Helmets! Most of us wear them just so that we elude the traffic policeman. However, a few of us do wear them to protect our heads. One of India’s largest helmet makers in recent years, Steelbird, has been bringing out lids for use in the country every alternate month. So, we decided to ask Steelbird Helmets for a unit for review. And promptly within a week, we received the Steelbird SBA-2 Double Visor helmet. It came with lofty claims that it has the world’s largest visor and being one of the most compact units to clear European safety norms. Italian design house Bargy Designs is the brain behind designing this helmet. So let’s put all these claims to test.
Design of the Steelbird SBA-2 Double Visor helmet
Because of the long visor, the Steelbird SBA-2 Double Visor helmet looks unlike any other helmet on offer. It sort of has that bubble visor effect. Visibility is good throughout however, there is a lot of wind buffeting happening if the visor is opened. This is true for even speeds of 65kmph. Because of the long visor, there are no vents and no mouth guard too. You do get some air from the chin area. There are vents on the top that slide to open and close. Underneath the visor is a pair of goggles that can be slid into place via the mechanism at the left side. It is easy to operate when standstill. However, on the move it is slightly fidgety.
As is the case with most budget helmets, the Steelbird SBA-2 Double Visor helmet is also made of ABS material on the outside. Inside, it has got low density as well as high density EPS material for the shell. The cheek pads are hollow too. The comfort liner of the SBA-2 is bolted with snap-on bolts, and velcro. This enables it to stay in place. The helmet weighs only 1,200gm.
Trying out the Steelbird SBA-2 Double Visor helmet
The matte battle green paint of our test unit looks cool. The inner visor or the pair of goggles are done in rainbow colour. The helmet though inspite of being a size L or 60cm doesn’t fit me properly. This is the same size for my other helmets from makers like LS2 and Arai. My chin area was left exposed in the Steelbird unit. The upside is that I ended up perspiring less than what I will in the other helmets. The downside is that if I happen to be in the unfortunate event of a crash, the chin area will likely get damaged far more easily. Perhaps should go to one of the stores and try out a helmet before buying it.
The tighter fit the helmet, the better it will be with respect to protection. If you happen to crash, the helmet should be secure on your head. if not, then it will roll away, exposing the head in the process. Wear a helmet, shake your head from side to side. The helmet shouldn’t budge from its place. At the same time, it shouldn’t be so tight that your ears and cheeks hurt. A new helmet will take a week to bed in. After this, wearing it will feel natural.
The Steelbird SBA-2 Double Visor helmet has an adjustable nylon strap with a plastic buckle. While this may not be the safest in case of a crash, at this budget it is hard to find a double D-ring unit. If you find the latter in the Steelbird range, go for it. While it may be a bit cumbersome initially to strap in, the benefits are far too many to ignore.
Should you buy the Steelbird SBA-2 Double Visor helmet?
Most of the motorcycle riders in our country prefer not to use helmets. The general reasoning is that they are cumbersome to carry around or ventilation is poor and the visor scratches easily, hence impeding vision… The Steelbird SBA-2 Double Visor helmet aims to solve this problem. It is small, has a visor which is scratch resistant and has enough ventilation too. What more, it will easily fit into the smallest of boots that a scooter has to offer. At Rs 2,699, it is not really the costliest helmet in the market as well. It is a one time investment so as to speak. You can visit a Steelbird helmet store, visit Steelbirdhelmet.com or try one of the online portals like Amazon.
That being said, if you can afford it, I will heartily recommend other helmets from the same brand. They offer more cheek protection, may weigh a bit more than the SBA-2 helmet and even cost more. But the protection they accord will be much more. That in itself is an incentive, isn’t it?