Bell RS-1 Helmet Review

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.

Bell RS-1 Review

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 RS-1 Review

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.


Bell RS-1 Review

SHOEI Transitions Face Shields Coming

Coming just a week after AGV announced their battery operated solution to sunlight, SHOEI has released details of their visors incorporating photochromic technology from Transitions Optical which will create an adaptive face shield that adjusts to outdoor light and weather conditions – changing from clear to very dark and everything in-between.

At this stage, the visor which will be called the CWR-1 adaptive face shield will fit only the full-face RF-1200 helmet. “Our retail customers as well as our dealer-distribution network have been asking us for a top-of-the-line adaptive shield for years,” said Moichi Tsuzuki, SHOEI Safety Helmet Corp, president. “We are excited for the added value the Transitions shield will bring to our customers and for the enhanced visual experience they will now have while riding. Being able to see perfectly in all lighting conditions is optimal for both safety and for a more fun, enjoyable ride.”

The shields, developed using Transitions’ state-of-the-art photochromic technology, automatically self-adjust from clear at night and in low light conditions to dark gray in bright sunlight. They eliminate the need for motorcycle riders to carry and switch out multiple shields. The shields also protect against wind and debris, and like all Transitions® technology, block 100% of harmful UV rays.

This isn’t the first time SHOEI has announced this product – in fact it was announced over a year ago that these were ‘coming soon’. Let’s hope this time they aren’t vaporware and that the visors will be made for other SHOEI helmets as well.

RRP will be $169.99.

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