Review: The Bell XR Spherical Helmet is one of our new favorites for gravel & adventure rides


Where by will it acquire you? Which is the tagline Bell is employing for their new XR Spherical helmet, and for an journey focused-helmet, it seems to suit. Although the helmet resides in the ‘road & gravel’ class on Bell’s website, the XR Spherical is tricky to categorize–kind of like ‘gravel’.

Just what is an experience/gravel helmet? To me, it desires to be a hybrid of MTB & street. Preferably, it ought to be light-weight and highly ventilated like the most effective road helmets, but additional protecting like a mountain bicycle helmet, primarily in terms of the venting.

Bell XR Spherical helmet matte black from the front

Pics c. Ryan Wiggins

Bell XR Spherical helmet matte black from the back

The Float In shape retention system has 4 vertical adjustment positions. I run mine all the way up.

Well ventilated with no substantial holes

As somebody who typically rides “road” helmets on adventure rides, I uncover that the substantial vents on quite a few road helmets act as magnets for sticks and other particles when the path gets rough. Not only are the vents on street helmets additional susceptible to infiltration, they generally have a ton of uncovered EPS foam which does not stand up to repeated abuse. At the exact same time, you don’t want a helmet that isn’t properly ventilated on very long, hot times in the saddle.

I sweat a large amount, but the Ionic+ padding with its minimal tab out entrance did a excellent occupation channeling the sweat absent from my eyes and eyeglasses.

That is wherever the XR Spherical seriously seems to glow. It feels approximately as ethereal as some of my favorite road helmets but with vent holes that are damaged up to give additional safety. At very first, the helmet does not search especially ventilated, but the staggered layout of the two MIPS Spherical shells seems to do a excellent occupation maintaining the air flowing. Most of the uncovered surfaces are also coated in PolyCarbonate (Pc) making for a additional tough helmet in the prolonged run.

I can also say that I was happy to have the further protection as we ended up bushwhacking as a result of the particles still left immediately after a recent tornado (that we were unaware of on a modern bikepacking experience right up until we had been in it to the position of no return).

Bell XR Spherical helmet matte black from the side

With that stated, the helmet does not occur down on the temples almost as considerably as quite a few MTB helmets. It continue to would seem like it would deliver exceptional safety at the back and sides of the head, just in a way that retains the helmet cozy and light-weight.

Bell XR Spherical gravel helmet actual weight

Bell Gravel Helmet Genuine Fat

And it is light-weight. Really mild. My medium sample checks in at 277g (3g a lot less than the 280g claimed). That’s 24g lighter than the new S-Performs Prevail 3. The actuality that this bodyweight consists of a MIPS Spherical design and a Fidlock buckle is even a lot more remarkable.

Bell XR Spherical helmet matte black straps with fidlock buckle

I will say that the straps are one particular of my two grievances with this helmet – they’re so light that the adjustment of the ear cradles doesn’t want to remain in location. It stays set for the period of each individual ride, but I discover myself changing it a bit every single time before I go out. It is not a deal breaker nevertheless, given that the mild bodyweight straps feel quite relaxed.

Bell XR Spherical helmet matte black

Seems really fantastic following a wipedown with White Lightning Matte Finisher

The only other thing to look at is the finish. The matte black appears to be like fantastic at initially, but it’s quite hard to preserve seeking fresh new. Even after using White Lightning’s Matte Finisher, the finish desires to soak up oily finger prints and other marks. After seeing the OG Camo helmet in individual, I’d go for that finish since it ought to glance far better about the prolonged run, and it seems to be terrific in particular person.

Gravel bike adventure in Brown County IN

The XR Spherical took me to the Sausage Shack. Sadly, they were being closed.

Gravel Bike Adventure in Brown County IN

In general, the XR Spherical has been a surprising standout from Bell. Historically, their helmets have not in good shape me as very well as Giro, but this just one is different. It’s supremely relaxed, exceptionally ventilated, and appears terrific (with some schedule cleaning). All motives why it’s turn out to be the helmet I access for although making ready for my subsequent adventure.

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