The Eclipse Spherical helmet from Bell’s sister brand Giro employed a fresh approach to the MIPS system, with Giro’s aero pedigree making it a surefire winner for cyclists seeking both speed and safety.
In fact, it was one of our best road bike helmets of 2022.
As the name suggests, Bell’s XR Spherical Road Helmet also offers that Spherical MIPS tech, but the titular ‘Road’ narrows the appeal offered here.
Bell XR Spherical Road Helmet specification and details
What is the Spherical tech? It’s essentially a helmet within a helmet, with two layers of EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam held together by elastomer ‘anchors’ to create a ball-and-socket effect.
The proprietary idea is to enable the outer liner to rotate around the inner during a crash and redirect impact forces away from the brain.
The Giro Aether Spherical was awarded a five-star safety rating by the influential Virginia Tech institute. There’s nothing here to suggest the Bell won’t follow in that vein once tested, but it took plenty of tightening from the Float Fit retention system to make the helmet feel secure.
I never quite got my preferred fit (and scored some serious helmet hair into the bargain when cycling to work).
Bell XR Spherical Road Helmet performance
There’s no denying there’s a lot of helmet here, and the brow can still be visible if you’re down on the drops or aero bars. The frontal area jostled for forehead space with my oversized cycling sunglasses from SunGod.
That deep coverage extends to the rear, with additional EPS tabs behind the ears taking this into the gravel riding territory Bell also promotes this helmet for.
The Bell XR Spherical Road is a helmet I never forgot I was wearing on the road, but a reminder of that extra security was welcome when cutting through woodland tracks.
Despite the ample coverage, the weight is a relatively lean 283g (M) and the finishing details high-quality.
The polycarbonate shell neatly covers much of the exposed EPS foam and the ratchet dial offers a resolute click. Meanwhile, the Fidlock magnetic buckle on the chin is a joy for anyone wearing thick cycling gloves or triathletes seeking a speedy transition.
The straps sit flush, while the 18 ventilation channels provided enough aeration on mixed-condition rides.
Bell XR Spherical Road Helmet bottom line
The XR Spherical All-Road would be a more suitable title for this helmet, because it was away from the tarmac where I enjoyed it most.
It provides plenty of security for off-road use, the Spherical technology is a reassuring presence, and it scores well for weight and ventilation.
However, the fit wasn’t the best and I question whether the only adequate on-road performance warrants the sizeable outlay.
|Price||br_price, 5, 3, Price, AUD $380.00GBP £210.00USD $225.00|
|Weight||br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 283g (M), Array, g|
|Brand||br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Bell|
|Features||br_Features, 11, 0, Features, Sizes: S, M, L
Colours: Include - Matte/Gloss Black; Matte/Gloss Blues; Matte/Gloss Titanium/Grey; Matte/Gloss White/Black
|MIPS||br_MIPS, 11, 0, MIPS, Yes|
|Helmet type||br_helmetType, 11, 0, Helmet type, Road|