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May 10, 2017
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A fresh start for a legendary helmet — By the staff of Dirt Wheels —

The Bell Moto 3 has made its triumphant return but with modern materials, which means better protection for the rider.
The Bell Moto 3 has made its triumphant return but with modern materials, which means better protection for the rider.


Bell Helmets is one of those companies that has been providing safe sport and race helmets for a very long time. From ATVs, UTVs, motorcycles, bicycles and even auto racing and karting, Bell offers helmets for every sport. Some of you may not know this, but that old Bell Moto 3 of your father’s glory days is a special helmet. Bell introduced the first full-face or full-coverage helmet in the 1960s, but came out with the first dirt-specific Moto Star in the early 1970s. However, you don’t see many in race photos since they were heavy and hot. The lighter, better-vented Moto 3 hit in the late ‘70s, and factory pro riders like Bob Hannah and Mike Bell began to wear them in national races and Supercross. The Bell Moto 3 forever changed the way motocross helmets looked.

In late 2016 Bell brought this iconic helmet back for anyone who wanted to slap one on and relive those glory days, or bring newer generations of riders some old style and flair to their riding game. However, the remake of the Moto 3 is safer than it’s ever been.


Like the original, the new Bell Moto 3 has fiberglass construction. One major difference is the readily available technology and materials that we have in the 21st century. It’s now constructed with new-age resins, fiberglass and molds that make it significantly safer for the rider in the result of a crash. It offers a large eyeport, has a three-shell design, an EPS-lined chin bar, removable comfort liner and a secure five-snap visor. It’s also DOT and ECE safety certified. There are several colors to choose from, including Classic Black, Classic Flo Orange, Classic Red, Independent Matte Titanium, Classic White, Classic Yellow and Chemical Candy Black/Gold. Sizes range from XS to XXL.


We opted for the Classic Red, as that’s what caught our eye. When we put the Moto 3 on our heads, it was a tight fit going on, but once our ears got past the liner and fit into the ear slots, it was as comfortable as any helmet currently on the market. The micro-suede liner is comfortable, and in our more intense riding sessions, it wicked away moisture very well. The vintage design of the chin bar did bring it close to the face, but we didn’t notice it after some ride time. We’d say one of the best attributes of the new Moto 3 is its weight. Even without materials such as carbon fiber or Kevlar present in the design, it comes in at only 3 pounds. That light feel makes for an enjoyable long day of riding. We tried several different goggle brands with the new Moto 3, and all of them, including the bigger-framed goggles, fit great.


We were very excited when we noticed that Bell was bringing the Moto 3 back into their lineup. It flooded our memories with nostalgia from riding days of the past, and we couldn’t wait to slap one on our heads again. We were impressed with the fit and old-style finish that it has, and it just plain looks awesome! During our test session we had a few onlookers commenting on how cool it was to see the Moto 3 and how good of shape it was in. They were just as excited as we were when they heard it was back in production and ready to purchase. We did hope it would be a little cheaper, though. It retails for $349.95, which is much more than in 1979. However, it’s DOT and ECE approved, meaning that it’s safe and functional to wear. If you’re not worried about the price but want that legendary helmet on your head, we suggest getting one for yourself.

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