The world of mountain bike riding has become more and more aggressive with more riders pushing harder on the trails and hitting features they may have previously hit with a full face. This means that now more than ever we need to be ensuring that we wrap our brain in a lid that not only looks good but protects us on the trail, so we head home in one piece ready to shred again soon. We took a look at Bell Bike’s mid range offering the ‘Four Forty’ and penned our thoughts…..
By Mike Branch
Product: Bell 4-Forty MIPS Trail Helmet
RRP: $159.99 AUD
Available at: Bicycles Online and all good bike stores
The Nitty Gritty
The Bell 4-Forty MIPS is a trail helmet that sits in the middle of the range of Bell’s trail helmets. It is designed for mountain biking and everyday trail riding and is not exactly what you might be chasing if you were chasing an XC style lid. To us that means it’s exactly the type of helmet that all of our readers could have in their bike shed and would most likely be the most used.
It has a polycarbonate outer with an EPS Foam inner, MIPS technology to fight against those rotational impacts and prevent concussions. It comes in 8 colourways and meets the current half shell ‘Enduro’ styling we have all grown to love.
- Fusion in-mold polycarbonate shell
- MIPS Technology
- CPSC AND AS/NZS 2063 compliant
- Goggle guide adjustable visor – suitable for goggles and glasses
- Weight 380g (Medium)
When we first got the helmet it was immediately obvious that this was a good looking lid that had been well constructed with good attention to detail. The polycarbonate shell comes all the way down and around the EPS foam and protects it, giving it not only an aesthetically pleasing look, but some extra durability. The fitting system is standard, works well and the easy adjust strap does exactly what it says it does, making adjustment quick.
We counted a total of 15 vents and the adjustable visor certainly makes room for anyone wanting to go ‘full enduro’ down the trail with their bros, fitting a pair of goggles snugly under the visor and off your face. We did find it difficult to stash a pair of POC Blade sunglasses up there though and resorted to either wearing them or hanging them off the jersey for the climbs.
On the trail the 4Forty feels comfy and fits well, you certainly don’t notice anything out of the ordinary on the descents and the helmet breathes well enough at speed, something we have come to expect from Bell. What we did find surprising was that this wasn’t the case on a hot day when some climbing was involved. In fact the 4forty actually felt considerably hotter when there was a decent climb to be had, something worth noting.
The decreased breath-ability we put down to the decreased venting, something we haven’t found in the higher end helmets that Bell produce. The other thing that we found was that the built in ‘sweat guide’ seamed to just pour sweat onto our glasses, perhaps this wouldn’t be the case with narrower lens glasses? We ran it with the POC DO Blade sunglasses and dealt with the annoying issue of sweat running onto the glasses constantly.
Overall we did find the performance good, it does have decreased ventilation compared to Bell’s other offerings and may not integrate well with large lens glasses. It is lightweight, looks good and provides ample protection with MIPS included as well, something that you don’t always see at this price point.
The Final Word
Bell have a long history of providing great helmets that are well designed, provide good protection and are popular on the trails. The 4Forty is a more budget-orientated helmet when compared to Bell’s other offerings and when put to the test there are some differences. For the price point it does provide a good looking helmet with MIPS and will definitely do the job for most of us without issue. If you are chasing a helmet with extra ventilation then you’ll need to increase you budget and head towards the higher end helmets.
Pros: Looks great, good coverage, MIPS protection, reasonably priced
Cons: Ventilation on climbs, glasses integration.