Top Pick

Bell Nomad Jr. MIPS

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The Nomad is a full-featured helmet complete with MIPS, durable in-mold construction, and is great for beginning to intermediate riders.

RATING: Highly Recommended

BEST FOR: Best for kids with shorter hair and non-round heads.

SIZE: 52 - 57 cm

ADJUSTMENT SYSTEM: Dial adjust

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Rating

Highly Recommended

Weight

370 g

Head Circumference

52- 57 cm

Construction

In-mold (most durable)

Number of Vents

13

Visor

Yes

Skater Style

No

Age Group

Youth (5 and up)

CPSC Certification

5+

Internal Adjustment System

Dial Adjust

Pros & Cons

PROS:
  • Fun mountain bike styling
  • MIPS protective system
  • Large vents for good air flow
  • Large visor
CONS:
  • Narrower than other helmets, does not fit on round heads
  • Standard buckle (not non-pinch)

Full Review

Fully equipped and ready for action, the Bell Nomad Jr. is a mountain-bike styled helmet that is one of the highest-quality helmets for kids ages 6 to 12.  During our testing, we found the Nomad to be specifically ideal for kids with non-round heads with short hair (more about that below).

With in-mold construction for durability, a large visor for sun protection, 13 large air vents, and MIPS multi-impact protection, the Nomad is fully featured for just $50.  Youth sized at 52 – 57cm, the Nomad provides a “grown-up” look for cruising the neighborhood as well as for hitting the basic trails.

7-year-old wearing Bell Nomad Jr. MIPS helmet with sunglasses. Also riding the Guardian 20" kid's bike.

Size

Universally sized to fit heads 52 to 57 cm in circumference, we tested out the Nomad Jr. on 7, 10 and 12-year-old kids with head circumferences ranging from 52 to 57 cm.  Although all three kids fit into the helmet’s head circumference range, the more narrow Nomad helmet was only able to fit 2 of our 3 testers.

As a comparison, we had the same testers try out the $70 Bell Spark Jr., which is listed for head circumferences 50 – 57 cm. Less narrow and more round in internal shape than the Nomad, the Spark was able to fit all three of our testers.

7-year-old Tester with a 52 cm Head Circumference

Both helmets fit our youngest tester, but the Nomad’s overall design is not as deep as the Spark.  As a result, the Nomad sits significantly higher on our 7-year-old’s head than the Spark.  Because he wanted to wear sunglasses during his ride, the higher-set Nomad was actually a slightly better fit because the bottom of the Spark hit the top of his sunglasses.  The Spark, however, does offer more coverage along the sides and back of his head.

Front, side, and back shots of 7-year-old wearing the Bell Nomad Jr. MIPS helmet compared to the Bell Spark Jr. MIPS helmet. The Spark has extended coverage on the sides and back.

12-year-old Tester with a 56 cm Head Circumference

With a larger head size, our 12-year-old tester comfortably fit both the Nomad and the Spark. Although older, the deeper Spark still fit much lower on her head than the Nomad. Compared to other youth helmets, however, the Nomad coverage on the rear is very typical.  For older and more aggressive riders, the extended coverage on the Spark would certainly be beneficial.

Front, side, and back shots of 12-year-old wearing the Bell Nomad Jr. MIPS helmet compared to the Bell Spark Jr. MIPS helmet. The Spark has extended coverage on the sides and back.

10-year-old with a 57 cm Head Circumference

Having a very round-shaped head since he was a baby, we weren’t too surprised to find the Nomad did not fit our 10-year-old tester.  The Nomad was simply too narrow to fit over his head.  Wider than the Nomad, the Spark did fit, but offered no room for growth because he was already at the maximum of the helmet’s head circumference range.

Front, side, and back shots of 7-year-old wearing the Bell Nomad Jr. MIPS helmet compared to the Bell Spark Jr. MIPS helmet. The Spark barely fits him, but the Nomad is comically too small sitting on top of his head.

