Summary: Suomy Vandals are medium priced, SHARP 5 star-rated motorbike helmets (that’s the top score), that are light weight and comfortable. They’re also noisy and their visor mechanism is a bit suspect. Very safe, well liked but flawed.
- SHARP 5 Star Rated (Highest)
- Light weight
- Pretty Noisy
- Available in sizes from XS (53) to XXL (64)
- RRP £269 Target Price £200 (depending on design)
People Like it Because: they love the Suomy’s range of graphics, it’s surprisingly light weight, it’s comfortable and finished to a high standard.
People Don’t like it Because: it’s noisier than most helmets; fitting or changing the visor is incredibly fiddly.
Suomy helmets have always been pretty eye-catching. I guess it’s mainly because they’ve produced some bonkers and in-your-face graphics in the past. But this Suomy Vandal helmet is also getting noticed because people are saying it’s surprisingly light weight and well finished. So here’s all you need to know about the Suomy Vandal before you make your decision to buy one or move on – taken from reviews, forums and comments around the internet.
The Suomy Vandal is a full faced helmet from Italian manufacturer Suomy. They’ve got a reasonably high pedigree in that they’ve a deal with Ducati to provide their riders with helmets and they do provide helmets to some reasonably high profile riders – the most recent being Max Biaggi (and the slightly less recent being Troy Bayliss and James Toseland). I guess it gives you a modicum of comfort knowing some of these serious racers trust the brand to keep their head safe.
And if you’re interested in buying a safe helmet, we think the SHARP test gives a reasonable (and easily comparable) idea if your helmet’s going to perform well in an accident, and the Vandal scores a maximum of 5, which is very good going. This means not only has it passed the standard ECE 22.05 test that all helmets have to pass, but independent testing has found it to be right at the top of the pile.
Having said that, it’s constructed of polycarbonate which tends to have a shorter life span than other helmets made of materials like as carbon fibre or fibreglass. And though all helmets need to be treated carefully so as not to damage the integrity of the shell, polycarbonate shells are a little more prone to damage.
Polycarbonate helmets tend to be lighter too and the Suomy Vandal is no different with lots of riders saying it feels incredibly light. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons riders tend to choose it over their other helmets.
The Vandal tends to fit people with rounder head shapes and the shell is manufactured in two sizes (which is pretty typical; only manufacturers like Arai or Shoei tend to produce more than 2 shell sizes) although despite this, it’s available in a wide range of sizes from 53-64 cms. There are also a couple of lining and cheek guard sizes available if you find it too tight or loose, so with a bit of fiddling, you should be able to get it to fit OK for most head shapes (but always make sure your helmet fits correctly).
Most riders reckon it’s a really comfortable helmet though. The only real downside when riding is that pretty well everyone reckons it’s noisy. It’s a subjective area with much depending on how quiet your previous helmet has been – but the fact that more or less everyone complained means you can be pretty sure it’s noisier than the one you’re binning off. Having said that, they also reckon that it’s not really a problem if you wear ear plugs.
The visor is the one area everyone moans about. The visor itself is OK. It’s scratch resistant (obviously) and coated with an anti-fog layer which some people reckon is pretty poor (there are reports of having to crack your visor all the way up to 70 MPH on cold or wet days to keep it clear) but most ‘standard’ visors with or without factory anti-fog coatings tend to suffer from this at least a little. A decent anti-fog insert or Pinlock will cure pretty well all these problems.
No, the main problem with the visor is that it’s a nightmare to fit or change. It’s got a twisting fastener which tends to either confuse the hell out of you or fall apart (or both). Like most helmet visor systems, they tend to be a bit confusing until you’ve got the hang of it, but the Suomy system is moaned about generally and has got to be one of the worst. If you do try one on or are considering buying a Vandal, it’s probably worth getting the shop to show you how to change it. That way you learn how to do it properly and if they damage it, they’re not breaking your helmet!
And if you’ve seen the video above, you’ll know another great feature of the Vandal is that you can squeeze your pink iPhone into the chin guard to record stuff while you’re riding! Sorry, what?!
Anyway, onto the vents. People reckon that the vents are a bit fiddly with gloves on but generally provide OK ventilation. The forehead twisty vents are particularly fiddly so tend to get set then left. There are some issues with it not providing enough ventilation onto the visor when riding on cold/damp days and there are also some problems reported, including by hot girl above, of the visor not ratcheting properly so it’s tricky to keep it cracked (which usually solves the misting problem on most helmets).
Other stuff: the Vandal has double-d ring fasteners (necessary if you want to take it on the track). It’s got fully removable pads and lining so you can wash them. The finishing is said to be good (same with pretty well all Suomy helmets) and folks like the range of colours and designs available.
We’d rate the Suomy Vandal as average. If you’re after a mid-priced helmet that’s light, offers some of the best protection around and you like the designs, then go for it, it’s not a bad helmet and you’ll probably be happy together. However, if you’re after a SHARP 5 Star rated helmet, we’d recommend the Caberg V2R which is another polycarb helmet but which is cheaper and, has an integral sun visor and works really well.
If you’ve used a Suomy Vandal, we’d love to hear what you think – please share your views using the comment box below. Thanks!