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Tech news: New commuter lids from Bell

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The Bell Sequence is carryover for 2011 except for new colours and graphics.

The Bell Sequence is carryover for 2011 except for new colours and graphics. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The high-end Volt model gets BMC team edition and Jimbo Phillips-penned colourways for 2011.

The high-end Volt model gets BMC team edition and Jimbo Phillips-penned colourways for 2011. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Got a Yeti? Bell's new colour option for 2011 - including its new Sanction full-faced model - is a near perfect match for the popular Colorado niche brand.

Got a Yeti? Bell's new colour option for 2011 - including its new Sanction full-faced model - is a near perfect match for the popular Colorado niche brand. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Bell's new Muni is aimed at commuters with its array of lighting options and clip-on mirror but it's not a bad-looking all-purpose lid in our eyes, either.

Bell's new Muni is aimed at commuters with its array of lighting options and clip-on mirror but it's not a bad-looking all-purpose lid in our eyes, either. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Muni's Blade Plus visor includes an integrated mount for Blackburn's Flea 2.0 LED light and also doubles as a base for the clip-on, foldaway mirror.

The Muni's Blade Plus visor includes an integrated mount for Blackburn's Flea 2.0 LED light and also doubles as a base for the clip-on, foldaway mirror. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Rear LED flashers are built directly into the retention system while the rear loop can accept another flasher, too, for even more visibility.

Rear LED flashers are built directly into the retention system while the rear loop can accept another flasher, too, for even more visibility. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Bell Muni and Arella helmets use a simplified OneStep Plus strap system that borrows some features from Giro's Prolight.

The Bell Muni and Arella helmets use a simplified OneStep Plus strap system that borrows some features from Giro's Prolight. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Bell is adding more Paul Frank graphics to its 2011 range.

Bell is adding more Paul Frank graphics to its 2011 range. (Image credit: James Huang)

Successfully and safely commuting by bicycle long-term is often a matter of making sure motorists know you're there along with being aware of your surroundings and Bell's new Muni and Arella urban helmets are designed to help with both.

As with Bell's previous Citi and Metro urban helmets, the Muni - and the smaller but similarly styled Arella women's version - sport built-in loops to accommodate optional add-on rear flashers but these models go one step further by already cleanly integrating a pair of LED lights directly into the retention system.

Up front, the removable visor also doubles as a mount for the surprisingly bright Flea LED light from sister company Blackburn (we're trying to find out if this visor fits Bell's mountain bike helmets, too, as it'd be great for nighttime trailside repairs).

If you're into that sort of thing, you can also attach the optional Flip Mirror, which clips directly to the visor and folds discreetly out of the way when not in use. Even without anything attached, the visor is still all-weather, commuter-friendly with channels along the periphery to funnel rainwater off to the sides.

When all the aforementioned pieces are used together, it makes for a greatly reduced chance of accidentally leaving your lights at home. Once you're at the office, you can even charge the lights right at your computer with Blackburn's slick USB adapter.

Bell will offer both the Muni and Arella in one size each although well thought-out strap setups look to accommodate a reasonably wide range of head shapes. Borrowing from Giro's minimal Roc Loc SL - as seen on the ultralight Prolight model - the Muni and Arella's OneStep Plus system features a simple elastic strap that stretches across the base of your skull and simplified attachments at the ears.

Unlike the Roc Loc SL, though, the OneStep Plus will offer three different positions to help dial in the fit in lieu of multiple shell sizes. Adding to this is a convenient ratcheting buckle for quick adjustments depending on the weather and additional headwear.

Bell will offer the Muni in four colours and the Arella in five, both for just US$65 (£59.99/€70). The optional Flea 2.0 USB lights will add another US$29.99 each (or US$54.99 for both) and the Flip Mirror will cost US$14.99.

Also new from Bell for 2011 is the value-priced Sanction full-faced helmet, which will retail for just US$80 (£99.99/€100). Bell aims the new Sanction at a more youthful crowd with slightly smaller sizes relative to its old Bellistic and current Drop models but still retains a full feature set, including a tough fibreglass shell, an adjustable visor, and a few vents to keep the air moving at speed.

Especially aggressive riders will want to make note that the Sanction is CPSC-approved only, though, and doesn't meet the new ASTM downhill standard.

Other models such as the Volt and Sequence will carry over but with new colours added for 2011.