Bell's Volt RL helmet is firmly in the XC/roadie camp, so if you dabble in both fields this could be a good shout.
The pared down look is seemingly all vent, indeed there are 22 of them stretched out along the helmet, with an aggressive looking exhaust vent system at the back. Inside there are relatively few dedicated channels, but the location and shape of the vents mean airflow is good and the Volt is a refreshingly cool place to be.
Unfortunately this is where things turn sour. The padding inside is thin, and the odd-shaped EPS foam inner profile creates pressure points, especially at the top of the skull. The retention system’s cradle is well shaped and comfortable, giving the impression that it’s wrapped securely to your head, despite the relative circular shape. Tightening the rubberised wheel is easy, but its press-release system means de-tensioning the band is less controlled than a regular turn wheel.
The straps are anchored inside the helmet and thus sit close to your face for their entire length, which we found annoying when sweaty. They’re lightweight, but are also prone to twisting, which is frustrating.
Despite the Volt’s XC/road image, it’s also hefty at 330g – a similar weight to more protective trail helmets.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.