There’s only so many times you can smash your face into the floor before you decide it’s time to invest in a full face helmet. The magic number for me was twice, with a grand total of 10 stitches and approximately 18 hours in hospital.
Needless to say I invested in a Bell Super 2R, here is my review to help you to decide if this helmet is right for you.
There are a wealth of options when it comes to helmets with removable chin bars out there at the moment, some better looking than others. I toyed with the Met Parachute but didn’t like that it didn’t detach, I erred about the Leatt Enduro but couldn’t put one on my noggin so I ignored it and I looked into the Giro Switchblade but to be honest that thing was really ugly!
Bell Super 2R MIPS Review
The Bell Super 2R MIPS comes with a wealth of qualifications that will make even doctors feel uneducated. It’s lightweight, the chin bar is easily detachable with three ski-type hooks and to top it all off, mine came in Star Wars Boba Fett styling!
My initial impressions of the helmet were very good. The fit is snug and can be adjusted with a toggle at the back and by adding or removing pads on your cheeks. Boba Fett styling gives this helmet a unique badass look and the GoPro mount on the top means that filming your mountain bike antics is very easy.
Reviewing this helmet, I decided to try it both open face and with the chin bar to see how different the two felt and I was very surprised.
Its first venture out was to ride the Beacon Gap, a 35km offroad natural adventure of twists, turns, hard climbs and a long, fast and rough descent down. I opted to use the Bell Super 2R open face here and if I’m honest I wasn’t impressed. Compared to my Poc Tarbec it was heavy, hot and uncomfortable but after a couple hours riding in it the helmet started to grow on me.
There definitely is a bedding in period with this lid, I’d say probably 5 hours riding for the helmet itself and another 3-4 with the chin bar on.
Riding with the Bell Super 2R in Full Face Mode
Adding the chin bar on is a simple job (once you’ve got the hang of it and provided your beard doesn’t get trapped) that only takes a few seconds but interesting doesn’t transform the helmet as much as you might think.
For the first few rides it is pretty noticeable but once you’re used to it, and have adjusted the pads so they don’t squeeze your cheeks like your nan used to, it’s a very open faced full face helmet… If that makes sense.
The extra security is there, but it doesn’t feel like a normal full face does. You’re not detached from the ride, you have great visibility and it doesn’t get all that hot!
Downsides of the Super 2R
It isn’t all rainbows and unicorns for the Bell Super 2R as there is one major flaw… You have to transport the chin bar when not using it. Some bags now have straps to sling the chin bar to, but not all.
Sadly, my USWE A4 falls under the “not all” category. I tried several different ways of strapping the chin bar to my bag without it flapping around like crazy, but unfortunately I haven’t managed to do this yet.
My solution was simple – always ride in full face mode! While this may seem like overkill, it does mean you’re significantly less likely to smash your face and it reduces the time putting the chin bar on by 100%!
Luckily the breathability is good enough that this isn’t a bad option and considering that this is my only gripe, that’s not half bad!
If you’re looking for a little bit more confidence on the trails but don’t want to suffocating in a full face lid then this might be the solution you’re looking for. It comes in plenty of colours and with or without MIPS – plus it costs less than buying two helmets would.
Expect to see a lot more helmets with detachable chin bars to hit the market over the next couple of years!