LAS VEGAS, NV (BRAIN) — Perhaps taking a page from the longtime practice of component makers, Bell Helmets employed the trickle-down theory in developing three of its 2014 model year helmets introduced at Interbike this week.
Last year the company launched the $400 feature-packed full race helmet, the Full-9, for downhill and BMX. This year: the Transfer 9 is a $200 model with many of the same features.
Last year: the $120 Super Enduro helmet. This year: the $70 Stoker.
And in a variation of the trickle-down theory, Bell has found a new use for the segmented EPS technology used in last year's Segment, a skate-style helmet. This year the technology, which allows for a better fit (and compliance with CPSC bike helmet standards) in helmets with a hard-shell style, is being re-purposed in the $60 Intersect, an urban-style helmet.
Bell's brand new bike brand manager, Niki Jaimes, said the moves were all about transforming "aspirational" products into more accessible versions.
A closer look at the three new lids:
The Transfer 9 weighs about 150 grams more than the Full-9, mostly because it has a fiberglass shell rather than carbon. But it shares almost all of the same features, albeit in slightly watered down versions. It shares over-brow cooling and a breakaway GoPro helmet cam mount, and like the Full-9 it has padding that can be removed by emergency responders. It also has color schemes similar to the Full-9.
The Stoker, like the Super Enduro, has more rear coverage than road or cross-country helmets. It also has a rear fit strap system that is adjustable for height, a key for use with goggles, Jaimes said. The Stoker is goggle-compatible and allows easy goggle storage under the visor for riding the lift.
Hard-shell helmets are popular with the skate crowd, but some don't meet bike safety standards, and some have stiff liners that don't allow a comfortable fit. The Segment's somewhat flexible shell is lined with segments of EPS connected by a reinforcing skeleton. The new new Intersect shares that design, but offers styling aimed at urban riders and commuters, a removable brim visor and an integrated rear light attachment.