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Bell’s latest Citi helmet is a mid-priced commu/touring lid that in the glow in the dark version tested here combines eye-catching titanium/neon green livery and genuinely effective Scotchlite reflective straps worth their weight in gold on misty mornings or caught in the glare of car headlamps while stopping shy of being garish. Unsurprisingly given it's designed for urban riding it doesn’t look out of place with the civilian wardrobe.
Our one-size-fits all (54-61cm) test model tips the scales at 301g, conforms to CE1078 and enjoys sixteen sensibly sized vents. A detachable peak incorporates a clever rain gutter to channel water from the face, shielding eyes from sleet; snow and strong sunlight while offering protection against lose branches and other bridle/towpath foliage. Thanks to the surprisingly refined Ergo-Fit system it’s ready to wear in just over a minute-straight from the box and the straps felt more comfortable against the skin compared with its predecessor. If you want to ride fast though, you might want something with more vents for better airflow - that's probably the one upgrade we'd suggest for the Citi simply because more vents would make it an even more versatile piece of kit.
Finish, especially the outer shell seems an improvement over earlier models and the usual casual abuse had negligible effect, thanks in part to the seamless moulding process commonly used to join shell and polystyrene base. Commuter helmets such as these aren’t comparable in weight or ventilation to racier models but the design protects against chill, keeps insects out and your head stays drier in unexpected downpours. Clever washable pads mean there’s no excuse for trench helmet-especially since ours seems to tolerate periodic showering too.
A good lid for general riding but more vents would improve comfort on faster paced summer rides.
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Make and model: Bell Citi glow in the dark helmet
Size tested: L
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?
"Discreetly styled universal size adult helmet for town and city riding Perfect for commuting with a soft rounded style which fits in with every-day non-cycling clothes". A very accurate, if slightly modest description- it's actually a commuter lid that will do a bit of touring and a bit of rough-stuff too....
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Uni-Size 54-61cm, conforms to CE1078, seamless moulding for longevity/durability, washable pads, peak and insect net.
Reassuringly good for a budget lid.
Excellent, four more vents though please.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Citi certainly has potential far in excess of commuting and with the standard of detailing, it appears well suited to touring and even mtb duties thanks to solid construction, good fit, peak, insect net and LED tab.
Sixteen vents is a little spartan for the height of summer, although I've been using it almost daily as it's so good in most contexts-should I forget my sunglasses, the peak will sheild my eyes while also protecting me from rain, wind and aggressive foliage. The fit is good and easily adjustable and the colourscheme works without looking garish. The only thing I'd tweak is the number of vents but as a nice, affordable package, the citi has so much going for it.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Thoughtful, user friendly design, solid feel and nice fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, only four additional vents would earn it an extra point.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 36 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)