Vintage Beck 3/4 Helmet

Vintag Beck Arnley 3/4 Motorcycle Helmet

The Beck Distribution Corp was a pioneer in motorcycle distributing sourcing OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and aftermarket parts and accessories for foreign bikes to suit American rider’s tastes. The company dates all the way back to the early 1900’s. I would estimate the helmet seen here is from the early-mid 1960s, but have yet to track down an exact date or model number. Vintage American Motorcyclist Magazines currently on Google Books gives hints to the popularity of this three-quarter style helmet and the Beck Corp itself during those early 60s. In 1969 Beck Distribution Corp merged with Arnley Brake Shoe Company and the name and logo were changed to reflect that. So if anything I can say this helmet is at least pre 1969.

An interesting thing on this helmet is in the liner and foam core. The dense foam core is constructed of two halves instead of a single piece. Also the liner that once held the soft comfort foam is made of a nylon material, which gives the helmet interior a nice sort of satin finish, but wouldn’t be very breathable or moisture wicking. It’s evident that later safety improvements replaced some of these designs quirks.
The reflective squares on sides and back are a common addition to helmets of the era. A lone sticker inside shows the size as S 6 3/4″ and Made in Japan. One theory I have given Beck’s business model is the helmet was produced by Arai and then stickered Beck by the distributor, but at this time that remains just a theory.

Bell Helmets USA Super Magnum 3/4 Helmet – 1975

Here is one heavily worn 1975 Bell Super Magnum three-quarter helmet. From what I can tell the Super Magnum is just a later variant of Bell’s original three-quarter helmet the 500-TX. In comparing helmets it seems the Super Magnum has a bit deeper of a side cut for better peripheral and probably had some updated safety features in the construction. This helmet does not feature any of the Toptex markings found on older Bell-Toptex helmets of the 1960s.

The Super Magnum is  DOT and SHCA approved. This particular helmet would not be approved for much of anything safety related, except maybe taking a beer bottle over the head around a campfire.

This helmet has had some aftermarket stickers added, possibly by someone who raced in it at some point. 68 on both sides, blue reflective strips near the jaw line, and a Honda of Boulder, Colorado sticker on the back along with the original Bell front sticker and Super Magnum back. You can probably see from the pictures (and please examine them closely) this things been kicked around, banged on stuff, possibly crashed. On the riders left hand side, near the 6 the 8 and trailing off to the back there’s a series of three small chips that make it down to the foam core. Most other chips are just through the paint. On the back to the right of the Bell sticker there’s a patch of wear that looks like it was caused by some serious friction, like that of a tire. Inside all the soft protective foam is missing. The chin straps still hold tight, but the vinyl covering them is cracked and ratty. Marking on the strap is 7-75.

Currently available on the BCV eBay Store

 

1960s Bell Toptex Shorty Motorcycle Helmet – White with Silver Metal Flake

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.

1976 Bell RT Helmet

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.