Bell Bullitt Retro Helmet Review

Old-school lid from the makers of the original full-face

Bell Bullitt Helmet
Bell Bullitt HelmetBell Helmets

Bell Helmets made the first full-face helmet back in 1968 and changed the game forever. It only stands to reason that with retro-styled lids and modern classic motorcycles being as popular as they are that Bell would reimagine its classic shell. Meeting modern comfort and safety standards while maintaining the silhouette that riders have loved for more than 40 years, the Bullitt is a new classic based off of the original.

If you’re moving from an open-face helmet to this one, you’re likely to be impressed. It fits well, has an efficient visor to block the sun/wind and keep bugs out of your face, and has something in the ways of protection for the lower half of your face if things go south. If you’re like me and had been using real retro helmets for a while, you’ll be blown away by how comfy the liner is and how well the visor works and stays in place. The styling is on point, and damn near every one of the paint schemes looks killer. But if you’re going from a modern helmet to this one and aren’t expecting to sacrifice some function for fashion, you’re most likely going to be disappointed.

This new helmet goes together with modern classic bikes like steak and brussels sprouts. Available in a huge range of colors and custom schemes from the likes of Roland Sands Design (link to /tags/roland-sands-design) and Chemical Candy, it’s not hard to find one to suit your style. It is DOT approved in the US and ECE approved for Europe but still small enough to look real good and not too “bobble heady.”

Head venting comes in the form of four small inlets above the visor with the one outlet at the top/back of the helmet. On the front of the face you have one horizontal vent that closes with a small switch inside the helmet, but closing it really doesn’t do much. With the amount of room in front of your face, you get a lot of wind moving around in there when riding.

Bell Bullit Woman
Leticia Cline in the Bell Chemical Candy LE BullittKurt Hoy

The peep hole (eye hole? vision zone? I never know what to really call it) is absolutely massive on the Bullitt. I went from wearing goggles to wearing this helmet and the difference was insane. From a vision standpoint, it's almost like not wearing a helmet at all. The visor is only mated to the front of the helmet with a small suede pad and a magnet, but it locks into place with the rotating mechanism as well. There is no rubber piping to help the visor seal to the helmet, so it can rattle around and tend to be a bit loud. If you're on an unfaired bike, the wind will push the visor back and help keep it in place and stay a bit quieter. On a faired motorcycle, if you don't have COMPLETE wind protection it will rattle around on you and get loud as hell.

Like I mentioned above, the liner materials are top quality. The inside is plush and super comfortable once it’s on. It took a couple rides to soften up and is still a little rough on the ears for on/off, but I expect that will ease up as well. I have a long, oval head shape and the Bullitt is definitely more on the round side, but I stepped up a size and it doesn’t feel too big or cavernous in any areas.

If you’re looking for a modern retro helmet in this style, you can compare it to the Biltwell Gringo or the XG.100, which I think it outperforms in most ways. Compared to Shoei’s new RF-SR for the same price, it doesn’t hold a candle in terms of performance. But this is the helmet that blends a ton of style with just enough functionality to be an upgrade from whatever that awesome-looking shitty old helmet you had and still look great.