100% Simpson style but without the price tag: Simpson Speed Bandit Review.

simpson-speed-bandit-featured

Simpson Speed Bandit review: Simpson’s entry level polycarb motorcycle helmet.

You want a Simpson helmet but you don’t want to pay what Simpson helmets usually cost? Well, the great news for Simpson fans is that the Simpson Speed Bandit gives you all that genuine Simpson look but at a lower price.

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Solid white Simpson Speed Bandit

That’s because the Simpson Speed Bandit is their entry-level, polycarbonate helmet. Designed to look – let’s be honest – the same as the rest of their range, but by using lower priced materials they can cut a chunk off the price, helping it come a bit closer in price to similar helmets like the Biltwell Lane Splitter.

OK, so the price tag’s lower, but what about the performance – has that been cut too?

You can read about the features of the Simpson Speed Bandit all across the web as well as down below.

But we’ve also checked out what owners think too, so if you buy one, you’ll hopefully know if it’ll work great or leave you wanting.

Looking to buy a Simpson Speed Bandit?

Please click below to visit the Simpson Speed Bandit helmets pages at our recommended store and Amazon. And if you buy from either store, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Shop for helmets at Amazon

Overall/Summary

Most folks are buying the Simpson Speed Bandit because it’s got that great retro look of a Simpson, coupled with a lower price. And if that’s your criteria, you’ll probably be a very happy bunny.

Sure, you can get more bang for your buck elsewhere (check out great alternatives at the bottom of the page for a starter) including some that have got that all important Snell sticker on them.

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Matte black version. Note, all helmets come with clear face shields

But if you love the Simpson look, then the Speed Bandit is also a comfy lid with a great shield system which makes for a good all rounder motorcycle helmet.

And it’s especially awesome if you’re wanting a helmet that let’s in a whole stack of air, because the Speed Bandit vents really well.

Just beware that it vents really well if it’s cold and if it’s raining outside too, because those vents are always venting whether you want them to or not.

All in all though, it’s a solid performer and a decent lower-cost way to buy into some of that Simpson helmet chic.

Safety

(more about helmet safety)

OK, if you’re looking for a Simpson helmet that’s got a proven safety record, you’re probably best looking at the Outlaw Bandit because that’s the only Simpson that’s Snell certified.

At a push, you could think about the Ghost Bandit too because the European ECE version (called the Venom over there) was safety tested by SHARP and scored 4 stars out of a max of 5.

As for the Speed Bandit, it’s DOT certified if you buy one over here (ECE if you buy in Europe) so should give at least decent minimum level of protection. But beyond that it’s really anyone’s guess how well it’ll protect.

Simpson have been around a long while of course so they should know how to make a good protecting helmet. It’s just that until it’s been independently tested by someone like Snell or SHARP it’s impossible to say.

Simpson-speed-bandit-helmet-gloss-black-side-viewWhat we can say is that polycarbonate shelled helmets – while they’re at the cheaper end of the market because they’re easier and cheaper to manufacture – they can make for some great performing helmets.

And while they might not have the same style and kudos as the Speed Bandit, helmets like the HJC i10 and Scorpion Exo R410 are both budget polycarbonate full face helmets that’re Snell certified too – so you know you’re getting some of the best protection out there.

Back to the Speed Bandit: Simpson’s added a tried-and-tested double-d ring fastener on there and a few Speed Bandit owners say they’ve made the face shield nice and wide for great peripheral vision, which is always great to see.

It’s also made in three different shell sizes, meaning that the physical size of the helmet will be more optimized for the fitment size – which is great for the look of the helmet as well as improving protection.

Other than that, it’s quite a basic helmet but one which should offer at least a similar level of protection to other DOT helmets.

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

According to Speed Bandit owners, it’s about average for helmet noise.

As far as we can tell, it tends to be more laid back riders coming from 3/4 helmets or who cruise behind big fairings that tend to rate is as pretty quiet. Whereas faster riders on naked bikes are more likely to rate it as a noisy helmet.

But then, that’ll probably go for most helmets, right?

Overall, expect it to be about average quietness for a full face lid, and hopefully you’ll be pleasantly surprised. And if you find it noisy, stick in some good quality ear plugs and hopefully all will be well – or check out one of these quietest motorcycle helmets.

Ventilation

(more about helmet ventilation)

The Simpson marketing blurb makes a big noise about the ‘speed brow’ on the Speed Bandit.

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Top vents tucked away in the ‘Speed Brow’. Note: they’re always open.

You see something similar on several Simpson helmets – basically they’re ridges along the brow of the helmet which I guess help give rigidity and strength to the helmet shell but also, in the case of the Speed Bandit, helps push air into the helmet for ventilation.

There’s a couple of venting holes inside the speed brow and Simpson reckons the brow shape creates something called a venturi effect, reducing pressure inside the helmet to pull and speed up air through the helmet, so improving ventilation.

That air then enters internal ventilation grooves inside the helmet which match with venting holes inside the comfort liner to let air circulate around your head.

Plus, there’s a single exhaust vent at the back/bottom of the helmet to let that hot and moist air escape.


A couple of useful links…

All our Simpson helmet reviews
– Find a great Retro or Cool looking helmet


The great news is that owners universally say it works well. A ton of air gets into the helmet from the top vents, and a ton of air gets into the front of the helmet through those six chin bar vents too.

