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Bell Full-9 Helmet

Average User Rating: (Excellent) Vital Rating: (Outstanding)
2019 Full-9 (Hound Matte/Gloss Crimson/Black/White)
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Tested: Bell Full-9 Helmet - Lovin' Yo Dome

Rating: Vital Review

Review by Sean "Griz" McClendon // Photos by Brandon Turman

Inspired by their award-winning Moto-9 and developed with Aaron Gwin, the Bell Full-9 is purpose built helmet for biking with features you'll find nowhere else on the market. At a price tag of $400, Bell caters to the penny-pincher who wants the best performance enhanced gear money can buy at food stamp pricing. With its carbon shell, magnetic cheek pads, integrated POV camera mounts, Overbrow Ventilation system and Soundtrax speaker pockets – you get more than what you pay for.


Bell Full-9 Highlights

  • ASTM F1952 DH Certified, F2032-06 BMX, CPSC, CE EN 1078
  • Carbon Fiber Shell
  • 10 Vents with 3 Brow Ports
  • Magnefusion Cheek Pads
  • Padded Chinstrap
  • Soundtrax: Built-In Speaker Pockets and Audio Cable Routing
  • Eject Helmet Removal System Compatible
  • 1-Year Warranty
  • Integrated and Removable Camera Mount forGoPro or Contour
  • Six Sizes Ranging from XS to XXL
  • Weight: 1050 Grams
  • Includes Helmet Bag
  • $400 MSRP
  • Available March 2013

Equipped with more functional features than any other purpose-built full-face bike helmet on the market, the Bell Full-9 looks cool too. Gone are the days of looking like a Ninja Turtle - or worse - with skeptical protective qualities. The Bell Full-9 won’t make you look like a squid and offers great protection incase you spike your POV capturing dome-piece into planet Earth.


On The Trail

When you first slide the Full-9 onto your melon, you’ll notice it really covers your brain from forehead to neck with complete jaw coverage. There’s a noticeable amount of freedom for your ears even with these large lobes of mine.


The Magnefusion cheek pads are so simple to remove and install that one can literally change the pads with a blindfold over their eyes. Each cheek pad has three magnets in place of a button or Velcro. In the event of a crash, the removable pads are one of two means on the Full-9 that allows emergency personnel to safety remove it without doing any damage to your spine.

To access the Soundtrax speaker pockets, you’ll have to remove the cheek pads and place your ear buds into the speaker pocket with self-explanatory cable routing that guide cables cleanly behind the cheek pad.


The helmet also has a design feature to allow the use an Eject removal bladder. In the center of the helmet under the padded liner, there is a removable foam block where the Eject removal bladder can be installed. In the case of trauma, medics can inflate the bladder and safely remove the helmet, theoretically preventing further trauma to the head and spine.


The visor can be up and out of your peripheral or it can come down to block that bright orange sun when you’re riding into it. Even with the visor pushed down as far as she goes, the adjustable range makes it so you still won’t look like a goon.

We also were able to test the Full-9 while using an Atlas neck brace and feel like this helmet is one to consider if you ride with neck protection. There is enough freedom of movement to make it more than useable on even the steepest downhill runs.

Confidence is inspired with its plush feel, protection capabilities and sharp look – I always feel like I ride better knowing I look damn good doing it and am prepared for anything that could potentially go wrong. This helmet feels like the fastest man on the planet left his stamp of approval on it. Could this be another reason why Troy Lee wanted Aaron Gwin on the team?

Things That Could Be Improved

There’s one characteristic of the helmet that some may or may not like and that’s how close the jaw guard comes to your mouth. When our breath rate speeds up, it kind of feels like you’re exhaling into a microphone.


Despite having three intake vents at the mouth guard, this helmet could breathe better – and does so if you remove the foam from the mouth vent. After removing the mouth vent foam, we noticed a lot better air flow and really couldn’t complain after doing this slight modification.


Lastly, we tested the integrated camera mount and recommend adding some material under the mount to dampen the chatter and smooth out that POV footage. Our footage was a little shaky with the stock mount and no support.

Long Term Durability

We didn’t get any crash testing in (always a plus), but this helmet is built to last as long as headfirst spikes into earth are avoided. At that rate, any helmet should be evaluated and in case you do smash your grape, Bell offers a one-year warranty on the Full-9 and a "Crash Credit" replacement program for US customers.

The finish has proven to be very durable. We haven’t scratched ours yet and we’ve seen last year’s ODI/Trek Development Team riders in seasoned Full-9 helmets that still look fresh.


What’s The Bottom Line?

Bell has been in the business of making quality helmets for a very long time. The Full-9 is hands down the best full-face bike specific helmet Bell has ever produced. With its comfortable fit providing complete protection for our cranium, our confidence was at a high and the product geek in us was satisfied with the technical features of the Full-9. We couldn’t help but feel faster knowing Aaron Gwin’s feedback was directly involved with this helmet.If you have a $100 head, buy a $100 helmet, but for those of you who value your melon, the Bell Full-9 is the best bike helmet money can buy at $400.

The Full-9 drops March 2013. Keep an eye on for details.

Bell Full-9 Helmet

Rating: Featured Member Review
The Good:

Good Fit, Lighter Weight, Nice Features, Good Goggle Room, Magnetic Removable Cheek Pads, ICEdot Enabled

The Bad:

Creaking Noise, A Bit Warm

Overall Review:

I was excited to get a new helmet after my last one took a good hit causing the carbon to crack in the chin guard area. I wanted to get something a bit different and compared many models online before biting the bullet on the Full 9. As a person who has had many concussions in the past, I look for a safe helmet that does not break the bank.

