Review: Bell Star Carbon helmet, £499.99 by Kane Dalton

A light, bright and well vented helmet, if a little noisy

THIS is the Bell Star Carbon helmet. It’s a replica of the AMA superbike rider Chris Fillmore's lid and so far I've covered just under 1000 miles in it

As you'll guess from the name, the Star Carbon’s exterior is made of a carbon composite, and it makes for a noticeably light helmet. Bell claims it's at least 200g lighter than competitor helmets. The lack of weight is noticeable once it’s on – it never felt weighty or bulky when moving my head or tilting it from side-to-side.

Thanks to the contour-cut cheek pads, the fit is snug and comfortable. There is no significant padding over the ears, so it easily slipped over my ears when putting it on and taking it off. The downside is that the Star Carbon doesn’t have a huge amount of noise reduction and is noisy when you ride.

The interior is removable and washable, and made of X-static XT2 fibre, which is claimed to inhibit bacterial growth. It means the interior shouldn’t get stinky, but I’ll have to wait until it gets a little warmer to find out how effective it is.

The Star Carbon also features built-in mesh pockets, so if you listen to music while you ride or use a Bluetooth headset, you’re well catered for.

Thanks to the quick release visor system, changing the visor is super simple and fast - one push of a lever on either side makes it pop off and replacing it simply involves clicking it back in to place.

It came supplied with a pinlock visor -  great for when the weather is bad but I found that the top edge of the pinlock sat in my eye line. To avoid the edge of the pinlock creeping in to my vision, I found myself lifting my head a little more than usual to look ahead.

The visor lock mechanism locks the visor down really well, although was initially tricky to get used to. The lock and the opening lip are a few inches apart, so with gloves on it took me a little while to work out where everything was. Once I’d used the helmet a few times and gotten used to the system, it became simple.

The visor seals up very well, and during one ride when I was caught in the rain, once the visor was locked down, I was kept dry and fog-free.

There are seven vents at the front with buttons that are easy to operate, and with the vents open, airflow is good. There was no significant wind noise with the vents open but I did notice that the sound of the bike seemed louder compared to other helmets I’ve used.

The Star has an aggressive profile, which isn't too surprising considering it was developed in a wind tunnel. That development is noticeable - at high speed it doesn’t lift or buffet and even turning my head side-to-side and up and down at speed, the helmet still felt comfortable.

The Star comes supplied with a black plastic wing-like strip in the box - something Bell calls a ‘track strip’. Bell says it’s an additional performance enhancement device, designed to reduce helmet buffeting and create negative pressure for increased ventilation at extreme speeds.

It seemed a pity to spoil the graphics with a stick-on plastic strip but I attached it anyway and didn't notice any difference in how the Star Carbon felt against the air. I’m not sure why it comes with a stick-on strip though – it’s a helmet built for high speed riding, so why not just build it in to the shell, Bell?

Fastening is taken care of with a D-ring fastener and the excess strap secures with a nice magnetic tab.

I liked that the Star comes with a stylish helmet bag with a detachable visor pouch and the fact it comes with a five year warranty should mean that if anything goes wrong with it, it'll be easy to sort.

Tested: Bell Star Carbon

Price: £499.99

Weight: 1300 Grams +/-50gr

Certification: DOT/ECE 2205 & ACU Approved

Sizes Available: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL