History in the Making… Again
In the emerging world of US auto racing during the 1950’s, a passionate innovator named Ray Richter saw that the development of machine performance and power was increasing the amount of violent and life threatening accidents. Roy loved racing, but saw the need for protective equipment for his friends and fellow racers. From this need, Roy created the first widely utilized non-resilient polystyrene lining that changed the way the entire world looked at protective clothing. 58 years later the era of speed is once again a growing part of cultures around the world, and Bell has applied the very same methods of protection, founded by Richter, to one of the most exciting new products of 2016 —the all-new Bell Star motorcycle helmet line. The all new helmet line is not only an upgrade from their previous Star line, but is in many ways changing the headgear industry across the world… again. The new Bell Star attempts to change the game in every aspect, whether it is the addition of two more helmets for various applications, the Flex® interior lining system, or the all new enhanced visor hinge system.
The first, and most appealing, attraction to the all-new 2016 Bell Star line is its availability to a wide range of consumers. There are three different helmets in the line, each with their own price point, making it so customers who are not looking for a top level $1000+ helmet will still benefit from the pioneering new safety features (although minus the exotic material choices). The standard model Star helmet will retail in between $449.95-$499.95 and w
ill be the most similar to the current model. Although it is the lowest level in the lineup, this helmet is no slouch, boasting a Tri-Matrix Composite shell, both SNELL and ECE certifications, the all new hinge mechanism (which they have somehow made easier) and the Panavision shield, which functions to increase the riders visibility by a massive amount. This standard model will be mainly street rider oriented with a downward rotated viewing range to make the helmet more functional for upright riding. Although the carbon material and advanced helmet liner are not present within this helmet, it will still be as comfortable and lightweight as many of the current non-carbon options on the market. One of the major complaints associated with the current Star is the shell size which has been greatly improved for in the 2016 models, while maintaining the solid airflow and aero capabilities that you would expect from a high performance helmet.
The next level up is the new Race Star series featuring the Flex® interior lining system which improves not only the protection at lower speeds, but also the overall fitment and comfort of the helmet. The 3 different linings are all certified with different impact rating
s giving you a full spectrum of protection for any type of impact, including rotational impact, which is a significant contributor to head injuries within the world of motorcycling. Aiding in the protective qualities, this Flex technology effectively contours to the individual shape of the riders head providing the most sophisticated and comfortable helmet fitment to date. If you hadn’t already guessed from the name, this helmet is a lighter, race-oriented version of the basic Star. In addition to the upgraded EPP, EPO and EPS Flex liner, the comfort has also been improved through the implementation of the Virus ® Cool Jade padding. This unique material contains actual Jade Stone particles that help function as a cooling insulation material as well as helping to keep the helmet liner free of bacteria decreasing the need to clean the helmet liner. Working our way through the helmet, the feature that had me most excited is in many ways one of the smallest upgrades from past helmets — the magnetic removable cheek pads. That’s right, no more fumbling, snapping or poor fitment here. Already in use on the Moto Flex 9, these pads are easy in and out adding another level of convenience when the rider is performing maintenance to the interior padding, or installing/removing in helmet communication systems. As part of the race oriented nature of the Race Star, Bell uses a 3K carbon exterior shell that not only decreases the weight significantly from the Base model, but also ads a fully race prepped look to this awesome lid. Also modified to accommodate the performance rider is a 3 degree upward rotation making the tucked rider position much more manageable for long period of time. The days of struggling for both sight and aerodynamics are in the past. Overall, priced at $699.95-$749.95, I would say this Star model will be the most popular, attainable, and overall the most beneficial for most riders. The efforts made to accommodate sport riders are advantages to riders ranging from trackday addicts to club level racers.
For someone looking for the highest level of innovation and engineering prowess (I’ll admit sometimes excess in the motorcycle world can be fun), there is the one and only Bell Pro Star.With all of the comfort featured in the first two models, the Pro Star boasts an additional 3 gram weight reduction from the base model and an amazing and exotic form of Carbon Fiber known as Textreme. This innovative material uses the shape of the fiber bundles for significant weight reduction while maintaining the rigid and protective properties that Bell holds most dear. I can say that for the first time in my moto-experience while holding two helmets, the base Star and the Pro Star you can physically feel a vast difference in weight. The weight reduction which in many cases is only a selling point, actually allows for a more comfortable and functional helmet. The Textreme material is just as rigid and attractive as the full 3K fiber with much less weight. Although it is a noticeable difference, the price will go from roughly $749.95 up to the $1299.95, entering the range of many “Top Shelf” Helmets currently on display in our showroom. And it belongs there. This helmet makes a true effort to advance the current state of helmets to a level that makes purchasing the best equipment truly worth the money, as you are getting a product that was designed for the likes of world class racers like Cameron Beaubier and William Dunlop (both of whom helped design this lid).
To put this in perspective, the Bell Star Lineup is able to offer a versatile range of helmets for all applications, innovative design and a grouping of graphics that are highly technical, and in the case of the Race and Pro Star helmets, also highly carbon oriented. It is obvious that in the search for the right design, Bell had the needs of their clientele firmly out front and have come away with something for everyone. 2016 is already shaping up to be the year of the helmet with so many manufacturers releasing their rendition of what the next great helmet should be. It remains to be seen which design will be most loved and effective but there is no doubt that the Star line will draw interest next riding season. For more information on the Bell Star Line please visit the Sportbiketrackgear.com Bell Star product page and keep an eye out for Pre-Order to open sometime early 2016.