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The Bell Avenue MIPS Road Helmet is comfortable and easy to adjust, a little portlier than some, but generally a good all-rounder for the road.
For more options, check out our guide to the best cycling helmets.
The Avenue MIPS is generally well made, with a polycarbonate in-mould shell, but I was slightly disappointed to see the EPS rim exposed, though Bell certainly isn't alone in this regard.
It has the usual anti-bacterial pad and one around the brow, to collect sweat and prevent it dripping on glasses. A scorching summer may reveal different, but so far after a few weeks of winter testing the pads are smelling fragrant, so no washing required yet.
It meets CE1078 and the US CPSC standards, and – no surprises given the name – includes Mips technology. For the uninitiated, Mips – Multi Impact Protection System – is designed to cradle your skull and act like a roll cage, protecting the brain from twisting forces. Read more in our feature, All you need to know about Mips.
The Avenue Mips is available in four colours, should this two-tone blue not float your boat, but I have to say matt finishes stir mixed feelings in me. They look sharp but can be higher maintenance. I've applied a helping of InvisiFrame Protectant (review to come) to ours, which has sealed out water, finger marks, ice, slush, mud and so on, and so far it's looking packet fresh. Occasional direct hits from stones and flints have also made no impression.
There's scope for mounting a rear LED light, though it favours models with longer straps – I've found the Magicshine Seemee family a good fit, as well as the Infini Sword and a big Xeccon.
The Avenue comes in three sizes. Ours was the Small/Medium, which adjusts to fit head circumferences between 50 and 57cm. M/L is 53-60cm, and XL 58-63cm.
Adjustment is courtesy of a rear thumbwheel branded 'Ergo fit', which features a rubberised outer for easy, reliable grip. It feels better than some I've found on much pricier helmets, and ensures adjustments are intuitive and easily performed, even when riding at a reasonable pace and wearing thicker winter-weight gloves.
The straps feature retro-reflective detailing for some added presence and employ 'no twist' guides, keeping the straps flat and comfortable against the skin. The chin buckle is similarly intuitive and the strap simple to adjust.
One minor consideration is the lack of ponytail gap.
The Bell has a small weight penalty compared with my usual helmet, an Abus Aventor, but this was only apparent for the first 20 minutes or so and forgotten thereafter. The Abus is also a bit airier than the Bell, but again, this hasn't been an issue – with 18 vents, the Bell gulps plenty of cooling air inside.
Along faster descents, I've been conscious of cooling air but no instances of annoying wind noise, which meant I was alert to approaching traffic and nothing impeded passing conversation with other riders. Grinding up climbs on milder days confirmed the vents do a decent job at slower paces too, though the front ones aren't the most secure parking spots for glasses.
It's also very accommodating of Belgian type caps. My favourite has a shallow peak and button top, which can catch slightly on some vents, but I'm pleased to report that's not been the case here. Switching to thinner caps with bigger peaks offered better protection from harsh winter sunlight and didn't result in painful 'ice cream' headaches.
Though it performs well across the board, the Bell faces some stiff competition. We haven't tested it, but Cannondale's Junction Mips is a tenner cheaper, features Mips technology, and is offered in a choice of three colours, complete with peak. It's marketed as an 'all road' lid, with gravel pretentions, which might be a vote swinger.
Some £20 cheaper than the Bell Avenue comes the Van Rysel Road Cycling Helmet RoadR 500 MIPS. Again, we've not tested it, but it's available in a choice of four colours, features Mips technology and has a two-year warranty.
The Bell is £5 less than the Endura Xtract II, at £79.99. This also features Mips technology, and is marketed as an all-rounder, with gravel among the mix. We tested the non-Mips version back in 2020 and thought it was a good entry-level lid.
Overall, the Bell Avenue MIPS is a little heavier than some, and there are rivals with similar specifications for less, but it's a comfortable and genuinely capable all-rounder.
Nicely executed helmet for general riding
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Bell Avenue Mips Road Helmet
Size tested: M/L
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?
Bell says: "THE AVENUE MIPS IS TOUGH, REFINED, AND EASY TO ADJUST ON THE FLY
"Usually, when it comes to value, there's going to be some sort of compromise. With the Avenue, we took a hard line against that. We gave it carefully sculpted vents and a graceful shape. We packed it with the same features and careful touches that define our flagship helmets, such as our Sweat Guide liner and No-Twist Tri-Glides for ease of adjustment. Equipped with our easy-to-use Ergo Fit system, fully integrated with the MIPS layer, we proudly sent it out into the world - now it's up to you to decide where to go."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
REAR REFLECTIVE DECAL
FUSION IN-MOLD POLYCARBONATE SHELL
340G (SIZE M/L)
COMPLIES WITH THE US CPSC SAFETY STANDARD FOR BICYCLE HELMET FOR PERSONS AGE 5 AND OLDER
Generally well made and finished, but the polycarbonate shell does not extend to the rim, which isn't a major issue in practice but features on some cheaper lids.
Overall performance has been very good in terms of airflow and comfort, keeping pace with my efforts on the climbs and no issues with wind noise, or "ice cream" headaches. The rear will also entertain LED lights, although the front vents aren't particularly secure parking spots for glasses.
Aside from the exposed rim, it seems solidly made, with no obvious weak spots.
It's a little portlier than some, but pretty much forgotten after the first ride.
Summer heatwaves may say different, but ventilation and general comfort have been excellent. The chin straps feel pleasant to the touch, and the rear thumbwheel adjuster makes mid-ride tweaks intuitive.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's a very competent lid for everyday riding. Ventilation and comfort have been good across the board, and I've done a fair bit of mixed terrain riding and though not marketed as such, reckon it has scope for light gravel duties.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfort, Mips technology, easy and intuitive adjustment, and the two-tone colour scheme.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Minor niggles, rather than dislikes per se. Extending the shell around the liner would please me, as would making the front vents more secure parking spots for eyewear.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There are rivals with similar specifications for less, such as Cannondale's Junction Mips at £65 and the Van Rysel Road Cycling Helmet RoadR 500 MIPS for £55, but the Bell is £5 less than the Endura Xtract II.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Generally yes, but there are cheaper alternatives.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's good: a competent helmet for general road-biased riding with generally nice design and features. However, while well priced, there are a few offering similar features for a little less.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)