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Bell MX9 Helmet - Gear Review

Uncompromising off-road comfort and safety

Bell MX9 Helmet - Gear Review

Off-road riding is a whole different ball game when compared to riding on the street or track. Here, the limits are much lower; traction is easily broken, and so are your bones if you’re not careful. As such, having the best gear you can possibly have is absolutely essential. And what better way to start than with your helmet?

We were recently invited by the lovely folks over at Bell Helmets Philippines to test out the Bell MX-9 motocross helmet. Set in the epic MX Messiah Fairgrounds (MMF), a handful of participants consisting of moto journalists and vloggers were in attendance. We were given the unique opportunity to gain valuable insight and tutelage from none other than Coach Sam Tamayo, a pioneer in the Philippine off-road and motocross scene. 

A believer and advocate of safety in all its forms, Coach Sam speaks highly of Bell helmets, relying on the brand’s products not only to keep himself safe, but his two kids, too, who are currently vying for MX success in the international stage. 

So, onto the Bell MX-9. What makes it special? Why’s it so good? And should you buy one if you’re looking to get into off-road riding? Read on to find out. 


Bell MX-9 Mips

Styling always plays a major role when it comes to the gear we choose, and helmets are by no means an exception to this. The Bell MX-9’s styling is unmistakably off-road, with an angular shell complete with vents front and back. The one I chose was a classy Roland Sands Design collaboration helmet, complete with racing stripes, sponsor logos, and a racing flag on the front of the lid. This gave it a race-inspired aesthetic, making me look like a seasoned motocrosser, even if in reality, this was my first time riding on an MX track.

Build quality

Bell MX-9 Mips

I’m very well acquainted with Bell’s products, as I use them for both road riding and mountain biking. For reference, I use a Bell Qualifier on a regular basis, as well as a Bell 4Forty Mips for cycling. As such, my expectations for the MX-9 were pretty high. 

Nevertheless, in true Bell fashion, the MX-9 boasts a solid yet lightweight build. It tips the scales just north of the 1,500 gram mark, so its light on your head. On the inside, the liner is compact and well-woven, concealing the Mips energy management system (more on that shortly). As is the case with most MX lids, it features a double-D ring closure mechanism, as well as an adjustable peak. 

Safety and technology

Bell MX-9 Mips

Coach Sam made all of us try a bunch of crazy and exciting things for the very first time. From tackling steep descents and handling sharp inclines, our skills were pushed to the very limit. Most of us were up to the challenge, knowing full well that the Bell MX-9 had us covered in the event of spills. And boy, did we spill.

Several of us dropped our bikes on multiple occasions—either sliding on loose soil, coming up short on an incline, and in some cases, overcooking the run up to a climb and flipping the bike in the air (sorry, John, for using you as an example here). Despite all the action, there were zero injuries and everyone walked away happy and content with all the new skills we had learned. 

And it’s trusting the technology within the helmet that helps instill such a level of confidence in riders, especially off road. The MX-9 is constructed out of a polycarbonate shell which is designed to absorb and dissipate impacts. Beneath the surface, a multi-density EPS plays the same role, dispersing impact forces away from the rider’s head. 

The Mips energy management system is also another groundbreaking piece of tech here, as it incorporates a sliding skull cap housed within the helmet’s liner. It’s held in place by a bunch of strings that serve as shock absorbers for rotational forces imparted on the helmet during a crash. It’s technology that first made its debut in the racing world, but can now be found in not just motorcycle helmets, but bicycle helmets, too.  


Bell MX-9 Mips

Being a motocross helmet, the Bell MX-9 is extremely airy and well-ventilated. It’s so breezy, in fact, that I didn’t really feel the need to take it off when resting in between runs, despite baking under the sun in 39-degree weather. The cheek pads fit snugly on my face, and there was more than enough room around the ears not to cause any irritation. 

I’d go as far as saying that the Bell MX-9 is suitable not just for MX riding, but for general off-road use, too. Perhaps even a bit of adventuring. It’s worth noting, however, that this helmet does not come with a visor, so you’ll need to get a pair of goggles for more intense off-road riding, or wear a pair of sunglasses for light off-roading and street use. 

The verdict

Bell MX-9 Mips

It’s hard to put a price on safety, and having a nice helmet goes way beyond just being stylish and looking cool. Priced upwards of P12,000, the Bell MX-9 is pretty expensive, but it has all the goods to back it up when it comes to safety technology and comfort. Of course, being a Bell product means that it’s one of the most trusted in the business.

As much as possible, we neve want to test the safety capabilities of a helmet, because that entails crashing. And so, we pretty much have to take the manufacturers’ word for it. In cases like this, reputation is very, very important, and suffice it to say that Bell has quite the reputation be it on and off-road, on the street and on the race track. 

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