Bell Stoker Helmet
Bell recently released their new Stoker helmet, which takes style cues from the company's flagship enduro lid, the Super, but comes in at a much lower price point. The Stoker features the extended rear coverage that's quickly becoming the norm for helmets intended for trail and all-mountain riding, along with a Speed Dial fit system and extensive venting.
• Fusion In-Mold Microshell
• CE 1078, CPSC Bicycle certified
• Sizes: S-XL
• Weight: 316 grams
• Colors: black/red haze, blue, green, orange, white/silver, black, titanium
• MSRP: $70 USD
The Stoker is constructed using Bell's Fusion In-Mold technique, which entails injecting the EPS foam into the outer shell while the helmet is still in the mold to securely join the two materials. To keep things cool, the helmet has thirteen large vents in addition to three channels found on the brow of the helmet. These channels are intended to direct air over the head to provide additional airflow. To further aid in temperature regulation, Coolmax's proprietary fabric is used for the pads inside the helmet to help wick away sweat on those hot rides. Four sizes are available (S-XL), and the fit around the head can be fine tuned by turning a ratcheting dial in the rear of the helmet. There are also three possible positions to adjust where the rear strap fits on the back of the head. The visor is attached in two spots on the sides of the helmet, and can be easily removed, although it has a fairly limited range of adjustment.
Fit / On Trail Performance
The Stoker offers extra protection at the back of the head while still providing good ventilation via thirteen large vents.
A helmet's looks might be one thing, but how it fits is what really matters. The Stoker's fit proved to be excellent, sitting in just the right spot on the forehead and at the back of the head. Each click of the Speed Dial adjustment system makes a noticeable change in the snugness of the helmet, and while it doesn't allow for as fine of an adjustment as some other retention systems, we were still able to find a position that was comfortable for all-day rides.
The ventilation of the Stoker was on par, if not better, than higher end helmets in this same category, and we never felt overheated, even when grinding up long dirt road climbs under a blazing mid-day sun. The weight of the helmet was barely noticeable - for comparison, the Stoker weighs 316 grams, 74 grams less than its big brother, the Super. On the trail, the Stoker stayed securely in place, even on the chunkiest, choppiest terrain. There weren't any fit issues when wearing sunglasses, and there is plenty of real estate at the rear of the helmet so that goggles can be worn without trouble.
Bell's Speed Dial retention system helps keeps the helmet in place, while vents above the brow work to increase airflow over the top of the head. The Stoker's small visor attaches at each side of the helmet, and is easily removed and installed.
The one thing we'd like to see on the Stoker is a wider range of visor positions. Most of the time it remained out of our field of vision, but we'd sometimes catch a glimpse of it, typically on steep climbs. A few degrees of additional adjustment is all it would take to correct this, although this small quibble is certainly not a deal breaker, especially given the Stoker's price. Pinkbike's take:
| The Stoker's fit and ventilation surpassed our expectations, and we regularly found ourselves selecting this helmet over higher priced options. It departs from the trend of trying to cram as many features as possible into a helmet, and focuses instead on simplicity and comfort, an approach we fully support. The Stoker's extended coverage, good fit, and competitive weight are worthy of praise, and the fact that it comes in at a reasonable price point makes this an extremely solid contender in the trail / all-mountain helmet arena. - Mike Kazimer|