PRODUCT EVALUATION: SIMPSON GHOST BANDIT HELMET
Old school meets new By the staff of Dirt Wheels
Speed and style. Going fast and looking good doing it is the goal of many of our readers and certainly our test riders and editors. UTV drivers spend lots of money upgrading their machines to go faster and then spend more on wraps, graphics, colored wheels and custom powdercoated parts to make them look fast. So, why not invest in just the right helmet?
Simpson Racing is well-versed in speed and style. It offers vast lines of protective equipment for racing and spirited riding. While Simpson offers basic helmets, race helmets, helmets sporting air-pumper inlets and others wired up for communication, it is the street line that seems to be flying off the shelves. We generally don’t have air pumpers and comms to connect to while testing UTVs, so a quality, comfortable lid suits us fine. We picked up the Ghost Bandit to see if it meets our off-roading criteria.
This lid earns the “looks really cool” award, but what is really important is its function. The Ghost Bandit comes in two shell material options: a lightweight composite or carbon fiber (add $200 to the $469.95 price tag). The shells are DOT and ECE certified, so you can use them on-road when you ride your motorcycle or drive your UTV on the streets where it is legal.
The flip-down shield can be locked shut or propped partially open. It can also be removed without the use of tools. A second tinted visor is nestled inside the Bandit. It snaps up and down via a slider switch on the left side of the helmet behind the main visor. Simpson sells many different tint versions of both visors.
Inside the Ghost is a removable, washable, antibacterial liner. The inner foam liner has cutouts for speakers and a boom mic if you decide to install a communication system in your lid. There are chin vents that can be opened and closed, and many more vents on the top and back of the helmet. A removable chin air dam is integrated into the helmet. Sizing ranges from extra small to double extra large. You can get the Ghost Bandit in carbon fiber, matte black, white and gloss black.
This is hands down one of the most comfortable helmets we have had the pleasure of testing. We wore it for hours and hours of testing and didn’t experience any pressure-point pains or discomfort. Its lightweight shell helps keep your neck from getting sore. The visor is easy to manipulate, but you may have to hold onto the helmet with one hand while the other opens the visor if you have thin cheeks.
The inner, flip-down, tinted visor is easy to use. Its side switch slides smoothly open and shut as long as you don’t get too much dust in there. Fortunately, the Bandit helmet is ventilated very well, so as long as you can keep the main shield closed, and the tinted one generally stays dust-free. We installed a comm system in the Bandit, and the cutouts were very helpful.
We generally have at least one thing to gripe about with most any product, and in this case, it’s the hefty price tag. You can find helmets with these features for less. On the other hand, we have yet to find another helmet that is this comfortable. Go to www.simpsonraceproducts.com or call (800) 654-7223 to learn more about the entire line of products—from UTV seats and fire suits to helmets and more.