Bell Helmets Showcases Impact Testing

Steps to the forefront of the safety conversation

You can’t help but feel some remorse for helmet manufacturers; thanks to ever-evolving restrictions and expectations, designing and manufacturing head protection has become increasingly difficult. Nevertheless, Bell helmets, part of the larger Easton-Bell Sports company that specializes in head protection with sister brands like Riddle and Giro, looks to stay at the top of the market by way of comprehensive test strategies. And to further highlight its testing procedures, Bell helmets recently invited members of the press to its Helmet Technology Center in Scotts Valley, Califonia.

“The one big thing that we believe in and have always believed in the last 60 years, and want to share with you, is we believe in comprehensive testing,” says Chris Sackett, Bell’s Powersports Business Unit Director. “And it’s not just testing for catastrophic injuries or catastrophic crashes; it’s testing across the board, whether it’s a low speed tip-over, mid-speed off over a little double, or 100 mph crash out in the desert. We want to share with you today what that looks like,” he adds. Bell’s ultimate goal is to create a helmet that can absorb and dissipate energy at any conceivable velocity, and thanks to its testing procedures the manufacturer can build a helmet more apt for protecting a rider in crashes that differ in speed and intensity.

In the video above, Bell helmet Test Engineer Alex Szela presents just a handful of Bell’s tests, including the test for double hits. “And then we've got to pass another test, which is the same location with a slightly different velocity—a little bit lower velocity—and what this is supposed to simulate is a double hit, so hitting something during the same accident,” Szela says. “This is one of the reasons why Snell is so difficult to pass is because a lot of times the shell will crack so much during the first hit that in the second hit there’s nothing left to support it. It’s definitely a hurdle for a lot of people to get over that double hit,” Szela reveals.

It’s no secret that manufacturers (car, motorcycle, or gear) test other product to better understand where they are doing a better or worse job. Still, it’s funny to see Shoei and One Industry helmet boxes laying around Bell’s testing facility.

As a motorcycle helmet manufacturer, Bell is definitely doing everything it can to get a heads up on the competition.