We’ve all worn our moto helmets and goggles on the street. Even if you’ve never been on asphalt, you’ll still know what I’m talking about when riding on long sections of fast trail. Moto/off-road helmets aren’t designed for high speed, and you’ll get a neck workout if you wear one on the road. That’s why adventure/dual-sport helmets exist.
Enter the Bell MX-9 Adventure MIPS-Equipped helmet. For those of you that don’t know, MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) is basically a low-friction membrane between the helmet liner and the helmet foam that allows for a controlled amount of rotation. This, in turn, helps disperse some of the energy that would otherwise be directed into your head. In application, since the layer is very thin, you don’t notice it in the helmet at all.
Getting back to the helmet, I tested out the MX-9 Adventure with an optional Transitions photochromic shield that takes the nicely priced lid to the next price point since it adds $149.95 to the price tag. This totally ruined me. Now I only want Transitions shields on my non-dirt helmets. It changes from clear to a pretty dark brown color in less than a minute in the sun. It also changes back to clear very quickly as well. I know this because just sitting at a stop like having the shield up and protected by the visor, it would be clear when I pulled it back down. You get the standard clear shield with the helmet, and Bell also offers 10 more shields in all sorts of tints and colors starting at $39.95. And swapping the shield is super easy—just remove the two toolless visor screws and it pops right off. This could easily be done trailside with gloves on if you wanted to switch to a different shield tint or lose the shield and use goggles.
The nonadjustable visor is in a good, neutral position and didn’t have me trying to raise it up. The visor is also what makes this helmet perfect for the highway; there is plenty airflow between the visor and the helmet, letting wind whip around your helmet without trying to rip it off your skull. The visor could also be ditched altogether if you want that streetfighter look.
The fit is okay. It feels like it sits more on my head than around it. It doesn’t come down the sides and back of my head as much as most helmets I wear including the Moto-9. I wear a large and it is true to size, if not just a tiny bit snug, but that’s way better than being the other way. The cheek pads are moderately soft and they don’t jet forward too much, avoiding the dreaded chipmunk look.
Ventilation is also just okay. On the road it is pretty good, but with that much airflow it should be. Off road it was hotter than most off-road-only helmets, which is good, I guess, for chillier rides or climates. At 1,680 grams (3.7 pounds) it is not light as far as moto helmets go, but it doesn’t necessarily feel super heavy when riding. Lastly, I wish it had the magnetic cheek pad attachments the Moto-9 has, but I guess for just over two bills the company has to dial back the features somewhere. Overall this is a solid choice for the dual-sport or adventure guy/gal. And the Transitions shield is killer. For the more dirt-than-street riders, this lid might be too heavy and not vented enough.
www.bellhelmets.com, (800) 456-2355