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Bell Race Star Flex Review: Meet the Ultimate Commuter Helmet

It’s safe, it’s insanely comfy, and it has the most innovative liner of any lid we’ve tested.

bell race star flex helmet
Michael Frank

Full disclosure before we get started: This review of the Bell Race Star Flex helmet will be a little unorthodox; I’m going to go from the inside out.

That should be the “right” way to think about a motorcycle helmet, anyway, right? After all...you don’t wear the outside of a helmet, do you?

Revzilla
Bell Race Star Flex DLX Helmet
Bell Helmets revzilla.com
$769.95

  • Excellent color choices available
  • Ultra-comfortable for long rides

  • Venting not great at low speeds
  • Vent controls are tiny

The Bell Race Star Flex is comfortable and quiet

And this Bell is so comfortable in part thanks to an innovative interior design. While a properly fitting helmet should mean you feel some pressure against your cheeks, the Bell’s cheek pads are ultra-cushy, a factor that will matter if you put in a few hours at a stretch on your bike.

However, a too-tight helmet is no fun, but a too-loose one can be dangerous. Soft, magnetically anchored cheek pads enable a snug fit that’s both safer and still comfortable and a form fit that cuts down on the amount of wind rocketing around inside the bucket, which is part of the reason so many helmets are exceptionally loud when you’re flying along at 65 mph.

To quell that bellow, Bell also adds a beefy neck roll behind your head and a generous chin guard, and the visor seals very snuggly and firmly; there’s an audible cut-off when you slam it shut, like turning off a waterfall of sound.

bell race star flex helmet upside down
Michael Frank

The Race Star Flex pairs well with a Cardo Packtalk

Also, Bell’s dang smart: they use magnets to secure those cheek pads. If you look at the image of this helmet shot from a few angles, you can see I’ve attached the harness for a Cardo Packtalk Bold, a Bluetooth headset/transmission system that a lot of riders want so they’re able to take calls on the fly, listen to music, and get turn-by-turn navigation from a paired phone, as well as talk to other riders in their squad.

the right side profile of the bell race star flex helmet
Michael Frank
the left side profile of the bell race star flex helmet
Michael Frank

But here’s the thing: You need a quiet helmet to hear those inputs, as well as one that lets you attach such a system without screwing up the internal pad system. (Trust me, that’s not a given with a lot of lids.)

The Race Star Flex includes in-ear pockets for the speakers you need, and those magnetic cheek pads pop right out, allowing you to easily thread the wiring and reach those cutouts for the speakers. Then they go right back in place with zero annoyance. The neck curtain pulls free and snaps back easily, too, again, making it easier to wash these components more readily and remove them with less fuss than with many lids that weren’t designed for adding a system like the Cardo.

Magnets are also used at the dangling end of the chin strap, rather than snaps, making it easier to loop this through the double-D-rings and then secure it, so it doesn’t wag around in the breeze while you’re bombing the interstate.

The Race Star Flex has a photochromic visor

If you’re not plying six highway lanes, you could be dancing a two-laner underneath a sun-dappled tree canopy. Nice...unless that sun-shade combo is blinding you.

Here again, Bell brings tech to the rescue, with a photochromic visor that gets brighter or darker, depending on available daylight. In the shade, it’s as clear as any visor I’ve used. Hit full sun, and it’s cyborg-eyeball smoked. That’s way safer than digging out a pair of sunglasses to wear behind a visor, only to have a cloud sneak in and make your whole world go black.

This Bell helmet is aerodynamic

Bell applied more tech to the lid’s shape, which is exceptionally aerodynamic, with a spoiler that wraps around the back to release air as well as cut turbulence that can beat you up. I’ve tested this helmet in all kinds of riding conditions, including into the teeth of headwinds on a naked bike and through stiff cross-currents that have pushed my moto sideways. The helmet remained smooth and unflappable — unlike its wearer.

the back of the bell race star flex helmet
Michael Frank

It’s also reasonably cool, with venting at the mouth, brow, peak, and exhaust venting at the rear. My only beef is that I’d dig an easy way to bring in more air when riding slow, technical turf but this is a highway-focused helmet, so, understandably, a big duct somewhere would ruin the low drag coefficient.

The Bell Race Star Flex is very safe

Last, but really first, the Race Star Flex was engineered to be very safe. It gets a five-star rating from the U.K.’s Sharp rating agency, and Bell uses three densities of foam, designed to compress in reaction to a crash force, slowing that energy so that it dissipates in accordance with the speed and power of a tumble.

Ideally, you never test the efficacy of that design, but you wear a helmet for that very scary “if.” In this case, you’ll be as comfortable and safe as 21st Century tech can make you.

Revzilla
Bell Race Star Flex DLX Helmet
Bell Helmets revzilla.com
$769.95

  • Excellent color choices available
  • Ultra-comfortable for long rides

  • Venting not great at low speeds
  • Vent controls are tiny
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