The Bell Strut Helmet is aimed squarely at the female leisure cyclist, or women just starting out in riding, and offers an attractive price tag and some female specific features to entice the first-time buyer. Sub £35 is a great price for an entry level helmet with all the safety credentials you could want.
Impressively light at just 266g, the Strut uses moulded construction, with 15 vents, and is one-size-fits-most with a dial-in size adjustment at the rear. Straps are adjusted via simple flip-lock fastenings, the rear of the cradle is marketed as 'ponytail friendly' and the visor snaps on and off at will.
Available in four colour options, none of which is outrageously girly or hideously offensive, it's a decent enough looking helmet, although somewhat on the traditional side and lacking a little in sporty pizzazz. It does perch upon the head in that slightly nerdy sort of way that seems to be the norm for entry level helmets, but it's there to do a job, right?
The venting is fine, considering it's not aimed at those who are likely to build up a head of steam when out riding, and the mesh coverings to keep out bugs on the front couple are a nice touch. The visor gives a little protection from rain and doesn't interfere too badly with range of vision, and it does at least soften the dome-like lines a little.
Fit-wise, the Strut doesn't quite live up to its hype as (rather patronizingly) 'your new BFF'. I'm not sure if it's the shape of my head, but I found that in order for the helmet to not feel loose and move about, I had to dial the wheel/cradle in far enough that it felt overtight on the forehead and uncomfortable. I don't normally have a problem with helmet fit, having a fairly standard shaped head.
Aside from this, the straps, whilst being nice and easy to adjust, sit slightly sideways, digging into the sides of the face, rather than resting smooth and flush as they should. The way the buckles and straps work together mean this is hard to avoid.
As a result, the whole helmet wasn't as comfortable to wear as it should have been, unfortunately probably working towards reinforcing the opinion of new riders that bike helmets aren't pleasant to wear, and possibly deterring the very new women riders Bell are seeking to attract with this helmet. A bit of an own goal really.
OK-looking helmet, and would be good value for money if the fit and straps were better.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Bell Strut
Size tested: One size, white/silver
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?
Aimed at female riders looking for a cost-effective entry level helmet with female specific features.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Uni-size adjustable fit
Available in 4 colours
CE EN1078 / CPSC Bicycle certified
Solid and built to last.
Should last reasonably well.
Good weight for an entry level helmet.
Cranial cradle hard to adjust to fit both comfortably and securely.
Straps twist sideways in wear to irritate against face.
Would be excellent value if the fit and straps were better.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed OK but won't encourage new riders to buy helmets.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Style, price, weight.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Straps, internal cradle/fit.
Did you enjoy using the product? Not particularly.
Would you consider buying the product? Not in its current form.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Probably not.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
A good price and good quality, let down by the fit.
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 1.65m Weight: 67kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.