Commuting a few miles to work or school, hopping on the town bike to do a few errands, those seem to be the times even the most safety conscious among us choose to leave the helmet at home. Of course, that’s when we need it the most – battling our way through congested streets, packed intersections and harried drivers. Perhaps that’s because we don’t have the right helmet.
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Bell’s new Annex is designed to provide everything you need to stay safe and comfortable in the hectic environment most bike commuters find themselves in. The Annex passes all the typical safety standards but adds Mips to the package. Mips is a liner that allows the helmet to slide relative to the head during impact, providing additional protection to your brain, which you usually need once you get to work. The Annex also provides increased protection at the back of the head by dropping down low and covering the occipital bone. This in turn protects the occipital lobe, your visual processing center. Again, something you’ll likely need at work.
Perhaps the Annex’s best safety feature is the ways it can keep you from getting into an accident to begin with. The top panel of the Matte Midnight Blur color way we tested features hi-vis green for daylight visibility and highly reflective treatments as well as a rear light clip for visibility during commutes home in the dark.
All the safety in the world is worthless if the helmet isn’t comfortable enough to encourage use. The Bell Annex has that covered, starting with one of the best head forms in the business based on decades of Bell’s helmet fit studies. It features Float Fit with an easy to turn, micro-adjustable dial that allows both circumferential and vertical fit adjustment. Thick, anti-microbial padding adds to the helmet’s soft, yet firm hold and an integrated visor adds style and function – blocking sun rays or rain and channeling sweat away from your face and glasses if the commute home get’s spirited.
Ventilation has always been one of Bell’s strongest features, and the Annex is no outlier. Not only does it use Bell’s proven Overbrow Ventilation to draw cool air across your head, it can be regulated on a cool morning or rainy day by the Active Air switch which closes eight of the helmet’s 15 vents.
The Bell Annex weighs 350grams and can also be purchased in a version called the Annex Shield with an integrated and removable shield. Perfect if you want to ride to work with your glasses on. The Bell Annex is available in three colors – Silver/Blue, Matte/Gloss Black, Matte Midnight Blur (tested).
Bell Annex Mips Equipped: $125
Bell Annex Shield Mips Equipped: $170