Bell Hela Joy Ride MIPS Review
Cons: Ventilation could be improved
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Hela Joy Ride is the least expensive MIPS equipped mountain bike helmet in their Joy Ride women's line. Despite the reasonable price, the Hela offers excellent protection, comfort, features, and versatility at a price that pulled in our Best Buy award.
Joy Ride is the moniker given to the women's specific helmets in Bell's line, and it is also the name of a program that Bell sponsors where their female ambassadors organize and host monthly group rides for women in various locations around the country. The Joy Ride versions of Bell's helmets are nearly identical in design to their non-Joy Ride men's counterparts, but with a slightly different sizing and colorways.
We didn't rate the helmets for it, but we feel the Hela Joy Ride MIPS provides a high level of protection for several reasons. The deep fit and design of the helmet provide more coverage lower down on the temples and the across the back of the head. More coverage means more protection. The coverage of the Hela Joy Ride is among the best in our test, right about on par with that of the Smith Forefront 2, but just slightly less than that offered by the POC Tectal Race SPIN.
Bell has also equipped the Hela Joy Ride MIPS with the MIPS rotational impact protection system for enhanced protection in the event of an oblique impact. The MIPS system in the Hela Joy Ride is a thin layer of plastic that works as a slip-plane and sits between the EPS foam of the main body of the helmet and the pads which touch your head. In this helmet, the MIPS moves quite freely and feels like it would function quite well in the event of a crash.
The overall fit and comfort of the Hela Joy Ride is quite good. The shell of the helmet has a deeper fit to provide more coverage by the temples and back of the head, and it has a good shape that seems like it should work with most head shapes.
Bell's Float Fit size adjustment system on the back of the helmet has a dial that allows the helmet's fit to be tightened or loosen evenly from both sides. This size adjustment system can also be moved up and down on a small ladder within the helmet to further dial in the fit. The chin strap system is relatively basic, but functional, with a plastic strap splitter that holds the straps flat under the ear.
The inner padding of the helmet is on the thinner side, but well placed and adds to the comfort of this helmet. Bell has also incorporated their "Sweat Guide" pad design, which is a small tab of padding that extends further out in front on the shell. This system is intended to draw sweat further forward so that it drips in front of your sunglass lenses instead of on them. It seems kinda gimmicky, but we've noticed that it actually works.
The Hela Joy Ride has 15 vents, 5 of which are located on the front of the helmet. The ventilation system works reasonably well, but our testers found it be less airy than other models, like the Liv Coveta MIPS. In general, the ventilation felt adequate, but as the temperatures rose above the 80-degree mark, more airflow would be nice.
The Hela Joy Ride MIPS has three adjustable features, two of which help to dial in the fit to your personal preferences. The most frequently used adjustment is the fit adjustment dial at the back of the head, which allows the fit of the helmet to be tightened or loosened with the turn of a dial. This fit adjustment is similar to that found on most modern helmets, with a dial located in the center that tightens and loosens the helmet evenly on both sides.
This dial is on the smaller side, but testers had no problem using it one handed with gloves. The chin strap is also adjustable and offers plenty of range to accommodate most people's comfort preferences. The strap splitter also allows for the straps around the ears to be adjusted to the ideal location and avoid contact with the rider's ears. The strap splitter doesn't have a locking feature, so it can be moved accidentally and may occasionally need to be repositioned.
Bell also equipped the Hela Joy Ride with an adjustable visor that can easily accommodate goggles should you choose to ride with them. The visor's adjustment range is quite large, and when it's in the fully up position, there is plenty of room for goggles to rest on the helmet when not in use. The visor is attached by the temples and pivots from those points and can be positioned anywhere within its range from down flat to all the way up. The visor on the Hela is one of our favorites, along with the sturdy and well-designed visor on the Smith Forefront 2.
The size small Hela Joy Ride MIPS we tested weighs in at 12.31 oz, we feel this is a competitive weight for a helmet with the coverage, features, and protection that it offers. By comparison, the other women's specific helmet in our test, the Liv Coveta MIPS, weighs slightly less, 12.06 oz, but doesn't offer nearly the level of coverage of the Hela Joy Ride.
The Hela Joy Ride MIPS has 15 vents, which do a decent job of ventilating this helmet. There are five vents on the front of the helmet that does the bulk of the work. The other ten vents are located on the sides, top, and back. Generally speaking, the ventilation was adequate, but testers found other helmets with larger, or more, vents in the front to allow more air movement. Helmets like the POC Tectal Race SPIN and the Smith Session proved to be more effective at keeping your head cooler and drier.
After a couple months of heavy use, our Hela Joy Ride MIPS test helmet looks as new as the day we took it out of the box. Other than a few sweat stains on the straps and the pads, you could mistake it for being brand new. All of the adjustable features still work perfectly, and the outer shell has no noticeable dents or scratches. The outer shell also covers the EPS foam of the helmet almost completely, except inside the vent holes, leaving the foam less susceptible to damage.
Our testers felt the Hela Joy Ride is incredibly versatile and could be used for all types of mountain biking. Anyone from XC riders to the enduro race crowd would love this comfortable and protective helmet. People who live and ride in especially hot climates may want to look into helmets with better ventilation, but for everyone else, this helmet can do it all.
At a retail price of $95 we feel the Hela Joy Ride MIPS is a great value. This helmet is comfortable, versatile, and has useful features including an adjustable visor and MIPS liner at a reasonable price.
The Joy Ride is our Best Buy for its value comfort, features, protection, and versatility. It has excellent coverage, and the addition of the MIPS system makes it very protective, especially for the price.
— Jeremy Benson