Bell Variant Helmet

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Bell Variant Helmet 

DESCRIPTION

The Bell Variant Bike Helmet deviates from the standard helmet, delivering a host of high-end features in a lightweight, comfortable package. Thanks to Bell?s Fusion Microshell construction throughout, the Variant offers a high degree of durability and safety. Internal reinforcements also allow Bell to take off some weight and build in more groovy-looking vents to keep your noggin cool while you?re climbing towards the ridge. Dial in the fit of the helmet with the Geared Positioning System, cam-lock strap levers, and adjustable visor.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 15  
[Jun 19, 2013]
aaron
All Mountain Rider

Strength:

looks, comfort and protection

Weakness:

after five years of abuse the retention adjustment pops out of helmet ,

Great helmet , love the comfort . I finally wore out my variant and just ordered a replacement.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 02, 2013]
Duncan Mills
All Mountain Rider

Strength:

This helmet has a perfect snug fit on my head, almost as if it was custom-made for me. The head-band piece on the inside is rubberized plastic, so it is thin, light, and strong. The adjustment wheel is rubberized too. The buckles and straps show quality over cheap Bell helmets. The one-piece padding is of an excellent quality, and it never comes un-velcroed from the inside if the helmet. I also like the removable visor, it's a neat feature!

Weakness:

It's not the absolute best in the styling category, compared to a POC Trabec, Fox Flux, or 661 Recon XC, but hey, for around $10-25 less, it's not that big of a deal for me. The only other complaint I have is about the removable visor, it is fixed onto the helmet in two points on either side. I think Bell should at least put one more point in the middle where the helmet and visor connect, so the visor seems less flimsy and wobbly when you hold it. The visor doesn't bend or rattle when riding though, so it's another minuscule detail.

Okay, I'll admit it, I'm amazed by this helmet. I used to be paranoid of crashing badly, and completely shattering my helmet, so I always wore a heavy fullface and body armour. Now that I have a few of my first cross-country races coming up soon, I realized that I need to be a weight weenie, and how my downhill gear was big time overkill for cross-country. So I walked into my LBS, skeptical about finding a decently priced helmet that felt "solid" on my head. I tried on several Giro helmets, a few Bontrager ones, and also a Specialized helmet too, but none fit my head as perfectly as the Bell Variant. The helmet fit over my ears well, and also the forehead sat at a great level. I liked the design too, it looked like more of an aggressive All-Mountain trail riding helmet, which is perfect for what I do, a mixture of long XC rides and some fun All-Mountain singletrack trails. Along with that, it didn't break the bank at only $65 at my LBS. I highy reccomend getting this helmet instead of a more "high-end-brand" like Fox or 661 or POC, because it gives you a better bang for your buck, and it feels the same as a high-end helmet, but for only $60-80!

Similar Products Used:

THH TX10, Bell skateboard helmet, giro xar, bell gyro

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 01, 2012]
Gakster

Strength:

1. Great ventilation
2. Great fit for my head
3. Love the adjustable visor

Weakness:

1. A hassle to adjust the straps to fit
2. Straps does not lay flat. Esp. the "V" around the ears.
3. Sweat pads get saturated easily.

Wore this helmet for about 3 years. No major issues. I really like the ventilation and the adjustable visor. Bell helmets in general fits me well.

During the first adjustment, the straps are a bit of a pain to deal with. Took a while to get a good fit with the strap. Once adjusted it is OK.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 15, 2011]
Olineman
Cross Country Rider

Strength:

Durable, well ventilated, good fit, doesn't slip.

Weakness:

Cumbersome to adjust chinstrap sides.

Very good helmet for the price I paid. It fit well and did not slip around but most of all it passed the ultimate test - Protected my noggin in a nasty fall.

The outer shell was scratched and dinged, the inner shell was cracked in about 6 places but I rode home with nothing more than a headache and some future scars.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 28, 2011]
artoftrail
Weekend Warrior

Strength:

The Bell Variant feels solid, fits like a glove and and is comfortable enough to be worn all day.
The airflow through the helmet feels cooler than not wearing a helmet and the shade effect beats a hat.

Weakness:

No weaknesses have shown up so far. It took some adjusting to get the fastenings just right but nothing has come undone.

I hope to be wearing the Variant for a long long time.

