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alan katkich

alan katkich

Bell Qualifier DXL Review: Everything You Need

The Bell Qualifier DLX is a mid level lid whose features and specs may surprise you. Let’s take a deeper look at what the DLX has to offer the rider who wants more for less. Welcome to our in depth Bell Qualifier DLX review 

 The Bell Qualifier helmet sits in the entry level spot of Bell’s full face lineup, the DLX version takes it a step up from there. 

Having had the helmet in my hand and trying it on for a bit I was quite surprised. An appropriate way to classify it would be great bang for the buck. Its price may be mid level but it’s what you are getting for the price that’s kind of a standout here.

Let’s start with the looks of this helmet.

The DLX has a sporty design overall.. 

To be honest I kind of found it understated. There isn’t much that stands out about it. Now this may be a good thing to a lot of you out there. It means this helmet is transitional in that it would be suited for many types of bikes. I could see this being rocked on a Ducati Monster just as easily as on a Harley Davidson Iron 883. To further accentuate whatever style bike this helmet may be used for, you have a ton of  graphic paint schemes to choose from. As for solids, at last look, you can have any color as long as its black…. or matte black 

The first thing that will catch anyone’s eye looking over the specs of the helmet is the visor. The Bell Qualifier visor comes with an auto tinting, photocromatic transition type face shield. For its price, this is reason enough to consider buying this helmet.

What this does is transition from clear to darker depending on the amount of sunlight. I don’t know why more helmets do not come with this or at least give the option. 

Having said that, for my personal liking, it did not tint quite as dark as I personally like. 

After a bit of research I discovered that the amount of tint it transitions to is temperature dependent. The cooler the temperature, the darker it tends to become. 

Despite my personal preferences, this photocromatic shield could be a very welcoming feature for those that can’t wear sunglasses because they need to wear eyeglasses. No more having to carry two face shields in case you get caught out in the dark. It will transition depending on the amount of light. This means on those in between days where it’s overcast but still a bit bright, it will transition to a smoke tint. I love that about it.

 Keeping with the visor, one gripe that annoyed me was its detents. For those who might not know, detents are the positions that the visor can stay open in. The DLX has a few positions. Now normally I don’t use all the different detents when riding except for the slightly open position which allows a bit of extra air flow for defogging. The first detent on DLX  is almost a quarter of the way open!

I found this a bit excessive just to get a bit of air for defogging. I realize this may not be an issue for some. It’s one of those things to be aware of though if you are anything like me in how you use your visor.

Back to the plus side of things, the Bell “ClickRelease” system makes it a breeze to swap out visors when needed. Why can’t other manufacturers make it this easy? I’m looking at you Arai! 

Now, something to mention here. Up until recently, the DLX had a port on the side to accept various Sena or Cardo Bluetooth systems. This is now being fazed out by Bell. Not sure of the exact reason why. It could have to do with these aftermarket units changing in various ways since the DLX was introduced. It may not be worth the trouble for Bell to keep up. I’m speculating here but it seems plausible. You might still be able to find some with the connection port out there. Be aware of this change if it’s something you are looking for.

Moving on to the outer shell of the helmet. Here you will find a polycarbonate shell that comes in three shell sizes and is surprisingly light at 3.57lbs. The weight of this thing is quite impressive considering some composite lids come in around the 3.5 lbs mark as well.

When I saw this my first thought was that it must be compromised a bit on impact safety. To my surprise it carries a European ECE rating as well as DOT. The fit is geared towards an intermediate oval head shape. This covers a large segment of riders. 

This segways into the safety aspect of the helmet. Having already mentioned its crash certifications, we have to mention its MIPS system. This added safety feature is available on the Bell Qualifier DLX MIPS. MIPS stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System. Bell claims this system reduces the rotational forces put on your brain in certain crash scenarios. Think of it like this. In a straight on impact, your head hits something and suddenly stops on impact but your brain keeps going until it hits the front of your skull. This is a terrible injury and the cause of brain damage, concussions ect. Well the same can happen when your head rotates suddenly forward, backwards or either side.

What Bell has done with MIPS is put a thermoplastic panel suspended in between the EPS foam and the comfort liner. This is supposed to act as an energy absorber in those rotational scenarios to cushion the violence from being unleashed fully onto your brain. There isn’t any independent testing that I’m aware of to verify its effectiveness. Those kinds of real world studies can take years to compile useful data. Having said that, I have enough trust in the Bell brand that this technology is helpful and no reason to doubt it’s effectiveness. It has been available in their dirt bike helmets for a few years now.

The interior comfort liner of the DLX is quite nice. Lined with a velvety type material, it feels comfortable and plush. It’s no premium interior but it’s by no means a disappointment either. It is moisture wicking, removable and washable. Pretty standard stuff with any reputable helmet. 

Integrated speaker pockets allow for a Bluetooth setup.

A nice feature for its price point is it comes with a chin curtain. Once you go chin curtain you can’t go back. They do help in keeping the wind from entering your helmet. You want this on cold days.

The air flow with the Bell DLX is quite extensive. The reason I say this is because of the brow vents added to it. I personally really like air flow directly on my brow. Not all helmets have this. It’s not a deal breaker for me but if it’s there I appreciate it.

Along with the brow you have your standard chin and top of the head vents. All are adjustable open and close and easy to use

Exhaust is handled from four ports out the back. Two up top and two out the bottom sides. I don’t see any issues with the venting here. It’s a good system. 

Moving on to how this helmet handles noise. This is probably the biggest downside of the helmet. If a quiet helmet is tops on your list of must have features, it may be best to look at other models. It just doesn’t insulate wind and road noise as well as others do. 

If you wear ear plugs this may not be an issue to you. 

Having said all that, road and wind noise can be very subjective from rider to rider. Also, the setup of your bike can really affect how much noise you experience. Meaning the type of bike you are on, your riding position, windscreens and fairings can all affect your experience. Noise is something I try not to make overly definitive statements about. There are helmets proven to be quieter on the market but it still depends on what is acceptable to you. 

So to wrap up this review let’s answer a couple questions. 

Who is this helmet for? 

This might be easier to answer by pointing out who I believe it might not be for. In my opinion, that would be the hard core track junkie. There are helmets out there that are just going to perform better under those demanding circumstances than the Qualifier DLX 

Beyond that I feel this helmet will perform well for a variety of riders. From the commuter to the weekend warriors and even the touring crowd. Anyone who is looking for a reasonably priced helmet that is safe and lightweight I feel will do well with this. We all can’t afford the premium priced helmets. That’s just a fact of life. That’s where a company like Bell comes in. With the Qualifier DLX they offers a safe comfortable alternative with enough features that make it easy to live with. 

Here are a couple competitors to the Qualifier DLX. Have a look and compare pricing and features 

AGV K3 SV

  • Thermoplastic shell 
  • Two shell sizes
  • Drop down sun visor 
  • Valentino Rossi graphics available
  • Chin curtain and breath deflector 
  • DOT rated
  • 3.63 lbs
  • Round oval head shape

HJC F70 Feron

  • Fiberglass composite shell
  • Emergency quick release cheek pads
  • Pinlock ready face shield 95% UV protection
  • Drop down sun visor
  • DOT and ECE rated
  • 3.65 lbs
  • Intermediate oval head shape

If you would like to read about other full face helmets click here or here.

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