Bell Super 2R Helmet (discontinued)

Average User Rating: (Outstanding) Vital Rating: (Excellent)
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Discontinued
Bell Super 2R Helmet - Infrared
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Tested: Bell Super 2R Helmet

Rating: Vital Review

Review by Monica McCosh // Photos by Brandon Turman

It was only a matter of time before a truly Enduro-specific helmet emerged on market. The Bell Super 2R two-in-one all-mountain dome decker is a great concept for confidence-inspired riding which does, however, cause a bit of a conversational ruckus between the risk-adverse and the risk-takers. Not ones to shy away from breaking new ground, we eagerly took reception of a sample and proceeded to test its merits.

Super 2R Helmet Highlights

  • Adjustable Visor
  • Breakaway Screws
  • Goggle Guide
  • In-Mold Polycarbonate Shell
  • Integrated Breakaway Camera Mount
  • Overbrow Ventilation
  • TAG Fit System
  • Wraparound, Removable Chin-bar
  • X-Static Padding
  • MSRP $200.00 USD

Initial Impressions

Even before fumbling with the novelty of the clasps, I found myself

Review by Monica McCosh // Photos by Brandon Turman

It was only a matter of time before a truly Enduro-specific helmet emerged on market. The Bell Super 2R two-in-one all-mountain dome decker is a great concept for confidence-inspired riding which does, however, cause a bit of a conversational ruckus between the risk-adverse and the risk-takers. Not ones to shy away from breaking new ground, we eagerly took reception of a sample and proceeded to test its merits.

Super 2R Helmet Highlights

  • Adjustable Visor
  • Breakaway Screws
  • Goggle Guide
  • In-Mold Polycarbonate Shell
  • Integrated Breakaway Camera Mount
  • Overbrow Ventilation
  • TAG™ Fit System
  • Wraparound, Removable Chin-bar
  • X-Static Padding
  • MSRP $200.00 USD

Initial Impressions

Even before fumbling with the novelty of the clasps, I found myself reading the enclosed letterhead which cautions: "This product is not intended to replace a full-face helmet for downhill riding/racing." The disclaimer pretty clearly states the helmet's intentions. It's meant to replace your trail helmet while adding an additional layer of protection. Practically, this translates to a traditional half-shell helmet with a removable chin guard.

The Super 2R is certified with CPSC, CE EN1078 US, and European safety standards for conventional bike helmets. According to Bell, the chin bar could also have been certified for downhill (ASTM F1952), but the vents don't provide enough protection against penetrating objects. Those racing Enduro will want to consider these certifications as they relate to specific event requirements. Those just out for a mountain bike ride can decide what level of protection works best for their situation.

Pulling the helmet out of the included helmet bag, I naturally did the first thing any dude mountain biker might and ditched the manual and went straight to the three metal closures, thinking "so this is probably how it works." The chin bar locking system is (so far) fool proof and intuitive – although, I wouldn’t recommend actually taking this approach with just any new gear. The three main buckles seem as easy to operate as ski boot buckles, popping and snapping into place without the use of tools. The system works best with the helmet on the head – great for on-bike conversion. The following video is a good demonstration of the concept in action:

The website depicts the “Infrared” color option we tested as a subdued blood orange hue (or at least my computer’s screen did so, anyway). So I was a little surprised to behold a slight more effeminate coral shade; perfect for my tastes, however. I think edgier men who fear no neon would also approve. Nevertheless, there are a couple of more neutral options available too, for those less comfortable with their 1980's inner self.

The helmet boasts a breezy 23 vents, plus 4 Overbrow ports and 6 vents on the on the matte-finish Chin Bar. An optional camera/light mount can be strapped through the vents with a new, more secure design than the one featured on the original Super helmet.

The fit felt a little loose in the frontal lobe area, but the integrated TAG fit system (which works like most other XC/all-mountain half lids do) helps secure the helmet snuggly to the skull. I still managed to find some play in the fit that has led me to believe I requested the wrong size. Do yourself a favor and try the different sizes at your local bike shop to ensure the best fit, regardless of the size chart.

On The Trail

Initial testing in Sedona, AZ took place under late Autumn skies and consisted of 3+ hours of pedaling in balmy temperatures. It was so warm and the ride was so cross-country, that I elected not to take the Chin Bar with me to save some weight. The total weight of the helmet without the bar is about 395-grams – heavier than most half-shells. With the bar it's 695-grams. In any case it was nice to have the option to choose between two helmets, but heading into unknown terrain not knowing the level of difficulty of the trails, I should have brought the Chin Bar as insurance. It's easy to strap onto the back of a pack, and for the sake of 300-grams, that's really the point of having it.

Later, I crashed on the helmet and scratched the visor and chin bar. While this helmet may not be a suitable full-face replacement for high-speed DH racing or high-stakes gap-hucking freeriding, I believe it is currently the ideal substitute for any other all-mountain/enduro/trail lid. It literally saved my face.

Despite ample ventilation, on a cold wintery Pacific Northwest weekend, I would still overheat in the full face with chin bar attached. Draping it around my neck while climbing felt a bit odd at first but was a good alternative when I just needed to climb a few extra feet before linking up with the next trail. Otherwise, the bar takes less than 10 seconds to install.

By now, I think the term “Switchblade” is on most people’s minds – a helmet Giro launched in the 90s with a removable chin bar. The Switchblade was reported to have a flimsy front piece that some feared would implode on heavy impact, but the Super 2R is very much a departure from that garish throwback.