Shape of Nomad vs. Spark

In a side-by-side comparison of the Nomad Jr. and the Spark Jr., it’s easy to see that the Nomad is a much narrower helmet than the Spark.  As a result, if your child has a round head, the Spark will likely be a much better fit for them.

Side by side shot of Bell Spark Jr and Bell Nomad Jr showing underside. The interior of the Bell Spark is much wider and rounder.

MIPS Multi-Impact Protection System

The Nomad Jr. comes standard with the MIPS protective system.  MIPS is designed to prevent strain on the neck and head as a result of impacts from steep angles.  To minimize injury when faced with an impact, the inner MIPS cage will allow the helmet to rotate around the head to prevent angular strain on the neck.

The one downside of MIPS helmets is the rubber anchors that can catch on longer hair.  This was a concern with the Nomad Jr.

Although the MIPS anchors are set lower in the helmet than the pads, longer hair, especially if not pulled back, can get caught on those yellow rubber anchors.  While we haven’t had an issue with hair being pulled while riding, hair can easily get pulled while removing the helmet.

The Spark Jr., however,  has a more advanced MIPS system that allows the anchors to be placed underneath the pads.  As a result, if your child has long hair, we would recommend upgrading to the Spark.

MIPS anchors in the interior of the Nomad helmet are exposed, while they are under the pads of the Spark Jr.

Visor

The Nomad Jr. comes with a large, removable visor.  The visor is attached with two plastic tabs that hold the visor firmly in place, but are not designed to hold the visor in place in the event of a face plant.

The visor on the Spark Jr. is slightly more integrated and has three points of attachment, but it’s also not designed to withstand the impact from a face plant. If your child is an aggressive downhill mountain biker, a full-face helmet would be a better option.

Side by side comparison of the visor on the Bell Nomad Jr. helmet vs the Bell Spark Jr. helmet. The visor on the Spark is more integrated.

Dial-adjust

The dial-adjust system on the Nomad Jr. and the Spark Jr. are exactly the same.  The gear-like knob that you turn to adjust the internal cage is small but was easily used by our 7-year-old tester.  The buckle on both helmets is also a standard buckle, without any non-pinch protection.

Dial adjust and buckle of the Nomad Jr. kid's helmet.

Comparison of Bell’s Kids’ Helmets

In addition to the Nomad Jr. and the Spark Jr., the Sidetrack is another Bell kid’s helmet with mountain bike styling.  The Sidetrack is available with and without MIPS and has the same size range as the Nomad at 52 – 57 cm.

The Sidetrack, however, has lower coverage in the back than the Nomad, but a smaller visor in the front.  All three helmets are great and mainly vary in visual design.  Which is best for your child really depends on your child’s choice of style, whether you want MIPS, and the importance of extended rear coverage (never hurts to have more, but does lead to a sweatier head).

Bell's Kid's Helmet Comparison

Bike

MSRP

Fits HeadsWeightShapeVentsOptional MIPS

Bell Sidetrack Youth

$40 ($60)

50 - 57 cm276 gOval15Yes

Bell Nomad Jr.

$50

52 - 57 cm370 gOval13Standard

Bell Spark Jr.

$70

50 - 57 cm345 gRound13Standard

Bottom Line

Providing plenty of ventilation, MIPS protection, and durable in-mold construction, the Nomad Jr. is a great helmet for kids ages 6 to 12-years-old who want a “grown-up” mountain biking look.  Due to its narrow shape, the Nomad is not suitable for round-shaped heads.  Exposed MIPS anchors also make it less ideal for kids with long hair.

 

FTC Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this review.  No monetary compensation was provided for this review.  The product reviewed was purchased by Two Wheeling Tots and not supplied by the manufacturer. All opinions and images are that of Two Wheeling Tots LLC.  All content and images are copyrighted and should not be used or replicated in any way. View our Terms of Use.

Disclosure: The majority of links provided are affiliate links we receive a small commission on sales made through them (including Amazon).
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