September 6, 2014

Bell Custom 500 Helmet: Product Review

My Bell Custom 500 helmet after 11,000 miles, just like new!
Recently I received the Bell Custom 500 helmet from Helmet City to try while riding across the western states. I fell in love with it from the moment I put it on.

It's so lightweight that it feels nearly weightless on my head. This has been wonderful since I've had so much trouble in the past with my Fibromyalgia pain in my neck and shoulders. This helmet fits my head snugly and seems to be part of me when I put it on. Often I find myself walking into a store or restaurant with it still on, forgetting it's even there.

The retro styling reminds me of the first helmet I wore in 1980, a Bell. My high school boyfriend had a motorcycle, a typical UJM, a 1978 Yamaha 600, and we went everywhere on that bike. I only wore my helmet occasionally because as a 16 year old girl, with no helmet law in California at the time, I usually just wore it when my Mom saw me getting on the motorcycle. Fortunately I had that helmet on the day we wrecked in Lytle Creek, CA, just north of our hometown of Fontana. I remember landing on my head and left shoulder, and the sound of that pavement grinding in my helmet. Fortunately we weren't hurt worse, and I have spent the rest of my life being grateful for the Bell helmet. My lower back and tailbone was broken and he broke his collarbone, but being young and healthy, we both healed relatively well.

The truth is I hadn't been wearing my helmet full time since getting my motorcycle endorsement. When reaching states where a helmet wasn't required, I found myself leaving it behind from time to time. But since I've received this Bell Custom 500, I reach for it more and more often. In fact, I would say I wear my helmet 95% of the time now! If owning a comfortable helmet means wearing it more often and perhaps saving my life one day, then isn't that worth the investment? If you don't love your helmet, really LOVE your helmet, you won't wear it if you don't have to. Especially if you're prone to riding without gear.

I opted for the flat black, having had some rather flashy helmets in the past. I've considered putting stickers on it, or painting it, but now I really love the plain styling.

Bell Helmets also sent me two face shields to try. The 3-Snap Bubble Shield also has that cool, retro styling I love. My friend Madhavi has this style with her bright orange Bell Custom 500 and she looks so sexy in it! I wanted to try this shield because I loved the look. It looked easy to attach, but I had some trouble getting it attached firmly. I asked my husband to help me make sure the snaps were all connected properly, and sure enough, one was loose. The shield really protects well and once attached properly, a great addition to the helmet.

Bell also sent their Flip Visor for me to try. Unfortunately, the first time I wore it I didn't have my husband check the snaps. When I looked over my shoulder to check my blind spot and change lanes, it caught some wind and off it went, at 70 mph. I only wore it for around 20 minutes, and I feel terrible that possibly I hadn't secured it properly, thus losing it on the side of the road. It seemed to struggle in the wind due to the windshield on my motorcycle. I'm not sure if that played a part in losing it, but it wasn't a good fit for me all around.

My helmet now has over 11,000 miles on it, still looks almost brand new and fits just as snugly as it did the first day. It has seen some serious wind and rain with no issues. It blocks some wind noise, but not much. It keeps me completely dry, even in fierce rain. It doesn't seem to be well vented, or vented at all, so in hot temperatures, it's really hot. If you live in an area that is terribly hot, for example Phoenix, you may want to try a lighter color that reflects light instead of absorbing it.

Overall, I love this helmet and plan to wear it a good, long time. One thing I like is the versatility of the face shields, so I'm going to try another face shield in the future. But for now, I mostly wear it without one. The Bell Custom 500 is perfect for riders who want a helmet that is lightweight, simple, and comfortable with retro styling.
Wearing my helmet when it was brand new to Bike Night in Bakersfield

Trying out the Flip Shield 

Wearing the bubble shield while riding in South Dakota

Learn more about my life growing up as the daughter of a 1%'er and my travels across the U.S. My ebook, "Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy" is available for purchase here. Thanks!



  1. Love it! Looks great on you! I love my sparkle helmet and what a difference the bubble shield makes on the freeway! I tried one of those flip visors too and I think they are probably meant for scooter riding. Lol. Looking good as always Sash! Xo

  2. Tina,

    Glad you're enjoying your new looks good on you. You're absolutely right, if you don't like your helmet or it's uncomfortable you'll be less likely to wear it...and you know from experience just how important it is to wear one. I'm not an ATGATT kinda of guy, but I am an always wear a helmet kind of guy. Ride safe!


    Live free. Ride Hard. Be Happy.


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