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  1. #1
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    Found an inexpensive and great fitting helmet for my large skull: the Bell XLP APEX

    My order finally arrived at my LBS tody, and while in there picking it up, I tried on helmets.
    Eureka! I got lucky. There was just one Bell XLP APEX in size XL in stock, and it was a nice subdued charcoal/titanium color. After adjusting it, it fit like no other helmet that I have ever tried on. It almost seems like it was custom made for my relatively long and skinny oval-shaped head!!!
    Then I noticed the price: $36.95!!! YES!!!! It was a no-brainer for me to snatch this up.
    Since I am an old scarecrow of a rider and seek out mellower rides, I feel that this helmet will be just fine for Fat Biking on the beach and for cruising trails. I don't race or go for the adrenaline while cycling, and a moderate pace (off road) is just fine with me.
    I see a lot of reviews for high end, expensive helmets. Do I need one of those? NO! At my level of riding, I only need one that fits well and looks good enuff so that I'll wear the dang thing every time I ride.

    Again, this is the best fitting helmet that I have ever tried on. The fit easily adjusts to expand so that a beanie or skullcap can be worn underneath. I easily adjusted it for a snug and comfortable fit. I hardly even know its there, yet it feels rock solid. And the price was right!
    That's about all I can say for now.

    I couldn't find a review anywhere for this helmet, so I guess I'm gonna have to be the guinea pig.

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the info! I'm always looking for my next extra grande helmet. My current cap is the Bell XLV which I'm assuming this replaces. Price is definitely right. I am curious what others you have tried?
    Quote Originally Posted by Skrufryder View Post
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  3. #3
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    I tried on a Giro in the same price range, and didn't like it as well. I was hoping to find the new Bell Stoker (about $70) to try on, but there weren't any in stock yet. At my recreational level of riding, the XLP seems like it should do. Main thing is how well it fit my head, once I had it adjusted. There's plenty of adjustment range to allow me to wear a beanie or skullcap.
    The visor isn't adjustable, but is removable. Snap off or snap it back on. I'm just going to leave it on. It seemed just right, not blocking any of my view of the beach or trail.
    My regular eyeglasses and my much wider prescrip sunglasses both fit fine, with the bows on the inside the straps. There's no interference.

    This appears to be a decent low-priced helmet for general recreational riding. Not competition quality, though.

  4. #4
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    Good Info - going to try a few on this morning.

  5. #5
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    I had the Giro Venti (analogous to the XLV) and broke the visor.

    I decided to replace it with a more mountain helmet and bought the Stoker in XL. That ended up being too big for me. I had a L Bell road helmet and it was too small. Go figure. But I tried the Stoker in L and it fits great, still accommodating headwear like a Buff or a thin winter hat.

    The thing to note about the Stoker is the visor is not adjustable, despite what it says on the Bell web site.

    Really happy with it though. It's light and comfortable and comes in cool colors.

  6. #6
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    Any comments on head types these helmets fit best? I've got a narrow melon approximately size 7 3/4 to 7 7/8. I can fit a thin beanie under my XLV when fully expanded.
    I just noticed Price Point has the 2012 XLV in silver marked down to $14.98. Hard to beat.
    Quote Originally Posted by Skrufryder View Post
    Silly rabbit Jack Daniel drinking donkey kissing caterpiller

  7. #7
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    I picked up the Stoker last weekend at REI and love it. The back strap doesn't dig into my head like most other helmets do. The thing vents great too.
    Vincit qui patitur
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by owtdorz View Post
    I picked up the Stoker last weekend at REI and love it. The back strap doesn't dig into my head like most other helmets do. The thing vents great too.
    REI has a good selection of those. Our local REI has some surprising inventory/tool/price advantages over our various LBS

  9. #9
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    Greetings, hat-size brother! My new XLP Apex in XL fits me fine when adjusted down near its tighter fit. Adjusted all the way down to its tightest fit, it is getting a little bit too constrictive. There is plenty of adjustment room left to expand it for wearing a skullcap or thin beanie, or a balaclava.


    Quote Originally Posted by nemhed View Post
    Any comments on head types these helmets fit best? I've got a narrow melon approximately size 7 3/4 to 7 7/8. I can fit a thin beanie under my XLV when fully expanded.
    I just noticed Price Point has the 2012 XLV in silver marked down to $14.98. Hard to beat.

  10. #10
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    I decided to order the Bell Stoker in XL from Art's Cyclery. With free shipping and a 15% off coupon code it cost me $54 out the door. I thought that was hard to beat. I like the additional coverage of the new breed of all mountain/trail helmets. I will report back here after I get my helmet. Right now I'm pretty stoked about my new Stoker (sorry I couldn't resist).
    Quote Originally Posted by Skrufryder View Post
    Silly rabbit Jack Daniel drinking donkey kissing caterpiller

  11. #11
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    Fit is definitely the most important thing when buying a helmet. There are dozens of helmets that I've really wanted, but after trying them on and noticed that they don't fit properly I've always decided against them. And it's a shame, because some of them look really amazing and I really wanted them.

    So it's great that you found a helmet that fits. Those are actually rare gems. Helmet shopping can be even more frustrating than shopping for pants, because fit is so important yet varies so much from model to model.

  12. #12
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    I've been commuting with the Bell Stoker for about 2 weeks straight now. Overall I've very pleased with it. The fit works well for me and it actually adjusts a little larger than my old Bell XLV so I can fit a thicker beanie on underneath it which is a bonus. I really like the style and the finish (I got mine in the matte titanium). I was never overly fond of the "aero road helmet with a visor" look of most XC helmets. As I said before I can really appreciate the added side and rear protection of this style helmet. I also believe the Stoker should vent just about as well as most XC helmets. On the negative side, the visor is a tad flimsy although it is attached firmly,and it offers no usable adjustment. It was also somewhat more difficult to attach my headlight and red tail light, but that's more of a function of the vent and visor placement. For the $54 I paid for it, I am extremely pleased with it and highly recommend it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Skrufryder View Post
    Silly rabbit Jack Daniel drinking donkey kissing caterpiller

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