However, people’s fears can be irrational. So it comes down to this: would you risk the unlikely event of a chin bar defect causing greater harm than not wearing a full-face helmet at all? You have to know your riding limits with each piece of equipment you choose. If you plan to go out for a gap-jumping huckfest, chances are you’re mounting your DH/Freeride bike and won’t care about the extra ventilation and light weight this helmet provides anyway. However, if you’re out for a day of climbing and descending trails, the full-face-like convertibility could give you the extra confidence to attempt that steep rock face. Risk is best calculated in gut-checks and measured by you. Clearly, the Super 2R does not intend to take the place of a full-face helmet, but at the same time, it is far from a gadget and it will in our experience work as intended, at least during moderately intense crashing as indeed this tester was "lucky" enough to be able to evaluate.

Things That Could Be Improved

As with any first iteration, there will be room for improvement.

  • A better fitting system would be ideal as the TAG seemed to not address the fit at the front of the helmet (possibly a sizing discrepancy/mistake on our behalf).
  • The sound of the last two side buckles snapping into place is actually a bit too ear-piercingly loud for my liking. For a second after each snap it left a bit of a post-Slayer concert buzz in my ears. I’m not sure if there is a safe way to adjust the material composition of the clamps to reduce this.
  • Rattle sounds from the buckles when the chin bar is strapped to the outside of a pack can be annoying.
  • I did find that the buckles have become a little more difficult to snap open to remove the chin bar on my last few rides. I concede it could be because of the near-freezing temperatures we are at present "enjoying", but this would be something to keep in check over the next few months of wear and tear.
  • Finally, the upper half of the helmet is glossy while the chin bar has a matte finish. As a result the colors aren't a great match.

What’s The Bottom Line?

If you shred singletrack aggressively, you own a mid-travel aggressive trail bike, and you earn your turns (and beers), this helmet will save your face from possible abrasions and bruising (or worse), while also allowing you to breathe on the climbs without having to carry two helmets. It could be a good solution for some Enduro racers, too.

If you don Lycra and ride a 29er 120-mm XC race bike and typically play it safe on the descent and/or are concerned about saving grams, then stick with your XC weight-weenie lid. If you only own a downhill bike, shuttle up to trail heads, and the only numbers you tally during a ride are the number of feet in the wood-to-wood gap jumps you hit, then I don’t recommend replacing your full-face DH certified helmet with this one. For all those who fall somewhere in the middle however, the cost of a fully-certified Downhill helmet is often times upwards of $300 and an average xc/all-mountain runs about $120. Or, you can get both in one helmet for $200. For me, considering the terrain I ride and my personal limits, going with the Super 2R really is a no-brainer.

Visit www.bellhelmets.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Monica McCosh has been riding bikes in British Columbia for over 5 years through the dusty desert interior, the gnarly roots of the North Shore, and the flow and jump lines of Whistler Bike Park. Not quite a competitive racer, but most definitely a freeride enthusiast, Monica attends various bike events and organizes her own guided women’s excursions throughout BC. She is a Marketing professional in the mountain bike industry having worked at Ryders Eyewear and now Easton Cycling.

Bell Super 2R, Turtle In a Half Shell

Rating:
The Good:

Versatile, half shell is the Bell Super, MIPS, ventilation, protection, ease of use, extra confidence for every trail.

The Bad:

Looks great as a half shell, only ok without.

Overall Review:

By now we all know the story. The Bell Super 2R is a convertible helmet that doesn't pass the downhill safety test. Listen, if you wear this as a downhill helmet, you have more than a lab safety test to worry about. If however, you want a helmet with a bit more protection and confidence to go that extra bit faster down some rowdier trails, then this is a perfect helmet. I've had it for two seasons and here's what I love about it. All of the extra protection comes at zero compromise. The chinbar fits in my helmet stow compartment in my pack and I never notice it while riding. The half shell is nearly exactly the Bell Super that is and was an excellent trail helmet. The ventilation is excellent as well, better than many non convertible helmets.

The only weakness is the way it looks as a full

Overall Review:

By now we all know the story. The Bell Super 2R is a convertible helmet that doesn't pass the downhill safety test. Listen, if you wear this as a downhill helmet, you have more than a lab safety test to worry about. If however, you want a helmet with a bit more protection and confidence to go that extra bit faster down some rowdier trails, then this is a perfect helmet. I've had it for two seasons and here's what I love about it. All of the extra protection comes at zero compromise. The chinbar fits in my helmet stow compartment in my pack and I never notice it while riding. The half shell is nearly exactly the Bell Super that is and was an excellent trail helmet. The ventilation is excellent as well, better than many non convertible helmets.

The only weakness is the way it looks as a full face helmet. Oh wait, all full face helmets looks dorky if you wear sunglasses instead of goggles.

Specifications

Product Bell Super 2R Helmet
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain, Freeride / Bike Park, Trail
Rider Unisex
Number of Vents 23 Helmet Vents, 4 Overbrow Ports, 6 Chinbar Vents
Construction In-Mold Polycarbonate Shell, Removable Wraparound Chin-Bar, Adjustable Visor, Breakaway Screws, GoggleGuide Adjustable Visor System, Integrated Breakaway Camera Mount, TAG Fit System
Adjustable Padding X-Static Padding
Certification CPSC Bicycle, CE EN1078
Bag
Size S (52–56 cm / 20.5"–22"), M (55–59 cm / 21.625"–23.25"), L (58–62 cm / 22.875"–24.37")
Colors White, Matte Black/White Viper, Infrared, Matte Titanium/Red Viper, Matte Black
Weight 1 lb 8.5 oz (694 g)
Miscellaneous MIPS Available in Select Colors
Price $200
More Info

Bell Helmets Website

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