One of the most popular mountain bike helmets of the women I ride with, the Bell Super 3 is a comfortable, attractive helmet that comes with all the bells and whistles. Perhaps one of the biggest attractions of the helmet is the ability to add an optional chin bar (or buy the 3R that comes with the bar), so that the helmet can be used as both a regular lid and a full-face helmet. It also boasts excellent ventilation, so if you live in a hot climate, this should be one of the top choices on your short list.
Review in a Nutshell
- Excellent ventilation
- MIPS technology
- Extended rear coverage
- Optional chin bar
- Visor screws tend to fall out
Price & Where to Buy:
- $155 at JensonUSA.com*
Bell Super 3 MIPS Detailed Review
More and more mountain bike helmets are being offered with MIPS technology, so this feature doesn’t necessarily set the Bell Super 3 apart, but we are happy to see this box checked. A recent Virginia Tech study has shown just how important MIPS technology really is. All four of the five-star helmets in the study came equipped with MIPS. (Unfortunately, the Bell Super 3 wasn’t tested, so we can only guess how it would have fared).
As with all MIPS helmets, the only bummer is that the liner can snag long hair.
While most helmets with good rear of the head coverage tend to be hot, the Bell Super 3 is an exception. Despite the excellent coverage, this lid has 25 sizable vent holes and 4 interior channels. Even when riding with the Bell Super 3 in scorching late-spring Arizona temperatures, we found that our head stayed cooler and dryer than with other full-coverage mountain bike lids.
The retention system on the Bell Super 3 is pretty standard. The helmet has 2 below-the-ear clips, which after being spoiled with the no-adjustment system on the POC Tectal, are a bit annoying. At the back of the head, the dial adjust system does a good job of keeping the helmet snug. It is also covered in a bit of rubber which helps with on-the-fly adjustments even while wearing gloves. Nothing special on this front, but nothing to complain about either.
Coverage and Sizing
Compared to other helmets, this one does an excellent job of providing both rear of the head and side of the head coverage. Considering that mountain bike crashes are rarely predictable, we like having as much of our skull protected as possible. As far as sizing goes, the helmet comes in 3 sizes (S,M,L) and the smallest fits even the most petite of heads.
The visor on the Bell Super 3 is adjustable and works well with goggles or sunglasses. The one issue we discovered on the helmet, after a year of use, is that the visor screws tend to fall out. You’ll notice that both screws on this helmet have been replaced with regular hardware store screws. It works but isn’t ideal.
The only real con about the Bell Super 3 is the weight. This is far from a feather-light lid. At 431g, this is THE heaviest helmet on our list of top picks for ladies. Compare it to the POC Tectal, which weighs a mere 340g. On shorter rides, this weight may be completely unnoticeable, but on all-day epics, the extra weight can make the helmet begin to feel obtrusive.
The Bell Super 3 comes with all the bells and whistles: an adjustable visor, Go Pro mount, and removable, super-cushy anti-bacterial pads. This also helps set the Bell Super 3 apart from other helmets in the same price-point. We’d expect a helmet with so many extras to cost more than the super-reasonable pricetag that the Bell Super 3 comes with.
Optional Chin Bar
Convertible mountain bike helmets are gaining popularity and for good reason. It’s awesome to be able to stop at the top of a technical downhill and pop-on a chin bar for a little extra protection and peace of mind. (Nobody wants to end their ride with a trip to the dentist). The Super 3 does not come with the chin bar, but it can be bought after the fact as a $75 option. If you expect to use the chin bar, buy the 3R* right off the bat. This is the same great helmet with the chin bar included.
It is important to keep in mind that while the Bell Super 3 can convert to a full-face helmet, this is not the full-face helmet you want for serious downhill days at Whistler. The helmet does NOT conform with ASTM DH standards, which means it is great for a little extra protection on gnarly trail rides, or when practicing jumps on your favorite flow trail, but it isn’t a good substitute for a true downhill helmet.
Want to know how the Bell Super 3 stacks up against other women’s mountain bike helmets? Use this comparison chart. You might also want to take a peek at our list of the best women’s mountain bike helmets.
|Helmet||Size||Weight||MIPS?||# of Vents||Extras?|
|POC Tectal||XS/S: 51-54cm|
|340 g||No||15||Adjustable visor
Goggle clips, Reco technology
|Giro Montara MIPS||S; 51-55 cm|
M: 55-59 cm
|375 g||Yes||16||Adjustable visor
|Troy Lee A1 MIPS||XS: 50-54cm|
|366 g||Yes||16||Adjustable visor
|Giro Manifest Spherical||S: 51 - 55 cm|
M: 55 - 59 cm
L: 59 - 63 cm
|340 g||Yes||19||Magnetic buckle, adjustable visor, goggle clips|
|Smith Forefront 2||S: 51-55 cm|
M: 55-59 cm
L: 59-62 cm
|397 g||Yes||20||Koroyd®, adjustable visor, camera mount|
For ladies looking for a SAFE mountain bike helmet, the Bell Super 3 is one of your best options. Between the excellent rear of the head coverage, MIPS technology, and optional chin bar, the Bell Super 3 has been designed to keep your noggin intact. Despite all this protection, Bell has still managed to keep the helmet breathable and comfortable, explaining the popularity of this women’s-specific helmet.