UNLESS you’ve been living under a rock for the past 5 years, you’ll have noticed that classic is once again cool.
And nothing is more classic than Bell’s Bullitt helmet, which evokes images of 1970s racers lining up on the grid in the original Bell Star.
Thankfully, safety has come a long way in the last 4 decades, and the Bullitt offers that vintage styling combined with some serious protection.
Admittedly, it’s not on the same level as more conventional street helmets, and the strength of that chin bar is definitely not something I’d want to put to the test.
But Bell assure us that the 1.5kg helmet is extremely safe, and with a low-Profile Composite shell and D-Ring Closure system it’s both ECE and DOT approved.
I tested the Gloss Silver Flake Bullitt on the recent Harley-Davidson 2018 Softail range launch in sunny Spain. But first, I had to get the Bullitt to Luton airport, and the best way to do that was on my head.
As I rode up the M1 on my CBR I was surprised to find the Bullitt offering decent noise and wind protection up to around 65mph, despite having not been designed for use on high-powered sportsbikes. What wasn’t surprising, however, were the off looks I attracted from other bikers.
Out on Spain’s twisting mountain roads the Bullitt was ideal. As temperatures rose to in excess of 30 degrees, I was grateful for the larger than average face hole and as before, the wind and noise levels remained low until the 70mph mark.
Using a butter knife in place of a screwdriver, I swapped the standard clear visor for a tinted one, which relieved my ears from the pain of sunglasses under the tight helmet.
We don’t like:
In my opinion the Bullitt looks best with a dark visor, although worryingly it came with a notice warning that it’s ‘not suitable for road use’…
Only after I’d installed the tinted visor did the rain come. Almost immediately my breath began to condense on the inside, to the point that I was finding it difficult to see. The one chin and four forehead vents clearly weren’t doing the job and for a lot of the ride home I resulted in opening the visor and squinting – not a pretty sight.
Another not so pretty sight is getting the helmet on and off. To keep it as compact as possible, the chin bar sits extremely close to the rider’s face, so close that I was able to jutt my chin out and touch it – in fact, after a day of wearing the Bullitt I’d learnt how to open and close the internal chin vent by wiggling my chin.
But such is the helmet’s design that getting it on an off is extremely difficult, and results in a distorted face, cauliflower ears and smudged make-up. Once the helmet was on, however, it fitted like a dream. I’m a Small across most manufacturers and the fit felt true to size.
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