The question of whether or not the removable chin bar on Bell Helmet's new Super 2R was capable of withstanding a direct hit provided fodder for numerous heated debates when the helmet was first announced
, with concerns being raised about its ability to provide effective protection in the event of a crash. A full review of the helmet is in the works, one that goes over its fit, function, and ventilation, but since we try to avoid smashing our faces into trees whenever possible, we paid a visit to Bell's helmet testing facilities in Scotts Valley, California, in order to witness the paces the helmet had been put through during its development.
While at the lab, we were able to witness the Super 2R's chin bar being put through three separate testing procedures. The first was the chin bar deflection test, where where a 5 kg mass is dropped from about 0.4 meters to correspond to an impact velocity of 2.8 meters per second, a test that's modeled after the one used for DH certification. Next came a test where the helmet itself is dropped onto an anvil; and finally, a test that Bell's engineers came up with to replicate a glancing blow, the type of impact that's more representative of what actually occurs during a crash.
Of course, all of these tests were performed in a controlled environment, since using human test subjects to evaluate helmet safety isn't exactly an ethically sound method. We still would have liked to see the helmet tested to destruction, something along the lines of what we accomplished during a visit to Santa Cruz Bicycles
a few years ago, but even without getting to snap, smash or crush anything we still appreciate being granted the chance to see the types of impacts that the Super 2R's chin bar can withstand.