Simpson Ghost Bandit: whatever next, a mean and practical streetfighter helmet?!

Simpson-ghost-bandit-featured

Simpson Ghost Bandit motorcycle helmet review.

OK, bit of background to avoid confusion. The Simpson Ghost Bandit is the same helmet as the Venom that’s found outside the USA. Only Simpson doesn’t have the rights to the Bandit name in Europe, so over there it’s called the Venom.

Which also means that while the Ghost Bandit is both DOT and ECE certified (so it’s legal in the US as well as the ECE countries including UK, Australia and Europe), the Venom is only ECE.

There, glad that’s cleared up. And if you weren’t confused, you are now.

Anyhow, we’ll call it the Simpson Ghost Bandit now since we’re on our US website (you can find our UK/Eu website here).

So what is the Ghost Bandit all about?

Well, it’s a full face helmet that comes in both composite fiber (cheaper) and carbon fiber (expensiver) variants. It looks cool as… well, as cool as we’ve come to expect a Simpson helmet to look. But this one has proper bike helmet features like a drop down sun visor and real, effective, venting. So now, you can look like awesome but still be wearing a proper bikers helmet. Happy days.

  • Full face helmet
  • Composite & full carbon versions
  • DOT & ECE (but not Snell)
  • Sharp 4 Star Safety Rated (UK version)
  • Drop down sun visor
  • Quick change shield with lock
  • Double D ring fastener
  • Pinlock ready shield
  • Weighs around 3.1lbs (1.4Kg) – light
  • Sizes XS-XXL
  • Expect to pay $430-$650 (depending on version)

Looking to buy this Simpson?

We recommend Revzilla (PA) for outstanding service and free shipping. Or you can click through to Amazon if you prefer to buy from there. Please click any link to drop onto their Simpson helmets pages or see here for more info about our recommended stores, including T&Cs.

simpson venom subdued crash helmet front view
Front view of the Simpson Ghost Bandit Subdued

Safety

(more about helmet safety)

There’s not much independent data out there on how safe Simpson helmets are.

Sure they’ve a loooong pedigree of producing well rated helmets (particularly for car and Nascar racers) and their Outlaw Bandit has recently been Snell M2015 certified.

But the independent helmet testing folks at SHARP in the UK hadn’t tested any Simpson helmets. Until now.

They took the tri-composite version of the Ghost Bandit (called the Venom in the UK) and tested it where it passed with flying colors – being awarded 4/5 stars for safety. That’s a fab score and from the looks of their 8.5m/s test graphics (below), it just dropped a star for a slight weakness on the sides (if a helmet’s gonna lose points, it’s often on the side impact testing).

Simpson venom 8.5ms SHARP test results
Image/test copyright sharp.dft.gov.uk – Simpson Venom @ 8.5m/s

So that’s a great score. Remember, the Ghost Bandit’s available in shells made from either carbon fiber (the expensive and slightly lighter version) or a Tricomposite of carbon, aramid and fiberglass that Simpson calls Maxx-3C.

And it was that composite version that was tested by SHARP – though from past tests, we’d expect the carbon version to score at least as well as the composite helmet.

So the stats indicate it’ll offer great protection.

And with a nice wide shield aperture to give great vision, double d-ring fastener to keep it tightly in place, drop down sun visor for when the sun promises to dazzle and with a Pinlock ready shield (though you’ll need to buy the Pinlock) there’s a number of other ways the Ghost Bandit tries to keep you out of trouble too.

simpson ghost bandit solid matt black crash helmet side view
Side view of the matt black Ghost Bandit – traditional Simpson badassery!

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

There’s a massive range of opinions out there on how noisy the Ghost Bandit is – with about as many saying it’s loud as there are saying how quiet it is!

Those who reckon it’s noisy say it’s probably because of all the vent holes letting air in around the shell as well as from beneath. They reckon fitting the chin curtain and closing the front vents helps a bit.

But then lots of people coming from open face or very noisy helmets say it’s really quiet.

Of course, if you do buy one, make sure you always wear decent ear plugs and it should be just fine.

Sorry I can’t be more helpful – seems like it’s just one of those helmets where how you perceive the noise is is gonna be so dependent on your riding style and helmet history.

If having a quiet helmet’s your thing, you should check out our quietest motorcycle helmets page where you’ll find helmets where most owners say it’s a quiet helmet.

