Review of the Bell Eliminator retro motorcycle helmet

Review of the Bell Eliminator retro motorcycle helmet.

Because Bell helmets began making automobile racing helmets, it’s no surprise they’ve raided their automotive heritage when looking to design their latest retro-inspired motorcycle helmet, the Bell Eliminator.

From a biker’s perspective, the Eliminator looks pretty unusual and very definitely retro. And it also looks very cool and along with the usual plain blacks and whites, there’s an increasing range of colorways and finishes that will suit a reasonable range of heritage gear and bikes.

That includes the full matt carbon fiber 6K weave helmets all the way through to the 70’s inspired Outlaws that you’ll see dotted up and down the page.

Retro helmets are usually retro in their construction and utility too. So they’re a compromise: you look cool but you also forego some of the useful stuff you find in most modern helmets.

So, here’s the score with Bell’s Eliminator; what owners and riders both love or tolerate when riding in theirs.

  • Retro full face helmet
  • Full carbon and fiberglass versions
  • Class 1 optically correct shield
  • Tons of vent holes (permanently open)
  • Bell ProVision antifog insert as standard

    Bell eliminator helmet matt carbon front view
    Super cool matt carbon fiber Eliminator
  • 3lbs (1.35Kg) – Lightweight
  • Double-d ring fastener
  • Sizes XS-XXXL
  • Expect to pay:
    • $399 fiberglass
    • $599 carbon fiber

Looking to buy this Bell helmet?

We recommend Revzilla (PA) for outstanding service and free shipping, and 2 Wheel (CA) for great service, free shipping and returns. Please click any link to drop onto their Bell helmets pages or see here for more info about our recommended stores, including a quick snapshot of their T&Cs.

Bell Eliminator Forced Air

Before I go on, you may have noticed there’s a forced air version of the Bell Eliminator.

bell eliminator forced air matt black side view
Forced Air Eliminator with air feed into chin guard and peak attached

The forced air is simply a kit that can fit onto any Eliminator (or you can buy it with the kit already fitted) that allows you to connect the Eliminator up to a fresh air unit and push clean air into the helmet.

It’s not really something us bikers would ever need but if you’re a serious car racer or off roader where there’s a ton of dust and muck in the air that’s interfering with your breathing, then it might come in useful.

Adding the kit allows you to pipe clean air into the top vents and chin vents and the kit comes with a small peak that fits to the top of the helmet too.

In fact, some folks reckon adding the peak and removing the main shield and adding goggles turns the Eliminator into a decent adventure helmet.

Safety

(more about helmet safety)

Bell Eliminators have been both ECE 22-05 tested/certified in Europe and are DOT in the US.

But beyond that basic helmet testing that’s done for ECE certification, they’ve not been independently safety tested.

Bell eliminator rally crash helmet orange black front view
This one’s the Eliminator in Rally graphics

Having said that, Bell has a solid reputation for making some great performing helmets.

In fact, since we’ve been reviewing helmets, they’ve never been out of the top 5 of our safest helmet brands list, with most of their tested helmets scoring maximum marks from SHARP.

And over here, many of their helmets have been Snell tested and approved too.

So we’d say your head will be well looked after if you buy a Bell Eliminator – and if any 3rd party testing happens, we’ll update you when it does on this review.

In addition to how well the Eliminator might protect you in a crash, it’s also got a wide and optically correct class A shield to give you good, clear all-round vision that’ll help keep you out of trouble in the first place.

And it’s secured using a double-d ring fastener which are relatively easy to use (arguably not as easy as micrometric fasteners tho) and mean you have to tighten the strap each time you wear the helmet. As long as you’re diligent when you do it, double-d rings are about as safe as helmet fasteners come.

The Eliminator is made in 3 helmet shell sizes which means the shell size and amount of polystyrene shock EPS absorbing liner should be right for your head/body size. Again, this is great for optimizing safety.

And it’s a light weight helmet too with most sizes/versions weighing less than 3lbs (1.4Kg).

Not only does that mean it’ll be easier to live with, but a lighter helmet is only going to help during an accident too, reducing inertia and likelihood of neck injuries.

Bell eliminator motorbike helmet matt black rear view
Rear view of the full carbon fiber Bell Eliminator

If you’re wanting the maximum amount of safety features in your next helmet, then you might want to buy a helmet with a drop down sun visor and probably EQRS.

The Eliminator doesn’t have either – but other than those, it seems to be pretty good and we’d expect it to offer good levels of rider protection.

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

There’s some decent padding inside the Eliminator and the helmet shell’s pretty round without too many bits and bobs protruding into the airflow – all of which is usually a good sign for making a pretty quiet helmet.

But unfortunately, the Eliminator’s got a load of always-open air vents in the helmet shell. And while they’re great for letting in air, they’re also good for letting in noise too.