Infrared Intake (stock image from Bell)

Some of the Highlights Include:

  • Good fit
  • Lighter weight option
  • Works well with Leatt brace
  • Magnetic removable cheek pads for emergencies
  • ICEdot enabled
  • Good fitment with goggles
  • Integrated GoPro mount

The Details:

There are many options when it comes to noggin protection, and it can be hard to choose. I like to think my head is relatively normal in shape and about 56mm around. That falls right in the middle of the medium size range of Bell's fitment chart. It is comfortable on my head and I do not feel as though I have to fiddle with it to get it in the right spot. Some of the things that made ts helmet stand out to me in my research is that Bell has incorporated several safety features such as the magnetic check pads and ICEdot. These can help with emergency situations and if you need medical attention the staff can work on you easier making injuring you further a bit harder.

They have several colorways to choose from that are a bit more conservative in comparison to some from other helmet manufactures which I found nice. Upon first arrival of the helmet, I was impressed by the overall feel and details of the helmet. It seems constructed well and does not feel too flimsy or cheap. Its overall exterior size is a bit bigger than my last carbon helmet from 661 but a little bit smaller than offerings from TLD. Testing it with my Leatt neck brace proved to be compatible with each other and a non issue on the trail. The visor has a wide adjustment range and can be moved to be way out of sight by loosening just the two side screws (does not have a center screw). Goggle fitment seems to be normal and does not raise any concerns to me.

Bell has incorporated a built in GoPro mount right on the top of the helmet, a nice addition! I am not a huge fan of the camera angle from so high as it makes perspective that much harder to tell how gnarly the trail is. It also keeps the bike out of view which I see as a negative as well. The mounts is pretty solid and does a good hob overall at its intended purpose of POV footage. It is a break away style mount to add to the protection features. In case of a hard impact to that area, part of the mount will come apart. It can be put back on if it falls off at any time though.

Things to be improved:

There is not a lot Bell can do to make dramatic improvements to this lid, but a few things have stood out to me over the past couple of months. First is a creaking noise that is a bit annoying. I have not had a helmet creak from new, only once they area few years old and the inner foam structure moves a bit within the outer shell. This is a bit of a nitpick, but enough to think about it while riding. Second, it is not going to be great helmet for a very hot climate. I believe part is to do with the large, but comfortable padding inside the helmet. We will see how it goes next summer, but it should not be too bad for the East Tennessee summers. Some larger or more vents could help keep it a bit cooler for hot climate riding. Lastly, the chin strap could be a little bit longer. I like to keep it strapped when taking the helmet on and off between shuttles, just loosening it. With its current length it is a bit hard to do this.

Some Helmet Footage

My Verdict:

This helmet overall is very nice and I am still glad that I purchased it. Yes, it does have some minor quirks, but they are not enough of a concern to take away from all of the positives that this offering from Bell has. It is competitively priced compared to the other carbon options out there. If you are not in a climate that is way too hot, then I would recommend you to try this out.

Head saver.

The Good:

Fits amazing
nice colors magnetic cheek pads
ears space

The Bad:

no extra visor
light gray interior gets dirty easy

Overall Review:

I had this helmet for about a year and I had only used it in small falls until last week where I had the biggest blow to my head in 10+ years of downhill and enduro racing. After a couple of seconds lying on the floor checking that nothing was broken and that the medical staff checked me up, I get up only with cuts on the body but with my head safe and all my memory intact, after checking the helmet I noticed several internal cracks, so he did his job, now to save to buy a new one.

Best full face I own

The Good:

Lightweight, slimline, durable, protected

The Bad:

On warm days it doesn't seem to provide much ventalation.

Overall Review:

I have used this for several seasons and have no issues with this helmet besides it being kinda hot.

Bell Full 9

The Good:

Comfy, Good fit, Good looking, Carbon/Light, Strong.

The Bad:

Gets hot, not many vents.

Overall Review:

Quite light and not very bulky. Moto style is pretty cool. Looks sick. Very strong, had a few hits on it and no real damage to the helmet besides a few scratches. Not the best on very hot days, as it doesn't have very many vents and it gets sort of hot. Works good with a neck brace, doesn't smash against it. Overall - Awesome Helmet, worth the money.


Product Bell Full-9 Helmet
Riding Type Downhill, Freeride / Bike Park, Other (BMX)
Rider Unisex
Number of Vents 10 vents, 3 brow ports
Construction Full carbon shell
Adjustable Padding Removable washable padding
Magnefusion removable magnetic cheek pads
Certification ASTM F1952-00, ASTM F2032 (BMX), CE EN1078, CPSC Bicycle
Bag Included
Size XS - XXL
Colors 2019: Fasthouse matte black/white, hound matte/gloss crimson/black/white, hound matte/gloss slate/orange, and matte black
2018: Gloss white/black/hibiscus rio, matte black/grey
Weight 2 lb 7.9 oz (1,130 g)
Miscellaneous Breakaway screws
Flying bridge visor
Integrated breakaway camera mount
Integrated eject compatibility
Magnefusion Emergency Release System (MERS)
Overbrow ventilation
Padded chin strap with D-ring closure
Soundtrax speaker system
Velocity flow ventilation
XT-2 extended wear interior
Price $400
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