There’s nothing better than flying down a nice back road on your favorite two-wheeler with your knees in the breeze and the wind in your face…but when Johnny-law mandates it, or you simply extol the benefits of forgoing traumatic brain injury, then a killer skid-lid is a must-have. And whether it’s a necessity or an essential piece of precautionary riding gear… it’d better look damn good. So, here’s a breakdown of the coolest brain buckets out right now.
So-Cal based Biltwell has been making some of the coolest moto gear for chopper heads and garage builders for years, and they were one of the first to offer quality reproduction three-quarter helmets that have become a must have for every die-hard biker and hipster alike. Cool looking helmets have been a big part of the Biltwell biz and they’ve continued to stay on top of their game. The Gringo is Biltwell’s reinterpretation of the original no-frills full-face helmets from yesteryear. This lid looks cool and keeps the bugs out of your teeth (mostly), especially if you opt for the Gringo S model which incorporates a clear face shield. Plus, they offer the Gringo models in a number of killer colors to match your scoot and even a few limited-edition paint jobs if you’re really feeling the 60’s-70’s vibe.
It doesn’t matter if you’re flogging a faired Fxr, cruise a club style Dyna, or just dig Stormtrooper-esque styling – the Simpson Bandit motorcycle helmet is straight badass. Certainly this distinctive skull-saver isn’t for everyone, but the battle-ready appearance imparts a particular tuff-as-nails look that will definitely keep most from speaking up about it to your face while wearing this helmet. The Bandit is an updated version of Simpson’s classic M30 design from the late 70’s. A few of the new features include their Cool Max liner that wicks away moisture, a “Free Stop” pivot system to lock the face shield at any position, and of-course it’s DOT rated. Offered in both gloss black and matte black for those who are drawn to the dark side, and gloss or satin carbon fiber for those who prefer techy materials and lower weight lids.
A new take on an old classic – the Bell Bullitt is inspired by the very first Bell Star helmet, and the revamp on a vintage design definitely delivers. This ultra hip helmet is a solid choice for riders searching for retro style with the added protection of a full-face helmet. Although, it’s worth noting the minimal chinbar offers only a slight benefit in dental-damaging impacts compared to truly modern full-face helmets, but lets face it, we’re sacrificing a bit of safety for the sake of style. After all what good is risking life and limb if you can’t look awesome while doing so! To that end, the Bell Bullit is available in some fine finishes to complement your BratStyle beauty, cool café racer, or period-correct steed.
Allow me to introduce you to one of the most luxe lids you probably never heard of, the Dopa by Hedon Helmets. Hedon is a London based helmet manufacturer and like most things British they put a heavy emphasis on style. Plus, they seem to have a solid grasp on what riding is really about – bringing pleasure… hence their name: Hedon, which is short for hedonism, and they define as “The relentless search for pleasure”. And they definitely deliver the doin’-it-with-the-lights-on good looks. Everything they’re about pays homage to the brain’s ability to register pleasure, so it only makes sense they aim to protect your cerebrum – while looking suave as hell.
Hedon makes a few different helmet types, but our favorite the three-quarter style helmet with an integrated visor. This iconic design takes some inspiration from the helmets worn by fighter pilots and lets face it that’s as badasss as it gets.
The only trouble was they weren’t readily available stateside, but it looks like Revival Cycles is now carrying a good selection of the Hedon Helmet line.
Quite possibly the coolest brand of the bunch, Les Ateliers Ruby is all together too cool for school. They first burst on the scene with their refined take on the retro three-quarter helmet, the Pavillon. Its distinctive center ridge, luxurious materials, superb styling and finish set the stage for the Parisian brand and they continue to blaze a trail of beautiful brain buckets. They’ve expanded their Helmet line to include the Belvedere, which is similar to the Pavillon but includes an integrated shield, as well as their take on a full-framed helmet with lower chinbar called the Castel. The Castel still has the retro vibe and styling you’d expect, but with even more of the refined materials and genuine lamb leather lined interior to swaddle your grimy mug. Although, all the high-end materials, designer good looks, and uber-coolness does come at a high price.
No matter your choice, you’d be hard pressed to do better than one of these killer helmets to protect your dome. Tell us which one you’d rock or let us know about your favorite lid.