Bell Full-10 MIPS Spherical Helmet Review

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The Bell Full-10 promises a complete package of fit, cooling ventilation and all the safety features in barely there form and weight.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and tight form reduce neck strain
  • Very comfy and secure
  • Comes in black

Cons:

  • Price, but I value my noggin so for me it’s probably worth it
  • Short chinbar is only appealing to nerds and street bikers
  • No ear/hearing ports

As an aficionado of extensive plastic and foam use while mountain biking, I am always eager to test the latest protective offerings, especially those that come with the promises of light weight and breezy ventilation. Downhill helmets, designed for shuttle and lift access riding are the pinnacle of MTB protective gear, requiring the highest levels of safety, fit and wearability.

I’ve long appreciated Bell helmets, and have owned at least half a dozen in the past, including the predecessor Full-9. Now a little long in the tooth with a large form factor, I found the Full 9 reasonably light for its day (2014), a bit oversized and lacking ventilation which also gave the rider a noise and everything else cancelling riding experience.

Many Bell Super Rs and Super DHs later (don’t ask), I have found that my head is nearly perfectly Bell shaped. I’ve also found that Fox, Giro and Leatt fit well, while Abus does not. If you’ve had success with these helmet brands, you may well find the Bell is worth trying.

My 58 CM/medium head fitted the large Bell Full-10 about as perfectly as possible – which is bang on the size range but different to my usual medium helmet sizing. Fit on a DH helmet is extra important where it lacks a ratcheting closure at the base of the occipital lobe.

I like a very snug fit initially which I find relaxes a bit with padding compression after just a few rides which is exactly how the Full-10 broke in. In that period, I noticed the helmet’s light weight (full carbon shell only, 1000g). This attribute is very beneficial when rolling shuttle laps, where repeated drops can reveal a helmet’s neck torquing weight, giving you a dose of ‘huck neck’.

In fact, the helmet felt cosy, with comfortable inner padding and a slight reduction in outside world volume, I found it easy to find my personal (safe) MTB place. 

On the flip side, this is not a pedal up helmet, as even minimal uphill travel reminds you of touring a foundry with a down jacket. Most of the non-shuttle uphills were accomplished with the chinbar at brow level (works well, except where there are trees) or lashed to the back of my pack. This could be a bit difficult depending on pack attachment style due to the limited venting around the base of the helmet.

Nonetheless, the large rear exhaust vent and above brow notches in the shell provide very good cooling when descending and the MIPS spherical was dead silent with no unwanted play. The heavily notched and correctly lengthened/positioned visor didn’t seem to direct airflow much, but it also didn’t block the view of the lip of a tall and steep kicker.

The lack of venting is going to make this an exclusively DH helmet, and may also prevent you from using it with lights at night unless your light is compatible with the breakaway camera mount that’s included on the top of the helmet.

If you wear a helmet on uphill or rolling terrain, ride at night, ride in hot weather in short laps or have no desire for shuttle laps or races, this is not the helmet for you. However, if you do fancy a Dyfi, Ft. Bill or BPW trip, this would be be just the ticket.

But, maybe you are already convinced of the application or that equation is a little left brain for you and so have more esoteric concerns?

For the dirty fashonistas, the Bell is probably only deserving of a mother’s love as it has an odd combination of rounded (long a Bell aesthetic) and angular forms with a noticeably short chinbar. While polarising (really, that’s what divides us?), I found the shorter chinbar to have no effect on my breathing and it probably decreases the ‘huck neck effect’ by decreasing mass and removing it from the perimeter where it creates more torque.

The paint job didn’t do much for me, so I would opt for the aesthetically innocuous alternative, Matte Black. [ Are you insane? The paint job is rad! – Benji ]

Overall

The Bell Full-10 is clearly going to be an investment. For your investment, you get a lightweight carbon helmet, shear force reduction with MIPS Spherical, and a good crash replacement program (currently from Bell, it’s free replacement for 12 months, after that you get a replacement at a discounted rate). The Bell Full-10 is in certainly in the elite performance category, but I say, “If the Full-10 fits (your bike park lifestyle), wear it!”.

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Review Info

Brand: Bell
Product: Full-10 Helmet
From: bellbikehelmets.co.uk
Price: £579.99
Tested: by Fahzure Freeride for 4 months

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