Most owners of the Bell Eliminator seem to agree that noise levels are fine if you’re cruising, but at motorway speeds, it turns into a bit of a noisy bugger.

Which is kinda what you’d probably guess by looking at it. But stick in some decent ear plugs and you should be fine for all but the most crazy speeds.

Bell eliminator helmet gloss white font view
9 top vents and four chin vents are always open

Ventilation

(more about helmet ventilation)

There’s a stack of vents on the Bell Eliminator.

The most obvious vents are probably those 9 circular vents drilled through the forehead. They take air straight through the shell and EPS liner and through to the head.

There aren’t any channels inside the helmet to circulate air around the head, but because the venting’s unimpeded, they’re pretty effective.

In the chin bar, there’s four small vents covered in a metal grid. Again, they take air straight through the helmet shell and directly into the helmet.

That’s fine if you want the air just where the vents are – and you want it all the time. But as the helmet comes out the box, there’s no way to close off the vents.

So if you live somewhere that’s mostly breezy or cold or rainy, you’re gonna spend quite a bit of your time with either a cold or wet head or both. So be warned.

Having said that, Bell does offer a clip-on external vent cover to block up the top holes if you need it. It doesn’t look awful either, making the helmet look more like a conventional full face with plastic vent cover.

There is a clip on rain cover available to cover the top vents

So, the bottom line as far as the vents are concerned, are if you live somewhere that’s mostly warm and dry or you’re just going to use your Eliminator when the weather’s good as a warm day cruising helmet, then it’s going to work for you.

But if you live somewhere cold and rainy for much of the year, you might be hard pressed to use the Eliminator as your daily helmet unless you buy the optional rain cover for the top vents.

Incidentally, at the time of writing, that rain cover is included if you buy the helmet from our recommended retailer below.

Face Shield

(more about shields)

Like the helmet, the shield on the Bell Eliminator is very old school – but with a new school twist.

It looks very much like shields on helmets from the 70’s. It’s a flat shield so it’s not particularly shaped in any way like many modern helmets. And it’s not quick release nor does it work on a ratchet to give you lots of different opening positions.

Bell eliminator helmet matt carbon side view
Lovely matt carbon Eliminator with 6K fiber weave.

Nope, if you want to remove the shield, you’ll need a 6mm allen/hex key. And if you want to adjust how easily or tightly the shield opens/closes, you can do that but you’ll need another hex key – a 2.5mm – to tighten/loosen the other allen bolt.

All very fiddly and all authentically retro.

And if you want to lock it closed – and you probably will because, according to some owners it does have a tendency to catch the wind and fly open when you’re riding along – then there is a pin & hole lock at the bottom which will lock the shield closed.

Only, lots of owners reckon it’s less than easy to open the shield again once it’s locked. It’s definitely something that needs practice (and a strong left thumb!).

Sheesh, the things we do for style, eh?


A couple of links you might find useful…

– The coolest helmets we’ve looked at –
– Heaps of other retro motorcycle helmets –


OK, I mentioned some new school stuff, right?

Because that shield’s very flat, that means Bell’s managed to make it class 1 optically correct so you should have any distorted vision.

And if you look closely, you’ll also see there’s a slight groove around the inside of the shield. That’s Bell’s ProVision antifog system which is basically like a Pinlock antifog without the Pins.

Bell eliminator outlaw motorbike helmet black white side view
Eliminator Outlaw helmet

So the shield on the Bell Eliminator comes pre-fitted with this ProVision double glazing which gives you an antifog shield straight out of the box.

And Eliminator owners say it works incredibly well. One rider said he rode in the snow and couldn’t fog it up and another said they’ve ridden in all weathers and it’s never fogged up once.

That’s great news for Northern state riders who are more likely to need an antifog shield solution on their helmets.

The shield on the Eliminator is also nice and wide too so you’ve got great peripheral vision in there to spot cars/bikes/pedestrians etc. though it’s not very deep because that chin bar’s fairly hefty.

But all in all, the shield system on the eliminator seems to strike a decent balance between retro look and modern convenience.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

The Bell Eliminator is a medium oval head shaped helmet (that’s most of us – but look here if you need a longer oval helmet).

Bell eliminator spectrum black chrome motorcycle helmet front view
The Bell Eliminator Spectrum black chrome is a classy act

Check our fitting guide if you’re not sure how to measure yourself for a helmet – but if you do go to order an Eliminator, note that they can size a bit small. Which means if you’re looking to order one and you’re at the upper end of a size, you probably should order a size up.

Other than that and you buy the correct size, owners reckon it’s a very comfortable helmet.

The internal comfort lining is antimicrobial and fully removable and washable.

Bell offers the helmet in a couple of interiors – a Virus Cool Jade version where the interior has a bit of jade in it which apparently has a slight cooling effect on the head. Or there’s their X-Static XT2 liner which uses micro strands of silver to kill off microbes and keep your lid odor free.

