3R against, Andi’s medium Super DH, the 3R weighs in a 780g – 120g less than the DH. It’s less bulky too – by my reckoning there’s an extra 4cm of circumference around the DH, measuring round the top of the helmet and across under the chin bar. The DH has fewer and smaller vents, and a bulkier set of protective layers – which is presumably what gives the Super DH its BMX and Downhill safety certification. For races where a Downhill certified helmet is required, you’ll likely find that the Super 3R doesn’t meet the requirements.
On The Trail
In my non-racing experience, this helmet seems to be to be perfectly acceptable as either a trail helmet or a full face enduro one. It’s easy to carry and fit the chin bar, and as a full face it’s very comfortable and not at all cumbersome. In fact, it’s so easy to wear that I’ve taken to wearing it this way much more often than I thought I would – partly because I’ve started to feel a bit liked and unprotected without it when travelling at speed.
I left the cheek pads in, and it was nice and stable but not squashing my face or causing undue overheating. I’ve even found it to be compatible with both riding glasses and my normal prescription glasses (which is just as well as I’ve a tendency to forget to put my contact lenses in).
The rear adjustment cinches the helmet on snugly, though you should watch to back it right off before putting in on in full face mode – I caught the structure on my head and twisted it, causing one side to pop off its retaining lug, with terminal consequences. It’s quite a hard construction, with no padding, and I have had occasions where it’s pressed a little on the pressure points on the back of my head/top of my spine (you know, that place where a physio will poke and give you an instant headache…no…just me?). I can’t see why it would be any different from one day to the next, so I assume this may be related to general muscle tension in my neck, and have softened the fit with a buff on days where my knotted neck needs it.
A slight annoyance was the rear buckle holding the chin guard on, which for some reason rattled (while the side ones did not, as did none of the buckles on the Super DH). This would get pretty distracting on a long day out, or perhaps if you were trying to listen to you bike to check if it sounded healthy mid race.
I’d struggle to go back to steep or fast stuff without the chin bar, and in open face mode it’s plenty comfortable to ride a good distance. Unless I had a heap of other kit to carry, or knew I’d be strictly riding a moorland yomp with my wheels on the ground, I’d struggle to ride with anything else now. A good balance between comfort and protection, and hits the right side of ‘I’ll wear it just in case’.
|Tested:||by Hannah for 2.5 months|
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