Monday, February 27, 2012

Bell Drop: Crash tested, rider approved

Here is what Bell Helmets has to say:

Whether you're into pointing that front wheel down hill or more likely to push it against a starting gate, the new Bell Drop is what you're going to want on your head. BMX, freeride, slalom, four-cross, or downhill this is the gravity lid du rigeur.

The hand-laminated Drop was designed from the ground up by the same team that created Bell's now legendary Moto-8 motocross helmet, so you know it's gonna rip. Certification to both the CPSC bicycle standard and the new ASTM downhill standard makes it stouter than most.

Bell Drop Full Face Helmet

Here is what I have to say:

Bell Drop Full Face Helmet

I wanted a full face helmet because I like to ride downhill trails, seems like a real good reason, but I also wanted one for when I ride alone.  Even when I ride by myself I like to take on jumps, drops, and gnarly rock gardens, and I like to take them fast, it did not make sense for me to be doing this in my regular trail helmet.  My main problem with getting a full face helmet was that they can be really pricey, and rightly so!  Your helmet protects, for most of us, the most important part of your body, the brain.  I checked out a few different helmets and noticed that the less expensive ones did not carry the ASTM rating for downhill, and the helmets that did were over $300 dollars.  This was more than I could afford.  Then I found the Bell Drop, it is the 2010 model but it carries the CPSC certification as well as the ASTM Downhill certification.  The best part was that it was on sale for under $60.00.  I ordered it and I have been very happy with the results!
The Fit:
The helmet is not as svelte as some others and it feels a little big on your noggin but it is really comfortable.  The padding on the inside holds it snug to your head without causing pain from too much pressure.  The chin strap is padded and sits comfortably where it should.
The Looks:
The helmet in the picture is the one I got and I think it looks great.  The colors are not too loud but the gold (it is a metallic flake gold) gives it a little flash.
The Performance:
A full face helmet takes a little getting used too, but after a couple time you don't even notice it.  The Drop is a little heavier than a carbon helmet, but it was $60 not $300.  The one feature it lacks is vents, there are a few but they do little to move the air and on a warm day it can heat up pretty fast.  If you are shuttling or riding lifts this is not a problem, when I climb I strap it to my pack until I am at the top. 
The most important aspect of a helmets performance is how it protects your head, and I am fairly well versed in the performance of crash tests.  I had the opportunity to crash test this helmet a few weeks ago at Vail Lake Resort on the Hillbilly downhill trail.  While filming my Airborne Flight Crew application video I cased a jump and decided to see how hard the ground was, it turns out that it was really hard.  Shawn McDonald from said he could hear my head hit the ground and he was filming from 500'-600' away and up the hill.  My shoulder was sore for two weeks and my collar bone felt like someone hit it with a hammer, but my Bell Drop helmet let me get back up and ride the line again.  The helmet got some scratches by did it's job perfectly.
The Recommendation:
If you are in the market for a full face helmet but don't have a ton of money to spend, then check out the Bell Drop.  The 2010 models are still out there at places like for around $60 and the newer models can be found all over for about $130.  This is a great helmet, it saved my head maybe it could save yours too!


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