Like cycling adults, kids who are cycling and bike enthusiasts love good things. If your kid has pestered you to get them a helmet like yours, you can consider getting them the Bell Spark Jr., a smaller version of the adult-sized Bell Spark.
Many parents and kids we spoke to consider this the best helmet for younger kids and kids who do off-road adventure riding.
Although discontinued, the Bell Spark Jr MIPS offers all the best features your young rider needs in a helmet. Like its big brother, the Spark Jr., this mountain bike helmet's looks and performance, complete with the MIPS technology and 13 large vents, is our favorite helmet. Continue reading this review to learn more about the helmet.
You can look for similar features in the Bell Nomad 2 Jr. MIPS, which has almost similar features and even more should you not get the Spark Jr. in the market by the time you’re reading this post. Check out our comprehensive review of kids' bike helmets.
Specs of the Bell Spark Jr. Kids’ Helmet
Size Range: Universal Youth (50-57 cm)
Used for: Cycling
Adjustability: Dial system
Weight: 345 GRAMS
Bell Spark Jr. MIPS Helmet
Bell Spark Jr. Review – What Makes it the Best?
In a snapshot, the Bell Spark Jr. helmet has all the features of an adult helmet, including an integrated visor and large vent holes, and is crowned with MIPS technology, which makes it a top performer and a rad-looking kids’ mountain bike helmet. The extended rear head protection guarantees protection to your adventurous kid as they ride the trails or take on pump tracks. Let’s now look at what it packs, which makes most parents and kids prefer it for mountain biking kids.
Size and Fit
The Spark comes in one size only and is only for people with a head circumference of 50-57 cm, making it the ideal size for youth. If you need a helmet with a smaller head circumference, go for the Giro Scamp Recreational Youth Helmet.
The side straps are quick and easy to adjust; this is important, especially for kids who are stubborn and don't sit still for long.
One of our testers, a four-year-old tester, tried it, and it fits him well. It is deeper and provides extended coverage on the back and along the sides. The shell offers enough room for growth, and the sweat guide pad perfectly fits the child's tiny head.
We had our other tester, a seven-year-old with a head circumference of 52.4 cm, try both the Nomad Jr. and the Spark Jr to figure out which was better in terms of size. The Nomad has a shallower and narrower build which places it higher on the head and spark Jr is a little deeper, but it felt a little too deep for our tester. With older kids 10 and 12 years who have the larger head circumference, you might notice that the Spark Jr. perfectly sits into their heads, which is excellent considering that this is the age they become aggressive daredevils on two wheels. And even when it fits larger heads, we noticed that there was still room for sunglasses, so nothing is sacrificed for the other.
Design and Color
Spark Jr. kids and youth helmet is a true definition of a kid-specific mountain biking helmet. It has a rad look that most young and aggressive cyclists would prefer. Apart from the design, the helmet comes in various colors that the kids can choose. If your kid prefers a certain color, chances are they’ll get a Bell Spark Jr. helmet of that color.
Besides, the helmets are designed to have a toned-down version of the adult, with a matching color. Therefore, you and your kiddo can get similar-looking helmets with appropriate sizing depending on the age and size of the head.
MIPS Technology for Peace of Mind
For the security of your young rider, Spark Jr is equipped with Multidirectional Impact Protection System (MIPS) technology which is an additional layer of protection.
This technology is a leader in head and neck protection, which reduces rotational forces caused by impact from a crash.
The aim is to offer riders a bit of confidence as they ride away into the sunset. This means that whether they are riding to school, stores, or friends' places, the aim is for a safe helmet.
While the MIPS in other helmets works independently of the internal adjust cage, the one on the Spark Jr is integrated into its internal adjust system, allowing it to work together. It is also deeper under the lining pads to prevent the rider's head from getting caught by the anchors.
Spark Jr comes with various attractive colors that make it visible to motorists on the road or woods. If you choose a plain color like black or white, you can add a few fun stickers that make it look cool.
The best way to ensure that the child wears without any fuss is by letting them choose the color and design they want.
The Spark Jr comes in adult sizes that match kids, so you can get one for yourself and match it with your little rider. This will make a great bonding opportunity for you as a family.
We always recommend choosing a helmet with a visor, especially for younger kids, as it provides additional protection when a crash occurs.
The Spark Jr.’s visor is perfectly integrated into the helmet through three plastic anchors and is placed much higher than other traditional helmets. This cushions the child's eyes from sun rays, dust, vehicle lights, or bugs.
Breathability is an important factor since children tend to sweat a lot. A helmet that provides tons of vents that let in fresh air allows them to focus on their activities and keeps them dry throughout the ride. This is why Spark Jr comes with 13 vents that let in air.
The air vents are recessed into the inner foam, letting air flow beneath the MPS liner and through the back of the helmet.
Construction and Weight
Spark Jr is made through compact fusion that fuses the polycarbonate shell and the EPS liner, leaving no gaps. This gives the helmet a stronger resistance to impact in a crash. The EPS liner also maximizes the impact by slowing down the movement by absorbing the energy of the crash impact.
Since the MIPS slip plane has been integrated into the helmet's retention system, the weight of the helmet and complexity have been reduced significantly, particularly for a helmet that seems so compact.
Spark Jr Comparisons
Smith Wilder Jr is also equipped with MIPS and features an integrated visor and ton of ventilation spaces. The downside is that it is only available in size small, so a child with a bigger head circumference won't enjoy it.
Compared to the Bell Sidetrack, Spark Jr is a major step up, even though they look like the Sidetrack is more affordable. The Spark Jr is a high-quality helmet with better padding, vent holes, and a bigger, more attractive visor.
The Sidetrack lacks MIPS technology, a critical feature that most riders and parents consider for their young ones. It further features a snap visor instead of an integrated visor. Nevertheless, it has all other features like the in-mold technology, easy-to-use dial system, and non-pinch buckle. It is also much lighter than Spark Jr.
The Nomad Jr is also a great helmet that features some of the best qualities the Spark Jr has. However, it lacks the integrated visor and instead has a removable one. Instead of 13 vents, it has 15, which is more than Spark, meaning it lets in more air. While they both have pads, Sparks Jr is better and more moisture-wicking.
You can also check out Giro Tremor MIPS, Kali Chakra Youth, Smith Optics Wilder Jr MIPS, or Troy Lee Designs A1, which also make for the best MTB helmets for kids.
- Integrated MIPS technology
- Excellent airflow thanks to the 13 vents
- Easy-to-use adjust system
- It has sweat pads that absorb and prevent excess sweating
- The buckle is not non-pinch
Final Word (Verdict)
Bell Spark Jr is one of the best helmets for kids who do mountain bike riding, leisure or recreational cycling, and even commuting to school. It has amazing features, such as the integrated MIPS technology, which is an excellent added protection for the rider in case of a crash.
We consider it a top-shelf kids’ cycling helmet that has carved a name for itself thanks to its thoughtful construction and safety features. Any kid rocking the helmet will have a similar experience and feel as an adult since it’s a miniature version of the adult bike helmet. Its high quality further crowns its viability for kids, and we recommend that you consider it even though it is more expensive than other helmets. It is worth it.