For 2014, the Bell Tater has an improved fit but has lost its inbuilt flashing back lights.
A few years ago my children owned helmets to beat all others. The reason for their pride was that their helmets flashed. I was happy with the added visibility (not that they often went out after dark) and they hadn't been so pleased since Clarks put LEDs in their shoes that lit up with each footfall.
I was therefore, quite disappointed to discover that the new Tater helmet has lost ir flashers. Where they once were are now little reflective stickers - a poor substitute. The new 'improved' version even costs £5 more than the old one.
Bell has improved its chin fitting device in this new model, ditching the padded buckle for a sliding ratchet, design that's finding its way on to several kids and youth helmets out this year. The ratchet system avoids the perennial parental problem of getting your little darling's flesh caught in the buckle and gives a snug fit that is easily adjustable. In the swap they have lost the chin pad, leaving the plastic exposed straight on to skin, which could be made more comfortable.
The Tater uses Bell's OneStep fit system. Instead of the straps being adjustable behind the head and under the ears, Bell have gone for an elasticated back strap and flexible plastic which in theory puts the ear and chin straps in the right place every time. This works best towards the upper end of the given head circumference range of 47-53 cm, as the elastic then has a good degree of tension in it to hold the helmet securely on your child's head.
The plastic straps are able to be adjusted by snapping them into and out of a series of holes to give an overall larger or smaller fit. I'm not saying that I didn't read the instructions, but this feature wasn't clear unless you looked very carefully at the inside of the helmet. I am also not convinced at the longevity of the plastic once it has been clicked in and out of place a few times.
The Tater's padding surpasses that found on all the other children's helmets I've come across. It has a juicy, deep feeling and stretches around the forehead without threading through plastic holders like most other makes. The padding is covered in mesh and does a great job of soaking up sweat and giving a comfy feel to this quite large and heavy helmet. With only seven vents it can get quite sweaty and weighing 285g on our scales (published weight 295g) it is one of the heaviest kids' lids we've had in to test this year. In addition to the weight, the Tater looks quite chunky and has a moulded peak which extends a full 5cm from the child's forehead. This adds to the oversized look and made our mini-tester look rather top-heavy.
The Tater is available in four colour schemes - two monster themed, one under the sea and the tested helmet which had pink chihuahuas riding bikes; our tester liked the brightness of the helmet she was wearing. In fact, she was happy to wear it both on the bike and in the house while watching TV, which I'm taking to mean it was comfortable to wear.
This helmet's stated size is for heads ranging from 47cm to 53cm in circumference. In practice, this worked out to fit children about 3-6 years old, but always measure your own child's head before buying.
Comfortable but slightly bulky helmet for a little person
road.cc test report
Make and model: Bell Tater Child Helmet
Size tested: Uni Size 50-54cm, Blue/Pink
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Tater's ingenious OneStep fit system makes fitting kids' helmets easy. Just put the helmet on, snap the buckle and go. No ear adjustments, no worrying about whether it's too tight or too loose. Here's how it works: On the initial fitting, simply snap the buckle closed and make the one-time adjustment of snugging the chin strap to the proper length. And that's it.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Full Wrap Fusion™ In-Mold Microshell
OneStep™ Fit System
Integrated Bug Net
Concern about how the plastic straps are held in place - the knob which locks into place is only a couple of mm in diameter and looks prone to snapping.
A higher than average weight for children's helmets for this age.
The padding used was super comfy.
More for less, following the flashing lights having been removed.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Luckily not used in an accident situation.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The high quality padding.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The weight and size.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, our tester wore it about the house.
Would you consider buying the product? Not anymore.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
It's comfortable, but the Tater loses points for its weight and for the fact that the price has gone up from last year's model but it's lost its flashing LEDs.
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 5'7 Weight: size 16
I usually ride: Trek 7.5 WSD My best bike is: Turquoise Cruiser
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Novice
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, Leisure