So, I’ve received a lot of flak for my sardonically caustic “Top 10 Hipster Motorcycles” post, and I admit that I’m deserving of the heaps of scorn that have been tossed in my direction. Was it dated? Likely. Was it loathsome? Probably. Was it mean-spirited? Hell no! Just making fun of all my friends who wear trendy clothes and ride trendy machines. Heck, I’m one of ‘em – or, the closest to one the Motorcycle.com staff can boast, anyway. I love vintage motorcycles, and anything vintage, really (particularly shirts). Moreover, I’m from Brooklyn and own, like, two pairs of skinny-ish pants.
So it was in that spirit that I had to have Biltwell’s new Gringo helmet. Now, being the Cruiser Guy around here I generally detest full-face helmets – might as well be in a car, as far as I’m concerned – but when I saw the Gringo I knew I had to have it. Sure, it’s retro-cool, and looks like something Richard Petty or Don “The Snake” Prudhomme might’ve worn. But for me, its appeal struck deeper than that.
The drawback of truly vintage gear is that it doesn’t offer the same protection as contemporary gear. That’s why Biltwell gear is such a solid purchase. Despite the old-school aesthetic, Biltwell designs and manufactures modern products for today’s rider. This helmet, for example, features a seamless, injection-molded ABS outer shell, a shock-absorbing EPS inner shell and a removable, washable hand-stitched liner with open-cell foam and brushed Lycra construction.
The chinstrap features brushed Lycra on its touch points, as well as a D-ring fastener with a nifty adjustable snap retainer. To match the ventilated polyester panels inside the liner, the BioFoam padding inside the chin bar rocks a sweet, stitched diamond pattern with orange thread.
The Gringo is DOT-approved, of course, but it aesthetically eschews trendy vents and high-tech gizmos to conjure the spirit of a golden era of powersports, when names like Mert Lawwill and Kenny Roberts ruled the track. For example, check out the black rubber edging on the shell bottom and around the eye port. And those five snaps around the eye port? They’re ideal for an open-faced goggle experience or, better, a Biltwell bubble shield or flat flex screen, both of which are sold separately in an array of shades.
I’ve been wearing the Gringo a lot, for both short jaunts and all-day runs, and couldn’t be more pleased with its comfort and performance, let alone its nostalgic and cool appearance. With an MSRP of $149.95, the Gringo is the perfect full-face helmet for the image- (and price-) conscious rider. Skinny jeans not included.
The Biltwell Gringo full-face helmet is available at better motorcycle retailers worldwide, or online at www.BiltwellInc.com.