A new version of Bell’s line-topping Star street motorcycle helmet hits dealers’ shelves this week, improving on the ground-breaking 2008 version with certification to the new Snell M2010 motorcycle safety standard as well as a number of smaller tweaks and upgrades."We think very highly of Snell and the new M2010 standard," said Bell Product Manager Chris Sackett. "The approach they took looked objectively at standards throughout the world and combined what they found with the most current impact data available. In some ways we were on a parallel path with our own product evolution. We said ‘OK the Star is really good, M2010 makes it even better, but what else can we do to improve it?’"
The answer, according to Sackett, was to address sizing issues with the medium-sized headform which some felt fit a little large, removing seams from the comfort liner to relieve any pressure points, making the integrated speaker pockets both quieter and easier to use, and adding MagnaFusion, Bell’s new proprietary magnetic strap keeper."The great thing about having our R&D facility here in Santa Cruz is we can react quickly and immediately channel rider input into the development cycle," said Sackett. "Whether it’s a racer like Josh Herrin telling us he’d like the padding a certain way or one of our daily commuters suggesting that there must be something better than a snap to keep his strap from blowing in the wind, we can solve issues and affect change in short order."Another advantage, according to Sackett is leveraging R&D from the company’s other divisions. The Star’s category-leading, low-pressure-driven Velocity Flow Ventilation is derived from its bicycle racing helmets. The helmet’s stable aerodynamic profile is derived from Bell’s success in Indy Car and Formula One racing. Materials expertise to make the Star’s light weight TriMatrix Composite Shell came from sister-company Easton who brings a wealth of composite experience from its hockey, baseball and cycling divisions. Bell’s bicycle division also lent small parts expertise in the development of the 3Mode ClickRelease shield which can be changed easily in seconds.In addition to the Star’s technical upgrades, Bell has added some graphic panache to the helmet with the new-for-2010 Artist Series. From the high-contrast street art of Jona Cerwinske, to the muted, tattoo-inspired colors of Derek Hess to the wild palette of Chris Wood, the Artist Series compliments a host of more standard stable of colors and graphics.The Bell Star is priced from $549.95 to $699.95 and comes in sizes XS, S, M, L, XL and XXL and includes a five-year warranty.