When SRAM invited us to the Eagle 1×12 launch, they offered an extension to the trip to race round one of the revived Italian Super Enduro series. Um, yes please, but first I needed the right gear. I like to pack light, but a full face helmet was required for participation in the event. But only on the timed downhill sections. On the transfer stages, you could wear a standard helmet. But I just couldn’t wrap my head around carrying a second helmet on my pack when something like the Bell Super 2R existed.
With a removable chin bar and all necessary safety certifications to meet race organizer approval (and, you know, those consumer safety entities), it was called in and packed for travel. Here’s how it worked out…
Not only does the Super 2R make life easier since you can only bring one helmet along for enduro races and backcountry adventures or park riding, it also has way, way more venting than any standard full face helmet.
The vents carry through to the inside, using small channels above the brow to pull air in over goggles or sunglasses and help push hot air out the top. There aren’t internal channels the same way you’d find in XC helmets, but it manages to dissipate heat pretty well. In the middle-of-the-day heat and sun I was still sweating quite a bit, but there was some very steep climbing between time sections.
X-Static padding covers most of the interior between the vents, and it sits on the MIPS shell. That MIPS shell connects at a few points and allows a limited amount of rotation separate from the helmet’s shell, which may reduce rotational injury in the event of a side-glancing impact.
Chin bar padding includes a thin, out of the way padding across the front and thick multi-density cheek pads. When I first tried it on, I thought perhaps the cheek pads must have some adjustment by removing material as they were very tight, pressing in on the verge of being uncomfortable. I did pull the smaller, denser piece of padding just to see, but put it back in to get all the protective benefits. After wearing it for a bit, it feels OK, and they help keep the helmet secure when bouncing down the trail. It’s removable for easier washing, and possible easier helmet removal should you wreck hard.
If you did wreck hard, it incorporates the IceDot PIN identification. It’s not the full IceDot sensor found in POC’s helmets, which pairs with a phone to send crash notifications. But, it does have an SMS number to text with a PIN that quickly provides first responders with critical info about you. Just make sure you fill it in.
Combining safety and convenience is the breakaway GoPro mount. Convenient because it comes pre-installed, safe because it’ll snap off if you wreck so the camera doesn’t snag something and whip your head backward. It’s also removable.
The visor slides up far enough to hold the goggles on the front of the helmet, then slides down far enough to help block the sun. And tree branches.
The fit and comfort impressed me. The first time I tried a Bell Super, I wasn’t impressed. It was big, and a little heavy. It’s still big and heavy, and not my first choice for normal riding. But add the “2R” to the end of it and get the chin bar and it makes a lot more sense. And for some reason, this one was more comfortable than the original I tried a couple years ago. By “more comfortable” I mean it’s perfectly comfortable for all day rides. Perhaps the addition of the MIPS layer had something to do with the improved comfort. It’s adjustable in two ways, with a standard retention knob and height adjustable cranium cup on which the dial is mounted. As you can see in the pic above, the cheek pads are definitely squeezing my face.
The chin bar attaches and removes with two side levers that lock it onto the helmet and a third, rear lever that simply closes the circle around the helmet and pulls it all snug. It’s quick, though with tired and fully gloved fingers, it can be a little tough getting the side levers to open. Probably good, though, as there’s virtually no chance they’ll pop open of their own accord. The system worked flawlessly for the entire race, which was a 6+ hour day on the bike. Since then it’s continued to work fine with no apparent wobble or looseness coming on. And that’s with my kids and their friends using the helmet repeatedly for, um, non-standard uses.
Weight for a size Medium is 432g without the chin bar, 760g with it. Not light for a standard helmet, but quite a bit lighter than most full face lids.
Without the chin bar, the straps attach at a rather wide point on the helmet, so it looks big even though it fits. Sunglasses slide in under the straps for sure on this one.
With the chin bar, it’s rock solid (probably mostly from the agressive cheek pads) and very comfortable. Goggles fit well and stay in place. There’s no clip on the back for the goggle strap, but it doesn’t move, even when pulled up onto the helmet shell under the visor.
After spending a very long day in the Bell Super 2R, I’m impressed. The on-and-off system works well and sure as hell beats carrying two helmets. The price beats a dedicated full face in most instances, and is competitive with a high end helmet of any type these days. It’s refreshing to see something that not only solves a problem but does it with style and actually lives up to its promise. As such, I give it high marks.
Retail is $220, and it’s available in a wide variety of colors. And Boba Fett and Stormtrooper designs that are sick.