By Lee Bruns
Some of the great things about a motocross helmet is light weight, great visibility and the built-in sun visor. The bad things are that many are not DOT rated, they can be noisy at highway speeds and they lack a face shield since most offroad riders wear goggles. Helmet needs change as riding habits change. In years past I rode paved roads almost exclusively so my modular flip-front helmet worked fine. Then I started riding and competing at off-road events and my brand X motocross helmet worked fine for that. Now, however, I find that many of my rides begin on pavement and end on a rock-strewn goat path 50 miles away. It was time for a helmet that fit how I ride. Enter the new-for-2015 Bell MX-9 Adventure.
While the outer shell may resemble a full off-road helmet with the protruding chinbar and sun visor, it also has a flip down face shield like a street helmet. This creates a helmet that works well for both street and offroad riding.
Bell offers the MX-9 with three outer shell size options, three Expanded polystyrene insert sizes and two cheek-pad sizes to help your Bell helmet dealer put together a helmet that custom-fits your melon. There are seven color options ranging from gloss black to hi-Viz yellow. I chose a subdued gloss grey with hi-viz yellow accents for visibility and some tasteful ‘Bell’ lettering on the sides.
The face shield is the most fog-free of any face shield I’ve ever tried. I have not once been able to get it to fog over. I chose the clear face-shield for my helmet but smoked and even a Transitions face shield are available that changes from clear to tinted when exposed to the sun. The face-shield cut-out is large enough that you can still wear motocross goggles if you prefer. The sun visor is two-position adjustable and can be removed by hand if needed. As with most high end helmets the lining is removable for washing. Chin-strap retention is by traditional double D-ring. Venting is exceptional with vents in the chinbar as well as the front and back to allow air to flow through the shell and yet wind noise is lower than the modular street helmet that I had been wearing for dual-sport rides.
Weight is always an issue with helmets and the MX-9 weighs in at 3 lbs 9 ounces, making it lighter as a DOT approved street helmet than my non-DOT motocross helmet. So far I’ve wore the MX-9 for over a thousand miles of both on and off-road riding and am pleased with both fit, features and function. As an added bonus, since it’s a Bell there will be no problems with replacement face shields, visors, cheek pads, linings or hardware. If this seems like a helmet that would work for the kind of riding that you’re doing, check out the MX-9 at your local Bell helmet retailer. To find your local retailer head to BellHelmets.com or ask your favorite motorcycle shop to become a Bell helmet retailer.