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Bell M.8 In Depth Helmet Review

Posted on: Jul 9, 2016 | Author: DiscoveryParts | Categories: New Products, Driver

Bell M8 In-Depth Helmet Review

DiscoveryParts finally receives a SA2015 Bell M8 helmet. We first saw the spy pictures over a year ago and finally put our hands on the pre-production piece in December for the 2015 PRI show in Indianapolis. At first glimpse it was apparent this was not the previous Bell M4 with a different decal on it.

Bell M.8 In Depth Helmet Review

Bell M8 In-Depth Helmet Review

DiscoveryParts finally receives a SA2015 Bell M8 helmet. We first saw the spy pictures over a year ago and finally put our hands on the pre-production piece in December for the 2015 PRI show in Indianapolis. At first glimpse it was apparent this was not the previous Bell M4 with a different decal on it.

But first, let’s back up to when we received our first batch of the Bell SA2015 M.8 Race Helmets.

UNBOXING:

As for boxes, the M.8 comes in the familiar Bell Racing box with cool looking graphics. Just opening a cool box adds to the excitement of a new helmet.

When helmet ratings change, everyone is busier than the super busy we normally are. If you go to shipping and receiving, there are certain things that make the entire department calmer. Not calm, but calmer. We call those things Bar Codes. How do you make the shipping and receiving department happier than a racer qualifying on the pole? Once again...bar codes.  

Lets open the top of a pretty nice, thick box and see what we got.

A quick look shows us that Bell Racing did their research on how to ship something as important as a racing helmet without any damage occurring. Strategic blocks of foam are everywhere to cushion the helmet in places it is close to the edge. The helmet is real snug in here, it actually squeaks as you lift the helmet out. Good work here Bell Racing.

Under the helmet is a plastic bag with some stuff in it.

Inside this little bag are a few neat things, an owner's manual/fitment guide, 4 cool Bell decals, tear-of posts, and a special key to adjust or remove the shield. The key is a real nice metal piece with the Bell logo engraved on it. I keep mine in the helmet bag outer pocket so it is always with my helmet.

SKIP TO THIS PART IF YOU WANT TO SEE THE BELL M.8

Now let’s get to what we really want, the new, long sought after Bell M.8. Well, the over protection in packaging continues with the helmet being covered in a nice fabric Bell logo sling bag.

Upon removing the sling bag, we now have the helmet protected in a styrofoam miniature pillow case type bag. This is the culprit in the squeaking we had earlier in the unboxing.

HERE IT IS

 Well, it is certainly not an M.4 with a different decal. It looks sleeker, lower and has what may be an even larger eyeport and the visor is even different.

SOMETIMES I LIKE TO VENT

A cool add-on is the 3 closable top ram air vents. If you race kart, open wheel or any open cockpit car, you know that when it rains you want to keep that heavy water from soaking into your helmet. These vents are easily openable/closeable.

ALL THE BETTER TO SEE YOU WITH:

How large is the eyeport? I would say, very large. Not the largest, but very large. Precisely, about 8” across and 4” high. Like I said, very large.

Being an SA2015 helmet, it must be ready for head and neck restraint anchors. That is accomplished on the Bell M.8. Just remove the plastic threaded screws and you are ready to install your Hans, Schroth SHR Flex, Simpson Hybrid, NecksGen etc.

INSIDE THE HELMET...HEY IT'S DARK IN HERE:

Inside we see a pretty comfy home for a head. Padding looks plush, but not overstuffed. Chinstrap is a nice yellow kevlar and we get a bonus of 2 little desiccant packs. Somewhere in the world there must be a big problem with people eating these things.

Here is a look without those problem causing desiccant packs in the way.

GUESTS, LIKE FISH, BEGIN TO SMELL AFTER THREE DAYS:

Benjamin Franklin 1709-1790 was an incredibly smart man. He invented the Public Library, Fire Station, bi-focal glasses, lightning rod, Daylight Saving Time, the list goes on and on. The guy was smart. Real smart. He even came up with the quote above. Bell must have done their research on BF when they made the M.8 helmet. The interior is removable! Yup, take it out to anti-stink, clean, dry, whatever. We love removable interiors her at DiscoveryParts. It also makes radio install a snap. We also like it when guests leave by the 3rd day.

IT'S GETTING, IT'S GETTING, IT'S GETTING KINDA HEAVY & HYPER PHYSICS

Let’s rewind to spring break 1990. You wearing your parachute pants with zippers all over and back pockets on both the back and front, and maybe carrying a piece of cardboard just in case you want to practice some of your head spins or other break dancing moves. On your walkman you have ready “ The Power” by the German group “Snap!”

They had a catchy hook, it’s getting, it's getting, it's getting kinda heavy. (actually it's "hectic" but I have been hearing this wrong for the past 26+ years).  We’ll things have certainly changed since then, at least we hope.

Warning: Physics Coming Up

Heavy. Force= weight times mass. Not plus, but a multiple of. Every ounce we can shave off the weight on your head reduces neck load exponentially, not just in the event of a sudden change in rate of velocity, but in hi-g corners also.

HOW SHOULD YOU WEIGH A HELMET?

Years ago I put in a, what I thought was going to be, a lightweight Sparco race seat in my GT2 SCCA car. When I received the seat it felt about twice the weight I remembered reading. A quick look at the Sparco fine print finds they advertise the seat weight of the shell only. Not the seat with cover, padding, hole covers, etc, just the shell. I thought who would race in “just the shell”. Shame on you Sparco for still doing this, even today. The way I am going to weigh this helmet is ready to go on track. For me, I would add Hans posts and radio gear, but right now this is how you would take it to the track for your HPDE group or track day.

Looks pretty good. In a Medium (58-59 cm) we weigh in at 3.2lbs. Did I remove the padding, chin-strap, vents, shield, etc? No, this is weighed as you would wear it. 3.2lbs.

HOW DOES IT FIT? Cómo encaja.. if you remember Spanish class

Well, it fits….real good. A little more plush than the Bell Sport Line and the weight is even. It does not feel out of place or like a pendulum on your head.  This is a real nice fitting helmet. The chin strap is kevlar and goes through the double D rings easily, and the fit is “natural”. Cheek pressure is even and what I normally have in all my previous helmets. My face shape is what I would consider "normal". Not like a fish or a frying pan, just average American normal. To quote Lloyd Christmas “I Like It A Lot”

WRAP UP:

The $500 ish helmet market price brings in some pretty serious competition from many high level helmet manufacturers. Bell has upped their game for all door slammer racers who want a light, nice fitting, helmet that is truly multi-car use. This is not a re-stickered M.4 but a helmet that feels close to my old M.4 only lighter, more comfortable, and smells much better.

We at DiscoveryParts give the Bell M.8 two thumbs up. Great job Bell Racing on the Bell M.8.

FOUND THIS REVIEW USEFUL?  Read on.

Hopefully you found this review useful and thanks for reading! Always feel free to post comments or questions in the comment section below. I will be happy to answer them as quickly as possible. Also, if you found this review was helpful, I always appreciate feedback in the comments below.

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