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ADV ProductsBell MX-9 Adventure Dual Sport Helmet Review

Bell MX-9 Adventure Dual Sport Helmet Review

 An affordable dual sport helmet with top-level protection and build quality.

Published on 10.09.2015

Bell has been a pioneer in the motorcycle industry since they introduced the first full-face motorcycle helmet back in 1966. The MX-9 Adventure is the company’s first foray into dual sport helmets but it’s no surprise considering Bell’s vast experience in building high-quality off-road and street helmets. The MX-9 Adventure fills the gap in Bell’s product line for riders who genuinely spend an equal amount of time on road as they do in the dirt. It’s a true “50/50” dual sport helmet that pulls technology from both their street and off-road lines.

Bell managed to pack the MX-9 Adventure full of quality features while keeping the price right at the $200 mark. Featuring a lightweight injected polymer composite shell, velocity flow ventilation system and a moisture wicking, removable/washable air channel comfort liner, the MX-9 Adventure offers a lot for this price point.

Right out of the box, we were impressed with the detail and thought Bell put into this helmet. It’s the little things that speak to the experience of this manufacturer, like the visor and face shield that can be removed without tools or the large eye port that is perfect for using goggles and also provides superb field of vision.

Bell MX-9 adventure GoPro Sena
Goggle integration is a key feature of the MX-9 Adventure. We encountered no problems installing a GoPro action camera and Sena Bluetooth headset.

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It is a fairly light helmet at 3.2 pounds (1,450 grams) with a fit that is slightly narrow on the sides, leaning toward long-oval in shape. The helmet is offered in three shell and EPS sizes to ensure a good fit as well. It is DOT/ECE certified and comes with an industry leading 5-year warranty.

The interior does not have built-in speaker recesses for a communication system but we were able to install Sena Bluetooth speakers easily with small strips of 3M double-sided adhesive on the hard plastic inner shell of the helmet. Once installed, the speakers fit comfortably without any pressure points and offered a good volume range even with hearing protection.

Bell MX-9 adventure
The lower edge of the face shield is contoured for a tight seal with the eye port but it does cause some slight distortion in the field of vision.

The washable suede-like interior feels much like moleskin and is not high-end plush but resists saturation from sweat and is easy to remove and clean. After a short break-in period, the helmet provided a comfortable fit. However, on some longer rides we did notice a bit of a hot spot in the upper forehead area where the padding is light.

bell mx-9 adventure interior
Bell MX-9 Adventure’s suede-like interior and exhaust vent channels shown.

Riding with the MX-9 Adventure at speed on long highway stretches is accompanied by wind noise and buffeting that are typical with this style helmet, but the noise level is manageable with hearing protection. Communication on Bluetooth intercoms on the highway is nearly impossible, although routine chatter at slower speeds is not a problem.

The MX-9 Adventure converts easily to a “street fighter” style helmet, with the visor removed, using just your fingers. Bell includes a set of well-designed cover plates to hold the windshield in place when the visor is off. Removing the visor drastically improved the aerodynamics at speeds north of 50 mph prompting us to frequently ride to and from trail systems in this configuration. The finger-turn screws also make removing the face shield for cleaning utterly simplistic.

Bell MX-9 adventure street fighter
Easily convert the MX-9 Adventure to street-fighter mode for long highway stretches. A large view port offers a superb field of vision.

Bell’s off-road prowess really shows in how easy it is to use goggles with this helmet. Want to rock goggles with the face shield up? No problem. Coming up on a rain cloud or hitting a long stretch of pavement between trail heads? Drop the face shield without even adjusting your goggles! So easy in fact, that we never felt the need to remove the face shield for use with goggles.

Riding with the Bell MX-9 Adventure off-road
The Bell MX-9 Adventure truly shined off-road, with superb venting, visibility and goggle integration.

