I’ve been living with the Bell MX-9 Adventure for a few weeks and I’m thoroughly impressed. Not an easy feat at this point of my jaded, cynical moto-career. I’ve seen a lot of hype and a lot of fads. Remember the fins on MX helmets in the late 90’s? Anyway, when the time for a new helmet comes around, I develop a checklist. My very first helmet was a white and red Bell Moto-4 so when the MX-9 checked all the boxes, it was an obvious choice for me.
When first unboxing it, two things stood out. The fit and finish was great and the liner had a super soft, almost luxurious feel. I had read that the visor was adjustable, but looking at how the 3 thumbscrews were set into the visor I couldn’t see how. Luckily I have a habit of disassembling everything I own. Removing the visor revealed a second threaded insert in the shell of the helmet for the top screw, giving the visor 2 positions. Since I won’t be in any FMX competitions any time soon, I used the lower setting.
Now to get it out on the road. The first thing I noticed seconds after I snicked into gear was how large the eye port was. I didn’t have any complaints with my previous helmet, but this was a huge upgrade. My commute is fast highway miles, so I was relieved that there was no visor induced lift. The retired helmet was an ADV type as well. If you are changing from a typical street helmet you may notice the visor more than I do at speed.
The face shield has a long pronounced edge built into the bottom of both sides for lifting it up. I had to get used to finding the small tab in the center to close it. The shield closes with a satisfying ‘thunk’ against a thick rubber seal. There were no surprises in the wind or noise departments. There is a large closeable vent up front with 4 smaller fixed vents and 4 exhaust vents in back. Removing the face shield is almost effortless with 2 of the visors thumb screws. It’s actually easier than many of the ‘Quick Release’ contraptions I’ve used. I accidentally noticed another feature that I liked. Sneezing inside a full face helmet is one of the trials and tribulations that motorcyclists must endure. The inside surface of the chin bar is hard plastic which makes it easier to keep clean than Styrofoam or padding. That surface also allowed me to use some stickers to cover the small fixed vents on my 42 degree morning commute. I don’t believe that in 2018 mankind should have to carry a tint and a clear face shield. The MX-9 has a photochromic Transitions shield available or one is included with the DLX models.
I mentioned that this helmet has MIPS and how I hope to never have to test it. My friend that races flattrack replied “I’ve tested it. It works”. Good to know. MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) is an energy management system that’s being featured in more and more helmets. Introduced in 2014, Bell now uses it in the MX-9, MX-9 Adventure, Qualifier DLX and Star. Another thing I love about this helmet is that they make it in 3 shell sizes, which means a size small doesn’t look goofy using the same shell as an XL.
I’m super happy that I’ll be spending the next few years with this helmet. For a helmet at this price point it’s loaded with features, function and form. Don’t let the price fool you, this helmet is a solid and well built. Now if I could just find an old Moto 4 at a garage sale…..