If there’s one piece of riding gear you don’t want to cheap out on, it’s a helmet.
The thing is we all have a budget and have to draw the line somewhere of the level of safety we want in a helmet, versus what our bank account allows us.
I always recommend spending as much as possible on a helmet, and if it means going cheaper on a gear set to make it happen, then it’s a no brainer. Although, this Bell Moto-9 MIPS helmet might just fit the balance of budget and safety.
FYI, this is not sponsored and I paid full price for the helmet.
WHAT IT IS
The Bell Moto-9 MIPS helmet comes in second to the brand’s premium helmet, which is the Moto-9 FLEX.
Both share the same shape and comfort features, however where they differ is in the technology, with the FLEX offering a more advanced energy management system and shell construction.
They come in at two very two different price points, but I would consider both as premium helmets.
So as I said, this version of the Moto-9 is equipped with MIPS technology - you’ve probably heard of it before because it’s been around for several years now and is fitted to a number of helmets available.
MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System, and it’s found inside the helmet between the comfort padding and the EPS foam.
It basically allows the head to move inside the helmet which can reduce the harmful rotational motion otherwise transferred to the brain.
According to the MIPS website, statistics show that when you fall and hit your head, it’s most likely at an angle.
Falling at an angle creates rotational motion and science has shown that our brains are very sensitive to rotational forces. In an angled impact, these forces may transfer to your brain, which can cause severe injuries. The MIPS can reduce rotational motion and reduce the risk of brain damage.
Aside from MIPS, the shell of the helmet is made up of aramid, carbon fibre and fibreglass that delivers all the strength of carbon fibre in a more budget-protecting package.
I’ve had several Bell helmets in the past six years, and the one thing that stands out is the comfort and fit of the Moto-9. It’s the number one reason that it’s the only helmet I’ve chosen to continue wearing since I first got one in 2015.
The fit is nice and snug, while the only word to describe the feel of the inner liner is plush. The X-Static material is also a plus, as it’s clinically-proven to provide bacteria and odour, while the Velocity Flow Ventilation system offers adequate airflow.
WHAT YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T KNOW
Now there are two things you probably didn’t know about this helmet: the Flying Bridge Visor system and Magnefusion magnetic cheek pads.
The Flying Bridge Visor System is another safety benefit of this helmet - the visor is designed without a centre screw, which allows the energy of an impact to be channelled through the flexible visor that ultimately acts as a crumple zone away from the helmet and riders head. This is such an underrated feature of this helmet.
The magnetic cheek pads are just genius - it’s a feature that doesn’t really make a difference in the scheme of things, but it sure makes life easier when you want to quickly take them out for washing.
So the Bell Moto-9 comes in at RRP $649.95, and while it’s still at the more expensive end of the scale, it is around $200 cheap in comparison to the FLEX model.
Other options of helmets that are on the same level include the TLD SE4 Composite ($729), Fox V4 ($749), Alpinestars SM-8 ($649) and 6D ATR-1 ($649).
SO IS IT THE SAFEST & MOST AFFORDABLE HELMET?
It’s definitely one of the safest helmets on the market, especially in that $650-$750 range. I believe its design and safety features for the price tag make it the best option for someone looking for a balance of both cost and level of protection.
You can sometimes pick this up on sale or as a run-out year model, which I’ve seen before dip below the $550 mark - so keep an eye out for specials when shopping around.
Obviously it sits in good company alongside offerings from competitors, and I always advise trying on helmets from all brands, as some helmets just fit certain head shapes better.
I only have positive things to say about this helmet and it’s why I highly recommend it to anyone who asks what helmet they should buy.
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