Review – Bell Super 2R Helmet

by Brian Mullin on December 5, 2014

The Super 2R is an All Mountain helmet that has a removable and protective chin bar that can be easily attached and detached during a riding session. You can detach the chin bar and enjoy the comfort and ventilation of a regular helmet or add the chin bar and get the versatility and protection of a full-face helmet. It will be available in five colors, three of which are available with MIPS that helps to reduce rotational acceleration to the head from angled impacts. The usual Super 2R retails for $200 while the Super 2R MIPS will be $220.

Even though I frequent gnarly and dangerous terrain on many of my rides, bringing a regular helmet to wear for the climbs and a full-face one for the downhill’s is cumbersome and strenuous. With the Super 2R, I can carry one helmet since it gives me the ability to switch between a standard and full-face helmet with three easy clicks, providing additional safety and security and protection when it’s required.


Construction and Features

The two-piece system includes the helmet and the chin bar which utilizes their ‘Wraparound Protection’ system, and it completely envelops the helmet and locks down in place with three ski boot-style buckles. The design is like the old Giro Switchblade and original MET Parachute helmets though neither of those models utilized this stronger full wraparound chin bar design. It’s an updated version of their 2013 Super helmet with additional material and design aspects around the ears for the chin bar system. It uses an In-Mold Polycarbonate shell with an EPS foam liner and their TAG ratcheting dial retention system. It has 23 helmet vents and four overbrow helmet ports and six chin bar vents for cooling, an adjustable visor, and a breakaway camera mount. It’s CPSC, and CE EN1078 certified, and although it doesn’t meet the ASTM 1952 certification for downhill use, Bell did some extensive impact testing, and it provided adequate protection.

Super 2R Specifications:

  • Weight: 24.5 oz / 694 grams
  • Sizes: S 52–56 cm / 20.5″–22, M 55–59 cm / 21.625″–23.25, s L 58–62 cm / 22.875″–24.37″
  • Certifications: CPSC and CE EN1078
  • Vents: 23 helmet vents – 4 overbrow port and six chin bar vents
  • Removable Wraparound Chin bar
  • GoggleGuide Adjustable Visor System
  • Overbrow Ventilation
  • Integrated Breakaway Camera Mount
  • X-Static Padding
  • Breakaway Visor Screws
  • TAG Fit System

Ventilation

The Super 2R has 23 helmet vents and six chin bar vents, and they offered good ventilation for an All Mountain styled helmet. The helmet has four overbrow ports and some internal channeling, and when combined with the rest of the 23 vents, their synergy facilitates air movement and keeping things cool in the hottest conditions. Compared to a downhill helmet the Super 2R setup provided much better ventilation and cooling and comfort. Climbing with it in full-face was warmer than without the chin bar installed, so unless you’re using it for short periods of time, it’s better to remove the bar.

Fit System and Sizing

It uses their Twin Axis Gear (TAG) fit and retention system, which snug’s around the head and allows up/down adjustment of the wheel over the back of the head. The wheel was easy to adjust while tightening things around the head, although the last click was hard to initiate sometimes. Releasing was simple and only took a slight upward pressure on the wheel to release tension. The ear straps tied directly into the helmet, and the adjusters used simple snap locks for closure. Their X-Static padding was decently thick throughout the interior, except on the back adjuster, which didn’t have any padding. After adjusting everything for my head, I found the helmet was very comfortable, and I didn’t notice any hot or pinch spots, even after long periods of use. I have a size 23.5″ head, and the large size fit me nicely, and the retention system still allowed me enough leeway to wear a skull cap or a winter head covering.

Chin Bar System

The chin bar connects to the helmet utilizing three ski boot styled buckle latches, and there are two on the side and one at the rear. There are four internally facing protrusions on the chin bar that interface into slots on the helmet, two for the side connector and two towards the rear. Mate the male to female connections together and then clamp down the side buckles followed by the back. It’s simple to attach the chin bar to the helmet while you’re wearing it though removal can be finicky when getting gloved fingers under the side buckle levers. After locking everything down the chin bar was stable and secure, and didn’t have any noticeable movement, and it felt like the helmet became one entire entity. The chin bars used detachable cheek pads which were soft and plush and comfortable and had enough firmness to keep the helmet stable without much sloppiness.

