Bell Moto 9 Flex Review

                Date Reviewed - January 2019                                  Reviewed by - Luke                                             Price - £400-500

Bell have recently ventured out into the world of motocross helmets, and they're pretty impressive. The Moto 9 range of motocross helmets have been a hit so far, and with the Moto 9 Flex being the most expensive from the range, we decided to check it out. The Flex was designed to be the most protective helmet out of the Moto 9 range, and thanks to the Flex technology, Bell seem to have achieved this. If the fantastic safety elements of this helmet haven't already convinced you to buy it, maybe the use of the Velocity Flow Ventilation System will.

Safety

Bell are known for creating some of the safest helmets on the market, so you can buy the Moto 9 Flex with full confidence. That said, it hasn't yet been SHARP tested, but you shouldn't let this put you off. Instead of SHARP testing, it has been DOT, ECE 22.05 and Snell certified, so it's undoubtedly encountered some rigorous safety tests! 

The main selling point of the Moto 9 Flex is the improved safety features, from its predecessor, the Moto 9. If you're looking for a helmet that will protect your head in a crash, the Flex is the one for you. The Flex is made up of three fabric layers which are designed to absorb impact and manage energy transfers to avoid damage to the head. The bottom layer is made of medium-density foam, the middle layer is made of EPO, and the outer layer is made of EPS, a standard helmet material. These layers are not stuck together, which allows the rotational features to come into play. 

Bell have combined these three materials to cater for high, low and mid speed impacts, which is perfect for a motocross rider. As well as the fantastic energy structure Bell have employed in this helmet, they have also taken huge considerations into other factors of injury that could be prevented. If you know a lot about motorbike crashes, you'll know one of the most dangerous issues is caused by rotation of the head, this results in neck and sometimes life-threatening brain injuries. Bell have created a fantastic system to help reduce the likelihood of these issues during a crash. The rotational energy management system is designed to prevent brain injury in the event of a collision. This essentially works by movement between the inner and other layers, they rotate independently of the head during an impact to help reduce the rotational forces passed to the riders head. Bell have certainly taken the riders safety into consideration when designing this helmet as it's got some of the best motorbike helmet safety features ever!

If all those features weren't enough to convince you this helmet is fantastic, there's more to come! The Flex has a double D ring fastener and an EPS chin guard, something most motocross helmets don't actually have! Furthermore, it has EQRS (emergency quick removal system) cheek guards


Ventilation

If you're riding at fast speeds, ultimately you're going to get more air entering your helmet, so for motocross riders who aren't going very fast, ventilation can sometimes be an issue. However, despite this flaw with motocross helmets, the Flex has excelled. Bell often create helmets with fantastic ventilation systems, and the Flex certainly doesn't disappoint! The Velocity Flow Ventilation System features an impressive 18 air vents, which allows a large amount of air to enter, and exit the helmet. 

Visor

The Bell Moto-9 Flex comes with Bell’s classic adjustable visor and has air intakes for even better ventilation. The visor is designed so that it’s easy for the rider to make adjustments, even while wearing gloves. This is due to the QuickFlip visor screws that come with the helmet that can easily be adjusted to suit the rider’s needs. At times you may find that you need to do the screws up very tight in order to keep the visor in place, but for a helmet that requires frequent adjustment, the Quick Flip screws are a very handy feature.

Another great feature of the visor on the Moto-9 Flex is that there is plenty of space in the helmet for goggles and they fit quite easily, which is valuable if you’re looking to partake in motocross. The visor offers excellent protection from the sun too, and there aren’t many faults that can be found in this element of the helmet.

Wind Noise

Bell have admitted themselves that they did not make any special attempts to try and reduce noise on the Moto-9 Flex. Despite this, the Bell Moto-9 Flex is one of the quieter motocross helmets that you’re likely to come across. However, apart from a rather thick lining, there are no special features on the Moto-9 Flex designed to reduce noise. Even so, if you often find that the helmets you normally use for motocross let in too much noise, then the Bell Moto-9 Flex may be the helmet for you.

The reduced noise may result in sounds that you usually hear, such as your own bike’s exhaust or other motocross bikes around you, sounding different than usual. While this may be difficult to adjust to at first, once you get used to it you won’t be able to go back to a normal motocross helmet with all that added noise.

Appearance and Comfort

When you pick up the Moto-9 Flex, one of the first things you’ll notice is the weight. This is mainly due to its carbon fibre shell, which manages to keep you fully protected as well as feeling almost weightless on your head.

Regarding design, you’ll find that the Bell Moto-9 Flex is almost identical to the original Moto-9. While the Moto-9 is a fantastic looking helmet, with a hefty increase in price you’d probably be expecting some cosmetic changes. However, there are improvements made in the interior of the Moto-9 Flex. The interior is removable, washable and made of X-static XT2 fibre which supposedly prevents bacterial growth, therefore avoiding any bad smells coming from the helmet. There is a D-ring fastener and an excess strap that is easily secured with a magnetic tab, even with gloves on. The fit of the interior can be adjusted by changing the thickness of the cheek pads. The soft-padding of the three-layer liner makes the helmet feel so much more comfortable. There is tremendous attention to detail, especially in the interior, that makes the Bell Moto-9 Flex stand out from almost every other Motocross helmet you can buy. It's not very often you find a helmet that provides outstanding levels of comfort, while still keeping your head protected.

Conclusion

While the Bell Moto-9 Flex will set you back a fair amount, you can be confident in knowing that you’ll get your money’s worth. With the three-layer lining consisting of EPO, EPP and EPS, Bell have found a practical way of improving shock absorption and reducing rotation while somehow managing to keep the helmet somewhat lightweight and extremely comfortable. The Moto-9 Flex also succeeds in having good ventilation, as well as effectively minimising wind noise, so as long as you can afford it, you won’t be able to buy many motocross helmets as good as this one.

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