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Bell Super DH MIPS Review

A versatile convertible helmet that functions well in both half shell and full face mode.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $300 List | $299.95 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Stellar performance in trail mode, Solid feel in full face mode, lightweight
Cons:  Pressure point on back of head on half shell mode, not as robust as other full face helmets
Manufacturer:   Bell
By Pat Donahue ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 30, 2018
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80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 12
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Visor - 10% 8
  • Weight - 20% 9
  • Ventilation - 15% 8
  • Protection - 20% 7
  • Durability - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Bell Super DH MIPS is a convertible helmet that offers excellent performance and comfort in both the full-face or half-shell applications. This helmet is our clear choice for versatility among the convertible options. In the half-shell mode, the Super DH is as comfortable as a trail helmet and fellow riders might not know that it can run a chin bar. The helmet offers MIPS technology to reduce rotational forces to the brain in the event of an angled impact. Most importantly, this helmet is ATSM downhill certified. At $300, the Super DH is a strong value as you are essentially getting two helmets in one.

Color Updates

Bell has updated the color selections for the Super DH this season. The rest of its features remain the same.

January 2019


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Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award  
Price $299.95 at Competitive Cyclist
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Stellar performance in trail mode, Solid feel in full face mode, lightweightHigh-quality finish, loaded with new safety features, sleek lookingBuilt in GoPro mount, well-ventilated,most comfortable fabric in test, great visibility, excellent peripheralLightweight, excellent ventilation, quality fitAdjustable visor, quality construction, premium materials, excellent ventilation system
Cons Pressure point on back of head on half shell mode, not as robust as other full face helmetsExpensive, tight fitExpensive, no center screw on visor - it rattlesNarrow range of use compared to other helmets, tight chin barPotential durability issues, expensive
Bottom Line A versatile convertible helmet that functions well in both half shell and full face mode.A high-end gravity lid packed with the latest and greatest helmet technology.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.A lightweight and supremely breathable enduro-oriented helmetQuality amd comfort is the name of the game with the D3 Carbon.
Rating Categories Bell Super DH MIPS Rampage Pro Carbon Weld Bell Full-9 Troy Lee Designs Stage MIPS D3 Carbon MIPS
Comfort (25%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
Visor (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
8
Weight (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
7
Ventilation (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
8
Protection (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
9
Durability (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
8
Specs Bell Super DH MIPS Rampage Pro Carbon... Bell Full-9 Troy Lee Designs... D3 Carbon MIPS
Weight (size medium) 30.7 oz 43.5 oz 39.8 oz 24.3 oz 38.8 oz
Number of Vents 19 helmet, 2 brow ports, 4 chin vents 19 10 25 20
Shell Material Polycarbonate Multi-Composite Carbon Fiber reinforced Polylite shell Carbon Fiber
Sizes 3 3 4 3 6
CPSC Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes
CE EN1077 No N/A No No No
CE EN1078 Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes
ASTM F1952 Yes N/A Yes Yes Yes
ASTM F2032-06 No N/A Yes Yes Yes
ASTM F2040 No N/A No No Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The Super DH is meant for partying.
The Super DH is meant for partying.

Comfort


The Super DH is a comfortable helmet. We did find one quirk about the fit, but it was generally very comfortable in both the half-shell and full face mode.


In the trail mode, when you tighten the retention dial on the back of your helmet, it can create a pressure point. It is not a crippling issue, but when properly tightened down, it is noticeable, especially on longer rides. You can release a little bit of tension on the retention dial, but you shouldn't need to sacrifice fit in the name of tuning this problem out.

In full face mode, this problem doesn't exist. The full face feels a whole lot more secure and doesn't require the retention dialed be tightened as much. Thus, the problem is bypassed entirely.

Aside from the pressure point issue, the helmet is quite comfortable. There are no squeeze points.

The Fox Proframe Moth and Troy Lee Designs Stage MIPS are also exceptionally comfortable enduro-focused full face helmets. They do not have a removable chin bar.

This helmet has a perfect length visor and nice sized chin bar.
This helmet has a perfect length visor and nice sized chin bar.

Protection


The Super DH carries several safety certifications including ASTM F-1952-15, ASTM F2032-15, CE EN1078, and CPSC Bicycle. The most notable is the ASTM F-1952-15 which certifies this helmet for downhill safety standards. This is very important on a convertible helmet. Our other convertible helmet, the Giro Switchblade, is also downhill certified.


The Super DH is equipped with MIPS technology. MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System. This MIPS layer allows the helmet to rotate slightly in the event of an angled impact. This rotation by the lining of the helmet reduces the rotational forces that are transmitted to the brain.

