Bell RS-1

Bell RS1 Motorcycle Helmet header image

Bell RS-1 Helmet Review Summary

The Bell RS-1 features a sleek design with outstanding quality that won’t put your wallet through the wringer. With a cushioned interior for superior comfort, excellent ventilation and outstanding noise control, the value of this helmet is tough to beat.

The RS-1 not only meets DOT specifications but also meets the stringent Snell 2010 safety standards. It is worth noting that Bell seems to use non-standard sizing for the RS-1 and the internal shape runs slightly narrow. I elaborate on how the sizing of this helmet works below.

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Bell RS-1We have worked closely with RevZilla, Amazon and 2Wheel over the years to provide our testers with products to review. They are all great partners and unique in their own ways, so make sure to check out their prices. Please don’t forget we may get a commission if you buy from them.

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Bell Rs-1 Helmet Collage for reviewRS-1 Helmet Background

While Bell Helmets has led the way in motorcycle safety since introducing the world’s first full-face helmet in 1963, the brand has enjoyed a remarkable revival. These days the company boasts a solid reputation of offering cutting-edge features and clever engineering (such as the 3Mode face shield, Quick Release, and Magnafusion retainer, to name a few things) at affordable prices.

The latest offering in the Bell Helmet series for 2011 may not match the ultra-value of the Bell Vortex (review) helmets, but there is no denying that the Bell RS-1 helmet offers features almost identical if not superior to features on far pricier helmets while adding a mid-range priced helmet to the Bell lineup. As a result, the top-of-the-line Bell Star (review) can now be considered the company’s full racing helmet while the RS-1 is more of a racy street/sport combination helmet.

Unless Bell intends to offer an even more feature-packed Star helmet in the near future, there is little reason to shell out an extra $200 for a Star when the RS-1 carries nearly all of the same features as the Star helmet at a lower cost.

Motorcycle Helmet Paint, Graphics, and Overall Quality

Bell RS1 Helmet with graphicsWhile the solid color and graphics choices for the Bell RS-1 are limited, they certainly aren’t boring! The blue “Victory” graphic (also available in red) on the helmet is very nicely done. The thick silver metal-flake outlines on the arrows in the design add a bit of texture to the graphic. The other two graphics offered–the black and white Shattered Graphic”and the matte black and white “Panic Zone” graphic–also look really cool on this helmet.

While the “Victory” graphic camouflages the shape of the RS-1 (what could best be described as similar to a slightly subdued Bell Star), the solid colors (especially silver) exaggerate the resemblance. Whether you opt for graphics or a solid color, the surface of the helmet is protected with a thick, high-gloss clear coat that should protect the surface for years to come.

With a heavenly soft micro fleece lining, thick padding and a micro-click adjusting Bell 3Mode face shield, the RS-1 is undeniably a quality helmet. The Quick Release removal system makes removing the helmet at the end of a ride a breeze. The best part is that these features are also found on the top-of-the-line Bell Star, but for a lower price. The only noticeable difference in features between the two helmets is that the RS-1 doesn’t come with the cool helmet bag that accompanies the Star.

The vents lack the tight snap-open feel of an Arai Vector 2 helmet and aren’t quite as easy to locate when wearing gloves, but the excellent ventilation this helmet provides amply compensates for this minor issue.

While the Bell RS-1 costs about twice as much as the Bell Vortex or Bell Arrow, the helmet has a more upscale feel than the less expensive offerings from Bell with features commonly found on a $500 helmet at a price of $350. It’s always nice to feel like you’re getting more for your hard-earned money. Score: For design, paint and overall quality, I rate the Bell RS-1 – “Badass.”

Buy from a Badass Helmet Partner

Bell RS-1We have worked closely with RevZilla, Amazon and 2Wheel over the years to provide our testers with products to review. They are all great partners and unique in their own ways, so make sure to check out their prices. Please don’t forget we may get a commission if you buy from them.