A total of five vents keeps air moving and sweat wicking off-road. The chin vent delivers generous amounts of air; this paired with large channels in the liner leading to rear exhaust vents allow good “flow through” to keep the rider cool, even under strenuous conditions. The chin vent can be closed to reduce airflow when needed but all other vents are always open, which can make the helmet a bit drafty at times.

Bell MX-9 Adventure visor
The MX-9’s large visor is effective at blocking sun and roost but its two fixed adjustment positions offer only a small range of adjustability and require you to remove the helmet to change the position.

All of the MX-9 Adventure’s off-road prowess comes at the cost of some on road comforts like the lack of “channels” for sunglasses or prescription glasses. Also, having a design that allows the face shield to close over goggle straps means that there isn’t a tight seal around the back of the face shield when it’s closed, resulting in some unwanted airflow and wind noise.

However, many riders will feel these are acceptable “draw backs” when considering the value-oriented design of this helmet and it’s true “50/50” nature. It may not be the ideal helmet for a cross-country tour with significant highway mileage but for trips where the destination is the dirt, the Bell MX-9 Adventure is superb, and it feels just as at home in the city as it does on the trail.

After testing the MX-9 through several seasons, on multiple bikes, in varying conditions, we were left convinced this is one of the best dual sport helmets money can buy in the $200 range. For that price, you get top-level protection, reasonable weight, excellent build quality and a good balance between street and off-road features. The new MX-9 Adventure reminds us that Bell is still a powerhouse in the industry. It also proves a quality dual sport helmet doesn’t always have to come with a huge price tag.

The Bell MX-9 Adventure Helmet ranges in price from $189-$199 and is available in white, matte black and hi-viz yellow, along with a number of different color combinations.

Favorite Features:

  • Great field of vision.
  • Excellent goggle integration.
  • Efficient venting.
  • Solid fit and finish.
Minor Gripes:

  • Noisy at highway speeds.
  • Two fixed visor positions offer limited adjustment.
  • Slight distortion in vision on lower edge of shield.
  • Always-open vents make it drafty in cold weather.

Shopping Options:

Amazon.comRevzillaRocky Mountain ATV/MC

Author: Spencer Hill

“The Gear Dude” has been fueling his motorcycle addiction with adventure since first swinging his leg over a bike in 2010. Whether he’s exploring his own backyard in the Pacific Northwest or crisscrossing the United States, Spencer is always in search of scenic off-road routes, epic camping locations and the best gear possible. He began writing shortly after taking up two-wheel travel to share his experiences and offer insight with his extensive backpacking, camping and overland background.

Author: Spencer Hill
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8 thoughts on “Bell MX-9 Adventure Dual Sport Helmet Review

  1. I bought one for use on a 12 day tour of Ecuador. Worked beautifully. The wind noise was fine with the shield down or up. We rode in cold, hot, wet dry, fast (75mph) and slow. It does flow quite a bit of air, which is great for hot days. Add a balaclava for the cold and you’re cozy. The field of view is wide open. Sunglasses fit fine. I rode a lot with the shield open to the first notch and it didn’t interrupt my vision. Since this one is supposed to go to my wife now that my trip is over, I may have to get one for me. Buy it, you won’t be disappointed.

  2. Hey Spencer – Were you able to use the Sena clamp with this helmet? I have an MX-9 and have heard that it wont work with Sena 10s clamp …. thoughts?

    • I was able to use the Sena clamp mount on this helmet, both the SMH10 and 10S mount. If you wanted more options in mounting location you could always use the adhesive mount as well.

  3. Did you use the regular sena clamp or the sticky one? The regular clamp seems to not have enough room and the sticky one looks like it will not sit very well due to the curves of the helmet.

    Any tips would be great

  4. I am a little late here but found this review the other day, good write up!

    I am curious, what Klim gear are you wearing in the photo? Pants and Jacket. Looks like it fits well, without the extra bulk that i have seen in other gear. I am a small guy, looking for some good gear that will not leav me look like MC Hammer..

    Thanks
    Casey