2017’s must-have road lid has finally been revealed, and it’s the Bell Zephyr helmet. During a recent trip to Bell headquarters to preview their new line-up, the Zephyr is what had us most excited. Created by the designer of the Gage, this new helmet features updates to style, function, and safety.
Following the cue of mountain trail-style helmets, also seen in road aero helmets, the Zephyr extends coverage lower down the skull and has a rounder, lower-profile shape. This is a great-looking helmet, thankfully doing away with the design trend of a goofy-looking pointy or flat rear profile that has been too slow to die. Bell does not claim that the Zephyr is an aero-specific helmet, only mentioning the nine watt advantage conferred by the No-Twist Tri-Glide strap management sliders. However, the Zephyr is the most comfortable, most adjustable, most well-ventilated, and best energy-managing helmet that Bell makes, or indeed, is possible for Bell to make.
A new retention system, dubbed the Float Fit Race, features an integrated MIPS slip plane. This integration allows for a smaller shape and a better fit. Fine adjustments to the horizontal tension are enabled by the Float Race’s micro-adjust dial, which adjusts tension all around your head for a close, custom-feel fit. If you’ve used a Lazer helmet with Roll-Sys technology, you’ll have an idea of what the Zephyr feels like: wonderfully comfortable and secure. Four positions of vertical adjustment are available from the Float Fit Race, with a 22 millimeter difference between top and bottom positions. Additionally, the Float Race’s occipital pads are width-adjustable separate from tension.
Besides the safety offered by the integrated MIPS cage, Bell’s Progressive Layering EPS liner draws from research showing that softer foam is safer in real-world impacts. Essentially, Progressive Layering nests two helmets together. The two “helmets,” a denser outer layer and a lower density inner layer, both consisting of EPS foam in-molded to a polycarbonate shell, are bonded together, allowing the Zephyr to manage both high and low force impacts effectively.
Possibly related to safety but definitely to convenience is the nifty Sweat Management System. A section of sweat-wicking padding extends out towards the forward edge of the helmet. As the natural tilt of your head lets gravity pull sweat through the X-Static padding down to this extension, sweat drips off the tab out in front of, and not onto, your glasses, keeping your view smudge-free. When you find yourself needing to remove your sunnies, the Zephyr has front and rear grip pads, referred to as Sunglass Guides, placed on the vent borders exactly where sunglasses are usually stashed.
The Zephyr will be available in six standard colors plus a full reflective, silver and white “Ghost” finish. Look for the Bell Zephyr in-store and online at Art’s Cyclery soon.