I’ve got to be one of the fussiest people around when it comes to helmets. Once I find one that I’m happy with, I tend to use it much longer than the three to five years recommended by many experts. But over the past few years, the lining in the helmet I’d been wearing had gotten compressed, making the helmet fit looser than when I purchased it. Plus it was scuffed and scratched pretty badly. Not long before deciding to replace my helmet, I’d seen a promotion for the new Bell Helmets Pit Boss. Bell Helmets has been around for 60 years, so they have a long track record in the motorsports industry. In fact, my first motorcycle helmet was a Bell that I’d acquired in 1971, so I was already familiar with the quality of Bell products.
At one of the motorcycle rallies I attended last year, I wandered over to a Bell Helmets display booth. I quickly determined that the Pit Boss seemed to fit all my wants, as well as my needs. Bell defines the Pit Boss as part of their cruiser-style “shorty” helmet line, which is exactly what I wanted for warm-weather riding. The helmet also comes with a removable, zippered neck curtain, which offers more warmth in chilly weather, providing coverage lower on the back and sides of my head and over my ears. The strap is attached with a D-ring and is equipped with snaps so the end of the strap doesn’t fly loose.
The Pit Boss is DOT-compliant, yet has a surprisingly lightweight “TriMatrix” composite shell containing carbon, Kevlar and fiberglass, and sports a sun visor in front. It also incorporates an internal dark smoke flip-up sun shield that deflects rain and road debris as well as providing protection from the sun. The shield is raised and lowered via a small, easily reachable lever on the front left of the helmet.
One of the major benefits of the Pit Boss is a feature I’d never seen on any other helmet—Bell’s Speed Dial Fit System. The helmet can be loosened or tightened by the turn of a dial located at the back of the helmet’s bottom edge, and the system can be adjusted vertically as well. Although I generally wear a size XXS in helmets, by using the Speed Dial Fit System the XS/S Pit Boss fit beautifully. And speaking of beauty, I chose the Checkers Twin Tone that features a black matte finish with a row of glossy black racing checkers.
I wore the Pit Boss on my ride to Sturgis and back, and the lightweight—less than two pounds—was less tiring for my neck and shoulders. I also ordered a clear inner shield for $9.95 so I could flip the shield down while riding at night, and even though I wear riding glasses, I like the extra protection it offers my eyes.
Because of the ability to adjust the helmet for the perfect fit, it never lifted off my head, even when riding through those strong South Dakota crosswinds. In fact, after wearing the Pit Boss for more than 5,000 miles, I don’t have a single complaint.
Some of the eye-pleasing colors and finishes available include Carbon Matte, Flames Matte Titanium, Flames Pink, Solid White, Titanium, Checkers Twin Tone, Flames, Black and Matte Black. All Bell Helmets offer a five-year limited warranty for defective materials and workmanship. And if you are involved in an accident and the helmet is damaged, you may be eligible for a discount on a new helmet. Bell is constantly conducting safety studies related to helmets and often uses helmets involved in accidents in their research.