Toward the end of Fall last year we had the opportunity to spend some time in the Bell Sixer helmet before it was officially launched. We got ahold of a full production version a couple of months ago and have been wearing it as our daily go-to ever since then. The Sixer fits nicely in with the current crop of half lid helmets that offer a bit more coverage and are aimed at the burlier end of the trail riding segment.
- 4-position Adjustable Visor
- Adjustable Visor
- Fusion In-Mold Polycarbonate Shell
- Integrated Breakaway Camera Mount
- No-Twist Tri-Glides™
- Progressive Layering™
- Sweat Guide™ Padding
- $150.00 US
- 410 grams
- 4 Sizes
- 26 vents (4 brow ports)
- CE EN1078 & CPSC Bicycle certified
Progressive layering is a way of having varying densities to the foam in the helmet. This helps reduce impacts. Think of it like having progressive feeling suspension, but for your head. As you can see, the visor is also fixed with sturdy hardware.
The straps’ anchor points are co-molded right into the helmet. This helps make messing with fit a non-issue.
There are 4 brow ports and the sweatliner has a unique contour aimed at keeping sweat out of your eyes and wicking it off to the sides.
The “Float Fit Race” takes a pretty minimalist approach to retention. The dial is rubber and easy to operate, even with sweaty hands. It’s nicely integrated with MIPS and can be adjusted in its height as well as its tension.
The straps feature “no-twist tri glides” Basically the guides don’t let the straps get flipped around and are also quite easy to set and forget. At the back of the helmet, you can see a bit of rubber grippy section that’s designed to play nice with goggles.
A 4-position adjustable visor also plays nice with goggles. As you move the visor, each individual position gives you a well defined click and let’s you know it’s firmly in place. If you look closely, you can see there is a polycarbonate frame that’s co-molded right into the helmet. On the two top vents, you can see 3 plastic bars bridging across them side to side. This helps support the overall structure under really heavy impacts. Last, but not least, the Sixer features a removable mount for a POV camera or a light on night rides.
On the trail
The first thing we really noticed as we initially donned the Sixer was how subtle its MIPS liner was. For those who don’t know anything about MIPS, click here and you’ll get an nice, articulate explanation of the technology. At the moment, MIPS is becoming standard fare on most bicycle helmets. In past and many current forms it can have a heavy presence. Afterall, it’s a large, plastic yellow liner on the inside of your helmet. Props to Bell for spec’ing the Sixer with a MIPS liner that is black, not yellow as well as finding a way for the liner itself to bit a bit more lean than most. Outside of that, the fact that there are 4 sizes, where many brands offer just 3, is worth the tip of a hat. Fitment with helmets can be funny and we found the Sixer to be sized accurately, but it’s worth considering that heads come in all shapes and sizes – some head shapes work particularly well with some brands, but not others. That said, nothing stuck out as strange to us, fit-wise, and the deep coverage out back was confidence inspiring.
The retention system is quite minimalist, but adjustable enough and it kept things snug without making its presence felt. Straps which anchor to the helmet fore and aft are definitely the way to go as we’ve mentioned before. It’s a more expensive process from a manufacturing standpoint, but makes for less fussing with fit. The visor shape is just right – not too long and not too stubby. It also played nice with our rather large Scott Prospect goggles on the few occasions we wore them, as the grippy bit out back kept the goggle strap in place. The four positions each feature a firm click which seemed to prevent the visor from getting knocked out of place too easily.
Throughout the structure, the ports in the helmet are not huge by any means, particularly on the top, but they are plentiful (26 to be exact). There are some helmets where we can literally feel air flowing through the helmet at speed, but that wasn’t an attribute we’d credit the Sixer with. Somehow though, through the sum of its parts, it did a good job of managing heat. The fact that it isn’t full of gigantic holes also boosts confidence from a safety standpoint. Since we’re on the topic of heat and sweat, perhaps one of the Sixer’s best features is something that could easily go unnoticed – the sweat liner. It had just the right thickness so that it didn’t fill up like a sponge, yet it still provided just the right amount of padding. Better still was the way that it redirected sweat from our eyes and eyewear. We never once had a single drop of sweat end up on our glasses – a huge plus.
Fortunately for our tester, we can’t report on any major crashes in the Sixer, but Bell is a reputable company who’ve done their homework regarding safety. This helmet fits nicely into the “rowdy” trail category and does so with a host of smart features. Our only gripe with the Sixer is fairly minor – we haven’t found a good, secure way of storing sunglasses to it while riding. The fit, adjustability and temperature management are all quite good, but the Sixer’s true standouts are its overall comfort and excellent sweat management.