Standing on the tall shoulders of the previous generation Star helmet, Bell went back to the drawing board (or CAD for you engineering folk) to create the completely redesigned Star series. Now a three helmet line up, the new Star family consists of the Pro Star, the Race Star and the Star dropping soon in early ’16.
We can safely say the Pro Star is the most advanced, protective and possibly most important helmet Bell has ever produced. Primarily because the Pro Star features Bell’s FLEX impact liner, designed to manage energy from three potential impact scenarios: low, mid, and high speed (engaging more layers as the severity increases). The inner layer can move or “Flex” within the two outer layers, limiting rotational force to the head, much like the technology seen in 6D dirt and now, street helmets. What this means is that the Pro Star can rotate in a collision, slowing the force and acceleration translated to your brain. Good news!
Found exclusively on the Pro Star is an all new, lighter and stronger carbon fiber shell developed by Formula 1 carbon fiber specialist TexTreme. TexTreme’s visibly larger weave gives the shell its superior strength while coming in 20 percent lighter than the traditional carbon fiber shell; hitting the scales close to 3 lbs! Taking a look at the shell shape itself, you will notice a more aggressive design with a more pronounced wing on the back. This is for optimal aerodynamics and stability in the tuck position at high velocities. To save even more weight over the previous generation, the new Star has a smaller profile with five total shell shapes. This ensures the smallest and lightest helmet possible no matter what size you wear.
Since its introduction back in 1967, the Bell Star has long represented the standard in head protection. Revered as the first full-face helmet on the market, the Bell Star inspired an industry to pursue the science of head protection. That obsession with helmet innovation continues today.
Introducing the 2016 Bell Pro Star, The lightest, most advanced race helmet on the market.
Venturing inward, another all new feature Bell chose to implement was the VIRUS CoolJade mesh liner. VIRUS has been in the game for a while manufacturing performance materials aimed at wicking both moisture and heat from the body. The CoolJade liner decreases your skin surface temperature up to 10 degrees F, maintaining a cool and dry cockpit.
From the inside looking out, you’ll notice drastic changes in the viewport. Bell wanted to give racers and riders alike, unrivaled vertical and lateral visibility introducing what they call “Panovision.” On both sides of the chin bar, there are 5mm detents that allow even more visibility, specifically for lane-changes and head-checks during the race. Compared to the base Star helmet, both the Pro Star and Race Star’s EPS has been rolled back 5 degrees, giving you the most clarity when hammering down on the throttle, full-tuck. The visor itself has been reworked, and now lifts from the center of the shield and also features an all new removal system. The removal system is one of the easiest process we’ve ever seen in a helmet. Just push, and release, it’s that easy.
Ok, so we’ve gone over what’s new and improved, let’s talk about what remains the same. The Star has always been a helmet with fantastic airflow, and Bell was able to keep the same EPS ducts and maintain the same level of venting and exhaust. We talked about the new Virus CoolJade liner, and we’re equally stoked to see the return of the “magnafusion” removable magnetic cheek pads. They stay in place, but are easily removed for cleaning or just to dry, making them, hands down, our favorite pads.
The Bell Pro Star will range from $1199.95 solid to 1299.95 graphic.
The middle child in the new Star family is the Race Star. At first glance you’d have a hard time finding a distinction between the Race and Pro because, really, there is only one main differentiator: the shell. We mentioned above the TexTreme carbon fiber shell was exclusive to the Pro Star. The Race Star features Bell’s standard carbon fiber construction; still super-light and strong by any standard, but weighs three to four ounces more than the TexTreme shell. Essentially what you’re paying for in the Pro Star is the lightest version of Bell’s premium race helmet. Other than that the Race Star and Pro Star are virtually identical, still featuring the innovative FLEX EPS liner, new Panovision viewport, and Magnafusion VIRUS CoolJade comfort liners and pads. The Race Star comes in at $699.95 for solids and $749.95 for graphics, about $500 cheaper than the Pro.
One of the reasons Bell set out to create a family of Star helmets was to offer a premium, race inspired helmet that was tuned for the everyday sport rider. The new Star fills the gap that once existed between the Qualifier and the old Star, coming in a just below the $500 mark. Bell adjusted the design of the standard Star to suit a more up-right riding position, yet maintain the aerodynamic and stable characteristics of its bigger brothers, much better for street riding. The Star still has the Panovision for increased visibility in traffic as well as our much-loved Magnafusion cheek pads.
Where the Star differs from the Race and Pro Star is the shell, liner material and EPS. We were disappointed to see Bell excluded the FLEX technology in the Star, however, we still feel safe and continue to ride in our 2015 Stars. We were happy to see Bell still use five different shell sizes with the Star, saving weight on the TriMatrix composite shell. Despite not having the carbon shell, the Star is still a very light helmet at around 3 pounds 7 ounces. The last main deviation is the comfort liner; intended more for street use, the Star does not fit as snuggly as its racier brethren, and uses an X-Static antimicrobial, silver infused liner instead. All in all, the Star carries much of the same DNA as the Race Star and Pro Star, but geared slightly more practically for riders like you and I, who may only hit the track once or twice a year.
Since its original introduction in 1967, the Bell Star helmet has become a staple for sportbike and racing helmets. With the reinvented Start series, we’re confident Bell’s legacy of performance and safety will continue. The new Pro Star, Race Star and Star will be available in the coming months, so keep an eye out!