Highway Examined: The Hiya Cousteau Bell Race Star DLX Flex helmet

Road Tested: Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
Most trendy motorbike helmet graphics are grim—which is why I nearly all the time gravitate in the direction of stable helmet colours. However after I heard that my favourite helmet designer, Hiya Cousteau, had created a graphic for the brand new Bell Race Star DLX Flex, I couldn’t resist.

If you happen to love bikes and spend sufficient time on social media, you’ve most likely seen Hiya Cousteau’s work. He’s a self-proclaimed “bored inside designer” with a love for traditional car and motorbike racing, that began designing helmet graphics and importing them to Instagram. His account went gangbusters in a single day and shortly drew the eye of mainline helmet producers—like Bell.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
The American helmet model just lately commissioned Hiya Cousteau to create graphics for 2 of their helmets—one in every of which was the Bell Race Star DLX Flex. Pitched as a race-bred helmet for on a regular basis use, the Race Star DLX Flex boasts a 3K carbon shell, Bell’s proprietary ‘Flex’ liner, and a photochromic defend. It is available in quite a lot of colours and designs, however none look fairly nearly as good because the beautiful ‘Hiya Cousteau Algae’ graphic featured right here.

Inspiration for the graphic got here from the Portuguese designer’s coastal environment. The sunshine blue hue represents the ocean, and the natural shapes that wrap across the shell echo the seaweed that’s usually strewn throughout his native seaside. It’s miles extra tasteful than the neon-slathered choices that dominate the market.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
Sure, the design would arguably be higher and not using a gigantic Bell emblem on all sides. However given the model’s racing heritage, and the truth that Hiya Cousteau has achieved an excellent job of weaving them into the design, I can reside with it. The paint job itself feels prime quality, with sections of matte paint dancing round bits of clear-coated carbon fiber.

So it appears to be like good, however what’s it prefer to trip in? I put some miles right into a model new Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hiya Cousteau Algae, courtesy of Bell Powersports USA, to search out out.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
Building and structure With a 3K carbon fiber outer shell, the brand new Bell Race Star DLX Flex is a claimed 10% lighter than its predecessor. Bell lists a weight of roughly 1,540 grams for a medium-sized helmet; my XL check unit weighed in at a good 1,627 grams. The Race Star DLX Flex makes use of 5 completely different shell sizes, and 6 completely different EPS liner sizes, throughout its dimension vary.

The helmet’s silhouette speaks to its meant utilization. The general vibe is racy, with delicate contours working alongside the edges and a pointy spoiler on the again, however not overly so. It’s a impartial sufficient form that I don’t really feel odd driving my Triumph Bonneville in it.

The ‘Flex’ within the Race Star’s prolonged moniker refers to its inside impression liner. The triple-layer system makes use of a unique density materials for every layer, successfully optimizing impression absorption at low-, mid-, and high-speed crashes. Between that and the outer shell, the Race Star DLX Flex conforms to the DOT and Snell requirements within the US, and the ECE22.06 normal in Europe.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
Consolation and match Sitting between the ‘Flex’ liner and your head is an anti-microbial liner that appears and feels premium. I haven’t ridden on a scorching sufficient day to completely check its moisture-wicking properties, nevertheless it has carried out properly in average temperatures to date. And the entire thing is detachable and washable too.

The Race Star DLX Flex comes pre-fitted with a detachable neck roll, a chin curtain, and a nostril guard to assist forestall fogging. It fastens through a tried-and-tested double D-ring strap, with titanium D-rings for further road cred, and a magnet for securing the tip of the strap. The magnet is much extra user-friendly than the standard press stud association, and I want extra helmets got here with it.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
Dimension-wise, the Race Star DLX Flex runs true to Bell’s dimension chart. Consolation-wise, it feels each comfortable and plush, with one main caveat; it doesn’t love my huge ears, making it a chore to placed on. It rubs them like loopy happening, and as soon as it’s on I have to shuffle it round a bit earlier than it sits comfortably round them.

