Tag Archives: Bell Moto 3

Tested: Bell Moto III review

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATested: Bell Moto 3 helmet

Where: Spain and Morocco

Cost: £185 off ebay

Weight: 1650g (to be verified)

In a line: Looks cool and works great with Qwik-Strap goggles and a non-ballistic ride.

What they say
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe iconic legend has returned! When the original Moto-3 was created back in the late 70s it was a product ahead of its time. Quickly becoming the industry standard in performance and style, today’s Moto-3 is everything it was style-wise, with the added benefits of modern safety and production advancements. From the fiberglass composite shell to the EPS-lined chin bar, we left no detail unpolished. The solid colors use the original style terrycloth liner, which is removable and washable.

What I think:

tik• Looks cool
• Feels light
• Chin guard not too close
• No visor hinges or other fittings to break
• Works well with Qwik-Strap goggle straps
• Good price, compared to recent X-Lites
• Yellow


• D-rings a bit fiddly
• Not full face protection; the old bug or chip will get through


For years I’ve been mostly wearing a costly open face X-Lite 402 or an inexpensive Bell Mag 9 with full face visors. Best thing is the great visibility and protection plus you leave it on to talk to people (less faff with glasses, too). But sometimes I miss a full face’s ability to be securely cable-locked to the bike via the chin bar (doing so via the D-rings never fooled anyone). And it has to be said thee types lids look good too.
I don’t usually get on with ‘in your’ full face lids like an X-Lite X551 I tried, but after  few thousand miles the Bell Moto III has suited me just fine. The wide aperture and the fact that the chin guard isn’t right in against your mouth makes it unobtrusive on the road while not feeling too claustrophobic when not on the move. Usually I can’t wait to get a full face helmet off my face.
I’ve been riding a Himalayan with a low screen at no more that 65mph, and at that speed buffeting or neck strain hasn’t been a problem. There’s no annoying bobbing around and the wind noise is what you’d expect when riding a motorbike.
Inside the lining has a nice, towel-like surface (terrycloth they call it) and all of it removed and refitted easily after washing – not all lids manage that. Only the double D-rings can be a bit fiddly – I seem to recall the X-Lite does it better.


I had an original, but beaten up old Moto III in the early 1980s – a nice-looking lid but as cozy as a brick-like inside. Goggles were always a bit awkward to move easily one-handed while riding. Decades later we have Qwik-Straps which I tried in Algeria last year and bought again for the Moto III.
As you can see in the pictures, two short straps fit in your regular goggle anchor slots, then two separate attachment pads glue to the side of your lid. One is velcro (best fitted on the left); the other is a clip-and-pivot stud. Clip the right strap to this pivot then pass the goggles over your face attach to the velcro. Undo the velcro and the goggles swing down to the right. Or – as I got used to doing – unvelcro and swing the goggles over to the back and re-velcro. Goggles are securely out the way but not dangling. It’s a clever system which definitely helped make the Moto III a much better travel lid than I expected.



Himalayan: Out of the Western Sahara

Himalayan Index Page

dig treeWith back up from Mark in a 4×4 sat alongside Colin on a Nikon, we set off for the 1100-km ride from Assa through the Western Saharan interior to Dakhla via Smara and the Digtree (left), a fuel cache I had buried in 2015.

The fuel may have been getting a bit ripe by now, but all was going well until I hit irreparable tyre troubles just 100km from the Digtree. I limped back 250km to Layounne, got fixed up and, now out of time before I meet my tour group, we settled for a leisurely drive north up the windswept Atlantic coast. Not for the first time, my Sahara plans slipped through my fingers.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHooning about on a clay pan.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe century-old Aéropostale base at Cape Juby (Tarfaya).


him-capjubyCap Juby in its heyday.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATojo wheels + jerries – the only windbreaks for miles.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWatchtower on a berm just 50km from the Mauritanian border.

him-steamHot steam and rubber. Cleaning out the Slime.

him-sarawi‘Moto – Landrover – Layounne?’ I point to each and try and persuade a Saharawi to transport my bike to the coast.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChurned up, sandy gorge at MW6 KM246. The Himalayan meets it’s limit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey like the word Sahara out here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACrossroads where MW6 joins MW7. Came from the left on the WR in 2017.


him-jerryTopping up for the day. A can will do me at least 500km.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADesert dawn near Gueltat Zemmour.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA Dakar Rally mound. Pushed up every kilometre or so as landmarks right along our route to the Digtree and beyond.

him-chatMost of the riding is easy, as above. But it only takes one lapse in concentration.

him-blissRemoving the punctured Tubliss core in Layounne.



