We have been long term users of Bell helmets here at Merlin Cycles and having tried previous versions of the Volt helmet we were keen to see how the 2014 model fares.
The Volt is the second from the top road helmet in the Bell range and has an excellent pedigree as it was the helmet used by Cadel Evans when he won the Tour de France in 2011.
This puts it firmly in the performance road category but this helmet is much more than that. It is supplied with a detachable peak meaning it is just at home off road with many mountain bikers choosing this helmet for cross country riding.
The most noticeable feature of the helmet are the 22 vents which do a great job of channelling air flow across the head without being too big to freeze the forehead on cold days.
Plenty of vents on the front and rear
There is still a good amount of shell and EPS foam visible which may look slightly bulky to some but is reassuring none the less.
Plenty of coverage and easy strap anchoring
The clever Twin Axis Gear retention system tightens round the back and sides by means of an easily adjustable dial at the rear of the helmet and combined with padding on the front gives a very secure and comfortable fit. The soft feeling straps are easy to adjust thanks to the Camlock lever and haven’t moved since initial fitting.
Easy to adjust retention system
The detachable and adjustable peak has been handy for riding in grim weather and helps keep rain and spray away from the eyes and also means you won’t look too roadie when using on your MTB. Small plugs are also supplied to cover up the peak attachment holes keeping a smooth overall look.
The first thing that strikes you when trying this helmet on is just how comfortable this latest model is and it wasn’t just me, several cycling friends also tried it on and agreed the immediate impression was comfort.
The retention system keeps it firmly in place on the back and sides keeping pressure off the forehead this also means you don’t have a line indented on your forehead when you take it off like some full cage systems and the dial is easy to adjust on the fly even when wearing gloves.
The padding seems to be in just the right places on the temple and forehead without feeling bulky and have so far stood up well to some long sweaty rides. Anchoring the straps is simple and the straps are some of the softest I have ever come across and have washed well without losing any of the pleasant feeling or starting to feel flimsy.
Airflow is very good, I had always used a Volt in the winter as it has more coverage than some helmets but after using it, admittedly with initial reservations because of this, on long hot rides in Spain I was pleasantly surprised at how well the venting works.
Good airflow, secure and easy adjustment, and just enough flashes of colour
The medium size helmet comes in at 314g which is average for race helmets (we’re talking grams of difference here) and once on, doesn’t feel any different to super-lightweight models thanks to excellent weight distribution. I went for the black/hi vis colour scheme which is subtle enough to go with most kit and the flashes of neon yellow keeping it up to date with the flouro trend.
If you want a helmet that is comfortable, has an excellent and easy to adjust retention system, and is just as happy in a road race as it is on the trail without looking out of place on either.