The Bell Volt helmet is the brand's second-tier helmet. It feels reassuringly tough, not weighty, and looks similar to the top-tier Gage helmet, as worn by BMC team riders, thanks mainly to the pods behind the ears.
The Volt is priced at an RRP of £139.99, it's currently available at just under £100 at most outlets. The 320g claimed weight of the helmet disappears when in use; I've yet to use another helmet where the weight seems so well distributed.
This is especially noticeable when looking back to check what's going on behind.
There are seven colours available, and ours came in a subtle grey - Matt Titanium to be exact. The titanium colour is carried through to the Composite Fibre Intakes, a woven material around some of the helmet's 22 vents. These feed into internal channels inside the shell to aid airflow whilst on the move.
Having tested this helmet in winter, it's hard to tell if the vents give enough airflow for the hottest conditions, but they don't appear to add wind noise. The Volt is much quieter than my previous Bell helmet, which was in all fairness getting on a bit.
It has a detachable peak - Bell state that the helmet has been designed for on and off-road use so this could be handy if you do a bit of off-roading, where peaked helmets are popular.
Fit is good. The Twin Axis Gear adjustment easily pulls the cradle into to a secure and comfortable shape. The dial at the back is easy to operate while wearing full winter gloves and the medium size allowed me enough adjustment to wear a skull cap and standard cotton cap, as well as fitting well sans cap(s).
The 'Twin Axis' part means that it adjusts around the Occipital Lobe (the lump at the back of your head), useful for someone like me with a misshapen head! It comes in 3 sizes, so there should be an option to suit.
The X-Static Padding, which is a quick drying material with an anti-microbial coating, has stood up to some pretty grimy club runs over the last couple of months, returning to freshness in spite of the horrendous conditions.
One thing that is slightly annoying is that the finishing could be better around the mould lines. It's a very minor thing, invisible to all but the closest inspection. It wouldn't put me off purchasing, but it may annoy some who pay attention to such things when spending £100 on a new helmet.
The looks are solid and dependable, classy rather than stand-out, which may not appeal to those after the 'Pro' look.
Comfortable, classy looking helmet with an easy and widely adjustable fitting system… and it's quiet too
road.cc test report
Make and model: Bell Volt helmet
Size tested: Medium, silver/ti
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 Bell Volt has a wide market, for those wanting a quality helmet, who don't want to look like they're part of a pro peloton. It struck me as a great all year round helmet, with plenty of adjustability for hats/buffs when riding in the winter whilst offering decent ventilation during warm summer rides.
Bell claim that it's been "Designed to be used on-or off-road, the Volt features Bell's removable Variable Position Visor (VPV) and is equally at home in Tour De France as it is on the World Cup XC mountain bike circuit.", and it hits the mark as a helmet that looks good with, or without it's peak.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Conforms to CE EN1078, CPSC Bicycle
Detachable visor, with plugs for when not in use
Cam-lock levers on the ear straps
Moisture-wicking X-Static Padding
Channeled internal ventilation
7 colour options
3 sizes, S (51-55cm), M (55-59cm), L (59-63cm)
Minor finishing issues where moulds haven't quite met have left some small ridges at the joins, specifically around the vents.
Performance can't be faulted, this is a very versatile helmet and is comfortable to wear on long rides.
The winter months have yet to have any effect on the helmet, the construction is quality with only minor superficial finishing issues letting it down.
The weight isn't what you'd get on pro-level helmets, but it's not a limiting factor.
Rides of 4 hours or more have passed without any thought going to the helmet. The relatively minimal padding is in the right locations for all-day comfort.
The Volt is at an odd price point, in-between the lower-priced Sweep, but less than the Pro-level Gage. It's hard to see why you'd buy the Volt over the Sweep other than for looks, and it'd be easy to justify the extra spend for the Gage if you want the "Pro" look.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Ultimately the designed purpose is to save you head if you crash - this has yet to be proven but the look and feel of the helmet during use are good.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The understated yet classy looks are appealing, especially in the Matt Titanium colour as tested.
The fitting system is a doddle to use.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
My only dislike is the visible mould lines; this is minor and it could just be me being pedantic!
Some of the graphics might not be to everyone's tastes and there's a lack of plain single colour options.
Did you enjoy using the product? Very much so.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Helmets are there to save your head if you crash, crashing usually only lasts a few seconds, but you'll be hopefully wearing the helmet for a lot longer than that so it's got to be right when you spend £100 on something that you're going to be wearing for a long time. The Volt has classy looks and a reassuringly solid feel to it.
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 183 Weight: 77kg
I usually ride: Kinesis Racelight T My best bike is: Planet X Nanolight
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, club rides,