In the 1940s and 50s, head injuries as a result of bike racing grew rapidly. Roy Richter, who had his own race team, saw the need for better safety helmets, and so in 1954 he founded the helmet division of Bell Auto Parts in a one-car garage at the rear of the company’s offices.
He looked at military and jet fighter helmets, and used them as basis for his first helmet, the Bell 500, which he introduced in 1954. Only a tiny quantity was produced; they sold so swiftly that a new company was formed called the Bell Helmet Co.. In 1957, the company introduced the most innovative helmet in motorcycle history, the 500 TX. It became the first helmet to pass the new safety requirements established by the Snell Foundation. The current Bell Custom 500 is a direct descendant of original 1954 design.
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