Ex-Dakar track.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe mouth of the Draa which rises near Ouarzazate in the High Atlas, but very rarely flows in its entirety the 1000-odd km to the ocean.

him-fbj-route.jpgOut of Tiznit we took an interesting track along the Oued Assaka to Fort Bou Serif ruins for a spot of lunch and some filming.

At the 2016 NEC bike show

At this year’s Motorcycle Live bike show at the NEC I had a chance to see the bikes I speculated over a couple of weeks back from Milan’s EICMA. This is what caught my eye.

nec-rallinec-raliThe Honda CRF250L Rally (left and right) was attracting a lot of attention, and quite right too. Who’d have thought it’s only a 250 kid’s bike. I have a soft spot for the ‘Rally’ look. After all, the original ‘adventure smt-xlmbikes’, not least the 650 Africa Twin, XL600M (right) and the Tenere were all based on the looks of big-tanked Paris-Dakar nec-crf17desert racers. As for being a useful travel bike, acres of plastic apart, the 10L tank will be good for 300km and, away from the gloss black, I did notice a bigger sidestand foot. Good thinking, Honda. You wonder if the rear subframe might have been beefed up a bit, too. A mate of mine in Switz has already ordered one for February delivery.
The regular 250 (left) looks less flash but has the same slight power increase and ABS for Europe which will put it up to 150kg+. We’ll probably be riding these new CRFs on next year’s Morocco tours.
nec-b310nec-bm311The BMW GS310 also looked great in the flesh. I predict this bike will be a hit, just like the full-size GS. With an 11-litre tank, 19-inch front  wheel and a low seat 310spexheight, it’ll be a comfy road bike, but officially weighs a staggering 169.5kg dry so  may be a handful in the dirt. Sounds like a chip off the old block then! Detailed official specs on the right.
nec-kawaxOver on the Kawasaki stand, the new Versy-X 300cc twin also looked promising in real life. The spec board was incomplete bar the £5149 starting price, but the fuel tank is said to be a huge 17 litres which, again, will easily manage 400km, and nec-kawazxkerb weight is 170kg, same the BMW 310 dry. Seat height and power were unlisted but ought to be similar to the BMW, with the twin cylinder motor being a bit smoother. I don’t just make this stuff up, you know!
nec-klxSidelined in the shadows alongside the new 300 was the venerable KLX250 (left) getting it’s annual rearrangement of the green-black-and-white paint. For four grand in the UK, there’s nothing wrong with this 250 (as I can attest)  – but no one seems to notice it.
versyxthaiExcepting the enduring cult of the KLR650 in North America, of all the Jap dual sporters, Kawasaki are the least popular travel bikes, certainly in Europe. I’ve never seen one in North Africa. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because Kawasaki never officially (and rarely privately) contenec-vstrom250sted the Dakar Rally or similar events. Doubtless in domestic circuit racing their KXs are on par with RMs and YZs, and as flat trackers Kawasaki do alright too. More VersyX pics here.
Loaded with lots of plastic luggage isn’t a great look to me, so the Suzuki V-Strom 250 twin (right) appeared a less sprightly than the similar VersyX, but maybe the mini-tourer look will catch on with some. Of the two the 300-cc Kawasaki looked a bit more like it.
nec-swimnec-swmmOutfitted in a similar clunky touring set up rather than as a lithe overlander, SWM’s Super Dual didn’t seem to be a triumph of Italian design, and to finally see it was a disappointment. Nineteen incher on the front and laden with crash bars and plastic luggage, it’s a long way from the sporty TE630 whose expote630motor the Dual uses. Expedition Portal did a overlanding rs550makeover on a TE (right) in 2015 – that’s what I hoped SWM might have done. In fact the same-engined RS650R (left) looks much more like it, especially with a claimed 144kg dry weight. Tank is 12 litres and it’s only £5700, but reviews call it ‘agricultural’. As it is, all the accessories help pile up the Super D’s weight up to a claimed 187kg so it’s not the new XChallenge, more like an XT660 Tenere, but I liked the rear shock remote preload knob. Price is £7599 with Givi luggage. Me, I’d save two grand and 40 kilos with an RS.
nec-himnec-kotsThe Enfield Himalayan had it’s own exclusive sandy stage behind their well-known modern vintage bikes. They’ve elected to bring it in to Europe with ABS nec-himbiyaand fuel-injection to achieve compliance. They do things differently in India, which is refreshing – I like the tankside storage but I can’t help thinking that by the time they’ve emissioned the motor down husky17to Euro 4, there won’t be much left of the 28-hp.
The 2017 Husky 701 was also on show (right). I was riding a 2016 model in Morocco last week – impressions here. Next year’s model has a lot more power – the last thing it needed, IMO – but does it look better?

