Simpson Mod Bandit Darksome modular helmet review

Practical, badass modular helmet: Simpson Darksome.

Now you can have that fantastic genuine Simpson ‘streetfighter’ helmet style but in a modular helmet. The Simpson Darksome (Mod Bandit in the US) takes off where the full face Simpson Venom left off and adds a flip-front chin bar for folks who like the convenience and practicality of a flip-up helmet but what to look badass at the same time.

It’s a concept that feels a bit wrong – but hey, it’s where most of us are, right? Same way you go down your local, eye up the ladies (or guys!), and talk about baby clothes and mortgages.

It’s wrong but it’s what time does to us… we move on.

So, we want the look of an uncompromising bad MF helmet but we also want it to be practical and comfortable and not too hot and to fit right etc. etc. I mean, we’re not animals are we?!?

So, is the Simpson Darksome any good? Does it make you feel like the man in the iron mask or stroked by a velvet glove?

  • Modular helmet
  • Choice of composite or carbon shells
  • 3 shell sizes
  • Fitment sizes XS-XXL
  • Pinlock-ready visor
  • Pinlock included with Carbon lid
  • Excellent comfort
  • But a bit noisy
  • Integral sun visor
  • Double-D ring fastener
  • Expect to pay:
    • Composite fibre £349
    • Carbon £499

      simpson mod bandit helmet gloss white front view
      Here’s the gloss white Darksome. Note all helmets are supplied with a clear visor

Looking to buy this Simpson?

We recommend SportsBikeShop (UK) for competitive prices, free delivery, 365 day returns backed by outstanding reviews. Or if you're happy to buy from Germany, Motoin are a quality operation with decent Euro prices and great review scores. You can also click through to the Simpson helmets pages at Amazon if you prefer to buy from there. Please click any link to drop onto their Simpson helmets pages or see here for info on our recommended stores.

Overall/Summary

The Simpson Darksome is a quality helmet that’s popular with owners.

If we were nit picking, it’s maybe a little on the basic side, lacking certain features like EQRS and a included Pinlock that much of the competition offer nowadays (tho the carbon version does come with the Pinlock). But what it does do, it does well.

The chin bar is easy to use and gives feedback to the rider. A drop down sun visor; toolless quick change visor together with all-day rider comfort make it a really easy helmet to live with. Couple that with the convenience that comes with a modular helmet and that badass Simpson look and there’s plenty of reason to invest in a Darksome.

And talking of investment, it’s not the cheapest of helmets which means it drops a few marks in the value stakes. Plus it’s a tad on the noisy side – but then you always wear quality ear plugs anyway, right?

You’ll probably be eyeing a Darksome because you love the Simpson look. But now you can have a really effective and practical modular helmet at the same time. Win-win.

If you want one, we wouldn’t hesitate. It’s a great helmet.

Safety

(more about helmet safety)

The Darksome is ECE certified in Europe/Oz and DOT if you buy the Mod Bandit in the US.

simpson-mod-bandit-helmet-front-view
Front view with chin bar fully raised

OK that’s great and guarantees at least a minimum level of protection.

Outside of that, only the Simpson Venom has been tested by any independent safety testing dudes (in the Venom’s case scoring a very respectable 4 star rating), so we can’t really know for sure if the Darksome will live up to the best protecting helmets out there.

Looking over the helmet, it’s made in 3 different shell sizes which is always a good thing when you’re wanting a helmet that’s optimized just right for fitment. Getting a good fit is really important for maximising the ability of a helmet to do its job.

Plus it means it’ll keep the weight of shell to a minimum. Speaking of weight, modular helmets are usually a bit heavier than most full face helmets – all that extra weight from an articulating chin bar and all.

In the case of the Simpson Darksome, it comes in two different shell constructions – either a tricomposite or full carbon fibre version.

The tricomposite is a composite of carbon, aramid and fibreglass while the full carbon is just carbon fibre. As expected, that carbon fibre version is lighter than the 1.6Kg (3.5lbs) quoted for the tricomposite but both are weightier than most full face helmets.

The lighter a helmet is, the less inertial damage to the neck and head is likely during an accident. Incidentally, according to most owners, whichever version you go for, it feels light when you’re riding.

simpson darksome carbon matt black top view
Top view of the carbon fibre Darksome showing top air vents

OK, onto other stuff to look out for on a helmet that helps with safety: there’s a drop down sun visor to help stop you getting blinded if you’re caught out by the sun. The main visor is nice and wide according to owners and it’s pinlock antifog-ready so, if you live in the UK where you’re likely to suffer from fogging, pay an extra £30 or so and you can fit a Pinlock antifog to keep your vision clear.

The chin guard locks down with metal locking pins – all the safest modular chin guards tend to use metal pins to help stop the guard unlocking and opening during an impact.

