Review of the Bell RS-2 Full Face Motorcycle Helmet

Bell RS2 motorcycle helmet featured

Bell RS-2 helmet: decent build quality but noisy and uncomfy?

The Bell RS-2 is the successor to Bell’s successful RS-1 helmet. That means it’s a helmet with a sporting heritage, but one that’s now firmly aimed at riders looking for an all-rounder, do-it-all helmet.

With a fibreglass shell, drop down sun visor and design that’s less aggressive than many full-on sports bike helmets, the Bell RS2 was built for a wide range of bikes and riding styles.

And now it’s been on the market a year or two, there’s loads of opinions of what its good points are – and its really bad points!

So here’s what we’ve found out about the Bell RS-2.

  • Fibreglass full face helmet
  • Designed to be an all-rounder
  • Drop down sun visor
  • Weight 1.5Kgs (3.3lbs)
  • Double-d ring fastener
  • Expect to pay around £149-£199

Best places to buy a Bell RS-2?

Please click below to visit the Bell RS-2 helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from one, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Buy from SportsBikeShopBuy from GetGeared

Of course, the Bell RS-2 will be both DOT certified (for the US) and ECE 22.05 approved (for UK and Europe).

bell_rs2_helmet-solid-plain-white-front-view
Note all Bell RS-2s come with a clear visor

But the old RS-1 was also SHARP and Snell approved too. It scored four out of five stars in the SHARP test, which is pretty damn good; and since the new RS-2 shares much of the old helmet’s heritage, we hope that the RS2 will score something similar when it’s finally tested (it hasn’t been yet).

The RS-2 is made in three different shell sizes and it’s also not too lardy, weighing in around 1.5Kgs (3.3lbs) – which is about bang-on average weight for a full face helmet.

Both these are good for safety (click the link in the header if you want to find out why).

And of course it also has a drop down internal sun visor: again that’s great not only for convenience but for safety too so you don’t get caught out and distracted by a low sun or dazzling.

It doesn’t look like the RS-2 will be the last word in safety (there’s no EQRS for example) – take a look at our safest helmets section to find some that are.

But for the price, it should give a decent level of protection, made by a helmet maker who has over half a century of helmet-crafting know-how (and is in our top 10 safest helmet brands at the time of writing).

bell_rs2_helmet-solid-plain-white-rear-view
Rear view of the RS-2 gloss white – showing x4 rear exhaust vents

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

The jury’s in on how noisy the RS-2 is. And it’s not good news (for Bell).

We found words like deafening and unbearable used – and you rarely hear words like that when describing even the cheapest of helmets.

Yes, one or two did say it’s OK or good even, but the vast majority – and from riders with lots of years riding under their belts – say it’s a really noisy helmet.

If you’re planning to use your RS2 below urban speeds and always wear ear plugs, you might get away with it. But for anything faster, word is that it can get really loud.

If you’re interested in buying a quiet helmet, here’s all you need to know about helmet noise and here’s our quietest helmet reviews.

The Bell RS-2 has a single 2-position chin vent and a twin crown vent; with both crown vents operated by the same central slider.

To the rear, there’s a small spoiler with two exhaust vents underneath, and another couple of vents towards to bottom rear.

The front vents suck air into the helmet, through the helmet shell and into a couple of front-to-back channels inside the shock absorbing lining that’ll channel air into the helmet and onto your scalp – then out of the rear.

It’s a pretty conventional arrangement and most owners of RS-2s seem to agree that, even though the RS-2 does without the brow vents of the old RS-1, it actually gives a reasonable amount of airflow.

It’s far from being the best in class, but it’s adequate.

If great ventilation’s important to you, check out all our reviews of lids we know have fantastic ventilation.

bell-RS2-matte-black-motorcycle-crash-helmet-front-side-view
Moody matt black solid version of the RS-2

Visor

(more about visors)

The RS-2 will come with a clear visor, though everything from a variety of smoked and tinted visors, all the way to Bell’s excellent transitions photochromic range of visors are available for it too.

Out of the box, it’s a relatively basic visor system that works on a ratchet and with its opening tab to the left hand side (shame it’s not in the middle for easy opening if you’re at the lights).

It is quick-release though, so you can quickly swap out or clean your visor without needing tools; though it’s not Pinlock anti-fog ready which is a shame.

Other than that, Bell tend to make decent visors. There are one or two complaints about visors not seating as well as they could with the RS-2, but most owners find the mechanism just fine.

Unlike the original RS-1, the Bell RS-2 has an integral, drop down sun visor.

It’s a relatively straight forward sun visor – it drops down pretty low and it operates by a slider on the left hand side of the helmet by the visor pivot. That’s one of the more convenient places for the slider so you should find it relatively easy to find and use.

And unlike some helmets with sun visors that are spring-loaded, the sun visor on the RS-2 is a simple system – slide it down to drop the visor down, pull back up to raise it.

No fuss and no fiddling and it seems to work well from the feedback we’ve seen. OK if you do lots of your riding in bright sunshine, you might find it a bit too light. But other than that, it’s good.

Inside the Bell RS2, there’s a fully removable and washable lining.

Unlike some of the higher-end Bell helmets, the inside of the RS2 isn’t retained by magnets (what Bell call MagnetFusion) – so you’re gonna have to slum it with the rest of us and use poppers.

bell-RS2-black-red-tactical-motorcycle-crash-helmet-rear-side-view
This one’s the RS-2 Tactical in black and red – showing that rear spoiler and exhaust vent

Having said that, with a bit of a pull, the lining comes out quickly and without fuss.

