The Bell -Toptex Shorty helmet debuted in the early 1960s and was popular among motorcyclist through the end of the decade. the low profile and light nature made it a perfect helmet for roaming the cities and country roads on Triumphs, Harleys and small displacement UJMs. The helmet was Snell Memorial Foundation approved, predating DOT ratings and was very similar in style to the Buco Guardian helmets of that day. The shell extends down to about the top of the ear and a vinyl collar in connection with the chin strap secure and protect the rider from excessive wind. A variety of visors and shields were available for the front.
Still trying to figure out the role of “Toptex” in Bell helmets of this era. Originally I figured Toptex simply referred to a shell material, but in patent documents, it seems the name of the company was actually named Bell-Toptex. It seems that in the 70s the company dropped Toptex from the name and or shell material.
This is one cool old Bell R-T helmet with a unique paint job. The Yellow and black appear to be part of a customization. The white around the perimeter and down the center was most likely the original color. The black striping is actually a decal of sorts and not paint. The color scheme and layout hearken the Yamaha YZ of that period and my explain why this particular helmet has extra snap heads have been added around the jaw area, perhaps for a face mask?
Sticker size 7 1/8 or 57cm in place as well as SHCA approval. Chin strap stamped BELL R-T 10-76.
This vintage Buco helmet seems to be the same shape as the Guardian model, but is not labeled as such on the rear snap. Three snap front for shield and visor attachments. Buco embossed rivets on the exterior for the straps, rear snap is also embossed by the maker. Adjustable inside from 6 1/2 – 8″ Vinyl ear flaps, chin strap and and D ring. This helmet is very comfortable despite not having the cloth coated foam padding we are used to in more modern helmets. In fact the only real padding in this helmet is in the very top of the helmet allowing the heavy lid to sit more comfortably on the crown of the head.
The exterior is a blue sparkle paint with the addition of red reflective stickering. I am unsure if the stickers are aftermarket or not.