Bell Super Air Spherical helmet review – a top trail choice with enhanced protection

Bell's Super Air Spherical trail/enduro helmet offers excellent fit and protection with the option of converting into a full-face for additional protection

Bell Super Air Spherical helmet
(Image: © Donald NG)

BikePerfect Verdict

A top-class helmet for trail use that gives excellent fit and adjustability, taking open-face protection to the next level. The option of a chin bar to convert it to a full-face is a useful extra too, but a shame it's not DH-certified.

Pros

  • +

    Top of the line protection

  • +

    Cool for a deep fitting lid

  • +

    Comfortable

  • +

    Decent weight

  • +

    Optional chin bar

Cons

  • -

    Can appear slightly askew

  • -

    Optional chin bar is not DH-certified

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The latest iteration of the Super (which has been around in various guises for years) from helmet heavyweight manufacturer, Bell, is the Super Air Spherical. It’s also available as the Super Air R which comes with a removable chin bar, though you can buy the chin bar separately to upgrade the Super Air to the Super Air R full-face if you wish.

Our testing explained

For information on Bike Perfect's testing procedures and how our scoring system works, see our how we test page.

Designed with trail use in mind, the Super Air faces stiff competition in a crowded market of high-quality helmets. To find out more about them, you might like to check out our guide to the best mountain bike helmets or best half shell helmets – once you’ve finished reading this review of course.

Bell Air Super Helmet

The Bell Super Air offers lots of rear protection (Image credit: Donald NG)

Design and aesthetics

Bell pitches the Super Air Spherical as its “most advanced trail helmet” as it combines Flex Spherical protection technology with the more widely used protective benefits of Mips. This means the helmet is essentially made of two pieces – an interior and an exterior. The two sections are held together by tensioned elastomers that allow a degree of multi-directional movement like a ball and socket. Bell says this movement enhances the helmet’s ability to protect against low speed, high speed, and rotational impacts.

In addition to this new level of helmet tech, the Super Air offers a deep fit with plenty of protection to the base of the skull. Ventilation comes courtesy of 18 vents and four brow ports, with deep exhaust vents to the rear for maximum airflow. The cradle has five snap fit rear adjustment positions and a rubberized rear adjustment dial, while the mid-length vizor has three positions which are easy to adjust by pulling the vizor up and down.

It comes in three sizes (small, medium, and large) and a range of colors across two different designs – standard two-color and Fasthouse which has MTB-related graphics on the helmet.

Bell Air Super Helmet

While the Fasthouse paint jobs look great, the MTB versions of 'live, laugh, love' scribbled on the helmet might not be to everyone's taste (Image credit: Rich Owen)

A removable, clip-in camera mount is a nice extra that comes with the helmet, which is designed to easily break free in the event of a crash. Another optional addition is a chin bar (untested), which essentially turns the Super Air Spherical into the convertible full-face Super Air R model. While at 679g, the Super Air R is very lightweight for a full-face helmet, it's not downhill certified – which could be a problem if you want to race in it.

Bell Super Air Spherical helmet

Large slotted exhaust ports to the rear help prevent your head from overheating in the Super Air (Image credit: Rich Owen)

Performance

The Super Air felt really comfortable and secure on my head over months of testing in temperatures ranging from just below zero to around 18 degrees centigrade. Despite the deep shape, the air is channeled really well around the helmet when moving at pace and 424g (for my medium size test helmet), it never felt overly heavy either.

The fit is excellent and easy to adjust as you ride via the thumb-wheel at the rear. Likewise, the vizor is simple to move through its three positions and there’s room enough to park your goggles beneath when it’s at its highest point. A rubberized section to the rear helps keep your goggle strap in place too.

While there’s plenty of room for large framed glasses, I did find that the deep rear section made contact with some of the longer armed models I tried. One other micro gripe is that the movement between the inner and outer sections can make the helmet look like it's at a slightly jaunty angle even when positioned perfectly on your head.

Bell Super Air Spherical helmet

The Super Air essentially comprises of an inner and outer section held together by tensioned elastomers (Image credit: Rich Owen)

Verdict

If you're looking for an open-face trail/enduro helmet, the Bell Super Air Spherical is a top-class option that combines a high level of protection, great fit, decent ventilation, and comfort levels with a reasonable weight. The option to add a chin bar is a handy addition too, but it's a shame it's not certified for downhill use.

Tech Specs: Bell Super Air Spherical

  • Price: $235 / £224.99
  • Weight: 424g (size M tested)
  • Sizes: S, M, L
  • Colors: Fasthouse Matte Black/White (tested), Fasthouse Matte Red/Black, Matte/Gloss Black, Matte/Gloss Black Camo, Matte/Gloss Blue/Hi-viz, Matte/Gloss Gray, Matte/Gloss Green/Infrared, Matte/Gloss Red/Gray, Matte/Gloss White/Purple 
Richard Owen
Editor, Bike Perfect

A seasoned journalist with over 20 years experience, Rich heads up the Bike Perfect team having previous been editor of What Mountain Bike magazine and written for MBUK, Bikeradar, Cycling Plus as well as many other magazines and websites. He’s been riding mountain bikes since the mid-nineties and mostly likes hitting flowy yet technical trails that point downhill. A jack of many trades, Rich has competed in cross-country, enduro and long distance events, not to mention also now adding gravel to his riding repertoire. Rich resides in North Devon and can mostly be found pedaling furiously around his local trails, or slightly further afield in the Quantocks, the Mendips or Exmoor. 


Rides: YT Jeffsy Uncaged 6, Canyon Spectral, Vitus Substance VR

Height: 175cm

Weight: 70kg