Similar Products Used:

Giro Xen, an awesome helmet - it took a terrible hit and broke when I crashed at about 25 mph, but I was only dazed. Given that the protection provided is equal the difference is comfort. The Xen came off whenever I dismounted; the Variant comes off when I'm headed indoors.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 24, 2010]
Uncle Six Pack
Weekend Warrior

Strength:

light, good ventilation, looks pretty good

Weakness:

the size adjuster on the back seems cheesy, but hasn't failed on me yet

I got this helmet for about $50 and the price was definitely right. I didn't want to spend too much on a helmet because I think a lot of the more expensive helmets are good marketing, but not necessarily better protection. I plan on tossing it as soon as it takes a bad hit. For $50, I can replace it anytime without too much worry.... a $100 (or more) helmet is a lot harder to throw away when its time comes.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 05, 2010]
rmillet
Cross Country Rider

Strength:

Easily adjusted, cool flowing vents, looks good!

Fits like a glove, EASY adjustments, air FLOWS. I like the idea of the plastic skeleton inside the foam shell. Padding is nice, encased in fabric so no foam to rot and fall out.

Bells been around a long time.......

I'm not giving it 5 only because I haven't tried on 100 helmets....but I have no complaints thus far, none.

Similar Products Used:

Bell Vertigo

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Aug 03, 2009]
Bigtime
Weekend Warrior

Strength:

Lightweight, good ventilation, easy adjust straps, easy adjust fit.

Weakness:

None yet.

Overall I like this helmet. It is light and vents very well. I don't really notice it much when I'm riding which tells me its prety comfortable. I wear an Underarmor Skull Cap under helmets to keep sweat out of my eyes and to keep from getting a helmet vent shaped sunburn pattern on my bald head. This practice helps make any helmet feel better, but even when I've worn the Variant without the skull cap its comfortable. Its easy to adjust the fit with the dial in the back. Helmet fit is very personal, its important to get a helmet that fits so you'll wear it all the time.

Similar Products Used:

Giro

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Feb 27, 2009]
jean-louey
Cross Country Rider

Strength:

This helmet *would* get 5 stars.
1) It fits solid; the ratcheting system fits snugly (although we'll get back to this in the next section).
2) Sexy graphics. Bell moves beyond monochrome and race graphics (shiny stripes!) to give the Variant a worthy, all-mountain look.
3) I was also impressed with the venting on hot days.

Weakness:

1) Minor problem: The roc-lock system is awkward with a pony tail and may need to be adjusted several times during a ride for comfort.
2) Major problem: The ratcheting system has a fatal flaw. 'Fatal' because the flaw renders it completely unusable. The roc-lock system is anchored into a triangular piece nested in the top of the helmet. The length of the anchoring line can be adjusted by popping the triangular piece out the top and fitting it lower. Most owners wouldn't know about this since when you first buy the helmet the triangular piece doesn't seem to budge. But, eventually this piece can pop up, and if it does then it might pop OFF. If this happens it is NOT REPLACEABLE (not available through Bell) and the helmet is NOT USABLE.

Great helmet - except I will NEVER buy it again.

The triangular anchor popped out and disappeared within 1 month of owning the helmet. Bell doesn't sell/carry replacement parts...so if you lose this 2 cent piece then your $100 helmet is rendered useless. The fabulous Bell rep recognized a lemon, and immediately replaced the helmet with a new one. 5 months later...the SAME thing happened. Once again the Bell rep is great and offered to replace the helmet, but this time I'm taking a credit and buying another helmet. Maybe the Giro Xen (another great helmet with a different fatal flaw according to the MTBR reviews).

If you don't have a hook up at a shop, you might be out of luck when the piece breaks. If you buy this helmet, I would recommend you pop the triangular piece out, fit the helmet the way you want it, and then superglue that sucker back. I won't buy this helmet again until the manufacturer fixes this problem.

OVERALL
RATING
2
VALUE
RATING
2
[Jan 19, 2009]
John Daetwyler
Cross Country Rider

Strength:

Breathes extremely well. Lightweight. Nice buckle doesn't pinch skin

Weakness:

The plastic tensioning straps are a little to thin and creates a bit too much pressure.

Great all mountain helmet. Despite the slight discomfort from the plastic pieces, this helmet is great for all day rides. In the heat, it breathes well.

Similar Products Used:

Giro Xen, MET Parachute

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 15  

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