Bell Helmet History


The company was founded in 1923 as Bell Auto Parts, named for its location in Bell, CaliforniaRoy Richter began working for Bell Auto Parts in 1933, and, in 1945, purchased the store for $1,000. He produced its first race car helmets in 1954. The Bell Helmet Company was established as a division of his Bell Auto Parts store in 1956. Bell introduced its Star model, the first full-face motorcycle helmet on the market, in 1968. In 1971, Bell produced the first full-face off-road motorcycle helmet.


Bell made its first production helmet in 1954. It was the result of months of research and development. Richter, with the help of veteran naval pilot Frank Heacox, reverse engineered numerous helmets, including some used in military aviation. Heacox played a key role in developing Bell Helmet's first products, most importantly by using the helmets himself, both in races and on the street. These experiences with the prototypes led to many useful suggestions.

The first Bell helmet

That first helmet, named the Bell 500, featured a polyurethane foam liner inside a hand-laminated fiberglass outer shell. Laminating and polishing helmets by hand was relatively expensive but Richter believed it resulted in a stronger helmet.

Image: Roy Richter

Bell Racing heritage

Several members of the famous Bill Stroppe Lincoln Team wore the Bell 500 in the Carrera Pan-American Road Race in 1954. A Bell helmet was used in the Indianapolis 500 for the first time by Cal Niday in 1955. Niday crashed during lap 177 of the race and suffered several major injuries. Despite suffering a skull fracture, Niday credited the helmet for preventing even more serious injury. By 1956, helmet sales were far above projections.

Formation of the Bell helmet Company

This resulted in the formation of the Bell Helmet Company as a subsidiary of Bell Auto Parts. The helmet operation employed at least four people working full-time producing helmets in a facility next door to the original Bell Auto Parts location.

Bell helmet company merges

In 1980, the company merged with football helmet maker Riddell to form Bell-Riddell. The Bell-Riddell motorcycle division was sold in 1991. It became Bell Helmets. The remaining company was re-named Bell Sports. In 1999, the auto racing division was sold and split into two separate companies called Bell Racing Company (North America) and Bell Racing Europe (Europe, Asia and Africa). Bell Sports reacquired Bell Racing Helmets in 2002, creating Bell Powersports. In 2005, it reacquired Bell Racing Company,and was itself merged into Easton-Bell Sports in 2006. Vista Outdoor acquired the company in 2016. 

Bell helmets

 company ethos

Bell exists to inspire and enable the next generation of boundary breakers. It is built from auto racing, motorcycle and bicycle culture. They don’t just make helmets; they make possibilities. Born in a garage. Fueled by grease and will. Guided by pure intent to encourage the world to live, ride, drive and thrive. Hand-in-hand with the world’s best drivers and riders, Bell continues to enable the world’s best to be their best … as it always has.

Bell street helmets in 2020

The current lineup of Street Bell Helmets

 2020 represents what Bell stands for — purpose-built performance. The champion Star Series has been re-vamped in 2020, continuing Bell Helmets

 long history of innovative and progressive head protection.

The Race Star Flex DLX has been re-engineered to shave weight by 10% with an updated headform for additional comfort. The Race Star Flex DLX now features Bell ProTint photochromic technology on its Panovision Class 1 optics shield, as well as new speaker pockets and triple-density cheek pads with an added comfort lining. From a 3k carbon fiber shell to our proprietary Flex liner for energy management, this helmet is packed with cutting-edge technology to deliver premier performance.

Bell MX and Off-road helmets 2020

Bell Helmets

 passion for purpose-built product defines them as a brand, and 2020 is has been no exception. From iconic products like the Moto-9 Flex, to bold new graphics across the line, the 2020 range is the next chapter in a long history of innovative and progressive head protection. The 2020 lineup of off-road and MX helmets are the MX 9 MIPS,Moto 9 Flex,Moto 9 MIPS,Moto 9 Adventure MIPS.

Latest Bell helmet technology

The new Star DLX MIPS features Bell ProTint (Video) photochromic technology on its Panovision Class 1 optics shield, and is loaded with features like MIPS energy management, a Tri-Matrix composite shell, an X-Static XT2 liner, and speaker pockets.

No matter the helmet customers choose, Bell Helmets

 have got you covered.









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