Bell Star Carbon Review with Transitions SOLFX Shield Test
A bell is a simple device – it has two parts, and makes a noise when rung. The Bell Star Carbon motorcycle helmet, however, is packed with technology and innovations.Let’s start with a list of trademarked features: Agion antibacterial/antimicrobial interior, Velocity Flow Ventilation with FlowAdjust and Rear Flow Separator, NutraFog II, 3Mode Shield, and ClickRelease. Those terms should be enough to keep a Trademark Lawyer on the payroll, but what they mean to the user are just as important – comfort.
Agion is science, and it’s all about not letting the funky stuff (microbes, they call them) grow inside the liner’s padding to keep the inside smelling fresh. I’ve been using the helmet throughout the summer, and when not, keeping it in the unique padded case (included). And this Agion must be working; the Bell Star still feels, and smells, like a new helmet.Regarding ventilation, the Star shines, featuring the best airflow I’ve ever experienced. With many other helmets, I usually only realize the vents are open when it’s cold. But with Bell’s design, the airflow is noticeable in all conditions.The 3Mode Shield functions and its mechanisms work well. With one finger, you can crack open the shield quickly, even while in motion. The solid metal lever, as apposed to the plastic ones found on other helmets, reflects its price point as a high end lid.While I also have the stock shield for the Star, I’ve used nothing but the Transitions SOLFX photochromic shield (not included). The SOLFX’s reaction to changing light, and transition from dark in day versus clear at night works so well the standard shield has not left the garage.The only issue I had with the SOLFX shield was its inability to tightly seal against the eye port gasket. During a long stint on the highway in a steady rain, drops started to roll down the inside of the shield. Rain water had pooled in the area above the seal and leaked in to the interior. Luckily it didn’t cause vision problems nor was it akin to Chinese Water Torture. Once stopped I could see the slightest gap between shield and gasket. After I returned home I fit the standard clear shield, and though not as bad, the gap still existed.I would not hesitate to use this helmet again even with a chance of rain. The performance of the Transitions shield used during a partly cloudy day or just before sunset outweighs this issue.The list of features goes on. While I have not tested the size or location, there are speaker plugs, as place holder and mounting locations for installation of an aftermarket communication system.One thing I do like is the magnetic strap keeper. After you buckle your strap it’s laced through a belt loop and falls onto a magnet. Very clever. And as like most helmets, the interior is removable for cleaning.The Bell Star’s carbon shell makes it light (3.41 lbs.), and the design minimized buffering. It’s even customizable with an accessory Track Strip that fits on the rear wing, like a little tuner car, with style to match.The helmet I’ve been wearing is the Cerwinske Carbon. It features inverted sharpie design by Jona Cerwinske, an artist well known for Sharpie art.A graffiti inspired black on white maze of images on everything from walls to a Lamborghini Gallardo. The white over black carbon fiber weave is awesome, modern, but a bit polarizing. You love it or hate it. But it’s black and white so it goes well with any machine.The Bell Star Carbon retails for $649.96. For additional information, visit Bell Helmets.Photography by Ron Lieback
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.