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|Headquarters||Rantoul, Illinois, United States|
Bell Sports, a division of Vista Outdoor, is an American manufacturer of bicycle, auto racing, and motorcycle helmets. BRG Sports, owner of Riddell football helmets, sold the Bell, Giro, C-Preme, and Blackburn brands to Vista in 2016.
Bell Racing is headquartered in Rantoul, Illinois, with manufacturing facilities at an industrial park which used to be Chanute Air Force Base. Bell Racing USA, an independent company that uses the Bell mark under license, is headquartered in nearby Champaign, Illinois, while Bell Racing Europe is headquartered in Saintes, near Brussels, Belgium.
The company started in 1923 as Bell Auto Parts in Bell, California.In 1933 Roy Richter began working for Bell Auto Parts, then in 1945 he purchased the store for $1,000. He produced its first race car helmets in 1954. The Bell Helmet Company was founded by Roy Richter as a division of his Bell Auto Parts store in 1956. The company name of Bell comes from its location in Bell, California. Bell introduced the first full-face motorcycle helmet on the market in 1968 the Star. In 1971 they produced the first full-face off-road motorcycle helmet. It introduced a bicycle helmet in 1975. As well as motor sports helmets Bell produced helmets for skydiving and skiing, hockey, football, baseball, fire, police and anti-ballistic for military use.
In 1980 the company was merged with Riddell to form Bell-Riddell Inc. In 1991, Bell-Riddell's motorcycle division was sold and became Bell Helmets, Inc. The remaining company was renamed Bell Sports, Inc. In 1999, the auto racing division was sold and split into two separate companies called Bell Racing Company (North America) and Bell Racing Europe (Europe, Asia and Africa). Bell Sports reacquired Bell Helmets in 2002, creating Bell Powersports. In 2005, it reacquired Bell Racing Company, and was itself merged into Easton-Bell Sports, Inc. in 2006. Vista Outdoor acquired the company in 2016.
Public safety initiatives
Bell Sports has a long history of contributing to bicycle and wheel-related safety programs sponsored by Safe Kids USA and in 2004 began providing "Safe Kids Ready to Roll" kits to Safe Kids USA coalitions to aid them in public safety instruction.
- Vista Outdoor Announces Agreement to Purchase Bell, Giro, C-Preme and Blackburn Brands from BRG Sports, Inc. (press release), PR Newswire, February 25, 2016
- "Bell Helmets - Bell Timeline". Bell. Archived from the original on 2009-12-28. Retrieved 2015-08-04.
- "About Bell Racing".
- Henning, Ari (May 2016), "OLD MEETS NEW", Motorcyclist, p. 52
- >"HISTORY & FACTS". Bell Helmets. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
- "Bell Sports acquires Bell motorcycle helmets, forms new powersports division". 2002-11-04.
- "Bell Sports Acquires Bell Auto Racing Division". 2005-01-07.
- "Easton And Bell Announce Merger". 2006-02-07.
- Safe Kids USA. SK Ready to Roll usa.safekids.org. Retrieved 24/02/08.