More than 20 winters had come and gone since I’d last worn a full-face helmet while snowmobiling, but last winter I felt compelled to try Bell’s MX-9 Adventure Snow dual-sport style helmet.
I tried it on at snowmobile shops and shows in the fall and liked its motocross-inspired design and quality materials, so I figured it would be fun to embrace a new way of doing things for myself. The Snow package for the MX-9 Adventure Helmet included a comfortable breath box and dual-lens shield – I opted for the optional electric version, which increased the price $60.
Going into the experiment I thought the face shield might help wind flow around the helmet and cause less noise than a moto helmet, resulting in a more peaceful ride. I assumed the helmet would be warmer, too, thanks again to that protective shield, and peripheral vision might be better because there wouldn’t be a goggle frame wedged in the eye port and blocking my view.
My predictions were confirmed after riding just a few miles down the trail. Right away I noticed a broader view, which meant my head didn’t have to swivel as far to the left or right to check for cars at road crossings. I also liked how the MX-9 Adventure fit – pads felt thick, soft and supportive, which made my head feel secure and comfortable.
With my face behind a shield that was securely closed against a wide, rubber gasket, there was less noise, and the cold wind had no direct path to my skin. There was no chance I’d suffer frostbite that day.
Despite an improved field of vision and more solitude, my buzz wore off when frost started to collect on the in-side of the shield – I forgot to bring the adaptor for the electric shield, so I was unable to power it during that initial cold day.
Waiting until there was good air flow before closing the shield helped reduce the ice build-up, but the problem persisted. Fortunately, I quickly adapted to a new snowmobile gear-packing regimen and remembered to take the accessory adaptor every other time I wore the helmet. With the shield powered-up, it stayed crystal clear.
Motocross-style helmet set-ups are versatile and lightweight, and they can work flawlessly if all parts are worn correctly. However, a slight mistake related to the position of a balaclava, breathe box or goggle can cause exposed skin and frostbite. Now that I’ve experienced the cold-weather advantage of full-face helmets, I’ll pack my MX-9 Adventure Snow – and its adaptor – to prepare for frigid rides.
Editor’s Note: In each issue of Snow Goer magazine, our team of product testers reviews various aftermarket products in the Cold Tested department. Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive such reviews, 6 times per year delivered to your home.