- Sweep XC helmet
The Sweep XC is Bell’s top-flight XC (the clue’s in the name) race helmet, and jolly nice it is too. Bell has used various bits of cunning internal reinforcement inside the moulded shell to let it design in lots of big vents without unduly weakening the helmet – you get 20 holes and lots of internal channelling, making this one of the coolest helmets out there.
There’s very little in the way of padding inside, which is either a good or a bad thing depending on how well the helmet fits you. If you happen to have a Bell-shaped head it sits very comfortably, helped considerably by the Gear Positioned System head retention gubbinses at the back – a clicky dial adjusts the fit to millimetric accuracy and with just one hand. You may find that the lack of padding causes reduced comfort depending on your head shape, though.
A stubby peak is adjustable by 15° up and down and is detachable if you don’t do the peak thing. The styling is fairly conventional at the front but goes properly bonkers at the back, with all sorts of ridges and pointy bits. We thought it looked a bit odd at first, but it’s definitely a grower.
Weight is just over 300g and there’s a choice of three colours and three sizes.
Ups and downs
Light, cool, excellent adjustment, distinctive looks
Pricey, minimal padding may trouble some riders
We’re pretty sure that the editorial head hasn’t changed shape all that much over the years, but different brands of helmet have definitely come and gone as favourites. At the moment the Sweep is the first helmet we grab on the way out for a ride, just because it fits really well. It’s light and well ventilated too – you really do forget that it’s there. The recommended retail price is on the high side, but shop around and you can probably find the Sweep somewhat cheaper.