And finally, the Darksome uses a tried-and-tested double-d ring fastener to keep it securely tied to your head. But make sure you keep it tightly fastened – it’s not uncommon for a helmet to actually come off during an accident if it’s not fastened well enough.

All in all, there’s enough plus points for the Darksome for us to think it should give decent protection if the worst happens – and there’s a few stories out there in internet land saying exactly a Darksome’s done just that.

But until it gets independently safety tested, we won’t know exactly how good it is – especially in relation to other helmets.

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

Because it’s a modular helmet, the Simpson Darksome was always likely to be a bit louder than the average helmet.

All that chin bar mechanism means space is needed somewhere around the ears to accommodate it and space equals places for noise to enter or reverberate.

Couple that with the generous speaker pockets and cutouts in the comfort lining to give your ears plenty of space, and predictably it’s not the quietest helmet on the market.

simpson-mod-bandit-motorcycle-helmet-gloss-white-side-view
Gloss white composite Darksome – note chin bar slider behind visor pivot

Looking at online feedback from Darksome owners, it’s generally rated somewhere slighly lower than average for quietness. Obviously, how quiet you perceive it is dependent on what you ride, how you ride… and how deaf you are!

But you probably shouldn’t buy a Darksome if you’re after a really quiet lid – buy one of these instead.

Ventilation

(more about helmet ventilation)

In a modular helmet you’re always gonna have the option of pushing that chin bar up to get a ton of air entering your helmet. And Simpson’s put a handy chin bar lock on the right side of the Darksome to make sure it’ll stay there if you do.

But you’ll probably be wearing it in full face mode most of the time, so what’s the ventilation like when you do?


A couple of useful links…

All our Coolest Helmets
Other Modular Helmet Reviews


As you can see from the photos, there are a ton of slits in the chin bar. The six side slits are always-open vents whereas the front two can be closed off from behind. They’re pretty tricky to get at though because you’ve to hook a finger behind the chin bar and round the neoprene chin curtain, so it’s best left to when you’re stopped.

Up top, there are a pair of closeable crown vents set quite high up to avoid the sun visor. They direct air through the helmet shell and into a generous network of venting channels inside the polystyrene eps lining.

Unusually, this top vent also directs air onto the top inside of the face visor too to help with demisting and keeping the top of your face cool.

simpson darksome carbon matt black chin up side view
Right side of the carbon Darksome

Word is the vents are easy to operate and overall ventilation in the Darksome is excellent.

Several owners said their helmet flows lots of air throughout and keeps their head nice and cool even during hot and humid summers.

Visor

(more about visors)

Having a fantastic face visor is really important on any helmet, but especially on a flip-front helmet as they tend to be used by long distance riders.

The visor on the Simpson Darksome is opened using a tab on the left hand side of the helmet (that’s OK) and it works on a ratchet (ditto). There’s a cracked-open position on there too, which is really useful if you just want to get a bit of extra ventilation in but still want to ride with your visor down.

It’s a quick change visor too… but unlike most systems that use a single lever or button, Simpson’s system uses a rotating panel on each visor pivot. Press in the spring-loaded locking button, twist the panel 90 degrees and the panel comes off. You can then pull of the visor. It’s simple and it works well so you can quickly swap over the clear visor your helmet comes with for one of several tints, or give it a quick clean.

The standard visor comes with Pinlock pins but if you buy the composite fibre version, there isn’t a Pinlock antifog insert supplied free in the box, which is a bit disappointing. But if you suffer from fogging, spend an extra £30 or so for the Pinlock and you’ll not regret it.

simpson darksome gun metal helmet side view
Side view of the Darksome in gun mental with sun visor fully lowered

Word is that the visor seals nicely to the helmet to keep out dust and wet, and it’s a nice wide aperture for good all round peripheral vision.

All in all, it’s lacking some of the bells and whistles like optically correct visor or supplied free Pinlock. But the visor system on the Darksome does all the basics very well and the vast majority of owners are very happy with theirs.

Sun Visor

(more about sun visors)

The sun visor slider’s located on the left behind the face shield pivot. On a modular, that’s actually a really good position as it’s relatively easy to find and it frees up space on the side of the helmet so you can fit a bluetooth controller unit.

One or two owners levelled the common complaint that the sun visor could do with being a bit darker to really cut the sun out, but sun visors usually err on the side of being lighter because it won’t interfer with your vision too much and it’ll make it legal in countries where there are laws to limit the tint.

Other than that, all’s good with the sun visor. It drops down nice and low and it’s pretty optically correct so shouldn’t distort your vision.

simpson-mod-bandit-modular-gloss-black-chin-open-side-view
Chin bar in fully raised and locked position

Chin Guard

(more about chin guards)

Whichever version of a Darksome you buy (carbon or composite) the chin bar is made from polycarbonate. That’s not a problem because polycarb is strong and durable; it’s more done from a manufacturing point of view as it’s easier to fabricate complex shapes, like a chin bar, using polycarbonate than multi-layer laminate or carbon.

