Simpson Ghost Bandit Helmet Review After A 2000 Mile Test
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Today we're going to be reviewing the Simpson ghost bandit. It is arguably one of the most recognizable helmets in the cruiser game. The Simpson ghost bandit is the go-to for Dinah bros, and other Harley focused enthusiasts.
This helmet is made of a lightweight composite shell, and it is both DOT and ECE certified. Features include tool-free shield removal, it has an interchangeable drop-down Sun Visor, dual adjustable chin vents, and also features a removable chin skirt.
This helmet weighs in at 3.46 pounds and, at the time of recording, is coming in at $449.95. I do want to point out for a jump in that this helmet is not how it comes from the factory. First, the graphics or something I added, all this chunky stuff that you see around it has been added, and this dark tent visor can be added for $60.
It also features a pin-lock anti-fog system which you can get for 35 dollars, and I've also swapped out the drop-down visor for a clear visor, you can also get that in bright orange, yellow I think a light tint all for about $40 each.
In case you've never seen any of my other reviews, I like to break each part of the helmet we're reviewing into sections, and then give that a 1 through 10 scores and then tally the score at the end. One, of course, being the worst, ten being the best.
Everyone knows if you look good, you ride good, that's a fact, you can google it. I'm personally going to give this helmet an eight because it's got that automotive moto crossover style, and Simpson was the first company to pioneer that.
It also looks badass and intimidating. There's a reason why it's the go-to for all the Dyna Bros. With four different colors, if you include the carbon fiber version and seven different shield options, make about 28 ways to personalize it.
And then, of course, if you're super vain like me, you can go ahead and put stickers all over it to make sure that people know who you are.
I am going to focus on the visor itself, not the mechanism, just the optic system. This one is a little bit hard to rate; the reason being is that with the stock visor, the anti-fog functionality is pretty much non-existent.
Once you introduce the $35 pin lock option, the performance is top-notch. Because of that, I have to give this optic system a 7 out of 10.
The field of view is excellent, I wouldn't say it's the best I've ever run with, but it doesn't leave you wanting any more. Also, with the pin lock system, it does have the option to get tinted style pin locks, so for me, I went ahead and went with the dark smoke visor and the dark smoke pin lock.
I live in South Texas 90% of the time that we're riding; it's in very bright sunlight, so I doubled up on the tint. It's incredibly dark, it makes it riding in the sunlight, and it's very comfortable, so you don't have to wear any sunglasses.
I mentioned earlier that I swapped out the interior visor. The reason being is that when it comes as standard, this visor is tinted. I have swapped it out with the clear visor, but if I get caught out at night, I don't like to carry around riding glass, so I flipped that down, and my eyes are protected.
You're probably saying that doesn't sound like the most comfortable option, and you're right, it's not. But I'll get to that here in category three, which is the visor performance.
As far as visor performance, I have to give this a 10. it is my favorite thing on this helmet. With the ability to run two separate visors, it does work in every rutting condition. Like I just mentioned, if you get caught out at night, you don't have your writing glasses with you, simply flip it down, and you're good to go.
But if you were going to be doing extended riding at night or we're going on a road trip, and the Sun dropped on you real quick, you do have the option to swap out this visor with zero tools. If you were carrying your extra visor with you, you wouldn't have to carry six different tools to swap out this visor.
The other thing I'd like to focus on is the detents. These detents are heavy, and they're strong, you can pretty much lock it in whatever position you want.
It also has this locking tab here on the side that once it's flipped up, the visor will not open until that tab is released, but even without that tab engaged if you have it halfway down, this visor is not going to open up on you.
My only complaint on this entire visor system is that it only features a lift tab on the left sid.e I have seen this trend within the motorcycle helmet, and I don't get it. Nine times out of ten when I am lifting my visor, it is when I'm coming to a stop or at a stop sign. Aka all the time, I am using my clutch.
I don't like having my bike in neutral at a stop in case something comes behind me, and I don't have to take that extra second to get the bike into gear and get the hell out of the way.
Without being said, I don't see why companies don't just add a second tab on the other side. That way, no matter what hand you have free, you can lift it up. As I said, I'm not going to count it off just because every other company is doing the same thing.
Unfortunately, comfort is one of those things where it's going to be different for every person. For me, I have to give it an 8 out of 10.
The antibacterial lining on the inside of this helmet is one of the best linings I have ever had. I have to compare it to almost like an athletic t-shirt type feel; it doesn't feel like hot it doesn't get hot; it breathes very well; it just feels good.
The break-in period was surprisingly comfortable; the only part you feel is in the cheek pads. I'm pretty chubby in the face, so it did press up against my cheeks quite a bit when we first started. After the first two or three rides, those pads started to break in, and it doesn't push in nearly as much as it used to.