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RS1 Helmet Fit, Internal Shape, and Liner

Bell seems to use a “European” style internal shape for their higher-end helmets, to include the RS-1 and the Star. As such, the fit of the RS-1 is classified as “Slightly Narrow” as opposed to “Neutral”, with an internal shape similar to Shark and Nolan helmets.bell-rs-1-steam-punk-818x395

Sizing quirks aside, if your head shape and the internal shape of the RS-1 are compatible, you have got not only an incredibly safe but incredibly comfortable helmet. Even if your head shape doesn’t quite match the internal shape of the helmet, the micro-fleece lining and thick padding still make the RS-1 one of the most comfortable helmets ever made. I ended up ordering a size XL helmet, and while my round head shape doesn’t quite match the helmet’s interior shape, there is adequate padding on the sides to keep the helmet comfortable. The only problem is that I can easily slip two fingers up to my forehead while wearing the helmet. In the event of an accident, my head will use the distance between it and the front padding to accelerate, possibly offering less than ideal protection for my head.

The RS-1 has deep ear pockets and what feels like a cavity in the EPS to provide room for a speaker. While there have been rumors of Bell working a deal with one of our favorite intercom manufacturers to provide an OE system, only time will tell. As with any helmet, the fit of eyeglasses or sunglasses will vary with the style of the frames and head shape.

Helmet Accessories – Face Shield, Eye Port, and Visibility

Bell RS1 Gearhead graphics motorcycle helmetThe Bell “3Mode” face shield is one of the best face shield systems on the market. The shield on the RS-1 lifts through a series of micro-clicks as it raises and has a lock on the lower left which can be used to slightly lift the face shield for defogging. This system is truly low-effort and high quality. Removing the face shield is also low-effort: pull the lever and the face shield pops right out. This is the same system used on the Bell Star.

The face shield is 2.2mm thick and is marked as meeting the VESC-8 safety standard. The shield is also treated with Bell’s “NutraFog II” anti-fogging treatment according to the hang tag that came with the helmet. While the weather is too warm to properly try this feature out, from my observations it does seem to prevent fogging.

The eye port provides average to slightly better than average visibility in both vertical and horizontal planes in comparison to other helmets.

Helmet Ventilation and Air Flow

The RS-1 helmet’s venting system consists of a brow vent, top vent and chin vent that allows air to flow directly through the chin bar. The system is nicely designed and provides better than average ventilation, but I feel that this system has the potential to be even better.BELL RS1 black and white helmet

While the EPS includes two shallow molded channels to allow air flow, the liner blocks some of the air flow due to covering the intake ports in the EPS. The thick crown completely covers the brow ports, making it tough to discern whether or not the brow vent is open. A more open liner type with mesh around the vent ports would drastically improve ventilation.

Bell RS1 Helmet Weight

In Bell helmets, the Kevlar/fiberglass composition of the RS-1 marks one of the differences between Bell’s high-end and low-end offerings. While a Kevlar/fiberglass shell is favored for being lightweight, the Snell 2010 approval makes the RS-1 a bit heavier than most non-Snell 2010 approved helmets.

The size large in this helmet weighs in at 1603 grams (3 pounds, 8-1/2 ounces) and the extra-large weighs in at 1644 grams (3 pounds, 9-7/8 ounces)–good but not great, and room left to add on a bluetooth comm system.

Buy from a Badass Helmet Partner

Bell RS-1We have worked closely with RevZilla, Amazon and 2Wheel over the years to provide our testers with products to review. They are all great partners and unique in their own ways, so make sure to check out their prices. Please don’t forget we may get a commission if you buy from them.

RevZillaBuy  AmazonBuy  2WheelBuy

Closing it up.

With a plusher, softer interior, better overall comfort and a better price than the Bell Star, the Bell RS-1 helmet is truly a winner. Due to the slightly narrow fit, this helmet may not be suitable for all head shapes, but if the helmet fits your head shape and size, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better helmet at this price.

–> Check out all the different styles of Bell Motorcycle Helmets here.

 

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