Ventilation

(more about helmet ventilation)

Ventilation on the Ghost Bandit is kinda dictated by the style of the helmet because Simpson has tried to keep the front clutter free.

But apart from the obvious ones to each side of the chin guard, there’s also four small crown vents up top and a few exhaust vents to each side at the rear.

All the vents look very similar from the outside – like always-open vents – and have meshes covering them to stop flies and dirt getting in.

But those vents on the chin guard can actually be closed using sliders inside the chin bar.

They’re a bit fiddly to open and close when the helmet’s on – mega fiddly when you’re on the move – and impossible when the chin curtain’s installed! But on the up side they do keep the external look of the helmet fuss free and cool-looking.

All the other vents and exhausts (four of each) are always open and matched to a pretty comprehensive network of venting channels inside the helmet.

simpson venom gloss white motorcycle crash helmet top down view
Top view of the gloss white Ghost Bandit – those ridges are great for aero (see below)

Owners generally say the Ghost Bandit pulls in a good quantity of air to keep your head cool in warm weather… and the same in cold weather!

Face Shields

(more about shields)

The Ghost Bandit has a really large shield that offers great peripheral vision and a reasonable amount of vertical vision too.

It works on a ratchet for those of you who prefer ratchet visors, and it’s quick release so it’s easy to pull off and change/clean.

There’s also a shield lock on the left hand side and it comes with Pinlock pins on there so you can fit a Pinlock Max Vision insert if fogging becomes a problem – which it probably will…

Word is that the Ghost Bandit’s slightly more prone to fogging than most helmets. And given most helmets fog up very easily, if you tend to ride in a season that’s not got an ‘ummer’ in it, or where it’s rainy or humid, you’re gonna want to get a Pinlock to stop the Ghost Bandit fogging. That’s going to cost an extra $30 or so.

simpson ghost bandit solid matt black rear view
Always open venting is great when it’s hot – less great when it’s icy

One thing that’s a bit more style over function (but then, that’s why you’re thinking of buying a Ghost Bandit, right?!?) was that the original Ghost Bandit didn’t have an opening tab on the face shield. Instead, there was a small indent in the chin bar to allow just enough space to get the end of your glove in to open the shield.

Some found that a bit fiddly to use. But it looks like the latest Ghost Bandits have a small opening tab on the face shield as well as the indent so hopefully problem solved.

Overall, owners say the shield system on the Ghost Bandit works well.

Sun Visor

(more about sun visors)

The sun visor drops down inside the helmet and stops you hitting walls/cars/kerbs when the sun’s low and you’re not wearing shades. Sun visors in helmets = a very good idea.

The sun visor on the Ghost Bandit is operated by a slider on the bottom left hand side of the helmet. The visor itself is medium tint but gives a decent amount of protection as well as additional UV protection to the main shield (all polycarbonate face shields give 95%+ UV protection, and some quite a bit more).

The only slight flaw is that a few riders said it doesn’t come down low enough, leaving a bright stripe across the bottom of your vision.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

The Simpson Ghost Bandit has a fully removable and washable lining, and although there’s no word on any fancy fabrics or tech being used inside, owners universally say that it’s a really comfortable helmet.

simpson Ghost Bandit carbon fibre full face helmet front view
Full carbon fiber Simpson Ghost Bandit is probably the baddest of the bunch

Like all helmets though, you need buy a helmet that caters for your head shape to get it fitting just right.

The Simpson Ghost Bandit is designed with most head shapes in mind – that’s medium oval heads that are slightly longer than they are wide. If that’s you, then you should be good with a Ghost Bandit.

If you’re thinking about ordering one, then the fitment sizes are mostly about right with just one or two people saying they needed a size smaller because Ghost Bandits are a bit on the large side.

So we’d say maybe drop down a size if you’re inbetween sizes and not sure which size to order.

And if you need to wear glasses while you ride, there’s no specific features in there to accommodate glasses but we’ve heard from a couple of owners who do saying there’s plenty of room inside for glasses.

So, like most helmets, provided you’ve the right head shape for the Ghost Bandit and provided you follow a decent fitting guide, then you should find the Ghost Bandit a really comfortable helmet.

simpson-ghost bandit-carbon-fibre-full-face-helmet-rear-view
Rear view of the carbon Ghost Bandit – showing rear exhausts and d-ring fastener

Oh, and if you buy online, make sure you buy from somewhere who’ll exchange sizes without any quibbling (like all our named recommended sellers do!). See links below.

