Bell Muni Urban Sports Helmet is an extremely clever design and frankly, one that has much broader horizons than traffic jamming. Modest weight, subtle styling and colour choice coupled with a neat peak mean it's also a very capable tour and trail lid. There's a choice of mean and moody matt black/titanium stealth colours but our 'safety yellow' is anything but garish.
Hammering along for several hours, airflow doesn't quite match that of mid range XC/road competition types but twenty-one sensibly sized vents certainly won't lead boil your brains either. Common to its metro predecessor, the Muni (short for municipal) boasts in mould construction, conformity to CE1078/CSS standards, insect netting and rear LED hanger but changes are not simply cosmetic.
Borrowing from Giro's prolight is the "one-step plus" retention system employing a single elastic strap around the base of the skull, offering three different positions and a ratcheting buckle, affording a precision fit in seconds. This also incorporates two sensibly sized angular LEDs, while the peak employs a similar caddy for Blackburn's flea-perfectly positioned for grabbing driver attention, rummaging through panniers and/or repairing roadside punctures. These greatly reduce the risk of riding home unlit should the main system fail, or that summer's evening meander prove longer than anticipated. Integration also extends to a flex helmet mirror-if this appeals.
Town and around the warm yellow livery grabs attention in a subtle, yet effective fashion. Visible from about 300 yards, The LEDS come into their own at dusk without getting lost in the malaise of shop-front neon. Powered by tiny watch type cells ours are still going strong after forty hours service and the option of adding Blackburn's Mars makes negotiating unlit b roads that little bit safer. Road or trail, the peak was a godsend, shielding the eyes from harsh glare, rogue twigs while the guttering disperses rainfall very effectively too.
Comprehensive, integrated features and sound design sets the standard for commuter orientated helmets.
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Make and model: Bell Muni Urban Sport Helmet
Size tested: Mat Titanium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"NEW! The all-new Muni takes the mantle of Bell urban helmets to a new level with outstanding versatility, great features, and well-mannered design and graphics".
Great for touring, town and trail.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Conformity to CE1078/CSS standards, Integrated LED, mounts for Blackburn flea and Mars lights, 21 vents, removable peak and insect netting. Clever retention system borrowing from Giro incorporates a ratcheting buckle overcoming the need for adjustment when adding/removing buffs/similar headwear.
Very well finished.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall the Muni is a really exciting helmet capable of considerably more than traffic jamming. Integrated lighting and mirors are equally given to touring while the peak means it will double as a nifty trail lid too. Ultimately there's some trade-off in terms of ventilation compared with high end competition orientated XC/road types but I've been perfectly comfortable bowling along for several hours at twenty-odd mph.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Contemporary styling, innovative, practical features and excellent attention to detail.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing in particular-although if pushed, I'd suggest another vent or two.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes-for geneal riding.
Age: 37 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)