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December 14, 2017
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  • nycebo

    Great review. I’m anxious to try on one of the new helmets to see how it fits.

    • Stan Cox

      And that’s my problem. The “somewhat rounded headform” means that no Bell helmet I have tried has come close to fitting my head. I don’t seem to have any problems with other manufacturers so try before you buy.

      • James Huang

        My head certainly falls more on the ovoid end of the spectrum, and like some others have mentioned here, brands like Specialized tend to fit me a little better than the Bell did here. That said, I’m curious whether the padding style used in Zephyr might somehow be retrofitted to other helmets with the same benefit. Bell says this design is patented (of course), and given the subtle internal rivalry between Bell and Giro, my guess is that this won’t even make it over there any time soon. However, that won’t keep me from trying to stick a Zephyr browpad into another helmet to see if it works.

  • Chris Dunn

    A Cure for Sweat in the Eye, now that I would gladly pay for.

    • James Huang

      Agreed! That feature alone was more than enough for me to look past the helmet’s (minor) flaws. Seriously, I’ve barely had to wipe sweat out of my glasses in over two months now, and it’s been absolutely glorious.

  • Johnny

    Retail prices for helmets and shoes are just becoming more and more ridiculous in recent years. This helmet is no exception.

    • James Huang

      That’s something I’ve heard many times, but let me ask you this: in your opinion, what *should* a helmet like this cost, and how do you justify that figure?

      • Mike Williams

        As someone who has had a few helmets give up their lives for me in crashes, I always buy the best helmet (I wait for deals but I buy top of the line). Never mind the safety features like MIPS and/or internal frames, they are more comfortable (weight, adjustability, ventilation, etc,), and more importantly have better retention systems. A helmet needs to stay in place during the crash to be effective…I face planted hard with a LAS (which I believe uses the Catlike system) and it didn’t budge…I didn’t even move/remove it after the crash (I was busy mopping up the blood from my nose and lip) and the EMT had to point out the the front was crushed/split.

      • Ride4fun

        $5……that’s what a nearly great helmet can cost. Buy one.
        The $5 helmet did pretty good against $2-300 helmets in this testing. Not the best testing methods but then some wind tunnel testing is no better.

        For safety and aero this KALI TAVA helmet looks good https://kaliprotectives.com/helmets/road/tava

    • Stan Cox

      Then don’t pay the prices. I don’t not know the Australian market but here in the UK I can get a helmet that “meets or exceeds the specification” for under £30. Sure it’s not as nice or fashionable but it will do the job. This is a top end lid as opposed to just some moulded foam & a carbonate shell and as such I would expect it to be expensive.

      (Edited to explicitly say that I’m not trying to be antagonistic or snarky)

  • Sean Doyle

    Cool. Finally a helmet maker looking at the sweat issue. I have been using my own version for quite a few years. You don’t have to shell out big bucks to get it either. Just cut the top out of a cyling cap. Leave about a 2cm wide strip. Wear it under your helmet (der!) and it will do eaxactly the same thing. It wicks the sweat away to the brim and drips down from there.

    The only other thing Id like to see is a Sweat Gut’r style headband properly incorporated into a helmet and maybe a way to custom mould the internals. Ive seen mtb grips now can be. I imagine someone will do replacement road hoods and custom moulded seats won’t be too far away.

    • James Huang

      I used the Sweat Gut’r myself for several seasons, and was generally happy with it. It wasn’t as effective when riding on the road than when mountain biking given the different head angles, though, and I never completely grew comfortable with having that strip of rubber secured around my head. As good as the Gut’r was much of the time, I think the browpad design featured here works better, and is less obtrusive, too.

      • Sean Doyle

        I think the main issue with the sweat gutter is that its a seperate piece with a faor bit of bulk for that area. You have to find room for it. I don’t use it now as it just won’t work with the Prevail Im using and my head. One that is incorporated into the shell design would be better and would offer a semi custom feature as it would have to be form fitting to work. It is possible.

  • fignon’s barber

    I’ve had the Zephyr for a few weeks and have put about 600 miles on it. As for fit, I have 59cm with oval shape. The Z is slightly more round than a Specialized Evade or Prevail, but still fits me very well. Years ago our team used Bell Volt, this fit is similar.
    Ventilation is great. In fact, it is the best I’ve ever used. If you try one on in a store, walk briskly back and forth. Even at those low speeds, you can feel the breeze through your hair.
    As for aero, the helmet size is compact and the straps fit flush against face. and there is no tail fin off the back to slow you down when you put your head down to sprint. So the Z is aero in all the aspects a consumer can actually judge themselves.
    The zephyr does feel a bit heavier than other helmets, but you get used to it and it is not an issue.
    I bought it because my feeling was that ” if you are going to wear a helmet, you might as well wear the most protective one at crunch time”.
    As for aesthetics, I think it looks good from the side and back. From the front it looks like a Bell. (for comparison, the Spec Evade looks good from the front and back, poor from the side atmo).