Looks & Graphics

If you’re thinking of buying a Simpson Ghost Bandit (like I am!) you’re probably going to buy it because it looks so damn mean.

Of course, to max out the meanness you’re gonna want to remove those Simpson logos, and according to one Revzilla video I saw, the Simpson graphics are just stickers so with a bit of picking, they should come off. Happy days.

OK, the black versions are probably the ones you’re going to go for. And there’s a bunch of plain matt/gloss blacks to choose from – as well as the plain black carbon fiber Ghost Bandit. There’s also a starry black/silver Ghost Bandit Subdued, as well as a plain gloss white stig-style helmet.

There’s also a stars and stripes Ghost Bandit Glory helmet, maybe to suit your Captain America style Panhead?

As always, we’ve put a good range of the graphics available up and down the page, but to see more and find the latest deals, please use the links below to drop onto the Simpson Helmets pages at our recommended stores.

Best places to buy this Simpson crash helmet?

Revzilla are based in Philadelphia and offer outstanding service (at the time of writing 9.8/10 at Reseller Ratings) as well as 30 day refunds and free shipping on orders over $39.99 to 48 states.

Or you can jump through to the Simpson helmets pages at Amazon if you prefer to buy from there - but make sure you only buy from the most reputable sellers.

They are our Recommended Stores for quality of service and if you click one of our links and buy from them, 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 Simpson helmets at Amazon

Click above to drop onto their Simpson helmets pages or *quick view store T&Cs here.

Simpson Ghost Bandit Video

A quick 2m video showing you around the Ghost Bandit.

Other stuff – fasteners, audio, weight, aero, warranty

The Simpson Ghost Bandit comes with a double-d ring fastener – old school but effective and have the benefit that you have to re-tighten them every time you put the helmet on.

Inside the Ghost Bandit are some generous speaker pockets so you should be sorted to install a bluetooth system. I’ve heard people happily fitting a Sena 20s or SMH5 in there with no problems.

simpson ghost bandit glory crash helmet front view
This one’s the Ghost Bandit Glory

One thing that lots of owners say is that it feels a really light helmet – especially the full carbon version. The composite weighs about 3.1lbs (1.4Kg) which is far from the lightest helmet out there but it just about scrapes onto our lightest helmets pages.

Another thing that owners like is that it’s an aerodynamic helmet with several riders saying they find it cuts through the air well and gives minimal buffeting, even when you’re looking over your shoulder.

Finally, people reckon it’s a well built helmet. Unfortunately, Simpson helmets only come with a basic one year warranty, which is very poor (many offer 5 years!)

Overall/Summary

Many of us want a cool or mean looking helmet but they can be a massive compromise. But with the Simpson Ghost Bandit, that’s no longer the case.

simpson venom gloss white motorcycle crash helmet front view
Reminds you of someone? The gloss white Ghost Bandit.

It’s got that classic Simpson Bandit look but now with decent ventilation, a quality shield system, light weight… all backed up with that excellent SHARP 4 star safety rating (UK/ECE version) that means it’s gonna perform when you need it to.

It’s even got a Pinlock and drop down sun visor for goodness sake!

Owners tend to buy one because it looks sooo damn cool – but they also say it performs excellently. What we say is… if you love the look and you’ve got the cash, there’s really no reason not to buy one. The Simpson Ghost Bandit is a great helmet.

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 Ghost Bandit?

So, you’re after something a bit different? A helmet that looks cool but works well too? Well how about these beauties..?

First up, there’s the fiberglass Icon Airframe. Like most Icons, there’s some pretty ‘out there’ graphics but it’s a seriously practical helmet too and it’s about the same price as the Simpson.

So too is the Shark Spartan – though like the other helmets, there’s a full carbon version that’s a bit more expensive. The carbon version is SHARP 4 star rated too and weighs under 3lbs.

Or how about the AGV Sport Modular – it’s not the maddest helmet out there but it’s a SHARP 4 star rated modular designed for lean-forward bikes with optical face shield, sun visor and Pinlock included. That’s one mean helmet!

You can find other alternatives on our Coolest Crash Helmets pages or try using our smartish filters to zoom in on the main features you want in your next helmet.

Looking to buy this Simpson?

We recommend Revzilla (PA) for outstanding service and free shipping. Or you can click through to Amazon if you prefer to buy from there. Please click any link to drop onto their Simpson helmets pages or see here for more info about our recommended stores, including T&Cs.

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