To open the chin bar, there’s a single button located under the bar which unlocks the metal locking mechanism (metal’s good!). Simpson designed the system for one handed opening and it seems to work well.

You can see from some of the photos how far the chin bar raises and it’s possible to lock it in place using a slider on the right hand side of the helmet that’s uncovered once the bar’s raised.

Darksome owners reckon it’s very easy to raise the chin bar and the whole mechanism feels smooth and solid. There’s also good feedback from the mechanism to let you know when it’s either fully raised or closed and locked.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

If you’re thinking of buying a Simpson Darksome, it’s worth knowing that the helmet sizes a bit on the large side. So if you’re usually on the bubble between sizes, go for the smaller size. Even Simpson acknowledges this on their website and it’s been confirmed by lots of owners.

simpson darksome carbon helmet bottom view
Inside the Simpson Darksome carbon – showing double d ring, chin bar button and rear exhaust vents

The internal head shape of the helmet is somewhere between medium oval and a neutral shape. That should mean it’ll fit most rider’s heads, but if you struggle with medium ovals, the Darksome might well be a slightly better fit.

The comfort lining inside the helmet is fully removable and washable. It’s made from sweat wicking materials and has a premium touch and feel to it which owners say makes for a really comfortable helmet.

In fact pretty well every comment we found about wearing the Darksome pointed out that it’s an extremely comfortable helmet. But if you buy one and find it’s slightly too tight, a couple of owners said theirs broke in nicely after just a couple of hours of riding.

Looks & Graphics

There aren’t any graphic versions of the tricomposite Simpson Darksome, just a variety of solid colourways including flat/matt black, gloss white and gunmetal metallic.

At the time of writing, there’s only one matt carbon fibre version.

As always, please drop onto the Simpson helmets pages at the stores below to see any new colourways and find any deals on the Darksome – and we only recommend stores who have great online review scores so you know you’ll be looked after.

Best place to buy this Simpson crash helmet?

Please click below to visit the Simpson helmets pages at our recommended stores - all highly rated for excellent service and keen prices. 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 Simpson from SportsbikeshopShop for Simpson helmets at Amazon

Click above to drop onto their Simpson helmets pages or *quick view retailer T&Cs here.

Simpson Darksome Video

Here’s a nice 2m30s video showing you all around the Darksome (remember it’s called the Mod Bandit in the USA).

Other stuff – audio, aero/buffeting, chin curtain, warranty

The Simpson Darksome has been designed to easily accommodate bluetooth kits. There are large speaker cutouts inside the EPS lining and there are large ear pockets in the comfort liner to let you hear as much as possible from the speakers. There’s plenty of room for a mic too and there’s some channels ready cut away for the wiring. One owner said installation of their Sena 30K was very straight forward, so too another person installing a Sena 20s.

Despite having a reasonably unconventional shape, aero on the Darksome seems to be good. There are reports of buffeting being minimal and very little lifting, even at speed.

The Darksome comes with a removable chin curtain and there’s a breath deflector in there too.

All Simpson helmets come with a basic 1 year warranty.

Good Alternatives to the Simpson Darksome?

The Darksome might be an iconic Simpson, but that doesn’t mean there’s no competition. Here’s a range of helmets – flip-front and full face – you really ought to look over too.

Of course, there’s some other Simpson helmets to take a look at, like the excellent SHARP 4 star Venom or the Snell certified Outlaw.

And if you’re searching for a really great performing flip-front helmet, you should click through to our Modular Helmets top 10 list.

The Bell Eliminator is a retro style full face helmet. It’s a bit quirky but it’s light weight and comes with a Pro Shield anti-fog insert in its optically correct visor. It costs around the same as a Darksome.

There aren’t many modulars out there that are as cool as a Darksome. There’s the AGV Sport Modular though which is a full carbon fibre modular designed to work on pretty well all bikes – including sportsbikes. It’s more expensive than the Darksome but it’s SHARP 4 Star safety rated with sun visor and Pinlock included.

Or there’s the Shark Evo One 2 that’s a modular where the chin bar flips right over to give a true open face helmet feel. It was awarded a SHARP 4 star safety and you can buy it for similar money to the Darksome.

Looking to buy this Simpson?

We recommend SportsBikeShop (UK) for competitive prices, free delivery, 365 day returns backed by outstanding reviews. Or if you're happy to buy from Germany, Motoin are a quality operation with decent Euro prices and great review scores. You can also click through to the Simpson helmets pages at Amazon if you prefer to buy from there. Please click any link to drop onto their Simpson helmets pages or see here for info on our recommended stores.

Crash Helmet Buying Guides

For (hopefully!) other useful information to help you when buying your next helmet, check our various guides - or have a look at our top helmet lists where we've got the top 10 rated helmets overall and best budget/safest/full face/flip-up helmets.

Star Ratings

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