The biggest feature about the Bell Spark is the price. You should be able to find it in stores for around R895. Many helmets in this price range often take noticeable shortcuts compared to more expensive models but the Spark pulls it off with a premium feel and good looks.
The Bell Spark is a mountain bike trail helmet. The trail helmet description means that the Spark offers some additional foam cover on the back of the helmet compared to cross-country/ road race type helmets and it comes with a large peak to protect the rider from the elements.
The Spark is available in one universal size designed to fit heads measuring 53 to 60cm. I often straddle between medium and large sized helmets, so it is little surprise that the Spark was a good fit. Bell did not skimp on the padding creating a well-cushioned, pressure point free interior.
Bell included the front Sweat Guide pad that I first tested on the Bell 4Forty helmet earlier this year. On the Spark, the pad is much larger which I found worked better at distributing the moisture than the narrower pad on the 4Forty did.
The retention system is basic but effective. The rear retention uses a dial to tune the tightness while the chin straps can be adjusted at the y-joint and chin clip via familiar mechanisms.
The Spark has been moulded with thirteen large vents which provide adequate airflow. There is a rather large foam column that runs through the middle of the helmet that can trap heat but Bell has shaped a channel to try to minimise this. The Spark breathes adequately on the bike but does get a little steamy on hot days at slower speeds on the climbs. Turn it downhill and the breeze quickly cools things down.
Bell claim that the Spark weights around 330 grams. Our test helmet measured 338 grams.
The Bell Spark takes no shortcuts on looks either. The overall design is on trend for a trail helmet. The large peak flows seamlessly into the helmet design but with one compromise, it is not adjustable. The peak is finely set to be just within the rider’s vision but never too much to distract. The top of the helmet provides a good flat surface should you wish to mount lights or cameras. The rear rounds off the style with three large vents that remind me of the rear of a modern supercar. The only issue is that the matte finish on the outside of the helmet is prone to scuffing and greasy finger marks.
On a budget or not, the Bell Spark provides outstanding value with its stylish looks and practical features.