Hands-on Gear Review

Bell Full-9 Review

Top Pick Award
Price:  $400 List | $189.95 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Built in GoPro mount, well-ventilated,most comfortable fabric in test, great visibility, excellent peripheral
Cons:  Expensive, no center screw on visor - it rattles
Bottom line:  The Full-9 Carbon could be a winning helmet in our test if it wasn't for a the lack of a middle visor screw.
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Sizes:  5
Weight (size medium) oz:  39.8
Number of Vents:  10
Manufacturer:   Bell

Our Verdict

Is the carbon fiber Bell Full-9 worth spending a lofty $400? Our Editors' Choice winner, the Fox Rampage Pro Carbon, costs $450 and also has a carbon fiber shell. The Full-9 is less expensive than other carbon-shelled helmets, like the Troy Lee D3 Carbon. You can certainly get a quality full-face for much less, but we think the Full-9 is a solid value. Besides the full carbon shell, the Full-9 also has a few subtle difference from the Transfer-9. For starters, the Full-9 uses small magnets to attach the cheek pads rather than velcro. The use of the magnet makes them easier to remove and to replace. The magnets also make it easier for trained rescuers to easily remove the pads while limiting head movement. The Full-9 features an integrated camera mount above the visor, similar to the one found on the Giro Cipher. This differs from the adhesive plug mount found on the Transfer-9. We prefer the Transfer-9's mounting system because it allows the camera to be placed nearly anywhere on the helmet and produces more stable footage.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Full Face Downhill Mountain Bike Helmets


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Dustin Schaad

Last Updated:
Friday
April 20, 2018

Share:
Bell has a long and storied history in the realm of helmets. Known for their lower-end helmets, Bell now has a strong hold on the higher end market as well. With the introduction of the Full-9 helmet in 2013, Bell reemerged as a ready-to-race company. Drawing inspiration from their already successful Moto-9, which was developed for the demands of motocross racing, the California based company sought to create an industry-leading cycling specific full-face helmet. Enter the Full-9. It has similar characteristics of the award-winning Fox Rampage Pro Carbon. The fabric inside the helmet has this silky feel and ranked first in comfort, just ahead of the Rampage Pro Carbon.

Performance Comparison


Train down the flow trail!
Train down the flow trail!

Comfort


The Full-9 scores well in the comfort metric.


The XT-2 Extended Wear Interior is the best-feeling fabric of any helmet tested - Bell really knocked it out of the park on this one. It wicks moisture nicely and never carried and odor, which some fabrics can.

Chasing the light in the Bell Full 9
Chasing the light in the Bell Full 9


Visor


The visor design on the Full 9 is simply not up to our standards.


The length is good but not having a middle screw makes for a rattly helmet. The use of one less screw is puzzling and sacrifices stability. The rattling visor can be distracting on the trail and presents a safety concern.

Side view of the Bell Full-9.
Side view of the Bell Full-9.

Weight


The Full-9 slots into the middle of the pack at 39.8-ounces. It is a little on the heavy side, likely due the liner/fabric. It is so incredibly comfortable that we are generally okay with the weight.

Ventilation


The ten vents and three brow ports are well-placed to allow for excellent airflow.


The Overbrow Ventilation intakes and Velocity Flow Ventilation are among the best designs in our test.

Sickest trail at Whistler Bike Park D1
Sickest trail at Whistler Bike Park D1

Protection


Bell uses all the state of the art machines in testing their helmets. The anvil test is used to measure the G-forces that pass through the helmet to a head form when the helmet is dropped from a predetermined height.


To meet ASTM and CPSC standards, a bike helmet must register less than 300 G's when dropped from a height of two meters. The Full 9 has a rating of STM F1952-00ASTM F2032. They also do a BMX rating for all 20-inch riders out there - CE EN1078CPSC Bicycle. If you are injured, you can use Bell's Integrated Eject system, which allows safe removal of the helmet due to a recess in the EPS that allows the cheek pads to quickly slide out.

Hiking to the goods
Hiking to the goods

Extras


You'll find a camera mount, flying bridge visor, and breakaway screws.


The Full-9 also comes complete with decent ventilation, magnetic cheek pads which are removable, and MERS (magnefusion emergency release system). We also appreciate the full carbon shell, which makes this model lightweight.

Bell Full 9 Helmet bag  no extra pads  no goggle compartment  top entry
Bell Full 9 Helmet bag, no extra pads, no goggle compartment, top entry

Adding to the list of extras, the Full-9 has a speaker system (speaker pockets and audio cable), a padded chin strip with a d-ring closure, a helmet bag, and XT-2 extended wear interior.

Bell Full 9 Helmet bag
Bell Full 9 Helmet bag

Durability


The Full-9 held up nicely through all the rigorous riding at Whistler Bike Park and the high desert heat. The only negative we found was the lack of a middle visor screw. This caused the integrity of the side screws to always loosen and never stay tight. We hope Bell will address this in the future.

Best Application


The Full-9 is a great lid for all types of riders out there - from the BMX grom, the Whistler Bike Park local, to the heavy-hitting pro descending big mountain lines in the Utah desert.

Front of Bell Full 9
Front of Bell Full 9

Value


At $400, the Bell Full 9 is a solid value. It has all the great features of the 100% or Troy Lee Designs for $50 cheaper, and offers superior comfort. The lack of a middle visor screw is annoying. Great value and supremely comfortable - pay the $400, you won't be disappointed.

Conclusion


Overall, we loved this helmet. The fit, function, and aesthetics are spot on.
Dustin Schaad

You Might Also Like

OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: April 20, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


Have you used this product?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...