The Bell RS-1 motorcycle helmet sits between their top of the range Bell Star series of helmets and the more budget orientated Vortex. But the RS-1 loses very little in comparison the Star while saving buyers a lot of money. It’s also one of the best helmets we’ve ever used when it comes to its anti-fogging abilities.
Bell is one of the more well known helmet brands, having manufactured lids for motorcyclists since the middle of last century. In our view, they’ve been somewhat stagnant with their offerings until recently – perhaps resting on their brand name rather than truly innovative products. But competition from both new and established brands means that Bell is lifting their game.
The RS-1 is a good looking helmet, although one might say the choice of graphics is pretty conservative. There’s a lot of solid color schemes on offer which we like, but the more ‘racy’ designs are a bit dated already in our view. The likes of Shark and AGV provide much more modern designs in our opinion.
What isn’t dated however is the quality of the RS-1. All the parts, both internal and external feel like a million bucks. There’s very few helmets in this price range that exude as much quality as the RS-1 does.
Bell seems to have put a lot of thought into the little things with this helmet. First is the quick release system for the visor. If you’re the rare type of individual that uses multiple visors, it will take you only a few seconds to change from one to the other. But for those that don’t need to swap visors, it’s a great and easy system to use so that you can give the visor a good clean – much easier than trying to clean both the inside and outside of the visor while still attached to the helmet.
The lever on the side of the visor also allows you to open the visor fractionally to let air through if fogging is an issue (but in our experience it never is). You can also progressively open the helmet in stages to let as much air in as you want.
The RS-1 uses the tried and tested double d-ring system to tighten your helmet to your head, but they’ve made one small innovation to the snap. Bell describes it as their patented Magnefusion strap – instead of the usual plastic snap that needs to be pushed in place, Bell uses magnets – great for when you’re trying to strap it into place with gloves on. Simple and elegant.
The Bell RS-1 has some of the best (if not the best) anti-fogging capabilities we’ve ever experienced in a helmet. No matter the temperature (inside or outside the helmet), the visor just won’t fog up. There’s no use of pinlock visors here (which we don’t like due to their distortion of vision at night) so we can only think there’s some kind of voodoo magic happening. Even intentionally trying to fog the visor up results in failure.
Bell says it uses what is called NutraFog II Anti Fog Coating. This is a proprietary system of Bell’s and other than its name, there’s little I could find out about it. Whatever its composition or design, it works and it’s probably the biggest draw card for this lid. We’ve tested it in both 30°C (86ºF) plus weather with high humidity (and therefore lots of heat coming from our skulls) and temperatures approaching 6°C (42ºF) and it worked flawlessly.
Air flow is okay, without being exceptional. You do notice more air coming in with the vents open, but only just. What is a little bit annoying is that the non-removable chin curtain doesn’t stop enough air coming up between it and your neck. We would have preferred a larger, removable chin curtain that can be used in winter and discarded in summer. Wind noise is also just okay. It’s about in line with most helmets we’ve used which means you should be using earplugs when doing long stints on the bike.
For those wanting to reduce the glare from the sun, keep in mind that the RS-1 doesn’t have an internal sunvisor – nor can you really wear sunglasses with this helmet – there’s just no room between your head and the internal padding to do so. You can however buy a chromatic visor that automatically tints depending on the ambient light.
Overall, we’ve been very impressed with the Bell RS-1 since we’ve been using it for the past few months. It oozes quality, has exceptional anti-fogging capabilities and we love the simple yet modern looks.