"Bucked over the bars on a steep section, I dropped a long way mainly onto my head..."
The Bell Full-9 Fusion MIPS helmet is a budget full-face DH helmet based on Bell’s top-of-the-range carbon Bell Full-9 helmet.
It has the same shape, MIPS insert, breakaway peak and deep padding as the £425 version, but the cheek pads aren’t magnetic and you don’t get the built-in speaker pockets. It also loses the ‘Eject Helmet Removal’ system that helps with removing the helmet in the event of a big crash. This model is, however, around 50g lighter.
It looks and feels substantial, closer to a motocross helmet than an enduro mtb helmet. But the deep peeding ensures it’s secure and comfortable, and thi sin turn offers a real sense of safety and security while wearing it. Despite its size, the goggle aperure is big enough that you don’t see any of the shell or the peak in your peripheral vision.
and the first time I pulled it on I was struck but how deep and comfortable the padding was, and just how protected I felt. Despite its physical size the goggle aperture is big enough that the helmet disappears from your peripheral vision and the peak pulls high up out of sight.
Ventilation is minimal compared to lightweight full-face options such as Bell’s Super DH or Super 3R and you do soon feel the heat on a warm day – this is very much a helmet for DH racing or shuttle days with limited pedaling efforts.
It’s difficult to fully test a crash helmet without throwing yourself at the scenery, so with that in mind I set off down Bike Park Wales’ black-graded Dai Hard trail on a wet November afternoon. Bucked over the bars on a steep section, I dropped a long way mainly onto my head, shattering the peak but otherwise escaping intact – other than the broken peak the helmet was almost unmarked. Replacement peaks are available for £29.99 but are only offered in black.
So it offers plenty of protection, but it’s nowhere near as versatile as the latest crop of enduro helmets. If you’re looking to expand your helmet collection with bike park-ready full-face, it would make a good option. If you’re starting form scratch and do lots of natural rides in demanding terrain, you might be better of with something like the Super DH.