The adventure world needs a new kind of motorcycle that can offer the genuine long distance versatility and pure durability of the original Ténéré, combined with contemporary design plus cutting edge engine and chassis technology. Yamaha T7 promo-blurb

nec-t7The T7 Yamaha – a Tenereised MT07 concept bike – looked great, an agile, rally-styled bike. But it’s not a serious Dakar contender so what’s it for and will it happen? I’d pessimistically imagined the new Tenere twin would be closer to a Tracer than this T7, with all the unwanted weight that entails. t77In other words, a disappointment. All that in exotic alloy and carbon made me merely assume it was just an experiment rather than a prototype but the latest issue of Bike magazine is much more confident: ‘… make no mistake. This is going into production and you’ll be riding one in 2018’. I’ll take their word over mine.
2017_yam_t7-conceptJudging from Yamaha’s page, it looks like Yamaha are imitating Honda’s gradual seeding promo strategy of the Africa Twin – and that didn’t turn out too badly. I loved the engine when I rode an MT-07 last year. Fitting it in a light, ‘180-kilo dry XT700Z’ sounds a bit radical for the Japs, but it will be like a a blend of Rally Raid’s CB500X and the CRF1000L Africa Twin – both very popular machines whether you’re a traveller or not.
So it does appear some of us are getting what we wished for – lighter, smaller adv bikes with genuine off-road utility for regular riders, not tank-wrestling stuntmen. It will be interesting to see if any of these shape up to be potentially good travel bikes in the next few months.

nec-girderEnec-tronye-catching apparitions elsewhere included a Tron bike and on the right, a distinctive girder-framed overlander with a positively subterranean saddle height and jerrican panniers that were clearly copied off my 1982 XT500 desert bike.
hy-bajahanec-ducscramIt has to be said Ducati’s Desert Scrambler (left) has something going for it with some serious off road intent, not just retro looks. It brought to mind the similarly cool-looking Husqvarna Baja concept (right) of a few years ago. Make one of those with a detuned 701 motor, please.
nec-krigAs for gearKriega’s new but as yet unnamed plate-on-rack-mounted panniers were on show, but not for sale yet. I had a close look at them a while back and may be trying a set later.
nec-aspecNearby, Dave Lomax showed me Adventure Spec’s new meshy desertwear (right) – a breathable kevlar mesh jacket similar to Rev It’s Cayenne and Klim Induction. I had a couple of guys on the Morocco tour wearing these sorts of jackets, but they did do a lot of stopping to put on or remove layers. I get the feeling such jackets are for full-on, high summer or tropical riding where even with all the vents going, you don’t want Cordura, far less a waterproof/breathable membrane.
nec-klimKlim are about to ditch their Overland jacket – a new look Traverse is taking its place, or an altogether new Carlsbad (right) with an integrated hip belt to help take the weight of the jacket (seemed to work) and velcro-free arm cinchers. Price will be around £600 they say, and it’s not all black! Must say, klimpoxnow I’ve added some mesh ‘drop pockets’ inside (right), I’ve grown into my functional Overland which may still be going for just £300 at A Spec if you’re quick.
nec-bellsAnd finally, over at Bell Helmets, no great surprise to see they brought back the Moto III lid from the 1970s and early 80s (right)bell84. But now of course it’s being pitched as hipster/retro wear, not a proper dirt biking helmet. Trying it on it’s a lot more comfy that the original brick – not hard to do – and I must admit I like the plain widget-free exterior. Made of fibrelass, it costs £280 and comes in a bunch of snazzy colours.