Road Tested: The Hello Cousteau Bell Race Star DLX Flex helmet

Road Tested: Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
Most modern motorcycle helmet graphics are grim—which is why I almost always gravitate towards solid helmet colors. But when I heard that my favorite helmet designer, Hello Cousteau, had created a graphic for the new Bell Race Star DLX Flex, I couldn’t resist.

If you love motorcycles and spend enough time on social media, you’ve probably seen Hello Cousteau’s work. He’s a self-proclaimed “bored interior designer” with a love for classic automobile and motorcycle racing, that started designing helmet graphics and uploading them to Instagram. His account went gangbusters overnight and soon drew the attention of mainline helmet manufacturers—like Bell.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
The American helmet brand recently commissioned Hello Cousteau to create graphics for two of their helmets—one of which was the Bell Race Star DLX Flex. Pitched as a race-bred helmet for everyday use, the Race Star DLX Flex boasts a 3K carbon shell, Bell’s proprietary ‘Flex’ liner, and a photochromic shield. It comes in a variety of colors and designs, but none look quite as good as the stunning ‘Hello Cousteau Algae’ graphic featured here.

Inspiration for the graphic came from the Portuguese designer’s coastal surroundings. The light blue hue represents the ocean, and the organic shapes that wrap around the shell echo the seaweed that’s often strewn across his local beach. It’s miles more tasteful than the neon-slathered offerings that dominate the market.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
Yes, the design would arguably be better without a gigantic Bell logo on each side. But given the brand’s racing heritage, and the fact that Hello Cousteau has done a good job of weaving them into the design, I can live with it. The paint job itself feels high quality, with sections of matte paint dancing around bits of clear-coated carbon fiber.

So it looks good, but what’s it like to ride in? I put some miles into a brand new Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae, courtesy of Bell Powersports USA, to find out.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
Construction and layout With a 3K carbon fiber outer shell, the new Bell Race Star DLX Flex is a claimed 10% lighter than its predecessor. Bell lists a weight of approximately 1,540 grams for a medium-sized helmet; my XL test unit weighed in at a respectable 1,627 grams. The Race Star DLX Flex uses five different shell sizes, and six different EPS liner sizes, across its size range.

The helmet’s silhouette speaks to its intended usage. The overall vibe is racy, with subtle contours running along the sides and a sharp spoiler at the back, but not overly so. It’s a neutral enough shape that I don’t feel odd riding my Triumph Bonneville in it.

The ‘Flex’ in the Race Star’s lengthy moniker refers to its inner impact liner. The triple-layer system uses a different density material for each layer, effectively optimizing impact absorption at low-, mid-, and high-speed crashes. Between that and the outer shell, the Race Star DLX Flex conforms to the DOT and Snell standards in the US, and the ECE22.06 standard in Europe.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
Comfort and fit Sitting between the ‘Flex’ liner and your head is an anti-microbial liner that looks and feels premium. I haven’t ridden on a hot enough day to fully test its moisture-wicking properties, but it has performed well in moderate temperatures so far. And the whole thing is removable and washable too.

The Race Star DLX Flex comes pre-fitted with a removable neck roll, a chin curtain, and a nose guard to help prevent fogging. It fastens via a tried-and-tested double D-ring strap, with titanium D-rings for extra street cred, and a magnet for securing the end of the strap. The magnet is far more user-friendly than the typical press stud arrangement, and I wish more helmets came with it.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
Size-wise, the Race Star DLX Flex runs true to Bell’s size chart. Comfort-wise, it feels both snug and plush, with one major caveat; it doesn’t love my big ears, making it a chore to put on. It rubs them like crazy going on, and once it’s on I need to shuffle it around a bit before it sits comfortably around them.

It’s also tighter than most helmets against my cheeks. There’s a lot to unpack here—for starters, it is a helmet descended from racing, so a tight fit is to be expected. Secondly, there are no noticeable hotspots anywhere else.

Then there’s the fact that the cheek pads are swappable. Held in place by magnets, they’re easy enough to pop out (a boon for first responders), and Bell sells them in no less than eight different thicknesses, so that you can fine-tune your helmet’s fit.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
Bell also claims that the padding can break in by up to 20% over time, so there’s a good chance that the Race Star DLX Flex will become kinder to my ears and cheeks over time. If it doesn’t, I might try a thinner set of cheek pads; there’s only one size thinner than the ones it came with though, so I’m not sure how much of a difference it’ll make.

Snug-ness aside, the cheek pads are soft enough to allow space for glasses. And if you pop them out, you’ll discover tidy recesses to accommodate speakers, complete with foam disc covers and hook and loop patches to secure them.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
Ventilation and noise Bell has loaded the Race Star DLX Flex with an array of vents, located at the chin, forehead, top of the head, and back. They can all be opened and closed via simple latches that are easy enough to get to with gloves on. And they’re effective too—I’ve yet to overheat in this helmet, and I’ve yet to have it fog up on me.

At highway speeds, the Bell Race Star DLX Flex isn’t the quietest helmet on my shelf (that accolade belongs to the Shoei NXR2). But it is one of the quieter helmets I own and more than adequate for most riding conditions. It’s also notably aerodynamic; I prefer riding naked bikes, and the Race Star DLX Flex cuts through open air with negligible buffeting.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
Visibility While the ‘Flex’ in the Race Star’s title refers to its liner, the ‘DLX’ refers to its ‘deluxe’ trim—namely, its premium ‘ProTint’ photochromic shield. In layman’s terms, the shield adjusts its tint according to how much UV light hits it, going from clear in low light conditions to fully tinted in sunlight. If, like me, you love tinted shields, but don’t love how terrible they are at night, this setup is a no-brainer.

It works well on the Race Star DLX Flex, adjusting seamlessly and creating an adequate amount of shade at its darkest. The shield is wide and tall too, with an excellent field of vision and no noticeable distortion. And it’s not prone to fogging—even though it doesn’t use the ubiquitous Pinlock system.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
I have to credit Bell for one of the best hinge systems on the market too. Instead of clicking through incremental positions from open to closed, the shield swoops down from fully open to fully closed in one smooth motion. It’s another detail born from track racing, where a partially open shield is less than useful.

At the hinges, you’ll also spot a pair of discreet push buttons. Press those and slide the shield forward, and it pops off with zero protest. Reverse the process, and it slides back in place just as easily. It’s hands-down the best shield-swapping Remechanisms I’ve ever used.

I have a love-hate relationship with the Race Star DLX Flex’s shield-locking mechanism though. Sitting front and center, it uses a generous tab that needs an extremely positive hand to click closed or open. It creates a superior seal—but it’s deafening when it slams shut and takes more effort to open than I’d like.

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet
Verdict At $919.95 for the Hello Cousteau Algae version at Revzilla (or $819.95, if you take it in plain black), the Bell Race Star DLX Flex’s style and performance come at a premium. But it’s easy to see where all that money went. The helmet is well-built, packed with ride-focused features, and comes with primo upgrades—like its photochromic shield and a padded Bell helmet bag in the brand’s signature red. It looks incredible too.

The only thing I can fault it on is comfort, and that’s honestly just down to the cheek pads. Everyone’s head is different though—so results may vary. My advice, as always, would be to try before you buy, or buy from an online retailer with a solid returns policy.

Bell Helmets | With thanks to Hello Cousteau | Images by Devin Paisley and Wes Reyneke

Bell Race Star DLX Flex Hello Cousteau Algae helmet

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