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AMA Member Tested: Bell RS-1

February 01, 2014

A Fierce Contender In The Mid-Range Price Point

MSRP: $399.95-$449.95

By Dustin Edwards

Bell’s new RS-1 offers a number of features that today’s riders demand. The first, of course, is the protection of the Kevlar/fiberglass composite shell. It’s a lightweight lid, which makes it comfortable for long rides, while the durability of the Kevlar offers some peace of mind.

Comfort wise, while helmet fit can vary significantly from head to head, the RS-1 provides ample cushion for a wide range of head shapes. The contour-cut cheek pads are covered by a removable antibacterial and washable liner.

Also contributing to the comfort factor is Bell’s aerodynamic profile. The stable design works really well at keeping your head still and pointed where it needs to be. I didn’t experience any buffeting or annoying head wandering while at speed. Pair that with the constant cooling effect from the ventilation system, and fatigue is noticeably reduced.

Other features include Bell’s shield lock system that allows the visor to be locked shut, cracked open or allowed to ratchet. The shield mechanism makes swapping visors a breeze, and a handy magnetic strap keeper works well to keep the loose end of the strap from dangling in the breeze. However, don’t forget about the magnet if you get your helmet near a metal fuel tank; it will surely try to stick to the metal and could leave an annoying scratch in the paint.

Perhaps the most innovative feature on this helmet, though, is the photochromatic face shield. The shield automatically adjusts tint to light conditions. This feature works exceptionally well in all lighting conditions. Gone are the days of carrying two face shields or dealing with riding at night with a dark visor. Although the transition is not immediate, it is fast and effective enough to justify the bump in price.

Available in a range of well-thought-out designs and solid colors, the RS-1, paired with the photochromatic visor, is a fierce contender in the mid-range price point.

Dustin Edwards is an independent AMA Member Tester.

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