The new Falcon XR helmet lineup utilizes that same “deep road” design as Bell’s XR Spherical helmet but at a more accessible price point. This lineup consists of the base XR MIPS, the XRV MIPS which adds a visor and the XRV LED MIPS which includes the visor and a taillight. In this review we have the Bell Falcon XRV LED MIPS which adds a detachable rear taillight for improved visibility on top of the standard Falcon XR MIPS helmet. The helmet retails for $150 which is a $20 premium over the standard XR but significantly cheaper than the XR Spherical. The helmet features a 30 lumen Blackburn Grid taillight with modern USB-C charging port and COB LED. Bell has also incorporated a number of premium features such as MIPS Evolve and a Fidlock magnetic buckle.
The Bell Falcon XRV LED MIPS offers an affordable price point with do-it-all Bell’s deep road fit and removable taillight.
|Rating||9.0 / 10|
|Measured weight (in g)||366 (size medium), 27 (taillight only)|
|Likes||+ Deep road profile|
+ Bright and eye catching taillight patterns
+ Comfortable fit system and ventilation design
|Dislikes||– Basic two-tone color schemes|
– Removing visor leaves obvious slots at attachment points
|Where to Buy (US)||Bell|
.The Bell Falcon XRV LED helmet comes in a simple cardboard helmet box with branding and specs printed onto it. Inside the box you’ll find:
- Falcon XRV LED helmet
- Blackburn Grid taillight
- USB-C charging cable
- Instruction manual
Not surprisingly, there is no storage or travel bag included with the helmet which is usually only available on more expensive helmets.
FIT & FINISH
Bell markets the Falcon XR helmets as an all-rounder helmet for everything from road cycling, cyclocross to commuting. To achieve this, the Falcon XR series borrows a number of features and design details from the more expensive XR Spherical. The most obvious thing is the so-called “deep road” fit which combines high-ventilation and a smooth shape into a deeper helmet more reminiscent of mountain bike helmets. This blends the styling of a sleek road helmet with more protection thanks to a deeper fitting helmet and extended rear profile. Visually, the helmet also looks quite similar to the XR Spherical with a swoopy design and narrow but long vents. Bell offers the XRV LED MIPS helmet in five color options from black, white to the matte blue we have here. All the helmets have a two tone appearance with the top shell using the main color and an accent white or black color along the bottom. The Bell XRV MIPS is nearly the identical helmet but does not include the taillight and has unique color options.
One of the main features of this helmet is the specifically designed Blackburn Grid taillight. This offers four different output modes with 30 lumen maximum output and a 15 lumen eco mode with an impressive 15 hour runtime. While 30 lumens doesn’t sound that impressive, the COB LEDs and clever illumination patterns make the light seem much brighter. It’s also a modern taillight with USB-C charging port and an illuminated power button that indicates the battery status. We also like the integration of the taillight which sits nice and flush inside the rear vent with a spring loaded switch on the backside to easily remove it from the helmet for charging. Compared to other helmets with detachable taillights like the Smith Dispatch the taillight is brighter and has a more integrated appearance.
Unlike the Bell XR Spherical which has an impressive ball-in-socket construction that allows the entire interior to rotate, the XR Falcon helmets use a more traditional construction. This consists of a fusion in-mold poly carbonate shell, EPS foam on the interior and a MIPS Evolve low friction layer to absorb rotational impacts. It’s a well designed setup that offers protection and large air channels to flow through the helmet. In terms of a retention system, the helmet has their Float Fit system which consists of a standard rear dial and lightweight straps. The straps have adjustable side positions along with a magnetic Fidlock buckle to easily dial in the fit. You can also easily remove the visor from the helmet by pulling on the tabs to unclip it from the helmet if you prefer a cleaner look.
ON THE ROAD
While we’re still skeptical about the “deep road” philosophy, the Bell Falcon XRV is a comfortable and well ventilated helmet. The large vents along with cutouts in the liner help air flow through the helmet to keep you cool even on hot days. We wore the medium version which fit very similar to helmets like the Lazer Cityzen or Thousand Chapter with plenty of adjustment for our 58cm head. At under 400 grams with the taillight installed the helmet is light enough that it can easily be worn on long rides with no discomfort. While we didn’t do any crash testing with the helmet we felt safe wearing it as there is plenty of coverage and the built-in MIPS liner.
ON THE ROAD
One of the pleasant surprises with the helmet was the Blackburn Grid taillight. The taillight has a modern design with USB-C and COB LEDs with a variety of creative output modes. There are four output modes to choose from: constant (30 lumen / 1.5 hr), pulse (20 lumen / 4 hr), strobe (15 lumen / 7 hour) and eco (15 lumen / 15 hour). The pulse and strobe modes in particular illuminate inner and outer rings of the LEDs separately for an interesting visual effect. A single press switches between modes while a long hold shuts the light off. While the taillight isn’t as nice as helmets with integrated lights like the Unit 1 Faro, it’s bright and eye-catching for low visibility conditions. We’d still recommend supplementing the helmet taillight with a bright seatpost mounted taillight like the Magicshine Seemee 200 or Knog Blinder V Traffic for additional visibility.
Overall, we found the Bell Falcon XRV LED MIPS helmet to be a comfortable and well designed helmet. While the more affordable price point means you don’t have the clever ball-in-socket design of the XR Spherical helmet, the XRVs offers integrated MIPS and similar styling. The helmet’s deep fit and highly ventilated design allows it to easily be used in road cycling, commuting or even gravel riding. The XRV LED model’s additional removable visor and taillight add functionality and visibility on the road. We were particularly impressed with the taillight which has eye-catching illumination patterns and modern COB design. The only negatives we found with the helmet is that color schemes are limited and that removing the visor leaves large empty slots. That said, if you’re looking for a budget friendly do-it-all style helmet the Bell Falcon XR series is a great option.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Bell Helmets. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.