100% Simpson style but without the price tag: Simpson Speed Bandit Review.


Simpson Speed review: Simpson’s entry level polycarb motorcycle helmet.

You want a Simpson helmet but you don’t want to pay what Simpson helmets usually cost? Well, the great news for Simpson fans is that the Simpson Speed gives you all that genuine Simpson look but at a lower price.

Solid white Simpson Speed

That’s because the Simpson Speed (Speed Bandit in the US) is their entry-level, polycarbonate helmet. Designed to look – let’s be honest – the same as the rest of their range, but by using lower priced materials they can cut a chunk off the price, helping it come a bit closer in price to similar helmets like the Icon Airform.

OK, so the price tag’s lower, but what about the performance – has that been cut too?

You can read about the features of the Simpson Speed all across the web as well as down below.

But we’ve also checked out what owners think too (primarily from the US Speed Bandit because it was launched a year ago over there), so if you buy one, you’ll hopefully know if it’ll work great or leave you wanting.

Best places to buy a Simpson Speed?

Please click below to visit the Simpson Speed helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from one, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Buy from SportsBikeShop


Most folks are buying the Simpson Speed because it’s got that great retro look of a Simpson, coupled with a lower price. And if that’s your criteria, you’ll probably be a very happy bunny.

Sure, you can get more bang for your buck elsewhere (check out great alternatives at the bottom of the page for starters) including some that are highly rated by SHARP for safety.

Matt black version. Note, all helmets come with clear visors

But if you love the Simpson look, then the Speed is also a comfy lid with a great visor system which makes for a good all rounder motorcycle helmet.

And it’s especially awesome if you’re wanting a helmet that let’s in a stack of air, because the Speed vents really well.

Just beware that it vents really well if it’s cold and if it’s raining outside too, because those vents are always venting whether you want them to or not.

All in all though, it’s a solid performer and a decent lower-cost way to buy into some of that Simpson helmet chic.


(more about helmet safety)

OK, if you’re looking for a Simpson helmet that’s got a proven safety record, you’re probably best looking at the Simpson Venom because that’s the only Simpson that’s SHARP tested (4 Stars).

As for the Speed, it’s ECE 22.05 if you buy in Europe, so should give at least a decent minimum level of protection. But beyond that it’s really anyone’s guess how well it’ll protect.

Simpson have been around a long while of course so they should know how to make a good protecting helmet. It’s just that until it’s been independently tested by someone like SHARP (or Snell in the US) it’s impossible to say.

Simpson-speed-bandit-helmet-gloss-black-side-viewWhat we can say is that polycarbonate shelled helmets – while they’re at the cheaper end of the market because they’re easier and cheaper to manufacture – they can make for some great performing helmets.

And while they might not have the same style and kudos as the Speed, helmets like the HJC C70 and AGV K3 SVS are both budget polycarbonate full face helmets that score well in SHARP safety ratings too – so you know you’re getting some of the best protection out there.

Back to the Speed: Simpson’s added a tried-and-tested double-d ring fastener on there and a few Speed owners say they’ve made the visor nice and wide for great peripheral vision, which is always great to see.

It’s also made in three different shell sizes, meaning that the physical size of the helmet will be more optimized for the fitment size – which is great for the look of the helmet as well as improving protection.

Other than that, it’s quite a basic helmet but one which should offer at least a similar level of protection to other ECE helmets.

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

According to Speed owners, it’s about average for helmet noise.

As far as we can tell, it tends to be more laid back riders coming from open face helmets or who cruise behind big fairings that tend to rate is as pretty quiet. Whereas faster riders on naked bikes are more likely to rate it as a noisy helmet.

But then, that’ll probably go for most helmets, right?

Overall, expect it to be about average quietness for a full face lid, and hopefully you’ll be pleasantly surprised. And if you find it noisy, stick in some good quality ear plugs and all should be well – or check out one of these quietest motorcycle helmets.


(more about helmet ventilation)

The Simpson marketing blurb makes a big noise about the ‘speed brow’ on the Speed.

Top vents tucked away in the ‘Speed Brow’. Note: they’re always open.

You see something similar on several Simpson helmets – basically they’re ridges along the brow of the helmet which I guess help give rigidity and strength to the helmet shell but also, in the case of the Speed, helps push air into the helmet for ventilation.

There’s a couple of venting holes inside the speed brow and Simpson reckons the brow shape creates something called a venturi effect, reducing pressure inside the helmet to pull and speed up air through the helmet, so improving ventilation.

That air then enters internal ventilation grooves inside the helmet which match with venting holes inside the comfort liner to let air circulate around your head.

Plus, there’s a single exhaust vent at the back/bottom of the helmet to let that hot and moist air escape.

A couple of useful links…

All our Simpson helmet reviews
– Find a great Retro or Cool looking helmet

The great news is that owners universally say it works well. A ton of air gets into the helmet from the top vents, and a ton of air gets into the front of the helmet through those six chin bar vents too.

So that’s job done. If you’re after a great venting helmet, then the Simpson Speed delivers. Which is excellent…

…unless, that is, if you ride somewhere cold or rainy – because those vents are always open, so they work whether you’re in a Texan summer or a Wrexham winter.


(more about visors)

The visor system on the Speed works well.

It comes with a regular clear visor in the box – so don’t be fooled by the pictures – although there are a range of coloured visors available – smoke, yellow etc. But like all helmets, the Speed’s shipped with a clear visor only.

