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The Bell Gage Mips brings together some top-of-the-range features, a good fit and the Mips anti-concussion system. Ventilation is also strong and it looks good too, with a low profile and no 'mushroom head'.
The Gage still sits at the top of the Bell helmet hierarchy, although we expect to see a new top-line lid from the company, used by LottoNL-Jumbo in this year's Tour de France but technically still unannounced. Bell has, however, made an upgrade to the Gage ahead of this, adding in the increasingly popular Mips system.
For those who haven't come across this before, Mips is essentially a plastic netting on the inside of the helmet that helps to prevent concussion by moving with the head upon impact. Full disclosure: I did not test out this system to see if it stopped me getting a brain injury as, regardless of scientific fact, I am not going to try to hit my head hard enough to give myself concussion even for road.cc.
One element that concerns me with Mips systems is their effect on the ventilation of a helmet, given that they essentially act as another layer. In this case, I found it didn't have too much impact at all (good for a helmet…) and the air moved freely around my head while riding. Bell has managed to retain the 26 vents throughout the helmet, as you would find in the non-MIPS version, and these, combined with the well-thought-out channelling, provides a decent breeze to cool you down.
Another area some might think the helmet could suffer is weight, but when we reviewed the original Gage it came in at 230g, and this version is only 235g. Only adding 5g is impressive, and doesn't negate the efforts made to keep the weight down with the EPS (expanded polystyrene) structure.
The helmet has a good level of comfort, with the Mips system not affecting fit at all. Fitting is handled by Bell's Twin Axis Gear (TAG) system, which allows for three heights on the cradle at the back of the head and also a dial that loosens or tightens the rubber fitting system around the rest of the helmet. It works well, though I think it maybe falls just short of the kind of fit you get with full head systems like the Rollsys you find on Lazer helmets.
Padding is also not impacted by the new system, with the antibacterial pads sitting in the same place as on the non-Mips model, though just inside the system instead of directly on the inside of the helmet. They work well, with one placed at the top of the head and another across the top of forehead to prevent discomfort while also stopping sweat dripping down your face. This is combined with soft and light straps that are easy to adjust but do have a tendency to twist slightly, though nothing too major.
Although £150 isn't to be sneezed at, I think the Gage is really good value for money. Compare it with other pro peloton helmets with Mips and we have £219.99 for the Lazer Z1 Mips, £225 for the POC Octal, and £224.99 for the Giro Synthe Mips.
Overall, I really like this helmet. It's good value for money, has a strong fitting system, and although not the lightest, certainly isn't going to overly slow you down on a climb.
A well made, strong performing helmet that loses nothing with the inclusion of Mips
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Bell Gage Mips
Size tested: Medium, 55-59cm
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?
A high-end road helmet used in the pro peloton, but with the Mips system included for added safety.
Bell says: 'The Gage was engineered to meet their [pro riders] exacting standards with breakthrough technologies like our two-way adjustable Twin Axis Gear (TAG) fit system, moisture-wicking X-Static padding, and superlight yet precise buckles and Cam-Locks. Ride like a pro. Get the Bell Gage.'
It has a good fit, decent ventilation and a nice amount of adjustability.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Twin Axis Gear™ (TAG)
Well made, decent straps, and Mips system sits well within the helmet.
Performed well, ventilation was good, it was comfortable to wear and sits nicely on the head.
Seems well made and likely to last a long time.
Not the lightest lid, but at the same time, given only 5g are added by the Mips system, it's not too bad.
Pads are well placed and fitting system keeps everything where it should be.
A pro peloton helmet under (just) £150 with an Mips system is a great price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performed well, the Mips system sits well in it and it was comfortable for extended riding times.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I think it looks really good, with a low profile avoiding 'mushroom head'.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
If I had to choose something, perhaps the straps could be better placed to avoid twisting. However, this isn't a huge issue at all.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
A strong performing helmet that manages to include the Mips system without it impacting on the performance of other areas.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.