The lighter feel of this helmet is a little bit disconcerting. The protection is undoubtedly there, and it has all of the certifications. That said, if you are looking for a helmet to use exclusively for bike park laps, we recommend at looking at a bonafide downhill helmet like the Fox Rampage Pro Carbon that has a more substantial feel to it. The added weight can feel a little more reassuring.

The convertible nature of the helmet means you can put the chin bar when you want a higher degree of protection.
The convertible nature of the helmet means you can put the chin bar when you want a higher degree of protection.

Weight


We weighed our medium Super DH helmet. With the chin bar attached, the helmet hit the scales at 30.7-ounces. In the half shell mode, the helmet weighs 16.5-ounces


The Super DH is the middle of the three convertible helmets in terms of weight. It comes in approximately 4-ounces lighter than the Switchblade MIPS in full face mode. It is about 4-ounces heavier than the Leatt DBX 3.0.

There are some especially feathery non-convertible enduro-focused full face helmets. The Troy Lee Designs Stage MIPS is the lightest at 24.3-ounces. The Fox Proframe isn't far behind at 25.9-ounces.

The Super DH blends in as a normal trail helmet.
The Super DH blends in as a normal trail helmet.

Ventilation


The Super DH has a light and cool feel. The ventilation is adequate in both settings, and the low weight only contributes to the cool feel.


In half-shell mode, this helmet offers 19 vents and two brow ports. The vents aren't particularly large, but they do serve the purpose. This light helmet is pretty effective at letting the air out, but it doesn't promote airflow in the same way as the Giro Switchblade. We wouldn't call this a hot or clammy helmet; it still feels light on the head. We had no problem wearing this lid on four-hour trail rides. It breathes just as well as the average trail helmet.

In the full face setting, this helmet is light and breathable. The four vents on the chin bar allow a nice air flow when you are huffing and puffing down the trail. In full face mode, this helmet breathes better than all of the other full-face helmets except for the Fox Proframe and Troy Lee Designs Stage MIPS. These two helmets are by far the coolest and best-ventilated.

The back of the helmet offers plenty of coverage and works well with goggles.
The back of the helmet offers plenty of coverage and works well with goggles.

Visor


The Super DH has as an infinitely adjustable visor. Simply loosen the two bolts near the temple and pivot the visor up and down. This simple system works pretty well, but it has somewhat of a cheap feel. Also, with only two points of contact with the rest of the helmet, it has a flimsy feel. Other helmets have the two pivot points near the temple in addition to a stabilizing point in the middle of the helmet. The extra contact point in the middle of the brow creates a far more substantial feel.


The visor length was perfect. In half-shell mode, it was big enough to seem a little goofy, but in full face mode, it was a nice length.

This helmet breaks apart cleanly with the use of three latches.
This helmet breaks apart cleanly with the use of three latches.

The Leatt DBX 3.0 is another stellar convertible helmet with a dialed visor. While we think the Bell is a better helmet, the Leatt has a well-sorted visor that works well in full-face and half-shell mode.

Durability


Throughout our test period, the Super DH didn't show any signs of wear. One thing that should be noted is that the chin strap is very long. Most users will need to shorten the strap substantially to get the proper fit. Be sure to use a very sharp pair of scissors and take a step to keep the cut strap from fraying. Burning the cut end of the strap may do the trick.


Closure System


The Super DH uses a Fidlock closure system. Instead of a having to clip a buckle or snap a button to lock the strap into place, this helmet uses a magnetic closure. It was super easy to take this helmet on and off with gloves on.

This design certainly takes some getting used to if you are used to a D-clip system. It is likely just as secure as traditional methods, but it is a little disconcerting given the simplicity of the closure design.

The rear release latch to remove the chin bar.
The rear release latch to remove the chin bar.

Best Application


The Super DH MIPS is a killer convertible helmet. If you are seeking one helmet to use at the bike park and on your trail rides, this is it. The Super DH functions very well in both settings. The half-shell mode is comfortable, breathable, and light. The full face mode feels secure and offers all of the top safety features you need out of a downhill helmet.

The Editor's Choice Fox Rampage Pro Carbon is still the best option for riders who want to rip bike park laps exclusively. It has a more robust and secure feel compared to the convertible options.

Value


At $300. The Super DH MIPS is a strong value. Yes, it is expensive, but you are getting a downhill certified full face helmet as well as a functional trail bike helmet. If you are looking for a single helmet solution for all of your mountain biking needs, the Super DH could be for you.

The Super DH integrates nicely with goggles for the enduro look.
The Super DH integrates nicely with goggles for the enduro look.


Conclusion


The Bell Super DH MIPS is a fantastic convertible helmet. If you are an enduro rider who wants a full face with a removable chin bar, this is it. If you only want to buy one helmet to cover all of your riding scenarios, this is it. This lid has all of the safety features that you expect out of a modern helmet.


Pat Donahue