So that’s job done. If you’re after a great venting helmet, then the Simpson Speed Bandit delivers. Which is excellent…

…unless, that is, if you ride somewhere cold or rainy – because those vents are always open, so they work whether you’re in a Texan summer or a Washington winter.

Face Shield

(more about shields)

The shield system on the Speed Bandit works well.

It comes with a regular clear shield in the box – so don’t be fooled by the pictures – although there are a range of colored shields available – smoke, yellow etc. But like all helmets, the Speed Bandit’s shipped with a clear visor only.

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Note shield lock near pivot. It’s Pinlock ready too (Pinlock is extra)

It’s a quick release shield too – which makes it super easy to swap out or take it off for cleaning. And there’s a visor lock on there to lock the shield closed if you take it on the track.

The opening tab is on the left – that’s handy if you only open your shield with your left hand. My preference is for a center tab so you can open it with your right hand too – so when you’re holding the clutch in for example – but then I guess that’d ruin the look of a Simpson a little?

The shield has some solid opening detents – which means you can open the shield to four positions and the strength of the ratchet should mean it’ll hold there until you reach silly speeds.

And according to Speed Bandit owners, it’s a nice wide visor opening too, meaning you get lots of peripheral vision to help with head checks and improving safety.

The shield’s the same one as the Ghost Bandit – so if you’re ever looking for a replacement, you could check those out.

Oh, and if you need a helmet with an anti-fog system, the Speed Bandit’s shield is Pinlock ready. There isn’t a Pinlock included in the box but you can buy one for a few bucks and that should solve all your shield fogging woes.

All in all, it’s a decent shield system with no real problems reported.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

Comfort inside the Speed Bandit is reported as very good.

It has a fully removable/washable hypoallergenic interior lining and it’s designed to fit medium oval shaped heads: that’s most of us.

simpson-speed-bandit-motorcycle-helmet-matte-blackThere aren’t glasses grooves in there (if you’re a glasses wearer, you might wanna check out our ‘best helmets for glasses wearers‘ page) but there are pockets in the cheek pads for headset speakers.

There’s also plenty of space in that chin bar area to comfortably mount a boom mic and we’ve seen several people successfully fit a bluetooth headset – including sets from Sena and Interphone.

It’s not the most luxurious interior ever, but it’s a comfortable place to put your head according to Speed Bandit owners. Sizing’s about true too, so measure your head and buy the correct size and it should be about right – though you should always buy from a store who offer no quibble returns/refunds but note: don’t remove the tags or stickers before you’re happy the size is correct for you or they won’t accept returns.

Use our helmet fitting guide to measure your head, then use our recommended store (below) who offer no quibble returns.

Looks & Graphics

Like all Simpsons, it’s a stunning looking and timeless helmet that should suit a wide range of rides. And like all Simpsons, there’s a limited range of colorways available – essentially just a couple of blacks and a solid white. That’s it.

Best places to buy a Simpson Speed Bandit?

Please click below to visit the Simpson Speed Bandit helmets pages at our recommended store and Amazon. And if you buy from either store, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Shop for helmets at Amazon

Simpson Speed Bandit Video

Here’s a useful 7m comparison between the Speed Bandit and the Biltwell Lane Splitter.

Other stuff – weight, build quality

At 3.3lbs (1.5Kg), the Speed Bandit is just a smidge over the average weight for a full face helmet. That means you shouldn’t have a problem with the weight – and in fact we found many owners feel their Speed Bandit’s a nice and light weight helmet when they’re riding, so that’s all good.

Onto build quality – generally it’s good, though one or two owners said they could feel where Simpson’s cut corners in the materials used – such as lower quality internals or maybe the way some of the components are finished.

There’s a built in breath guard but they’ve left out a chin curtain too – which is going to make it a bit more drafty and noisier helmet. I guess it’s what Simpson’s had to do to deliver the helmet to a budget.

Crash Helmet Buying Guides

For (hopefully!) other useful information to help you when buying your next helmet, check our various guides - or have a look at our top helmet lists where we've got the top 10 rated helmets overall and best budget/safest/full face/flip-up helmets.

Good Alternatives to the Simpson Speed Bandit?

If you love the style of the Simpson Speed Bandit, you might want to check out our reviews of other cool retro helmets or jump on over to our Simpson Helmets review page. If not, here’s a selection of some of the best performing, coolest-looking standout helmets.

Nexx X.G100R motordrome

The Nexx X.G100R is a composite fiber (carbon available) retro full face lid with an optically correct shield. The ECE version scored a great 4 star SHARP safety rating too and it’s lighter than the Simpson.

Bell Eliminator Rally Crash

Bell Helmets‘ retro lid is the Bell Eliminator. It’s fantastic looking, lighter than the polycarb Speed Bandit and available in both carbon and fiberglass versions. It’s a bit pricier tho.

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Solid white Mod Bandit

So too is the Simpson Mod Bandit – the same great Simpson look but in a modular helmet. Like most modulars, it’s a bit noisier but you get the convenience of a flip-front helmet and a drop down sun visor too. The entry level version has a composite fiber shell or you can upgrade a little to a carbon fiber version.

If you’re looking for the best protection, check our Snell helmets pages or Safest helmets pages that include both Snell and SHARP 4 & 5 star helmets.

Looking to buy a Simpson Speed Bandit?

Please click below to visit the Simpson Speed Bandit helmets pages at our recommended store and Amazon. And if you buy from either store, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Shop for helmets at Amazon

Star Ratings

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