Probably the most important piece of karting kit you will own. Now discontinued but replaced by the very similar Bell Sport 5, with a longer life Snell SA2010 rating compared to the Bell Sport 4's Snell SA 2005 rating.
Let's see how this lid performs.
FIA 8858 & Snell SA2005 Approved
The Bell Sport 4 comes in your standard helmet packaging with nothing particularly special going on. The box has padding on each side to prevent any damage to your £400, potentially life saving device.
Take out the helmet and you get a small accessory kit. This contains a small tool with the two sizes of allen wrench needed to change the visor. You also get a helmet bag for transporting your head protector around. This is thick enough to take any small bumps and knocks, but it will not prevent damage if you drop it, for example.
The first thing I noticed about this helmet once I had it placed firmly on my noggin was the comfort. It fits perfectly and does not wobble around. This is probably down to the correct sizing but the materials used inside are basic, comfortable and hold no surprises (Its also nomex lined).
As always, you need to make sure you get the correct size, if you do get the wrong size, you want it too small rather than too big. The last thing you want is the helmet moving around on your swede during a race. This is not just to eliminate the possible increased rate of premature hair loss, but to avoid any potential serious injury or lack of vision if you ever get involved in a first lap, first corner armageddon like incident.
One thing I have noticed through time is the helmet outside shell size is very large. If you compare it to an Arai SK-6, it is noticeably larger. This is not really an issue for most people, as long as you don't mind looking a little bit like "Big Ed" from the British Superbike Championship. This helmet is available up to XXL which is the largest size that Bell manufacture, which could explain the larger outside size.
When using the helmet, I have always left a small opening at the bottom of the visor. This helps with keeping the visor clear if you start breathing a little heavy but also means you can easily open the visor at the end of a race! I found the system to keep the visor closed was a little aggressive and was extremely difficult to open with racing gloves on. This is an annoyance, especially when you have something really important to discuss with a fellow racer concerning their development of a twitch while along side them.
I took the plunge and dropped nearly £90 on a silver mirror effect visor for the summer months. Be careful what you clean these with as the coating is on the outside, I would advise just using clean water and keep any chemicals away. I had one incident where another kart from a different class was out practising with Senior Max and I got a face full of something exiting his exhaust. When I wiped it off after the race, it left splatter marks where the substance had removed the silver coating!
As this helmet is discontinued and superseded by the Bell sport 5, I can't say that this review will reflect entirely what the 5 will be like, but I have handled the 5 and it feels almost identical, apart from some changes to the visor.
As you can see from the images above, the styling is very similar. The visor has a newly profiled shape at each end, which will hopefully be easier to open with gloves on, a downfall of the Sport 4.
This helmet does its job. If the unfortunate happens, and I take a bit of a tumble, I have full confidence that this helmet will protect me against any nastiness. Bell is a top name in helmet manufacturing and has been around for years with a good heritage and proven track record.
- Simple design
- Quality Helmet
- Hard to open Visor
- Large outer shell