Bell Rogue Helmet Test
When it comes to innovation, Bell Helmets has a history no one can match. In 1957, Bell gave birth to the industry by building a helmet with a polystyrene liner that offered serious impact protection, and created the first full-face motorcycle helmet, the Star, in 1971.
Riding in on a taunting per-release campaign, Bell again offers something new to protect our heads – the Rogue. It’s a 3/4-helmet cleverly masquerading as a WWI German-style half-helmet, and there’s a twist – removable plastic muzzle to protect your face.
First things first – without the muzzle, the Rogue is an excellent helmet for those who prefer open-face design. The interior is extremely plush and comfortable, and it sits nicely on the skull. The chinstrap double-D rings (where is Bell’s convenient magnetic strap retainer?) are off to the side, and comfortably out of the way.
There is room to slide in protective eyewear – which you will need as there’s no faceshield – and the ear pads leave room for installation of speakers, if you are so inclined. Bell left out the venting, as it would compromise the appearance of the shell, which is not a huge deal on an open-face helmet.
We typically shy away from half-helmets, as we ride quite a bit and value protection. The subtle addition of lower flat-black plastic to make this a 3/4-helmet appeals to our sense of fashion and safety. Bell got that just right with the Rogue.
What we can’t quite buy into is the muzzle. Many people have expressed outrage at its appearance, but you’re going to get that with anything new. We are not opposed to the way it looks, but rather to the interior padding on the muzzle.
Even with the muzzle adjusted in its farthest out position, the padding rested on our testers’ noses (which aren’t unduly large). The muzzle works to protect your face from the wind, insects, and road debris, as it is thick plastic, but it gets uncomfortable quickly.
We can only speculate how the muzzle would work with a longer adjustment strap that would allow the rider to keep it farther from his face, but we can’t help thinking we would be much happier.
So, we heartily recommend the Bell Rogue as a traditional helmet. If you like the muzzle idea, be sure to try the helmet on with it installed to make sure it works for you. We wish it had worked for us!
For additional information, visit Bell Helmets.
This story is featured in the Mar/Apr 2013 issue of Ultimate MotorCycling magazine—available on newsstands and good bookstores everywhere. The issue is also available free to readers on Apple Newsstand (for iOS devices) and Google Play (Android). To subscribe to the print edition, please visit our Subscriber Services page.