It’s additionally tighter than most helmets towards my cheeks. There’s quite a bit to unpack right here—for starters, it is a helmet descended from racing, so a decent match is to be anticipated. Secondly, there are not any noticeable hotspots anyplace else.

Then there’s the truth that the cheek pads are swappable. Held in place by magnets, they’re straightforward sufficient to come out (a boon for first responders), and Bell sells them in a minimum of eight completely different thicknesses, to be able to fine-tune your helmet’s match.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
Bell additionally claims that the padding can break in by as much as 20% over time, so there’s an excellent probability that the Race Star DLX Flex will turn into kinder to my ears and cheeks over time. If it doesn’t, I would strive a thinner set of cheek pads; there’s just one dimension thinner than those it got here with although, so I’m unsure how a lot of a distinction it’ll make.

Comfortable-ness apart, the cheek pads are gentle sufficient to permit area for glasses. And should you pop them out, you’ll uncover tidy recesses to accommodate audio system, full with foam disc covers and hook and loop patches to safe them.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
Air flow and noise Bell has loaded the Race Star DLX Flex with an array of vents, situated on the chin, brow, high of the pinnacle, and again. They’ll all be opened and closed through easy latches which can be straightforward sufficient to get to with gloves on. And so they’re efficient too—I’ve but to overheat on this helmet, and I’ve but to have it fog up on me.

At freeway speeds, the Bell Race Star DLX Flex isn’t the quietest helmet on my shelf (that accolade belongs to the Shoei NXR2). However it is likely one of the quieter helmets I personal and greater than ample for many driving circumstances. It’s additionally notably aerodynamic; I choose driving bare bikes, and the Race Star DLX Flex cuts by means of open air with negligible buffeting.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
Visibility Whereas the ‘Flex’ within the Race Star’s title refers to its liner, the ‘DLX’ refers to its ‘deluxe’ trim—specifically, its premium ‘ProTint’ photochromic defend. In layman’s phrases, the defend adjusts its tint in response to how a lot UV gentle hits it, going from clear in low gentle circumstances to completely tinted in daylight. If, like me, you like tinted shields, however don’t love how horrible they’re at night time, this setup is a no brainer.

It really works properly on the Race Star DLX Flex, adjusting seamlessly and creating an ample quantity of shade at its darkest. The defend is extensive and tall too, with a wonderful visual view and no noticeable distortion. And it’s not vulnerable to fogging—regardless that it doesn’t use the ever-present Pinlock system.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
I’ve to credit score Bell for the most effective hinge methods available on the market too. As a substitute of clicking by means of incremental positions from open to closed, the defend swoops down from totally open to completely closed in a single easy movement. It’s one other element born from observe racing, the place {a partially} open defend is lower than helpful.

On the hinges, you’ll additionally spot a pair of discreet push buttons. Press these and slide the defend ahead, and it pops off with zero protest. Reverse the method, and it slides again in place simply as simply. It’s hands-down the very best shield-swapping Remechanisms I’ve ever used.

I’ve a love-hate relationship with the Race Star DLX Flex’s shield-locking mechanism although. Sitting entrance and middle, it makes use of a beneficiant tab that wants a particularly constructive hand to click on closed or open. It creates a superior seal—nevertheless it’s deafening when it slams shut and takes extra effort to open than I’d like.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
Verdict At $919.95 for the Hiya Cousteau Algae model at Revzilla (or $819.95, should you take it in plain black), the Bell Race Star DLX Flex’s model and efficiency come at a premium. However it’s straightforward to see the place all that cash went. The helmet is well-built, full of ride-focused options, and comes with primo upgrades—like its photochromic defend and a padded Bell helmet bag within the model’s signature purple. It appears to be like unbelievable too.

The one factor I can fault it on is consolation, and that’s truthfully simply all the way down to the cheek pads. Everybody’s head is completely different although—so outcomes might fluctuate. My recommendation, as all the time, could be to strive before you purchase, or purchase from an internet retailer with a stable returns coverage.

Bell Helmets | With because of Hiya Cousteau | Photographs by Devin Paisley and Wes Reyneke

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet