Roland Sands and Bell Helmets have partnered up again to make another rad motorcycle helmet that’s as stylish as it is functional. The storied U.S. helmet company and Roland Sands Design are now celebrating the release of the RSD Bullitt Carbon Mulholland. This is their latest collaborative lid, which comes with classic looks that belie the cutting-edge technology and materials inside.
The Bell RSD Bullitt Carbon Mulholland follows the release of the MX-9 Mips Rally. With this second effort, Bell and Roland Sands updated the vintage-inspired design of the Bullitt helmet with fancy materials like leather and carbon fiber. The Bullitt has always been a stylish callback to Bell’s original Star helmets from the ’60s and ’70s, but now with a modern (read: safer) build.
Roland Sands personally designed the helmet, which admittedly doesn’t sport a complex design. I’m a fan of simplicity, though, so I can dig it.
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The colorful graphics are only broken by logos from RSD’s long-term partners, Dunlop, K&N and Motul, but the way these are laid out, the design doesn’t look overly busy or hard to read. The bright, bold finish complements the carbon fiber weave, and when the helmet is perched on Roland Sand’s custom Ducati Desmosedici D16RR, it’s damn-near the perfect cherry on top.
But a good helmet has to do more than just look good. I would hope riders wouldn’t actually wear a helmet from the ’60s with a polyurethane liner, because these things degrade even without exposure to impact. Modern EPS liners have a shelf life of about five years or so, and any helmet that’s been involved in a crash should be replaced.
Something like a modern Bell Bullitt is the next-best thing to wearing a vintage lid without risking your noggin. It’s also a pretty good alternative for riders who prefer open-face helmets, but want the safety of a chin bar. The Bullitt has one huge eye port — not bug eye, though that’s a shield swap away.
The large eye port cuts a bit of weight since it requires less material. And this latest RSD Bullitt Carbon sheds even more thanks to its carbon fiber construction, with a total weight of around 2.8 pounds in a size Medium. For reference, a helmet with a traditional fiberglass shell can weigh between three and four pounds or more.
The only thing missing from the RSD Bullitt Carbon is the awesome Mips technology. The name stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, and it’s basically an added layer of protection inside the helmet that lets your head slip around inside the helmet just enough to dissipate impact forces in the event of a crash. Almost like a floating layer that allows a rider’s head to rotate a bit, thereby displacing some of the energy of a blunt impact, and helping prevent serious neck or spinal cord injuries.
It’s a neat system that Bell says mimics the way our skulls protect our brains, with a suspension of sorts. Helmet makers have their own gimmicks when it comes to protecting our heads. For example, Arai has its specific R75 shape that it claims allows impact forces to glance off, and reduces rotational energy transferred to the brain. But Mips is one of the coolest safety features from the last few years. I wish the new RSD Bullitt Carbon came with it, too, on top of its DOT and ECE rating.
Especially given the price, which comes in at $669.95. That’s not a bad deal for a full CF helmet, but is still quite a bit. At least the RSD Bullitt Carbon comes with a genuine leather liner and two face shields: one clear, one tinted.