New Bell commuter lids make it easier to see and be seen

Also a new value-priced full-face helmet

Safely commuting by bicycle is often a matter of making sure motorists know you're there along with being aware of your surroundings, and Bell's new Muni and Arella urban helmets are designed to help with both.

As with Bell's previous Citi and Metro urban helmets, the Muni – and the smaller but similarly styled Arella women's version – sport built-in loops to accommodate add-on rear flashers. However, these models go one step further by cleanly integrating a pair of LED lights directly into the retention system. 

Up front, the removable visor also doubles as a mount for the surprisingly bright Flea LED light from sister company Blackburn (we're trying to find out if this visor fits Bell's mountain bike helmets, too, as it'd be great for night-time trailside repairs). 

LED flashers are built directly into the retention system while the rear loop can accept another flasher, too, for even more visibility: led flashers are built directly into the retention system while the rear loop can accept another flasher, too, for even more visibility
LED flashers are built directly into the retention system while the rear loop can accept another flasher, too, for even more visibility: led flashers are built directly into the retention system while the rear loop can accept another flasher, too, for even more visibility

LED flashers are built directly into the retention system while the rear loop can accept another flasher, too, for even more visibility

If you're into that sort of thing, you can also attach the optional Flip Mirror, which clips directly to the visor and folds discreetly out of the way when not in use.   Even without anything attached, the visor is still all-weather commuter friendly with channels along the periphery to funnel rainwater off to the sides.

When all the aforementioned pieces are used together, it makes for a greatly reduced chance of accidentally leaving your lights at home. Once you're at the office, you can even charge the lights at your computer with Blackburn's slick USB adapter.

The muni's blade plus visor includes an integrated mount for blackburn's flea 2.0 led light and also doubles as a base for the clip-on, foldaway mirror: the muni's blade plus visor includes an integrated mount for blackburn's flea 2.0 led light and also doubles as a base for the clip-on, foldaway mirror
The muni's blade plus visor includes an integrated mount for blackburn's flea 2.0 led light and also doubles as a base for the clip-on, foldaway mirror: the muni's blade plus visor includes an integrated mount for blackburn's flea 2.0 led light and also doubles as a base for the clip-on, foldaway mirror

The Muni's Blade Plus visor includes an integrated mount for Blackburn's Flea 2.0 LED light and also doubles as a base for the clip-on, foldaway mirror

Bell will offer both the Muni and Arella in one size each, although well thought out strap setups look to accommodate a reasonably wide range of head shapes. Borrowing from Giro's minimal Roc Loc SL – as seen on the ultralight Prolight model – the Muni and Arella's OneStep Plus system features a simple elastic strap that stretches across the base of your skull and simplified attachments at the ears. 

Unlike the Roc Loc SL, though, the OneStep Plus will offer three different positions to help dial in the fit, in lieu of multiple shell sizes. Adding to this is a convenient ratcheting buckle for quick adjustments depending on the weather and additional headwear.

The bell muni and arella helmets use a simplified onestep plus strap system that borrows some features from giro's prolight: the bell muni and arella helmets use a simplified onestep plus strap system that borrows some features from giro's prolight
The bell muni and arella helmets use a simplified onestep plus strap system that borrows some features from giro's prolight: the bell muni and arella helmets use a simplified onestep plus strap system that borrows some features from giro's prolight

The Bell Muni and Arella helmets use a simplified OneStep Plus strap system that borrows some features from Giro's Prolight

Bell will offer the Muni in four colors and the Arella in five, both for just US$65 (£59.99/€70). The optional Flea 2.0 USB lights will add another $29.99 each ($54.99 for both) and the Flip Mirror will cost $14.99.

Also new from Bell for 2011 is the value-priced Sanction full-face helmet, which will retail for just $80 (£99.99/€100). Bell are aiming the new Sanction at a more youthful crowd, with slightly smaller sizes relative to their old Bellistic and current Drop models. But it retains a full feature set, including a tough fiberglass shell, an adjustable visor and a few vents to keep the air moving at speed.

Got a yeti? bell's new color option for 2011 – including their new sanction full-face model – is a near perfect match for the popular colorado niche brand: got a yeti? bell's new color option for 2011 – including their new sanction full-face model – is a near perfect match for the popular colorado niche brand
Got a yeti? bell's new color option for 2011 – including their new sanction full-face model – is a near perfect match for the popular colorado niche brand: got a yeti? bell's new color option for 2011 – including their new sanction full-face model – is a near perfect match for the popular colorado niche brand

Got a Yeti? This new color option for 2011 – including on Bell's new Sanction full-face model – is a near perfect match for the popular Colorado niche brand

Especially aggressive riders will want to make note that the Sanction is CPSC-approved only, though, and doesn't meet the new ASTM downhill standard. Other models such as the Volt and Sequence will carry over but with new colors added for 2011.

James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA

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