It also has a pair of sculpted cheek pads to give a decent snug fit.

And it also has Bell’s X-Static XT2 Silver Lining fabric to keep things from becoming too stinky (click the link above for more information about X-Static linings).

There’s also space for ear phones inside the helmet so you can fit your bluetooth communicator in there.

We heard about folks fitting a Cardo Solo in there without any problems.

Most Bells are designed to fit medium oval heads, and so too is the RS-2.

Only, we’ve heard quite a few owners complaining that it’s tight around the ears. RS-2s can take a while to break in when you first get them, but it really does seem that the internal fitment’s a bit longer and narrower than the usual medium oval fit.

On the other hand, we did come across a couple of owners saying there’s more room to either side than their usual helmets – so this is definitely a helmet to try on first. If you want one, all our recommended stores will do refunds with no quibble and most pay for delivery and returns so you shouldn’t lose out if it doesn’t fit.

If you’re a size XS also note that Bell starts its helmet sizes one cm below most other helmet brands so read our helmet fitting guide, choose the correct helmet size and double check sizing on any ordering pages.

See info on our recommended retailers here.

Looks & Graphics

There’s a ton of classy graphics launched with the Bell RS-2. That includes a matt and gloss plain solid black and a gloss white.

But it’s some of the more adventurous graphics that are particularly cool (have to say, Bell do do a nice line in particularly classy helmet designs) – that includes the Empire and Tactical designs: you’ll find examples of these up and down the page but all are available in different colours so please click through to our recommended retailers below to check these out and see the latest offers.

Best places to buy a Bell RS-2 helmet?

Please click below to visit the Bell RS-2 helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from one, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Buy from SportsBikeShopBuy from GetGeared

Bell RS-2 Video

Here’s a quick 2m video showing you around the RS2.

Other stuff – fasteners, weight, audio, glasses, warranty

The RS-2 has a double-d ring fastener – they’re nice and easy to use and safe as houses once you fasten them up tightly.

It weighs around 1.5kgs (3.3lbs) which is about average weight for a full face helmet, though several owners said it feels really light weight when you’re wearing it – which I guess is the most important thing.

bell-rs-2-crash-helmet-empire-side-view
The RS-2 Empire is available in this hi viz yellow/blue red as well as copper/black and white/black/red

If you’re looking to add a bluetooth communicator to the RS-2, there’s space inside for speakers and a microphone, and there’s space enough on the outside to stick on the bluetooth unit too.

Inside the helmet, Bell say it’s also been designed to accommodate glasses.

And finally, the Bell RS2 comes with a superb 5 year warranty as standard.

Overall/Summary

The new Bell RS-2 slots neatly into the Bell line-up – sitting somewhere between the lower-cost Bell Qualifier DLX and the Star Range, which are designed for sportsbike riders.

And for the price, you get a whole lotta helmet.

You get a fibreglass shell along with multi-density EPS lining. Combine that with Bell’s excellent reputation for safety (see our safest helmet brands guide) and we reckon there’s no reason to doubt the RS2 will give you anything other than decent protection in an accident.

That said, most riders seem to reckon it’s noisy at anything over urban speeds and many (not all) say it fits a bit weirdly and can be uncomfy – so make sure you buy from somewhere that’ll refund your money if it doesn’t fit your head quite right.

So it’s a bit of a flawed gem. If you find it fits right and you’re after a helmet for your slow ride to work, it might be a bargain. But if you’re after a quiet helmet for your motorway blast, I’d recommend leaving well alone and taking a look at one of our recommended alternatives below.

Crash Helmet Buying Guides

For (hopefully!) other useful information to help you when buying your next helmet, check our various guides - or have a look at our top helmet lists where we've got the top 10 rated helmets overall and best budget/safest/full face/flip-up helmets.

Good Alternatives to the Bell RS-2?

We’ve gotta mention the Bell RS-2s little brother the Bell Qualifier DLX.

While the standard version dropped a couple of stars in the SHARP helmet test, it comes as standard with a Bell Transitions photochromic visor in the box and has now been joined with a MIPS version, designed to reduce helmet rotation during impact. That makes the Qualifier DLX well worth looking over too.

Outside of Bell, there’s loads of other brands and helmets you should check out.

There’s the excellent SHARP 5 star rated HJC FG-ST – that’s another fibreglass full face helmet with a sun visor. But the HJC comes with a Pinlock Max Vision anti fog insert included in the box too – all for less than the Bell RS2.

If you’re looking to spend as little as possible, then how about the LS2 FF352 Rookie. OK it’s a polycarbonate helmet, but it still scores a very respectable 4/5 SHARP stars, comes with an optically-correct visor – and it’ll give you folding change out of £100.

Or how about the AGV K5S? That’s a carbon/fibreglass composite helmet with sun visor and SHARP 4 star safety rating for less than the RS2.

Best places to buy a Bell RS-2?

Please click below to visit the Bell RS-2 helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from one, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Buy from SportsBikeShopBuy from GetGeared

Other full face helmets?

We've got lots of other ways you can find your ideal full face helmet. You can check out our Top 10 full-face crash helmets list to see our best rated helmets or head over to our Smartish Filters pages and zoom in on helmets with your 'must have' features. You can browse through all our full face crash helmet reviews as well as our safest motorcycle helmets page where you'll only find helmets that are SHARP four or five star rated - so you'll know you're wearing the best protection out there. Finally, check out our helmet gallery to find a lid that takes your fancy.

Definitely want a Bell?

Here you'll find all our Bell crash helmet reviews and previews including full face, flip-up and open face helmets.

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