Bell SRT-Modular Motorcycle Helmet Review
Bell’s SRT-Modular helmet aims to offer plenty of features that the modern rider will appreciate, without putting too much of a strain on the wallet.
With versatility at the forefront, the new Bell SRT-Modular is designed to tackle your commute, quick jaunt in the canyons or join you for long journeys.
Constructed with a fiberglass composite shell, the SRT-Modular is a helmet that can fill a wide variety of roles out in the street. Bell has chosen to go with two external shell sizes—XS-L and XL-3XL— allowing them to accommodate a full range of head sizes with three EPS liner sizes. It also carries both DOT and ECE certifications, covering riders in the United States and European markets.
Bell has positioned this modular helmet as being a jack-of-all-trades, hoping to tackle all pavement riding short of the racetrack. To support that image, the SRT-Modular features a noticeably sporty appearance, inspired by Bell’s Star MIPS, Race Star FLEX, and Pro Star FLEX helmet lines. It also borrows the Panovision faceshield from those aforementioned helmets, and we’ll get to that in a bit.
When out on the gratuitously torquey KTM 1290 Super Duke R, the Bell SRT-Modular performed well, allowing for unimpeded head-checks when battling my way through traffic. When the pace picked up in the canyons, its overall stability was appreciated. Even when blasting my way through a choice set of twisties outside Big Bear City in the San Bernardino National Forest, this modular didn’t show signs of excessive headshake or bobbling.
The flip-up chinbar is released with an easy-to-use button on chinbar. It has smooth actuation from the fully-closed through its fully locked-open position at the top.
Should you want to lock the flip-up chinbar open, there is a lock on your left. With the chinbar locked in the fully up position, you can easily troll along at low speeds, confident that it won’t flop down unexpectedly. The faceshield conveniently closes automatically when opening the chin-bar to the fully up position.
The modular design is great, allowing you to communicate with bank tellers without the fear that your intention is to rob that specific financial institution. When at stop lights or on longer rides, I enjoy them because I’ll be able to take a quick respite or consume something, then get back on the road immediately. Also, when delivering the time-honored, “I’m sorry, officer. I wasn’t aware of how fast I was going” line, a modular helmet has the ability to completely disarm even the most grizzled law enforcement officer.
A great strength of the Bell SRT-Modular is its extremely gracious peripheral vision, thanks to the impressively wide view-port of the Panovision faceshield with Class 1 optics. Whether you’re in traffic and keeping a close eye on inattentive drivers, or heading out for a casual weekend jaunt in the canyons, the Panovision faceshield allows for a great deal of visibility. Out of the box, the SRT-Modular comes equipped with a clear shield—other hues are optional.
Adding to the SRT-Modular’s versatility is the cable-actuated drop-down sunshield, eliminating the need to carry spare faceshields or sunglasses. Easily dropped into place with a slider on the left side of the helmet, the drop-down sunshield covers a significant portion of your vision, providing adequate sun protection.
Although you will still see a seam at the sunshield’s lowest point, it doesn’t create an unwanted distraction and covers far more of your field of view than many other helmets that I’ve used with this feature. One tip regarding the sunshield—be sure to lock the slider in its open detent. Otherwise, it will have a tendency to creep down into your view. When locked properly that never occurs.
I also tried Bell’s latest ProTint photochromic Panovision faceshield. Bell spent the last several years developing its photochromic faceshield, which changes its tint depending on the amount of UV exposure. It’s a revelation for commuters, as riders will never need to carry shades or an extra faceshield again with this kind of tech latched onto their lids.
In about 10 seconds, the ProTint shield will be at roughly 25 percent saturation; in roughly 60 seconds, the ProTint faceshield achieves full saturation. By the time you put on your helmet, strap it on and turn the key, you’ll have the equivalent of a light-smoke faceshield, without any of the hassle of changing one out.
Another keen aspect of these faceshields, whether we’re speaking on the standard Panovision or ProTint, is its anti-fog coating. At no time did I notice any fogging, even when stuck in traffic during a light mist rain, which is typically when insufficient anti-fog coatings begin to rear their heads.
The SRT-Modular uses the same Panovision faceshield as other Bell helmets, including the Bell Star MIPS, Race Star Flex, and Pro Star Flex. Bell is also manufacturing these items in-house, so both the standard and the ProTint photochromic faceshields will be readily available.
Venting is adequate and did a good job of keeping my head cool when out in Southern California’s balmy 70+ degree weather. On the chinbar, a single adjustable vent can be found that provides a good amount of positive airflow directly to your face.
Helping the ventilation cause is a single upper intake vent supported by always-open exhaust vents in the rear that create a low-pressure zone in the helmet, naturally drawing out hot hair.
We can’t speak to fit, as you should always work with your nearest authorized dealer to ensure that you have an optimum fitment. However, we can speak on the comfort level of the interior padding. The SRT-Modular helmet offers a snug, but plush and more relaxed fit overall—perfect for touring.
The antimicrobial padding can be pulled out in seconds for washing, and reinstalled quickly thanks to their simple snap system. However, there isn’t an ability to customize the fit of the padding, short of moving to a smaller or larger interior pad. Should you be smitten with the SRT-Modular and want to tweak an aspect of the interior padding, Bell can provide an alternative size.
While I would like some adjustability in the padding, the interior padding punches well outside of its price-point. The plush feel, commendable stitching and seamless finish is something that I’d associate with helmets that carry a heftier price tag.
Another thoughtful feature on the SRT-Modular is the light-reflective patches on the skirt of the padding. When riding at night, these silver reflective areas aid in visibility.
Modular helmets typically produce slightly higher levels of noise than a standard full face, mainly because there are more points of ingress for air. I always use hearing protection when riding, and found the noise levels to be relatively par for the course. The noise level is slightly elevated compared to the Bell Star MIPS at freeway speeds. However, with ear protection in place, it isn’t an issue at all.
For riders that want to stay in constant contact with the world, Bell has thought of you with a recessed speaker pockets in the EPS, allowing your choice of communication device to be installed.
Riders who sport corrective eyewear, as I do, will be pleased to know that Bell has thought of us. Channels in the padding allow for a quick and struggle-free affair when using your glasses with this lid. After a full day in the saddle, I didn’t have any pain from pressure points, which can happen with helmets that fail to accommodate for eyewear.
Securing everything in place is your standard double-d ring—it’s hard to beat the classics in that regard.
Coming in at $350, the Bell SRT-Modular is an affordable option for riders who need to get the most out of their lids. With versatility at its core, the modular helmet will be able to satisfy a wide swath of riders.
Studio photography by Josh Sawyer
Action Photography by Barry Hathaway
Bell SRT-Modular Fast Facts
- Sizes: XS-3XL
- Colors: Gloss Black; Matte Black; Gloss White; Gloss White/Black Predator; Hart-Luck Gloss/Matte Charcoal/White/Red Skull; Gloss Copper/Black Predator; Gloss Hi-Viz Green/Black Predator.
- Availability: July 1st, 2018
- Bell SRT-Modular Price: $350 MSRP
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