Review: Bell Citi Helmet

13 02 2010
Helmet Side View

Bell Citi Helmet with Planet Bike Lights.

Here it is! My first review! I just got a new helmet this week and I thought it would make for a great first review for the blog.

I purchased a new helmet for several reasons. The most important reason was that my helmets are all aging. Helmets do age. As they get older the styro-foam core starts to break down. I am no scientist but, basically the recommendation is to replace your helmet when it is about 5 years old. Most helmets have a sticker inside that shows the month and year of manufacture. If you can’t read the sticker you helmet is probably too old. Both of my helmets are 5 years old this year and they are showing signs of age. My road helmet even has some small cracks starting to appear. The other reason is that I really have been wanting a dedicated commuting helmet. A helmet that offers better coverage and better visibility. After doing a bit of research I decided on the Bell Citi. The best feature of all is that I was able to get it in orange. I love orange. Have I mentioned that?

Bell Citi:
• MSRP: $48.00
• Sizes: Universal Adult
• Colors: Black, Brown Leather, Glow in the Dark, Matte Pewter, White Lime Green, Yellow
• Weight: 10oz./283g
• Certification: CPSC Bicycle Safety Standard Certified, CE EN1078

The Bell Citi helmet is designed for commuting and urban transit. It incorporates a number of Bell helmet technologies including In-Mold Microshell, ErgoDial, Channeled Ventilation, Blade Visor, and Cam Lock Levers. It is available in a number of different hardshell colors as well as a fabric option. The 2010 color options are as follows: Black, Brown Leather, Glow in the Dark, Matte Pewter, White Lime Green, and Yellow. The Brown Leather is the fabric option and the helmet looks as if leather were stitched onto it. The others colors all incorporate Bell’s Fusion In-Mold Microshell. The microshell is a clear piece of polycarbonate (Lexan) that is painted from the inside. This shell is then placed in the bottom of the helmet mold and the EPS foam that forms the helmet is poured directly into the shell. The shell and EPS foam fuse together resulting in a very clean look and an ultra durable finish. Fit is accomplished with the quickly adjusting ErgoDial. By turning the dial at the rear of the helmet the headband inside can be adjusted to fit any headsize between 54 and 61 cm. The chinstraps have Cam Lock Levers that allow easy fitting of the strap around the ear. The air vents on the helmet are designed to channel airflow over the top of the head for efficient cooling. The visor is easily removable for those that prefer a cleaner look.

Reserved styling and adaptable features make the Citi the perfect townie helmet, whether you’re on the way to work or off to the coffee shop. From the ErgoDial fit system for easy sizing adjustments to the durability of Fusion In-Mold construction, the Citi delivers like a bike messenger in traffic. Includes Blade visor, easy-adjust Cam-lock levers, air-moving Channeled Ventilation and the option of adding a Flip Mirror and rear flasher lights for better visibility.

I have been using the Bell Citi daily for the past two weeks and I must say I am very happy with the helmet. Initially I was a bit concerned that the arrangement of the straps and ErgoDial made the helmet to easy to tip backward on my head. Every other helmet I have owned with various forms of quick fit have always had a hard connection from the adjustment mechanism to the back of the helmet. This hard connection prevents the helmet from collapsing backward over the adjuster. The Citi has the chinstraps making this connection. If the helmet has not been properly adjusted and tightened this connection can collapse backward. That said this same feature does allow for the helmet to easily expand to cover things like hats or bulky hairdos. And, the Citi is not designed for high performance it is designed for urban transport.

I was able to get a 2009 model in the Safety Orange color but it is functionally identical to the 2010 model. It is a very handsome helmet with a similar graphic layout to the 2010 Yellow and Glow In The Dark. This particular model has some added safety features for increased visibility. Additional striping in the form of 3M Scotchlight has been added to the outer surface of the helmet. 3M Scotchlight has also been woven into the chin straps. All Citi models incorporate a wonderful light strap on the back of the helmet. Any flasher that has the ubiquitous clip on the back of it will work. I have attached a Planet Bike Superflash Stealth to mine. I plan on reviewing the Superflash lights this week.

The Bell Citi is a very comfortable helmet that adjusts very quickly between hat and non-hat days. The reflective striping really boosts visibility in traffic as does the flasher light mounted on back. I really feel that the higher you can mount your rear lights the better. That way the chances are better that the car behind the one following you will know you are there. The bright orange color also makes it easier for the downtown New Haven traffic to see you in the daytime as well. The wide array of colors can complement the attire of any commuter. From bright visibility colors for nighttime commuters to conservative colors and finishes for the business suit commuter the Bell Citi is a great helmet for everyday use.

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