Helmets with removable chin guards aren’t anything new, but early attempts looked pretty ropey and weren’t exactly in high demand. The enduro boom has now provided that demand and Bell has stepped up superbly in taking on the challenge of upping the safety, style and usability stakes to deliver a uniquely versatile big-hit lid.
The Super 2R – which is available both in the standard version and with a MIPS liner that protects from rotational impacts – uses Bell’s highly regarded Super 2 helmet as its foundation, but adds a chin guard that clamps securely in place with three sturdy metal clasps. Three clasps may not sound like a lot, but with the rear one working similarly to a ski boot closure and the front two using sliding hook-style clamps that fix tightly into the helmet, things feel pretty damn solid. The chin guard also pushes into four of the 2R’s vents, making for an even better connection.
The rear clamp is reminiscent of a ski boot closure:
The rear clamp is reminiscent of a ski boot closure
Getting the chin guard clamped in place takes a bit of practice but you soon get the knack of aligning the vents and locking the clasps and it can be done in a matter of seconds on the trail. Removing it is easy enough too, though you’ll need some finger strength to open the clasps. The chin guard is relatively light at 356g (the Super helmet alone is 376g in medium) but isn’t exactly small, so you’ll need a pack with external strapping to carry it.
Once on, the 2R feels similar to a regular full-face lid, though it’s noticeably more airy around the top of the neck and behind the ears, and the strap routing isn’t quite as neat. It’s easy to tailor the fit using the indexed dial on the retention cradle and padded inserts under the cheek pads can be removed if things feel too snug. All this leads to a comfy fit with or without the chin guard in place.
Popping the chin guard on and off is the work of a few seconds:
Popping the chin guard on and off is the work of a few seconds
All the goggles we tried worked well with the 2R. The venting is impressive when you’re on the move and things don’t feel as claustrophobic when you’re breathing heavily as they can in a regular full-face.
Bell has done a decent job when it comes to the styling but the 2R still isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It’s hard to knock the ‘two helmets in one’ concept though. It’s definitely easier to carry the chin guard than lug a second helmet around, and once it’s locked in place it really bolsters confidence. The 2R doesn’t feel quite as secure or protective as a full-on full-face lid (and doesn’t meet the ASTM full-face helmet safety standard either) but for those looking for a bit of extra protection for hardcore trail rides or enduro races, it provides a convenient, well considered solution.