Custom Bell Star Carbon

So there have been a lot of helmet discussions and a lot of answers have been down the line of “the one that fits the best” (and rightfully so). Because of this I thought that I would share my impressions of my latest helmet purchase, a custom BELL star carbon. And yes I paid cash monies for this helmet This is an honest review, because I happen to like it that much.So I had not really paid much attention to BELL whenever I went looking for a helmet. I’ve had Arai, Nexx, Suomy and liked each one for different reasons. Now that I have gotten into AFM racing I have come to appreciate a fit and function over style.

After picking up a Moto-9 dirt helmet on closeout I took another look at bell due to how well the Moto-9 fit. I learned two things while doing my research. The powersports division is in Scotts Valley and they do head scanning to custom fit the liner to your exact head shape. I was a little dubious about this because I figured that it was mostly marketing mumbo-jumbo. Also the price tag for this option is a tad steep. However I wanted a new helmet for the 2015 season and my option was to either go with Suomy again or take a chance and go for the BELL.

That week I got a flyer from Road Rider saying that they were going to have BELL there doing the scanning that weekend. Sold, I was going to go that route.

I got scans for both the Star and Moto-9 done but only placed an order for the Star. While talking to Scott, he tried to fit my mold into the smallest shell possible to keep weight and size down. This ended up being a medium. A few days later the factory actually called me to let me know that the files had been submitted and that it should take about 3 weeks for me to receive it. This was going to be too late for Round 1 but not much I could do about it.

I was packing up to leave for Buttonwillow on Friday when the doorbell rang and it was my helmet!

I didn’t have more than a few minutes to look it over and see how the transitions shield worked. I got to play with it more at the track and now I have ridden it at speed as well as commuted with it. So on to my actual review instead of meaningless babble.

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The helmet came in a pretty awesome bag. It has room for spare shields and parts and whatnot. The custom helmet also comes with the $120 transitions visor and a huge range of interior pads. 3-4 different sized of cheek, top and neck pads.Weight
I was a little worried since the helmet weight is listed as 300g heavier than my Nexx and Suomy. However an interesting thing happened. The EPS is what fits your head and the installed liner was the thinest available. Since it cradles your head and has no pressure points the helmet feels incredibly light. I can’t explain exactly why it feels so light but I was very impressed by the feel.

Fit
Well it should fit perfect, the liner was milled based on a 3D render of my noggin. I adjusted some of the inner pads to raise the helmet up on my head. When racing I was having trouble seeing out of the top of the visor at full lean. Going up 2mm on the crown pad fixed that. I have gone back and forth between my Suomy SR Sport and the Star. It is amazing how stable the helmet is and even though the Suomy fits me perfectly; not having to rely on padding to hold the helmet steady is an eye opening experience.

Transitions* Shield
I have photochromic sunglasses (Oakley) and while they work I am not overly impressed by them. So my expectations were not that hight to be impressed by a $100+ visor. While it is not as dark as a mirrored visor it does actually get quite dark. And on the other end it gets nearly perfectly clear. For commuting it is perfect. I wish I had this visor for the last few years it is that good. The downside is obviously the price. It will be interesting to see how well it holds up and I am sure it probably will not be my last. Also the anti-fog seems to work well. Some small haze on cool mornings at a stop. I would give it an A-. Also the shield removal mechanism is incredibly simple and easy to use. I have never had problems even with the most complicated systems (Corsair RX-7, Suomy apex) but some are just more strait forward than others. My Nexx was the screw down system. While a total pain to change the visor was guaranteed not to pop off the helmet. This is my only concern with the Star. I could see how a hard hit *might* dislodge the visor.

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Noise
None of the helmets I have could be considered *quiet*. The star flows a lot of air and you can hear it. However I would have to say that it is quieter than my previous helmets. I ride with ear plugs and wind noise does not bother me at all so take it for what its worth. I think what helps the noise
Looks/fit/finish
The outside is a matte carbon and looks very stealthy. It is obviously not flashy with graphics like other helmets. The matte clear is smooth and flawless. Not really much to say about it. The hardware is crisp and high quality. A magnet on the chin strap is a nice touch. I’ve only knocked it off once so far. But not having to fumble with a snap with gloves on is good. The vents are easy to manipulate and there are a lot of them.
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