Old Man's Gap Year Product Reviews
Bell Helmet – Qualifier Dlx Mips Review
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Having spent hours on the internet researching countless Helmet reviews I came to realise most of them just reiterated the specs and features that I could read for myself. I wanted real intel from someone who has worn the helmet over an extended time frame and in varying conditions. I found some reviews that did inform me on potential pitfalls and one that even showed post-crash issues on one helmet I was considering. All of this combined with multiple visits to helmet retailers trying various helmets on I was able to narrow down my selections. Price also did that naturally for me based on my desire to invest max $350.
I landed on the Bell Qualifier Deluxe with the MIPS technology and transition visor. If you want to know what all that tech stuff means and does suggest just google the helmet and knock yourself out. My review is all about the touchy-feely stuff that you won’t find in a spec list.
The thought of putting my head into a full-face helmet after years of feeling free as a breeze in my open face was challenging my claustrophobic demons. Bit like going from boxers to budgee smugglers eh! Fortunately for me I come from a family of very practical shoppers. My reasoning for changing from an open face to a full-face helmet for my round Australia ride were these;
- Higher risk of stones flicking up off the road shoulders from Car drivers towing wobbling caravans. Better to cover the full mug than have a stone tattooed into your left cheek.
- Road Train Trucks just have way more rubber on the road so again stones flicking up is a higher risk
- I’m 60 so I don’t need to look like George Hamilton after 6 months on the road. I’m tanned enough besides when I rode to Sturgis in America I got so tanned people spoke to me in Spanish. Not that there is anything wrong with being Mexican it was just I didn’t have a green card!
- Then there was safety. Doing 20,000 plus kilometres will certainly increase the potential risk of having an accident and if I was going to kiss a Kangaroo I would rather be wearing a protective helmet as apparently, they are not good kisses.
- The transition visor saves me packing more sunglasses than Bono on a U2 Tour. And I can wear my combo long range- short range optical glasses under the visor. So now I will know that yes, I am running out of petrol according to the gauge that I can now see and that sign in the distance does say no more petrol for 300km.
- I wanted, correction I needed a helmet that had good ventilation as my black open face had no vents and it would fry my noodle in hot weather to the point where I reckon my head size grew. Given I was going to the Northern Territory 35-degree days are the norm up there. The Bell Qualifier has ample vents and it was pleasant to have fresh air moving over and around my head.
- Ok reason 5 is lame but I think the Bell Qualifier looks way cool, or dope as they say now. Time to break away from the stereo typical Harley Open Face style and go with an aggressive styling helmet with attitude especially in matt black. I felt I was onto a suitable top hat for riding my Harley. Way safer than my old open face but still cruiser stylish.
My first short ride with the new Bell Qualifier I can tell you this;
- It is not as noisy as a lot of the online reviews will tell you. I suspect they are comparing to more expensive helmets that they probably regularly wear. For me coming off years of open face helmet riding it was like stepping under Maxwell Smarts cone of silence at a Control meeting with the Chief. For those too young to know what the heck I just said it means it isn’t that noisy, but it isn’t soundproof. Because I have an outside stereo system on my bike I liked the fact I can still hear it fine. But at higher speeds and the visor fully down it blocks out a lot of noise. Probably not as good as those higher priced helmets but great from where I am coming from.
- It is a snug fit around the face as you will notice the snugness around your cheeks. You can get different sizes but for me it was more due to having always worn open face helmets it just felt different. After the first 30 minutes I didn’t even notice it. I will be wearing the helmet to bed tonight as it is now stuck on my head. Kidding just wanted to make sure you are reading all this. What I did notice was I felt very secure and my head felt snug but I still had plenty of forward and lateral vision.
- It is very light, and I didn’t find it uncomfortable coming from an open face. Loved that the liner is fully removeable and can be washed. Chin strap system was comfortable and liked the extra loop to tidy up any excess strap so nothing flapping in the breeze.
I will update the review once I have done some serious long rides in vary conditions on my OMGY Journey Round Australia, so we can compare first short ride impressions to the long-haul actuality. However thus far I am a happy camper.