Bell Pit Boss Review

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Some riders really prefer to keep their head minimally protected to free up their field of view and make sure they can feel the wind while they ride. Half-helmets like the Bell Pit Boss are exactly what minimalist riders are looking for. This is the kind of motorcycle helmet you just strap on and go.

It’s got a few extras compared to most half helmets, but if you want a high quality, bare bones helmet to keep your noggin safe on the road, this is the choice for you. Is it a good buy for the money? That depends on what your needs are. We’ll examine features for the cost in detail in this review, as well as the major pros and cons of a half-helmet.

Bell Pit Boss Open-Face Motorcycle Helmet (Solid Black, Medium)

Ratings

Comfort:

90%
Comfort

Visibility:

95%
Visibility

Ventilation:

85%
Ventilation

Quietness:

65%
Quietness

Specifications

Outer shell material : TriMatrix composite shell—Kevlar/Carbon/Fibergass blend

Shell size : 2 shell sizes-
MD: SM and MD helmets
LG: LG and XL/2XL helmets

Liner : Antibacterial microfiber liner

Weight : 2.44 lbs

Pinlock : N/A

Strap System : D-ring closure with a snap

Safety Ratings

DOT : Yes

ECE : Yes

SNELL : No

SHARP : Not tested


Shape and materials

First off, this helmet is built using top-notch materials. The outer shell consists of an interwoven, three-layer polycarbonate plastic matrix reinforced by  carbon fiber and Kevlar.  The result is a lightweight, super-durable material that resists scratching and provides superior impact protection.

There are also graphics and paint schemes to suit just about any taste, so it’s easy to get the Pit Boss you want to complement or contrast with the finish or artwork on your ride. Despite being minimalist, you get more options with this half helmet than you do with many full face motorcycle helmets.


Overall comfort

The two shell sizes for the Pit Boss fit more head shapes than comparable helmets in their price point and class. The interior liner is washable and antimicrobial, and the cushions can be removed and rearranged for optimal comfort. There are no ventilation intakes to help keep your head cool while riding, but the absence of a visor makes these unnecessary anyway.

As far as other creature comforts like Bluetooth audio or intercom systems, the Pit Boss isn’t built with them in mind. You can probably rig something up, but given the minimalist style of the helmet that may be tricky. At best, you can set up a Bluetooth audio system, but configuring and customizing the helmet safely is going to take some high level ingenuity.

Finally, let’s talk about the most comfortable feature of the Pit Boss: the chin strap. Easy to adjust and size quickly, you can have your helmet securely strapped on and retain a comfortable all-day fit with the easily adjustable D-Ring and snap/buckle. One area in which the Pit Boss shines is that it is so lightweight and comfortable it makes all day rides and long road trips an enjoyable experience without pressure points or pinching.

Things I liked

  • Ultra-lightweight comfort
  • Super-tough triple matrix outer shell
  • Comfortable and easily adjustable chin strap.

Things I don’t like

  • No chin bar, face shield or visor.
  • Lacks additional ventilation ports
  • Sun visor does not operate or fit well if you wear glasses

Visibility

You can’t get better visibility than a half-face helmet. The absence of the visor, chin bar and face shield means you have complete peripheral vision vertically and horizontally. You also have the added benefit of the drop down sun-shield for brighter days when you’ve forgotten your sunglasses.

There have been a few reviews out there that criticized the sun-visor for use with prescription glasses. Most negative reviews said it didn’t slide easily or fit properly when riders work glasses and pulled the sun visor down. Aside from this minor caveat, your field of view is excellent.


Quietness

You need earplugs or earphones if you are going to ride with a Pit Boss on your head. It provides virtually no sound dampening, and if your ride has a loud exhaust you are going to permanently damage your hearing. It’s a drawback of riding with a half-helmet: superior visibility, but increased wind noise and less protection from potential hazards. If you are looking to buy a quiet motorcycle helmet, the Pit Boss is not the one for you. 


Ventilation

No visor and chin bar means this has some of the best ventilation of any helmet type you can buy. Naturally, you need to keep your lower face and eyes protected against potential damage, but if you are looking for a helmet that stays cool all day the Pit Boss from Bell is an excellent choice.


Safety

I dislike the idea of riding without a visor for eye protection and a chin bar to save my face on impact. I’ll be glad my brain is safely encased in my helmet, but if I bail and take a ride across concrete I want my helmet to bear the brunt of the damage as opposed to my face. Half-helmets don’t provide that layer of protection, and having only half coverage in an accident means that depending on how bad the crash is they may have to reconstruct my face.

If you’re willing to ride with that risk, then go for it. The Pit Boss is rated for the U.S. DOT and EU DOT authorities as a safe helmet for impacts. Given their decades of experience, I’m going to lean on their evaluation if I’m going to ride with an open face helmet.

Conclusion

This is a well-designed and built half helmet. I don’t care for them because of the limited amount of protection they off, but the Bell Pit Boss is made of high quality materials to exacting standards. If you prefer half helmets, this is a great choice whether you are making a first time buy or replacing an older half helmet.

No matter what, this helmet will keep you safer in an accident than no helmet. It’s also wise to ride with a half helmet than no helmet, as the latter is illegal in some locales, and some protection on impact is always better than none. Check out the Pit Boss online for yourself, and try one on to see if it's the fit you’ve been looking for.

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