If you’re looking for helmet for any kind of wheeled sport, then Bell probably has a lid to fit. Huge in the motorcycle and automotive protection industries, Bell can boast more world championship wins from competitors wearing their headgear than any other manufacturer. They also own Giro.Fit?
The X-Ray, is one of four Bell helmets to get their recently developed GPS (Geared Positioning System) fit system. While most ratchet-based helmet retention systems require a two-handed approach to achieve cranial snugness, Bell’s canny GPS allows you to dial-in extra tension on-the-fly. Basically, a neat thumbwheel protrudes from the base of the retention plate, that, when turned, adjusts the tension across the whole cage simultaneously. There’s plenty of adjustability too, without resorting to stuffing wads of padding around the perimeter. It’s so easy to adjust the GPS system that found ourselves releasing the cage when removing the helmet, then cinching it back down when we put it on. In situ, the X-Ray was rock solid, but we didn’t suffer any discomforting pressure points.Styling?
Giro lead the way in the styling department, full stop, but since their takeover by Bell, some of the Italian influence has rubbed off on Bell’s range. The X-Ray is one of the helmets that has benefited from this partnership, and we think that, while it’s not quite up there with the E2 as a thing of beauty, it’s still one of the best looking cross-country lids on the market. Particularly appealing is the Amber/Bone colour scheme.Extra features?
19 slots pepper the shell of the X-Ray, endowing it with force-10 ventilation. A composite skeleton reinforces the whole structure and allows the use of large vents to maximize airflow.
The peak uses a similar snap-fit system to the new Giros, ensuring a secure, positive lock that doesn’t require Velcro and can’t flop in front of your eyes. There’s no angular adjustment, but we didn’t suffer any restricted vision from the standard peak.
Construction and finishing, throughout the X-Ray, is top notch, with seamless In-Molding, crisp detailing and a smooth, efficient retention system.Should I buy one?
At seventy notes, Bell’s top of the range lid beats Giro’s top offering (the E2) on price, but competes head-on with the Havoc. Both helmets offer great looks, free-flowing ventilation and top-notch build quality. Giro’s smooth styling just edges the Bell’s crisp lines in our eyes, leaving overall fit as the final clincher. The Bell seemed to work well on rounder heads, while the Giro pleased narrower skulls. For us, the Bell was the perfect match – comfortable, cool and with a handy adjustment system that’s the market leader.