Bell presented the Full 10 Spherical to the media during Crankworx Whistler last summer, and keen eyes may have noticed their sponsored athletes wearing them at last year’s events. Today the Full 10 Spherical officially launches and becomes available to the public. Read on for the key technical details and my impressions of how the Full 10 feels in action.
Bell Full 10 Spherical – Construction and Features:
The Full 10 Spherical is the successor to the Full 9 MTB helmet, and shares key technologies incorporated into Bell’s Moto 10 Spherical off-road motorcycle helmet. The Full 10 is certified for Downhill, BMX and e-Bike use, and is also ideal for slopestyle or freeriding.
Inside its unidirectional carbon shell, you’ll find the Full 10’s main safety feature; Spherical Technology, powered by MIPS. Bell’s Spherical Technology allows the helmet’s inner and outer EPS/EPP liners to rotate around each other during a crash (like a ball and socket) to redirect and reduce rotational forces on the brain. If you haven’t seen one of Bell’s Spherical helmets up close, they hide all the anti-rotational technology so you don’t see a typical MIPS liner tacked on to the interior; the inside looks like a non-MIPS helmet and is fully padded for comfort.
Another key safety feature is the Magnefusion magnetic pull-out cheek pads, which can be yanked from the helmet easily to aid in removal when first responders believe a neck injury may have occurred. Less crucially but also convenient, the Full 10’s interior uses Ionic+ antimicrobial padding with silver yarn to reduce odor buildup.
Ventilation was a major priority when Bell designed the Full 10, so they incorporated their new ‘Thermal Exchange Airflow System’ (T.E.A.S.). Bell has figured out that good ventilation isn’t simply accomplished by cutting out the most or biggest vents on a helmet, but encouraging cool air to flow in the front and warm air to escape out the back easily. Bell tested this concept with their Moto 10 helmet and found great success, and they even looked at how the air flowing around the Full 10 helps to pull air through it.
The Full 10’s huge rear vents are hard to miss, but there are a host of smaller vents on the front and sides that keep air flowing too. By the numbers Bell boasts 3 intake ports, 5 outflow vents, and 13 chin bar vents. Furthermore, channels built into the Spherical Technology inner liner also aid in ventilation, directing air over your forehead and through the top of the helmet.
The Full 10 was designed with a Panoramic goggle port, and features Bell’s Flying Bridge visor. The visor itself includes ventilation channels, and offers a small range of non-incremental height adjustment. Just above the visor is an integrated breakaway camera mount, and a GoPro mount is included.
The top-end Full 10 is finished with titanium D-rings and a magnetic snap to keep your chin strap neatly tucked away.
Bell wasn’t trying to make the Full 10 the lightest full face helmet on the market, they were more concerned with including all the safety features they could. That said, this carbon-shelled helmet is not very heavy, with a size medium listed at 1000g. My scale showed my size XS/S weighing in at 1011g.
The Full 10 Spherical will be sold in XS/S, M, L and XL/XXL sizes, covering heads from 51-63cm. There are three different shell sizes, and each helmet comes with three sets of cheek pads in varying thicknesses. Bell will also be selling the thinnest and thickest available cheek pads separately (they’ve produced five different sets in total) to ensure a dialed fit for every head.
There are four colorways available – Matte Black, Arise Matte/Gloss Black, Arise Matte/Gloss White/Bali, and a Gloss White/Black Fasthouse edition. The Full 10 Spherical retails for $650 USD, and is now available online and through Bell retailers.
Check out this video featuring Bell athlete R-Dog (Ryan Howard) explaining all the technology found in the Full 10 Spherical…. and of course jumping with style!
The first thing I noticed while riding in the Full 10 Spherical was the ventilation – It is excellent! Air does flow very well through the helmet, and this lid is easily one of the coolest full faces I’ve worn. While riding I could feel air moving around my ears, on top of my head, and up over my forehead through the front intakes. The huge exhaust vents in the back must do their job because this helmet doesn’t hold in much heat, even after several bike park laps on a hot summer day.
One side effect of Bell’s Spherical MIPS construction is noise: I tested their Super DH full face helmet a few years ago, and noticed you can hear the inner and outer liners sliding around on each other while you ride rough terrain. The Full 10 is quieter than the Super DH, but you still hear the shell layers rubbing when your head is shaking around. I found this easy to forget about, but I could see some riders getting annoyed by it.
Looking at the Full 10, I am quite surprised Bell didn’t chop away at the chin bar a lot more. A lot of current full face helmets have gone that direction, and after riding in one myself (the Smith Mainline), I can confirm the airflow is excellent with a heavily cut-out chin bar. The Full 10’s smaller front vents do a fine job of letting air in, but where this helmet’s ventilation truly excels is on the top, sides and back of your head.
Due to Bell’s sizing, their helmets tend to fit quite snug on my head and sometimes don’t feel particularly deep. Although my head is 56cm around, a medium Full 10 was a bit too big so I went with an XS/S which is marked for 53-55cms. On my first few rides, I found it pretty snug but was happy to find my skull sat deep enough inside it. After a few rides, the liner packed out ever so slightly and the helmet got more comfortable. As testing went on I wore the helmet all day in the bike park with no comfort issues. Except that one time…
On my second ride, I fell victim to an uncomfortable (but easily fixable) surprise. After a few hours in the bike park I came home with a dent in my forehead! Part of the helmet left a circular, red indentation right at the middle of my hairline. Fortunately, I later discovered a button on the removable liner had popped out of place and was pushing into my head. I put the button back in place, and that problem was solved. This probably won’t be a common issue, but if your Full 10 suddenly seems to be jabbing you in the skull check the liner buttons!
Despite Bell’s ‘Panoramic’ goggle port, I found larger goggles problematic. I tried a pair of Leatts, which have big frames, and the Full 10 pushed down on them to the point of putting pressure on my nose. After a few hours of riding, the bridge of my nose was red and sore from the goggles, so I would not ride that combo again. Fortunately, the Full 10 does jive well with my leaner Smith Squad goggles. They still felt a little snug top-to-bottom, but weren’t uncomfortable to wear.
Earlier I mentioned the visor doesn’t have a huge range of adjustment, but the range it has is functional. In its lowest position, the visor is easily visible and definitely low enough to keep the sun out of your eyes. At its highest, you can still see it but it opens up your field of view almost completely. One thing this visor does not do is offer room for stashing goggles on your forehead.
Finally, the Full 10 Spherical is a DH helmet and not marketed as an enduro lid, but I had to try climbing with it since it’s well vented and fairly light. My big takeaway was how you don’t feel a ton of airflow at climbing speeds with the Full 10, you need to be moving faster to get the benefits of this lid’s ventilation. That said, it was still pretty tolerable on a warm fall day. There are better options for enduro riding but this helmet is well within reason for the occasional climb if you’re taking your long travel bike up to something gnarly.
Check out Bell’s website for all the details on the new Full 10 Spherical. Title photo by James Stokoe.