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Test of the Bell Moto-9S Flex cross helmet

test of the Bell Moto 9S Flex cross helmet in action

Impossible for any mx and enduro enthusiast not to know the american brand Bell. A specialist in car, motorcycle and bicycle helmets since the 1950s, this brand protects the heads of pilots such as Eli Tomac, Dylan Ferrandis or historically “the Mac”, Jeremy McGrath!

THE bell Moto 9S Flex cross helmet is the legitimate replacement for Bell 's former top-of-the-range model, the Moto 9 Carbon Flex. It continues what Bell has been doing for years and brings together all the advantages that the Moto 9 Flex had. It is a helmet with an aggressive look, the main characteristic of the brand, with innovative features and technologies. The major difference with its old version is the material. Indeed, the bell Moto 9S Flex cross helmet is not made of carbon but of fiberglass. This allows you to have a helmet almost as light at a more reasonable price.

test of the Bell Moto 9S Flex cross helmet

Comfort, weight and ventilation of the Bell Moto 9S Flex cross helmet

In terms of comfort, nothing to complain about!

THE bell Moto 9S Flex cross helmet is constructed in 3 different sizes of external shell and internal liner to perfectly adapt to your body shape. This means that an S helmet and an XL helmet will neither have the same size nor the same weight.

While we're on the subject of weight, I tested a helmet in size M which weighs around 1350g. Let it be said, at this price, it is not the lightest helmet in its category (100 g more than my current Shoei helmet which I reviewed here). So, it remains a feeling because 100 g is not much… But we feel the difference in weight by comparing the two. On the other hand, once put on and riding, it is completely forgotten. We would have to push the test by doing the 3 hours of the Enduropale to see if my cervicals are still doing as well as after 3 hours in the Shoei VFX!

On the ventilation side, there are people there

Air inlets between the mask and the helmet, two air inlets in addition to the chin guard and two inlets under the visor. Everything is redirected to 7 extractors at the back of the helmet! On this, Bell did not pretend. Surely to satisfy the Californian pilots, where the brand comes from (yes because well, in December at Loon Plage, we don't have the same passion for ventilation).

The visor

This is one of the characteristics of bell helmets. Unlike many other brands, the visor of the bell Moto 9S flex cross helmet has only two fixing screws and no central screw. At first, it's a bit disturbing: it seems like the visor is going to come down all the time. But in reality, it doesn't move and it makes this visor more flexible. To be tested under 2 kg of very fresh mud. It will probably go down a little anyway... but this would also be the case on other helmets. Another strong point of this visor is that the screws do not require any tools to be removed. The adjustment is therefore simpler and faster.

cross bell moto 9S Flex helmet screw

Focus on security

So, we're going to get into technical terms and incomprehensible big words but I'm going to try to explain that as best as possible...

Let's start with the simplest. All the foams of this helmet are fixed with a magnetic system. This allows quick and easy assembly/disassembly, and in the event of a fall, it facilitates the work of rescuers. A lot of cross helmets now have this system “ quick emergency » but Bell 's is even simpler thanks to the magnetic fasteners.

Still speaking of magnets, this helmet with double D closure (obligatory for competition, remember!) does not have a red snap to fix the strap like 90% of helmets. It actually has a magnetic system, which is also very easy to use and very secure. So no more pressure which breaks if you force a little because it is stuck or something else. With the magnet, no problem.

safety of the Bell moto 9S Flex cross helmet

The Flex system

Let's now move on to the more technical part, the " Flex System“. This is a system patented by Bell , a technology which consists of absorbing the energy of an impact. Until then, you will tell me: “ no difference with a MIPS therefore“. But actually not at all. Flex technology is achieved through a superposition of 3 layers of different and independent materials allowing it to act at low, medium and high speed.

  • Under the outer shell of the helmet is the outer layer of the Flex system, made of expanded polystyrene, EPS, which manages high-speed impacts
  • an intermediate layer of expanded polypropylene, EPP, manages medium-speed impacts
  • finally, the inner layer is made of expanded polyolefin (it's not me who says that, it's Bell ...) and manages low-speed impacts. Only this layer is equivalent to MIPS.

In the photo below, we can see the 3 different layers between the EPS in white, the EPP in red and the last layer, in EPO, in black. In summary, this system allows a perfect fit on the head. It creates a zone of movement independent of that of the skull and the brain in the event of a direct impact on the head in order to reduce the shock wave transmitted to the brain. The best is to see the construction in the image below (from the Bell site).

construction of the security system by Bell

Approvals of this Bell Moto 9S Flex cross helmet

The helmet is Ece 22.05 approved (not yet 22.06, unfortunately), DOT (okay, that's for the Americans) and " Snell Certification“. So DOT and Snell have no legal value in Europe. It is ECE 22.05 which makes it usable here but I find it interesting to talk about this approval Snell because not all helmets have it.

The snell foundation incorporated is a non-profit foundation. First of all, that means that the guys are there to ensure that your helmets are super secure and not to make money (I say that, I say nothing)... She tests the helmets under 4 protection criteria, namely :

  • impact resistance
  • the stability of the helmet on the head at the time of impact
  • the effectiveness of the retention system during impact 
  • optimization of protected areas of the skull

Basically, I would say that if your helmet wants to be certified Snell, it must necessarily have the MIPS, FLEX, MEDS system or other equivalence.

The system Eject Safety 

The last element of protection is theEject safety system. So there, I didn't know at all and I had to find out about the subject. This obviously doesn't seem to be available in Europe, yet it is used in the USA... And, to tell you the truth, it seems totally brilliant to me! This system is not developed by Bell but by Shock Doctor. How it works ?

First of all, you have to buy this system Eject Safety separately (I personally did not find it in Europe) then put it in place. That is to say, remove the central red square and install theEject safety system. It comes in the form of a “plastic bag” connected to an air pipe placed outside the helmet. In the event of a head impact, and/or if emergency services have doubts about removing the helmet, the system inflates the bag so that the helmet can be removed safely.

It is a system that is already used in car competition such as Nascar. Once again, I didn't find it in Europe and I doubt that the rescuers have the necessary equipment to inflate it. But if it were to become democratized... the bell Moto 9S Flex cross helmet already has the location for installation. Once again, it will be more understandable in images (from the Shock Doctor site).

the eject safety system to be installed on the Bell cross helmet

The price of there glory? 

Above, I mentioned the fact that Bell left carbon aside to offer a more accessible fiberglass helmet. However, I am not going to hide it from you, bell Moto 9S Flex cross helmet remains a top of the range which will compete with Shoei , Arai or Airoh . With everything it has, you'll still have to pull out a ticket to get it. Count between €491.67 (for that of this test) and €639.17 depending on the colors. Personally, small preference for the model green and black, even if I don't have any outfit to go with it!

See the product sheet

Security elements5
Jewel of technology! With its Bell Moto 9S Flex cross helmet, the Californian brand has gone all out on safety: Flex system and eject safety. A comfortable helmet, with a very aggressive look that should satisfy more than one person!

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If I spend my days in the Motoblouz offices, most of my free time is devoted to Mx! Sand is my favorite terrain, Yamahas are the ones that ignite my passion...

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