Review: Bell RS-1 Helmet

Dec 05, 2013 View Comments by

Review: Bell RS-1 HelmetBell has long been one of the biggest names in motorcycle helmets and in the last few years the company has been aggressively pursuing a larger share of the U.S. market in particular. What that means for all of us consumers is a variety of new, competitively priced, and feature rich helmets. One of these is the Bell RS-1, which was first introduced in 2011. The RS-1 is positioned between the race oriented Bell Star and the more budget minded Vortex.

Though it’s considerably less expensive than the Star, it actually manages to be just a hair lighter coming in at just under three and a half pounds. To achieve this weight, the RS-1 features a Kevlar/fiberglass shell and uses plastic in a few places where the Star uses aluminum. These pieces aren’t safety critical, however, and the RS-1 is both Snell and DOT approved.

Compared to the last Bell model I owned, the RS-1 is a much tighter fit, though they’re both a size large. This comes from the RS-1 being based on the track bred Star. Though it’s snug, it’s certainly not uncomfortable and I would order the same size again. The helmet’s interior is a nice place for your head to spend some quality time; the anti-microbial, removable liner has a decidedly up-market feel and remains comfortable for many miles.

Venting, a gripe I had with my last Bell, is vastly improved on the RS-1. I took the helmet on a RoadRUNNER Shamrock Tour in July and experienced several days in the mid 90s. Though I won’t claim I wasn’t sweating, the airflow through the brow, chin, and top vents provided welcome relief.

The RS-1 has several unique features that set it apart from the offerings of other brands. An innovative three position switch on the left side of the face shield allows you to crack it open for better airflow, which is particularly useful in rainy conditions when the visor wants to fog on you. An included, snap-in chin curtain reduces wind noise and keeps you a bit warmer when you need it. Also, Bell’s ClickRelease visor system is easily one of the best in the business and the magnetic strap keeper is a nice touch.

Even with the close, race inspired fit, Bell must have had touring riders in mind since they intentionally left cut outs in the liner for speakers from aftermarket communication systems. I installed the MotoChello in mine (which has pretty much the thickest helmet mounted speakers you can find) and there’s still enough room for my ears.

One very nice, if pricey, option is Bell’s Transitions SOLFX ClickRelease Shield ($119.95). I’m sure you’ve seen those ads for eyeglasses that change into sunglasses when you walk outside; well this lens does exactly the same thing. In the RS-1 it’s especially helpful since there’s no internal sunshield. I found that the SOLFX shield worked exactly as advertised giving welcome relief in bright sunlight without reducing vision after sunset.

Since I got it this summer the Bell RS-1 has become my go-to full-face helmet. I’ve used it for everything from commuting to touring and it has proved to be both comfortable and versatile. Oh, and it comes with a five-year warrantee too.

Bell RS-1

Sizes: XS-XXL

Colors: various

Price: $399.95 to $449.95 (depending on color)

Bell Transitions SOLFX ClickRelease Shield

Price: $119.95

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About the author

There’s something relentlessly romantic about riding a motorcycle. I’m blessed to know that feeling. With a background in photography and a love for motorcycles, I’m interested in the beauty and honesty of the open road. You’ll find me riding Carolina’s roads on my Suzuki SV650.