The Bell Super 2 R MIPS is a unique mountain bike helmet aimed at enduro races where you want the protection of a full-face helmet on the decent and the ventilation of a half-shell on the climbs. The Super accomplishes this by incorporating a detachable chin guard which locks onto the helmet with three clips. The chin guard can be quickly added or removed to adjust the amount of safety or ventilation you want. For mellow rides, the chin guard can be left behind to save weight. For up and down adventures, the chin guard can be secured to a hydration pack for the up and then clipped into place in less than 30 seconds to add some protection for the down.
The base helmet (which is sold minus the R as the Bell Super 2 MIPS) has significant updates from the original Super, which we tested a year ago. The original Super earned one of our Top Pick Awards for being the most feature laden helmet in our review. The new Super 2 models carry almost all of the features of the original, plus the most interesting feature of them all: the removable chin guard.
We've awarded the Super 2R a Top Pick Award for being the most versatile half-shell mountain bike helmet because of the chin guard feature. While the chin guard certainly adds a good deal of protection over a half-shell, we don't see this helmet as a replacement for a full-face in situations where maximum protection is needed. For this reason, we've placed this helmet in our Mountain Bike Helmet comparison rather than our Full-Face Downhill Helmet review. The Super 2R meets the same CPSC standard for cycling helmets as all of the other half-shell helmets we've tested. It does not meet the ASTM 1952 standard for full-face helmets designed for downhilling. If you need maximum protection you are going to want a true full-face. The Super 2R should be thought of as a super protective half-shell rather than a true full-face.
This is the first helmet we've tested that uses the M.I.P.S. (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) technology that is gaining popularity among major helmet manufacturers. MIPS is supposed to increase helmet safety by limiting axial loading on the brain. Many manufacturers, including Bell, are releasing both MIPS and non-MIPS versions of popular helmets. Bell is offering a MIPS version of the Super 2, Super 2R, Bell Stoker, and Event XC helmets for $20 more than the non-MIPS versions.
Possibly the best part about the Super 2, or at least the one that will make many finally get one of these great helmets, is that Bell has added some better colorways and has mostly done away with the tacky graphics. They still make a black helmet with a white skunk/racing stripe for those who are looking for that look from the movie Rad. The MIPS versions of the helmet both in the half-shell Super 2 and convertible Super 2R are available in three colorways. The non-MIPS is available in the same three colors as well as two more.
The Wraparound Chinbar can be purchased separately for $75 and added to any of the Super 2 models. The Chinbar cannot be added to the original Bell Super because it lacks the slots to allow the chin guard to be locked into place. Don't attempt to use the Chinbar with an original Super.