Apparently this works well because a couple of owners commented how they used their helmets for full sweaty days of riding and found their helmets smelt box fresh after it.

Looks & Graphics

As you’d expect from a mean and moody retro helmet, there’s a few cool retro graphics along with the usual blacks and white versions.

Bell eliminator outlaw motorbike helmet red black front view
Bell Eliminator in red/black Outlaw design

Of the retros, there’s a really funky Outlaw graphic that mirrors some of the custom tank airbrushed graphics you’d see in the 70’s. And there’s a nod to the automotive with the Rally version.

There are a couple of specials too. That full carbon fiber version comes with a clear matt lacquer which looks mega, plus there’s a mirrored chrome version that’s unusual and super cool (with the right bike).

To see all these designs up close, we’d love you to click through to our recommended stores below where you’ll get better views and find any helmet deals that are around (from only properly great retailers who work hard not to mess you around).

Best places to buy this Bell crash helmet?

Please click below to visit the Bell helmets pages at our recommended stores. At the time of writing, it's available in all these stores - and if you buy from any, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you - a massive THANKS! (it's how we finance the site).

Click above to drop onto their Bell helmets pages or *quick view store T&Cs here.

Bell Eliminator Video

3m video looking round the Eliminator.

Other stuff – audio, weight, glasses, aero, buffeting, warranty

Audio/communicators

The Bell Eliminator has a couple of speaker pockets inside so it should be able to accommodate most bluetooth intercom sets. The bottom edge might be a bit thick for a clamp mount because there’s a thick rubber rim around it, but there’s plenty of surface for a sticky mount.

Bell eliminator motorbike helmet matt black side view
Matt black Eliminator. Note all helmets come with a clear shield, not dark

Glasses wearers

There’s a glasses groove inside the Eliminator so once you’ve got your helmet on, you should be fine for wearing your glasses without the arms pressing into your head.

Find other helmets that are great for glasses wearers here.

Aero/buffeting

The shell of the Eliminator is pretty round and smooth which is usually a good sign that a helmet has great aero properties. There’s also a small chin spoiler moulded into that bottom rubber gasket which is designed to help reduce lifting.

However there’s mixed reviews how well it all works – possibly as a result of the speed and type of bikes owners are riding.

Some find it buffets badly at motorway speeds while another reckoned the aero is fine with very little lift or buffeting even when doing shoulder checks – and better than other retro helmets they’ve owned.

Bell Eliminator warranty

All Bell helmets come with a 5 year warranty – that’s about as long as you’ll find from any helmet maker.

Overall/Summary

Like many retro helmets, you’re buying a cool looking helmet that doesn’t perform quite as well as a modern helmet. But then if you’re thinking of buying such a cool helmet as the Eliminator, do you really give a damn, because you’re probably buying it for that retro style, right?

Bell eliminator motorcycle helmet gloss white
There is a peak available if you want to turn it into an offroad or adventure helmet

Having said that, the basic helmet shell and lining should give as good protection as many modern helmets.

It’s just the other stuff that makes a helmet easier to live with that’s gonna be a bit of a compromise. Like needing hex keys to tighten your shield and getting wet inside your helmet if it rains.

Then again, you probably ride a retro Triumph or Duke in retro leathers in which case it’s all part of the fun. And having that Bell sticker on there is very fitting since they’ve been making helmets since not long after the war and are very much a part of that retro scene.

I mean, it probably wouldn’t be the same with an HJC, right?

So, as long as you know it’ll be a bit quirky and not quite as easy to live with as a modern helmet, then absolutely go for a Bell Eliminator – it’s sure to be a fab helmet for cruising and looking cool.

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 Eliminator?

If you want a retro style helmet, then there’s some great alternatives out there.

First up, the Simpson Ghost Bandit is another automotive retro styled helmet that’s actually not much of a compromise to style. It’s SHARP 4 star safety rated, has a drop down sun shield, has a Pinlock ready shield, is light weight and is a smidge cheaper than the Bell Eliminator (depending on whether you go for carbon or composite version.

Or how about the Nexx X.G100 (or the X.G100R which is the same helmet with a proper shield) which are mega light helmets that are comfortable and relatively noise free.

And don’t forget the good ole Bell Bullitt. It’s about the same weight as the Eliminator, has a wide face shield and some lovely retro touches and colorways, plus there’s a full carbon fiber version.

And of course you can find lots more retro helmets on our retro helmets pages.

Looking to buy this Bell helmet?

We recommend Revzilla (PA) for outstanding service and free shipping, and 2 Wheel (CA) for great service, free shipping and returns. Please click any link to drop onto their Bell helmets pages or see here for more info about our recommended stores, including a quick snapshot of their T&Cs.

Star Ratings

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