Women with small heads may have trouble getting a precise fit with most one-size bike helmets. The Bell Vela, however, gets good reviews and is designed specifically for women. This bicycle helmet accommodates head sizes between 19.75 inches and 22.5 inches, and it's lighter than the corresponding men's version. The Bell Vela helmet has a one-handed fit adjustment system and a snap-on visor for sun and wind protection. Reviewers think this bike helmet is a great value, and multiple women say they can achieve a snug fit. Very few downsides emerge in reviews, but BikeRadar.com notes that the helmet design does leave some foam padding exposed in the back of the helmet, which is "vulnerable to scrapes" in the event of a collision. The sporty design (with six color options) also gets high marks. Since the Bell Vela only accommodates heads up to 22.5 inches in circumference, women with larger heads may want to stick with the Bell Slant (*Est. $55), which fits heads up to 24 inches.
We found the best reviews of the Bell Vela on BikeRadar.com, where the helmet gets a detailed review and is scored 4.5 out of 5 stars. The female author, Jenn Hopkins, tests the helmet for fit, comfort and ventilation. The Bell Vela is also mentioned briefly in reviews written by the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute and Good Housekeeping magazine. Both mentions are brief and focus on just a few of the helmet's features.
Jenn Hopkins at BikeRadar.com gives the Bell Vela helmet 4.5 stars out of 5, calling it a "good-looking gem of a lid at a superb bargain price." Hopkins finds the fit easy to adjust, and she praises the ample ventilation.
Review: Bell Vela Women's Helmet, Jenn Hopkins, July 3, 2008
2. Good Housekeeping
The Bell Vela bike helmet earns a Good Housekeeping magazine Pick designation. Testers for the magazine love the sporty design and find it fits well without being too tight.
Review: A Bike You'll Like, Editors of Good Housekeeping
Only a handful of owners review the Bell Vela on Amazon.com, where it receives a 4-star rating. Several women say they love the fit and design, and one owner credits it with saving her skull during a bike accident. However, one woman with a large head finds it too small and another finds the straps uncomfortable.
Review: Bell Vela Bike Helmet, Contributors to Amazon.com
4. Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
The Bell Vela gets a brief mention from the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, a safety organization that reviews nearly every helmet on the market. However, the helmet isn't tested.
Review: Bicycle Helmets for the 2011 Season, Editors of Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, July 2011