A fantastic lid with a racing pedigree.
Bell has been keeping racers and riders safe for decades now, ever since Roy Richter developed his first helmet in his auto parts store to keep his hot-rodding friends safe. Since those humble beginnings, Bell has been at the forefront of helmet technology and has protected the heads of everyone from average bikers to Michael Schumacher. So, when I was given the opportunity to try out the new motorsports-inspired Eliminator helmet, I jumped at the chance. I mean, if it's good enough for Schumacher it's good enough for me, right?
The Eliminator is kind of an odd duck, design-wise. It looks more like a car racing helmet than a motorcycle helmet, which makes sense since it's inspired by Bell's auto racing lids from the mid-70s. The Eliminator's intermediate oval-shaped fiberglass composite shell features a broad chin bar—the auto racing helmet DNA—a wide viewport, and comes in three sizes—XS-MD, MD/LG-XL, and 2XL/3XL. The EPS liner comes in five sizes ranging from XS to 3XL. To say that there's an Eliminator out there to fit every head may be an understatement.
Fit, Finish, and Features
The Eliminator packs a lot into a small, DOT and ECE-rated package. The removable, anti-bacterial liner is comfortable, breathes very well, and the contoured cheek pads can be switched out to customize the fit. The aforementioned EPS shell is set up for an add-on comms system with existing speaker cutouts (I run a Cardo Freecom 4+ on my eliminator), but the cutouts aren't quite deep enough. When I put the helmet on, the speakers protrude a bit and tend to fold my ears down until I wiggle the helmet around enough to free them. It's nothing serious, but just a heads up if you want to run a comms system in your Eliminator.
I mentioned earlier that the Eliminator breathed well, and boy does it. It's one of the best ventilated helmets I've ever worn. Air comes in both from the small vents on the chin bar and through the nine metal-reinforced holes on the helmet's crown. These holes go straight through the shell and EPS and deliver air directly to your cranium for maximum cooling. Sounds great, right? Well, there are two small issues with this setup.
Issue the First: Since air can get directly to your head with no filter, so can other things like rain, grit, and bugs. Being rained on inside your helmet is definitely a unique experience. Bell has gotten around that with a plug-in rain shield that you can buy, but I don't have one so I can't speak to its worth.
Issue the Second: At freeway speeds
*cups hands around mouth like a megaphone*
IS VERY LOUD!
Again, those stylish ventilation ports are the problem. Once you get up to a respectable speed—anything over about 50 miles-per-hour I've found—the wind makes a hell of a racket whistling through those ports. It's like someone blowing over the top of a beer bottle amplified through a Marshall stack. I bet this, too, is fixed by adding the vent cover. Again, I don't have one so I can't say. What I can say is that the vent holes may have needed a second pass through design and QA, know what I mean?
Aside from the noise, the Eliminator is very comfortable and stable at speeds. I never felt like I was being batted around by the wind, and the small chin spoiler provides just enough downforce to keep the helmet seated in a tuck at high speed. I ride without the benefit of fairings or windshields, so anything that helps reduce turbulence and increase stability in my lids is a godsend.
Gallery: Bell Eliminator Review
I... See... Everything...
Let's talk about the Eliminator's optics, shall we? From the factory, the helmet comes with a sturdy visor with Class 1 optics and Bell's Provision anti-fog insert. It's a sturdy, impact-resistant shield that provides a wide, clear field of vision with little to no distortion. The Provision system works like a double-pane window and uses a layer of air sandwiched between two solid layers to prevent fogging. It's sort of like a Pinlock but it's a permanent fixture and you don't have to carry around any accessories for it.
Both of those things add up to an incredibly clear, bright visor that lets you see damn near everything. I was constantly impressed with just how much I could see despite the big chin bar. For those of us who wear glasses, Bell provided shallow cutouts in the EPS liner to make it easier to get our frames on and off. The visor snaps down snug and keeps the wind and rain off your face extremely well. My biggest gripe here is that the little lip used to flip the visor up is on the left side. At stops, I keep my clutch in, the bike in gear, my right foot on the rear brake, and I'm ready to move in an instant should I need to. This means that my left hand is occupied and I have to reach across and lift the visor—not an easy task thanks to the stiff ratchets and secure latch—with my right hand. The lip should be in the center of the visor, Bell. Take note.
I really like this helmet, friends. It looks rad, it fits great, and despite the noise and some other little issues it's pretty easy to live with. I give it a solid B and would recommend it to anyone.
Bell Eliminator Helmet Quick Specs
- Composite fiberglass shell with EPS liner.
- D-ring strap fastener with Magnefustion magnetic strap keeper
- Provision anti-fog visor with Class 1 optics
- 3.09 pounds
- Sizes XS-2XL