Bell Moto 3: Review

The original dirt full face is back in full neo-retro hipster glory

triumph bobber
All bundled up with the black Moto 3 in freezing temperatures outside of Mardid, Spain on the Triumph Bonneville Bobber.Triumph Motorcycles

The Bell Moto 3 is the most replicated helmet in motorcycling. I have seen countless shells built to mimic the look of Bell’s classic moto helmet, but you just can’t beat the original. Updating the shell that defines ‘70s dirt style to modern spec, Bell reworked the Moto 3 to fit better and meet DOT/ ECE qualifications while still maintaining the old school feel and look.

Retro helmets are a different breed. While we can compare them to our modern Shoeis and Arais, they’re really not in the same category in terms of technical performance. They tend to be similar in weight, but lack the venting, noise control and efficient wind visors of their more modern styled brethren. Protection wise, they tend to be more evenly yoked, using the same multi density EPS liner to absorb impact in the case of a crash. This helmet has only one source of venting aside from the wide front opening, the slots in front of the mouth. They don’t close, but I don’t think closing them would do much good anyway, as the eye hole is so big you would undoubtedly get a ton of air through there regardless.

Bell Moto 3
From street to dirt, the Moto 3 is at home wherever you take itMorgan Gales

While Bell says that the Moto 3 has a similar round interior shape to most of their other helmets, I have found it fits my ‘long oval’ shaped head better than most of their other shells. In fact, I wear a X-large in the Bell Star, but am comfortable in a large in the Moto 3. The fiberglass composite comes in three shells to fit the six available interior sizes. The new shells are all a little bit larger than the original, but the helmet manages to still pull off a slim profile. All the shells offer a weight of less than three pounds, which is about a pound lighter than Bell’s Star helmet.

The terry cloth liner has a feel just like the original ‘70s Moto 3, but is antibacterial now. In the custom versions like the RSD Malibu and the Chemical Candy paint editions, the liner is leather or suede and has a little bit of a nicer feel to it.

moto 3 scrambler
The perfect companion for your modern retro-standard or scramblerMonti Smith

Noise levels are surprisingly quiet considering the amount of airflow you get through the face of this thing. There’s no visor to rattle around and no vents up top to make the air flow in abnormal ways, keeping it relatively muted. I didn’t try hooking up a communications system to it, as it would muck up the look and I don’t really use this helmet on super long rides, anyway.

If you’re looking at stylie retro-ish helmets, the Moto-3 should be among the top of your list. In my opinion it’s better looking than most of the competitors and way safer than all of the Asian replicas that don’t meet ECE or DOT standards. Compared to the Simpson M50, the whole shell feels muchstronger, without nearly as much flex in the chinbar.

For the $350 price tag, you’re getting one of the more expensive retros on the market, but I say it’s worth it. The fit and finish are very high quality and it’s noticeably stronger than some other helmets in the class. You can get replicas, you can get similar helmets, or you can hit up Bell and get the original.

For more info, check out BellHelmets.com