The range of Bell helmets is extensive, they have something for every type of cycling discipline and from their youth range comes the Bell Sidetrack.
Colors, Colours and more colors, I counted 12 which is great if your young one is picky about their color coordination.
Scaled down in size but not features, it’s perfect for young mountain bikers finding their limits or a general purpose helmet that’s super safe and comfortable.
Bell Sidetrack Details
Where to Buy: Amazon.com
- Comes in Youth and Smaller child sizing
- 47 – 54cm Child Size
- 50 – 57cm Youth Size
- Certification CE EN1078, CPSC Bicycle
- Scaled down, full mountain bike helmet design with snap-on visor
- 15 vents to keep things cool
- PinchGuard Buckle
- In-Mold Polycarbonate Shell
- Large Range of color options
- Mips Version also available
- 299 – 340 grams depending on size
Fit and Sizing
The Sidetrack comes in two sizes a 47 – 54 cm which is the child size(no Mips version in this size), and the 50 – 57 Youth size. There is a fair amount of overlap between the sizes, so going on your child’s head circumference if they are close to the upper end of the children sizing choosing the Youth size is better to allow for extra growth. Although the helmet might look large, the in-built dial adjustment will fine-tune the fit.
The overall interior size of the helmet is smaller on the child version and while your kiddie might fit the child size ok, the dial adjustment needs to be done up enough to cradle their head properly, if not it can sit too far out and not give adequate stability, especially with longer hair.
The Sidetrack uses the tried and true method of In-Molding, this is when the exterior polycarbonate shell is fused onto the liner, this means no cracking or falling off of the exterior skin.
This helps keep the weight down but retaining strength and stiffness.
The Sidetrack has generous ventilation with 15 total vents keeping the temperature in check.
Mountainbike helmet vents are usually designed for a slower airflow pattern over the head, meaning more vents over the entire helmet vs closed top with vents fore and aft for road helmets.
The vents are evenly spaced and the shell is quite thick meaning the longevity and resistance to knocks and drops should be very good.
Shape and Design
Think modern enduro style mountain bike helmet in a smaller package.
The Bell Sidetrack follows the contemporary styling of current helmet design, using full coverage shape giving excellent protection to the back of the head area.
Kids skills are developing rapidly with more access to dedicated bike parks and trails, the Sidetrack fits right in here and its design is based on the adults Stoker trail helmet model.
The attached visor is robust and not something that’s going to snap off straight away. It’s flexible enough to not shatter while it’s decently thick and complements the overall look of the Sidetrack and giving extra sun protection. Another thing, it also helps with sunstrike with late in the day rides, on visor helmets you can tip your head to stop the glare.
The color range is huge and there should be an option to make any young ripper happy, also the things like straps and pads are color coordinated to complete the look.
Buckle and Adjustment
The buckle used in the Sidetrack is what Bell calls a “PinchGuard” closure. There’s nothing worse than buckling up and accidentally pinching your child neck with the clip, usually, the helmet comes straight back off in a huff, and makes putting it on again difficult.
The sliding buckle used on the Bell looks very similar to the one on the Giro Scamp. I found it quite easy to use, it’s a nice alternative to the usual two-sided clips found on most helmets but once familiar it’s great.
This buckle is slightly different to others I’ve seen, the other version is the two-sided clip with an extra large back to avoid chin pinches. I have found them quite tricky to do up since your not left with much to hold onto other than strap when closing it. It can take some time to get the hang of it.
Inside the Sidetrack there is the Bell dial adjustment, it’s a nice quality unit using thicker plastic webbing meaning better resistance to wear and tear. The indented wheel is set inside the sturdy plastic housing and by turning to suit, the adjustment to various head sizes is quick. Also handy for long hair or ponytails. Once it’s set your good to go and this doesn’t need to be re-done every time.
Bell Sidetrack Youth Mips
There’s also the version using the Mips internal liner. Not sure what Mips is? check my Mips helmet technology post to learn more.
Mips stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, it’s become very common on higher end helmets and usually found as an option for kids and youth helmets.
It works by using a separate liner inside the helmet which moves by up to 15mm in the event of an impact. The movement helps absorb and transfer energy by letting the helmet rotate while the internal Mips layer stays tight against your head. All the pads vent cutouts are specific to each helmet and it’s a really cool feature to have in a kids helmet.
There is a small upcharge for the Mips version, and although the technology is relatively new, it looks promising and may give an extra safety boost.
The Mips layer can have a negative impact on overall ventilation as the plastic liner restricts the internal channels of the helmet so keep that in mind if your climate is warm.
If your kids ready to take the next step and needs a helmet that going to keep up with their riding style the Bell Sidetrack Youth ticks the boxes. Solid and well designed made by a proven brand with a ton of colors to go.
Have a look at the Mips version as well, it’s interesting helmet tech that I’m sure will be standard on most helmets in the future. (The Mips only come on the larger youth size)
Have you got the Sidetrack in your family already, or have you got a Mips helmet yourself? let me know below.