Note visor lock near pivot. It’s Pinlock ready too (Pinlock is extra)

It’s a quick release visor too – which makes it super easy to swap out or take it off for cleaning. And there’s a visor lock on there to lock the visor closed if you take it on the track.

The opening tab is on the left – that’s handy if you only open your visor with your left hand. My preference is for a center tab so you can open it with your right hand too – so when you’re holding the clutch in for example – but then I guess that’d ruin the look of a Simpson a little?

The visor has some solid opening detents – which means you can open the visor to four positions and the strength of the ratchet should mean it’ll hold there until you reach silly speeds.

And according to Speed owners, it’s a nice wide visor opening too, meaning you get lots of peripheral vision to help with shoulder checks and improving safety.

The visor’s the same one as in the Venom – so if you’re ever looking for a replacement, you could check those out too.

Oh, and if you need a helmet with an anti-fog system, the Speed’s visor is Pinlock ready. There isn’t a Pinlock included in the box but you can buy one for a few quid and that should solve all your visor fogging woes.

All in all, it’s a decent visor system with no real problems reported.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

Comfort inside the Speed is reported as very good.

It has a fully removable/washable hypoallergenic interior lining and it’s designed to fit medium oval shaped heads: that’s most of us.

simpson-speed-bandit-motorcycle-helmet-matte-blackThere aren’t glasses grooves in there (if you’re a glasses wearer, you might wanna check out our ‘best helmets for glasses wearers‘ page) but there are pockets in the cheek pads for headset speakers.

There’s also plenty of space in that chin bar area to comfortably mount a boom mic and we’ve seen several people successfully fit a bluetooth headset – including sets from Sena and Interphone.

It’s not the most luxurious interior ever, but it’s a comfortable place to put your head according to Speed owners. Sizing’s about true too, so measure your head and buy the correct size and it should be about right – though you should always buy from a store who offer no quibble returns/refunds but note: don’t remove the tags or stickers before you’re happy the size is correct for you or they won’t accept returns.

Use our helmet fitting guide to know how to correctly find your size, then use our recommended store (below) who offer no quibble returns.

Looks & Graphics

Like all Simpsons, it’s a stunning looking and timeless helmet that should suit a wide range of rides. And like all Simpsons, there’s a limited range of colourways available – essentially just a couple of blacks and a solid white. That’s it.

Best places to buy a Simpson Speed?

Please click below to visit the Simpson Speed helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from one, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Buy from SportsBikeShop

Simpson Speed Video

Here’s a useful 7m comparison between the Speed Bandit (US version of the Speed) and the Biltwell Lane Splitter.

Other stuff – weight, build quality

At 1.5Kg (3.3lbs), the Speed is just a smidge over the average weight for a full face helmet. That means you shouldn’t have a problem with the weight – and in fact we found many owners feel their Speed’s a nice and light weight helmet when they’re riding, so that’s all good.

Onto build quality – generally it’s good, though one or two owners said they could feel where Simpson’s cut corners in the materials used – such as lower quality internals or maybe the way some of the components are finished.

There’s a built in breath guard but they’ve left out a chin curtain too – which is going to make it a bit more drafty and noisier helmet. I guess it’s what Simpson’s had to do to deliver the helmet to a budget.

Crash Helmet Buying Guides & Top 10s

For (hopefully!) other useful information to help you when buying your next helmet, check our various Motorcycle Helmet Buying Guides - or have a look at our Top 10 best helmet lists where we've got the top 10 best rated helmets overall along with Top 10 Best Budget/Top 10 Safest/Top 10 Best Full Face/Top 10 Best Modular/Flip-up/ Top 10 Best Sportsbike/Track helmets.

Good Alternatives to the Simpson Speed?

If you love the style of the Simpson Speed, you might want to check out our reviews of other cool retro helmets or jump on over to our Simpson Helmets review page. If not, here’s a selection of some of the best performing, coolest-looking standout helmets.

Nexx X.G100R motordrome

The Nexx X.G100R is a composite fibre (carbon available) retro full face lid with an optically correct visor. The ECE version scored a great 4 star SHARP safety rating too and it’s lighter than the Simpson.

Bell Helmets‘ retro lid is the Bell Eliminator. It’s fantastic looking,

Bell eliminator spectrum black chrome motorcycle helmet front view
The Bell Eliminator Spectrum

lighter than the polycarb Speed and available in both carbon and fibreglass versions. It’s a bit pricier tho.

simpson mod bandit helmet gloss white front view
Solid white Mod Bandit

So too is the Simpson Darksome – the same great Simpson look but in a modular helmet. Like most modulars, it’s a bit noisier but you get the convenience of a flip-front helmet and a drop down sun visor too. The entry level version has a composite fibre shell or you can upgrade a little to a carbon fibre version.

If you’re looking for the best protection, check our Safest helmets pages that include SHARP 4 & 5 star helmets.

Best places to buy a Simpson Speed?

Please click below to visit the Simpson Speed helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from one, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Buy from SportsBikeShop

Star Ratings

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100-simpson-style-but-without-the-price-tag-simpson-speed-bandit-reviewThe Simpson Speed's not only a great looking lid, but it works well as a helmet too. OK, compare it to a premium helmet and you can see where money's been saved. But it's a comfortable helmet with excellent ventilation and a solid visor system. Owners seem to really like their Simpson Speeds and, for the price, we can see why. If you like the look, then there's no reason not to give one a go.


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