Helmet Coverage and Visor Functionality

The helmet provides a maximum amount of head coverage and came out over the ears and down low on the neck, which helps keep the helmet stabilized on the head and prevented it from tilting backward during a crash. The visor had a large range of motion, and it was easy to swing it down for sun protection, and upwards for better vision and perching a pair of goggles. With the chin bar installed, it suffered some peripheral vision loss, which is common to all full-face designs.

Goggle and Sunglasses Compatibility

It fit sunglasses extremely well and didn’t have any interference issues with wide lenses or long and oddly shaped arms from sunglasses. The helmet was designed for goggles since they fit properly within the confinements of the opening and the strap stayed securely in place, and could easily be perched on the helmet when the visor was tilted up. When wearing goggles it was slightly problematic when switching out the chin bar since the strap got in the way, but it was easy just to push them down onto your neck.

Weight and Extras

The helmet with the chin bar installed weighs in at 765 grams (including the camera mount), which is pretty decent for something that offers full-face protection. The typical helmet weighs 423 grams, and the chin bar is 327 grams, and the camera mount is 15 grams. Compared to the average AM helmet the Super 2R without the chin bar installed is on the heavy side of things though it offers a lot more protection coverage over the ears and the neck. Most downhill full-face helmets weigh around 1000-1200 grams, so this helmet is significantly lighter, and it offers more versatility and comfort and ventilation. It comes with a removable and breakaway GoPro camera mount and though it was useful it wasn’t the most stable mounting system.

Impressions

I didn’t have a front crash with the chin bar installed, but I did have several sliders, and I appreciated the side protection it offered as it prevented my face from getting scraped and banged up. The extra security and safety the helmet provided when in the full-face mode offered a comforting piece of mind. This helmet won’t take the place of a full-face downhill beast, and if I were going to spend the day at the bike park, I’d likely bring a downhill helmet instead. This helmet is perfect for an All Mountain and All Trail and Gravity Junkie riders, and it might be useful for beginners and others looking for an extra margin of safety and protection. Unless I am going to be out riding mellower rides and terrain I always bring the chin bar with me on rides. I might not always switch to full-face, but it’s nice to have a chin bar as a backup when conditions merit its installation. In normal mode, the helmet was comfortable, and it vented nicely, and I never noticed the somewhat hefty 423 grams of weight. When switched to full-face, it retained the same general comfort levels and the chin bar offered some balance to keep things stable, and aside from the slight loss of peripheral vision and decreased venting qualities, and it was a highly wearable system. When doing long climbs with the full-face, it got warm pretty quickly, and the cheek pads caused more labored breathing, so I usually removed the chin bar for those situations. It was simple to take my pack off and attach the chin bar to the helmet for the downhill’s and then stop at the bottom and switch back to normal mode for everything else.

Bottom Line

The Bell Super 2R offers an exceptional one helmet system, in which you can wear a regular full coverage All Mountain helmet for climbs and mellow terrain, and then switch to a full-face helmet for downhill’s, all of which provides a greater margin of safety, security, protection and versatility. It’s not a downhill full-face helmet, but it’s more comfortable and lighter and cooler and has enough safety and protection for almost any activity. Although the $200-$220 price isn’t cheap, having the ability to switch between a standard and full-face with one helmet system makes it a worthwhile package.

Price

  • Super 2R $200 and Super 2R w/ MIPS $220

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Good ventilation system – 23 helmet vents, four overbrow ports and six chin bar vents
  • Excellent coverage – over the ears and low on the neck
  • Mates well with both sunglasses and goggles
  • Versatile – easy three click switch between normal and full-face helmet
  • GoPro mount – removable and breakaway

Cons

  • Heavy – 423 grams (Large size) for normal helmet mode
  • No padding on TAG retention system
  • GoPro mount is sloppy
  • Tough to lift chin bar buckles with gloved fingers

For more information visit: bellhelmets.com

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