Playful barbs about Power Ranger suits notwithstanding, it may come as a surprise to some readers of Motorcycle.com to find that not all motorcyclists enjoy graphics-laden, logo-ridden riding gear. That stuff may be fine for some, but many of us prefer simple, comfortable protective gear for everyday riding.
Enter Biltwell. First famous for its whiskey throttles and other quality aftermarket parts for Harleys, choppers and café racers, the last few years Biltwell has been hawking a variety of riding gear for the rest of us – helmets, gloves and vests in simple finishes and quality materials like denim and plain leather that’s more suited to the boulevard than the racetrack. While some might call the gear retro (and its nostalgic design doesn’t belie that assertion), Biltwell riding gear is not novelty costume wear. It’s high-quality riding apparel intended to protect its rider while keeping him comfortable, relaxed and looking cool.
The Bonanza 3/4 helmet fits the retro tag, but despite its low-profile ABS shell, this well-built lid is DOT-approved without leaving its wearer looking like The Great Gazoo. Featuring the same hand-painted finish as all Biltwell helmets, including the recently reviewed Gringo full-face, the lightweight Bonanza not only looks great but fits snugly and comfortably.
It comes in a variety of colors, including gloss and matte black, gorgeous matte maroon (“Primer”) and Titanium; sparkly metal-flake versions in red, maroon and green; and the Vintage White I wore during the recent launch of the 2014 Harley-Davidson Touring bikes. Available accessories include bubble shields in clear, mirrored, smoked and a variety of colors to suit any fashion statement.
The Bonanza’s interior features a custom-shaped EPS safety shell and a hand-stitched liner, with moisture-wicking Lycra panels and foam padding for breathability and comfort. The rugged nylon neck strap features plated steel D-rings. My favorite feature is the sliding strap end retainer, a common feature on Biltwell helmets that prevents looping and flapping by snugging up to the strap.
It’s available in six sizes, XS-XXL. And it’s a bargain: $99.95 for the flat colors, $119.95 for the metal flake options.
On the highway, the Bonanza feels protective without catching the wind or weighing on my neck. With the bubble shield attached, I get protection from road debris without losing any of the open-air sensation riding with an open-face provides.
The Bonanza is without a doubt the lightest, most comfortable open-face I’ve worn. And when I catch myself in a reflection, I don’t see The Great Gazoo staring back.
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