Both sides.

There are two sides to every helmet. (And we don't mean "hard" and "padded." But those are important, too.) Bell's Z20 Joy Ride MIPS Helmet embodies them both, with several layers of impact diffusing technology taking care of side one, and some fresh aesthetics to take care of side two. We all know what a helmet's basic role is, and we'll get to that below, but this particular Z20 is set apart by its looks. Some of us like the staid approach of a matte black lid, but others appreciate cycling as a sport and an act of performance art. The high-contrast designs of Bell's Joy Ride line speak to that impulse.

Looking good is nice, but the helmet's real purpose is that impact diffusion stuff mentioned above. Toward this end, Bell incorporates the now-ubiquitous MIPS and its own proprietary Progressive Layering Technology into the helmet's shell. MIPS is the usual inner yellow basket that rotates independently of the shell in order to reduce sloshing or rebound forces. The shell itself is a piece of dual-layer technology that uses progressive layers of EPS foam to more effectively absorb impacts. Hence Progressive Layering Technology. Pairing Progressive Layering with the thin, low-friction MIPS liner means Bell puts impact management firmly at the forefront of the Z20's design, even if that design is enhanced with some snazzy graphics.

Bell finishes the helmet with its Sweat Guide Padding and No-Twist Tri-Glides, A pair of features that only make sense to people who have suffered from the ills they address. Sweat Guide is a simple extension of padding under the front of the helmet that ushers sweat forward so it drips in front of your glasses instead of on them. This sounds like a small detail at first, until you remember that mid-summer interval session that left you squinting into the sun with salt-covered lenses sitting unusable in your helmet vents and realize that a tiny patch of padding is a pretty big deal. The No-Twist fasteners help prevent the obnoxious tendency for helmet straps to twist. We're not embarrassed to admit that we occasionally spend far too long trying to straighten the straps—after all, those twists often seem to be contrary to the laws of physics.

  • A road helmet that combines the latest impact technologies
  • Dual layer EPS helps dissipate impact force
  • MIPS technology aims to reduce rotational force in certain crashes
  • Graphics that help you stand out in a sea of plain white helmets
  • Aerodynamic shaping reduces drag and boosts cooling airflow
  • Sweat Guide Padding keeps sweat droplets away from your lenses
  • No-twist side straps stay comfortably in place
  • Integrated Float Fit Race dial allows adjusts vertically and laterally
  • Reviews
  • Q & A