This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
The aero-optimised Star with its integrated eye shield tops Bell's range, and while impressive its sole purpose is wind cheating for aero-focused riders. For the more endurance-orientated, the Zephyr has a focus on comfort and safety.
- Highs: Brilliant adjustability and airflow, MIPS protection
- Lows: Pricey, some exposed EPS on the lower edges
- Buy if: You want a MIPS helmet that doesn't compromise on the cooling
The helmet features 18 large vents, which perforate a wind tunnel-optimised shape, and a hard skeleton between base and top layers of EPS foam for strength.
The fit is excellent thanks to its slightly rounded shape and new float-fit retention system that offers 22mm of vertical adjustment. This makes fitting the cradle to your occipital lobe (visual processing centre of the brain, located at the rear of the skull) easy and comfortable. Neoprene pads bonded to the cradle further enhance the great fit.
MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) is a patented design that uses slip plane technology designed to reduce rotational forces that can come from angled impacts, so the helmet slides relative to the movement of the head.
Helmet companies don't legally claim that MIPS is safer than a standard helmet but the company behind it — MIPS intellectual designs are licensed to helmet manufacturers — has certainly done its research, and anything that should make things safer is good with us.
The downside to MIPS is that it's usually an additional part inserted underneath the retention system, which can compromise cooling, but this is where Bell has been clever.
By working in partnership with MIPS, Bell has integrated its brilliantly adjustable cradle system with a skeletal design MIPS roll cage so the Zephyr doesn't have any such cooling compromises. It feels as light and airy as a 315g (large) helmet should.
The minimal but well placed and washable X-Static pads add to the flush and free feel of the Zephyr, making this one of the finest road lids I've ever tried. The lightweight straps sit flat, the finish is clean and very neatly done and the mix of flat matt colours and gloss highlighted understated logos all add to the quality.
The Zephyr is also offered in a fully reflective ‘Ghost' colour option.
There are a few areas of exposed core on the lower edges, so you'll need to be careful not to drop it, but that niggle aside this is one of the best performing lids around.