Where this helmet loses points for me is the fit, as far as the shape. I have more of a round head, and this helmet is more of an oval, it's not super oval but has more oval shape.
That creates a pinch point right about the top of my ear. It's like if I was a lady and had an industrial piercing, that's where it pinches my ears. If I'm going on a short couple hour ride, I don't feel it, it doesn't even become an issue, but when you're talking 12 plus hours, it does get uncomfortable.
Temperature-wise this helmet performs pretty well. I've ridden with this helmet from the high 50s up to the high 90s, and the temperature stays good. Most of that is due to the vents, which brings me to number 5, venting.
This helmet surprised me the most within this category. The main reason is that these auto-crossover helmets aren't known for having the best ventilation, but this one is above the trend at a 9 out of ten.
This helmet features vents up here on the left and the right. You aren't able to close them individually left and right; that is an impressive feature for me as a moto vlogger. It might not be so cool for you guys, but having the ability to shut off the side that my microphones on, was a huge plus for me.
It also features exhaust vents up top, which link to the channels here on the front just below the visor line. That pulls hot air out, and it also pulls hot air out of the sides, so you have a total of 6 vents all around this helmet. I've ridden up into the high 90s, and heat has not been an issue with this helmet.
Even with all the extra gear I use on my helmet like my camera on the front chin bar, and my power pack on the back, the aerodynamics of this helmet are surprisingly good, so I have to give it a 10 out of ten.
After riding about 12 hours at highway speed to this helmet, I had little to no neck fatigue, despite its super-wide profile. It does cut through the air extremely well, but you can hear it.
The number one complaint I get from every other owner of this helmet is that it's loud, so expectedly it's 4 to 5 out of ten. I'm not usually one to complain about loud helmets, because 90% of the time I'm riding I have hearing protection like headphones that play music, but also provide the same hearing protection as earplugs.
Even at highway speeds I'm usually not hearing it, but I did a few test rides around town with this helmet, it did on the highway back roads things like that, and I can't imagine riding eight hours on the highway with this thing. Your ears would be throbbing afterward
If you're the person that likes to crush miles but hates wearing any ear protection, it might not be the best way to go.
The chin strap is nothing to write home about. It's your standard to D-ring retention system, where it does shine is it does have the same antibacterial lining that it does have on the cheek pads down the length of the strap, that way your throat is protected from the strap material.
It loses a point for me because the snap button to retain the chin strap is pretty small, and it's hard to find when you have gloves on. That's why I use the ride wear quick detach system.
I have to give the ghost bandit a seven out of ten for the price, and the reason I get to this number is taking into account the competitors within the same type of genre, the weight, the features, and the safety rating.
Most would agree that the biggest competitors for the ghost bandit would be the Bell Eliminator and the lane splitter. Lane splitters are coming in at $249.95, and the bill eliminators are coming in at $399.95. Both of which are cheaper than the ghost bandit.
Although this helmet does have these same safety ratings as those two, it does have a couple of other options that bump it up a couple of points.
The main reason I give it a seven is that although the way this helmet sits right now is pretty good for me, I enjoy it quite a bit, I did have to spend another hundred and $35 to get it to where it sits today.
All in, this helmet, as it sits, is about $585. If it came with a tinted visor and a pin lock, or at least some type of anti-fog system, or if it just cost around the three hundred $49 range, it would jump that score up quite a bit.
Last but not least is safety. All things considered, I have to give this helmet an eight out of ten. Boasting both the DOT and ECE certifications, the only thing this helmet is missing is the snow gods' blessing.
Both DOT and ECE tests are different but coincidentally complement each other pretty well. Simpson is known for its high safety standards, and the ghost bandit is no exception.
The Simpson ghost bandit came out swinging with an 8 for the badass style, but took a seven due to the lack of an included Anti Fog system.
Anti Fog or not, that visor is attached to top-notch hinge technology that both superior detents and requires 0 tools and also features a drop-down interior visor earning its first 10.
The helmet Comfort and vents turn the ghost band in an 8 and 9, respectively, limited helmet buffeting and little to no neck fatigue help scoot the core of the helmet along with another 10, but took a small hit due to the expected noise issue earning its first 5.
A solid chance strap got a 9, and a less-than-stellar price comparison earned it a 7. Rounding out the list was a safety score of 8 due to the lack of Snell rating.
Add all that up, carry the 7, and you've got an overall score of 81 out of a hundred. After a thousand miles with this helmet, I get the craze over the look and the style.
Are there better helmets out there around the same price? Absolutely, but there's none that I know of that fit this same style and genre that possesses the same quality features that the ghost bandit possesses.
I will say that I have seen and held the mod bandit in person, and it's mostly the same thing as this with the modular capabilities. If your someone who likes that modular capability or wants that just take everything I said and add in is modular.