  • Rick Harker

    I really like that Bell has put safety as number one. Look at Giro Synthe promotion and there is no mention of safety at all.
    You didn’t mention anything about the straps comfort or laying flat and adjustability. Sitting in place or creeping. I can only assume because there was no comment it was no issue. Like a bad saddle is only mentioned when it hurts.

    • James Huang

      Oops, you’re right. I ended up switching late in the game to a set of photos I shot when I first received the helmet at an event in Switzerland pre-Eurobike, and the image that included a caption describing the fit and feel of the straps and sliders ended up on the cutting room floor with the others. In any event, at least for me, the straps sit snug against my face and are completely unnoticeable on the bike. I was initially worried that the sliders would move around since there are no mechanical locks built into them, but I was pleasantly surprised that they haven’t moved at all since day one (although the crusted sweat that has built up since then might also help…).

  • Andrew

    I actually find it really interesting that I’ve seen so many comments re:the sweat management system. Maybe I’m the odd man out here but I’ve never had sweat drip into my face from my helmet unless I intentionally squeeze it out of the pads after a ride!

    Regardless, this sounds like a great helmet – I’ve been anxious to find one to try on. I, like others, applaud Bell for making a helmet that actually puts safety first. I can safely say that either this or a Smith Overtake MIPS will be my next helmet for just that reason. I really think the 2-material shells to slow down impact de-accelerations are probably the ticket, and MIPS can’t hurt! I just wonder if Bell will hand these innovations over to Giro soon?

    • H.E. Pennypacker

      The drizzling drops on the sunglass lens are my absolute number one most maddening pet peeve on the bike. Drives. Me. Crazy. And if I can’t stop when it happens, suddenly I’m tilting and twitching my head back and forth like Michael J Fox trying to find a clear undistorted view through the lens. I already look like an idiot on the bike, we don’t need to add seemingly random head girations to the mix. Drivers passing must think I’m having a stroke.

      • James Huang

        I get the point you’re trying to make, but how about we refrain from poking fun at people with debilitating, incurable illnesses, eh?

        • H.E. Pennypacker

          We are careful but get over our walking-on-eggshells approach to discourse. We remember that Michael J Fox says his Parkinson’s is funny and should be joked about as much as possible in order to remove the stigma, increase awareness, and make it easier to talk about for actual and potential sufferers and their families (and we know he meant it since he made an entire Curb Your Enthusiasm episode about how hilarious Parkinson’s can be; which was welcomed and deafeningly cheered by the Parkinson’s community). My mother with Parkinson’s says the same thing, along with countless of her fellow sufferers. As does the amateur cycling (and, oddly enough, paintball) club known as “Team Tremor.”

          I acknowledge your point and that it comes from the right place, and I commend you for that, but submit to you that the people whom that approach seeks to protect say it often does more harm than good.

          • James Huang

            Fair enough, HEP. Thanks much for the open and useful discussion.

  • badhombrebigdo

    Bell’s best looking helmet in a long time… long time and it addresses one of the biggest problems with cycling helmets these days which is sweat irrigation…

    I think that I’d give it a try actually…

  • Jessy Vee

    I have had many opportunities to try this helmet on, and can speak positively about the amount of airflow coming through the vents. Also a note on the fit – my head hasn’t suited many other high end Bell helmets, such as the Gage, but the fit of the Zephyr was superb. The MIPS cage cradled my odd, oval shaped head and I had no pressure spots. The helmet didn’t feel too heavy (I’m coming from an S-Works Prevail) at all, and the straps felt really nice. It looks awesome! Definitely got my order in already.

  • Adrian

    Need a new helmet and have my eye on this. Partly safety but the comments about the sweat are a very big plus. Does anyone have any news on when arriving in Australia or how to get one if in Australia?

  • Eugene Chan

    Just bought this helmet to replaced a crashed Lazer Z1. Good to know those sunglasses retention pads honestly don’t work on the front. I was getting frustrated. Should be used to it though, the Z1 vent design really isn’t any better for storing sunglasses securely. Storing my sunglasses in the back works really well though. Jury is still out on whether I prefer the Zephyr or Z1. I think I’m leaning toward the extra foam around the temples of the Z1, plus its overall fit, but the Zephyr is very close. As an aside, I also like how the Giro Synthe fits, it’s very similar to the Zephyr in most aspects.

December 14, 2017
December 13, 2017
December 12, 2017
December 11, 2017