Speed and Strength SS1600 full face motorcycle helmet review

SS1600: a mean-looking full face thermoplastic helmet from Speed and Strength

With its menacing good looks and attractive price point, it’s probably fair to say that most folks are buying themselves a Speed and Strength SS1600 because it looks just so damn cool.

But any helmet’s gotta work on the road too. And with multi-point ventilation, drop down sun visor and quick-release visor, there’s plenty of evidence that that’s exactly what Speed and Strength intend with the SS1600 too.

So here’s the low-down on what the SS1600 helmet offers and how well it’s been received by owners.

  • Thermoplastic full face helmet
  • DOT and ECE certified
  • Suitable for rounder head shapes
  • Drop down sun visor
  • Great visor and comfort
  • 1.55Kg (3.4lbs) – slightly heavier than average
  • Double-D ring fastener
  • Expect to pay $160-$200

Looking to buy a Speed and Strength helmet?

Unfortunately, there aren't any UK suppliers of Speed and Strength helmets. But you can grab one from one of our recommended US suppliers - Revzilla - who ship to the UK and Europe and offer outstanding service - though expect delivery rates of $40+. Please see here for more info on Revzilla (including shipping fees) or click this link to go straight to their Speed and Strength helmets page and see the latest designs and deals.

SS1600 American Beauty


(more about helmet safety)

The SS1600 is both DOT Certified and ECE tested/certified (so it’s legal in Europe too).

Unfortunately, it’s not been either Snell or SHARP safety tested so we’ve no independent way to verify how well it’ll perform in an accident. However, with those two certifications, you can be happy it’ll exceed those minimum level of protection.

It’s also got a tried-and-tested double d-ring fastener to keep the helmet securely fastened to your head.

The visor system should also help contribute to keeping you safe – with its optically-correct clear visor (they all come with clear visors, despite all the photos showing tinted visors) and a useful drop down sun visor to stop you getting caught out in bright sunlight.

Helmet noise isn’t one of the SS1600’s strong points. It’s a reasonably basic helmet and it seems like SS hasn’t really made a massive effort to keep wind and road noise to a minimum.

Which means most owners reckon it’s a noisy helmet. Which, depending on your riding, may or may not be a deal breaker for you. And, of course, stick in some decent ear plugs and your SS1600 will be just about as quiet as most helmets on the road!

S&S SS1600 Straight Savage

The Speed and Strength SS1600 has the usual config of central chin vent and double forehead vent. Those forehead vents let air into the helmet but you need rear exhausts to let it out again, and there’s four exhausts on the rear of the SS1600.

So far, so regular. And even more regular is that all the input vents can be closed off using sliders with the chin vent sliders being a bit easier to find in gloves than the titchy forehead vent sliders.

Word is that the chin guard vents are much more effective than the forehead vents. They let a load of air onto the back of the visor and around the face – although apparently quite a bit of this is helped by air getting into the helmet from the bottom.

Although don’t expect the face ventilation to stop the visor fogging in cold/rainy weather because word is that it won’t. Even though the visor is sold as anti-fog, several owners said their main visor fogged up quite quickly (and so too does the sun visor).

TBH we find that manufacturer-coated anti-fog treatments rarely work very well, so SS aren’t alone. And if it’s a problem for you, we usually recommend buying a 3rd party anti-fog insert, such as a Pinlock. The bad news is that the visor on the SS1600 isn’t Pinlock-ready so can’t take one. Boo.

speed-and-strength-ss1600-chin-guardMoving on… while the chin vents do the job OK, there’s mixed opinions on the forehead vents with some folks saying it’s fine but others saying they can’t really feel any ventilation getting in. With the size of the holes in the helmet liner being so small, we’d say that if you live somewhere hot and great helmet ventilation’s important to you, then you probably should check out one of these helmets instead, just to make sure.

Note that if you buy an SS1600 helmet, it’s supplied with a clear visor, not tinted like in all the photos.

That visor on the SS1600 is quick-release, works on a ratchet, has a visor locking slider and has an opening tab on the left. All good.

That quick release mechanism is also good – simply open up the visor pull down a lever and out pops the visor.

There has been one or two complaints about leaking visors, but they are few and far between, and overwhelmingly owners seem to be happy with the visor system on the SS1600.

Critical Mass design

They’re also stoked about the drop down sun visor that comes with the SS1600 too.

As usual, there’s one or two comments that it could be a tad darker – but that seems to go for all sun visors as it’s a legal thing to stop them obscuring too much vision. Kinda makes sense.

Also as usual, it can fog up when it’s cold as there’s no anti-fog coating on the sun visor.

The sun visor on the SS1600 is operated by a slider to the left side of the helmet, behind the visor pivot and owners say it’s quick and easy to operate.

All in all, the sun visor seems to work well on the SS1600 with heaps of owners saying they love theirs.

Two things to note here.

First off, the Speed and Strength SS1600 helmet is designed for rounder heads. Most helmets are designed to suit the most common head shapes which, in North America, is a medium oval (so slightly longer front to back than side to side). However, the SS1600 is designed to fit rounder heads better. So if that’s you, then all’s cool.

Sun visor down on solid matt black SS1600

Secondly, they size a bit small. Meaning if you’re usually a large helmet size, you might well be an XL in the SS1600. So make sure you buy only from a retailer who offers free, no quibble returns (like all our recommended retailers do) just in case you order the wrong size.

Other than that, the quality and comfort of the SS1600 is fine by all accounts. The internals are fully removable and washable and made of a material that SS calls Cool-core which is designed to be moisture wicking and anti-microbial.

Looks & Graphics

The SS1600 is an aggressive looking helmet and there’s a stack of aggressive and urban designs to complement it.

There’s the expected solid matt and gloss black versions of course, but all the rest of the funky bunch of designs come in a range of colour options so feel free to click through to the links to our recommended retailers below to check out a wider range (and the latest deals). We’ve included examples of the SS1600 Critical Mass, Straight Savage, Sure Shot, American Beauty and Cruise Missile graphics on the page but for even more, please click the link.

Best place to buy a Speed and Strength crash helmet?

To grab a Speed and Strength lid (and be mega-unique in the process!) you'll have to buy from one of our US recommended retailers because there isn't a UK supplier. Revzilla is based in Philadelphia and offers outstanding service (at the time of writing 9.81/10 on Reseller Ratings) though expect shipping to be $40+.

Please click below to drop onto their S&S helmets page. And if you buy from them, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you - a massive THANKS! (it's how we finance the site). Click here for more info on our recommended retailers.

Click to visit S&S at Revzilla
Click to visit S&S at Revzilla

S&S SS1600 Video

Here’s a 10m video on the SS1600 from Sportbike Track Gear.

Other stuff – weight, chin curtain, warranty

Weight shouldn’t be an issue with the SS1600. It’s a smidge over the average weight of a typical full face helmet at 1.55kg (3.4lbs) but owners don’t seem to find that a problem.

The SS1600 comes with a removable breath guard and chin curtain, designed to keep some road noise and wind out from the bottom of the helmet. Both seem to do the job well.

Finally, the SS1600 comes with a (pretty poor) one year’s warranty. Note, many makers now offer a full 5 year warranty on their helmets so that’s not great. Click the link if you wanna see helmets that have a 5 year warranty instead.


Sure Shot SS1600 showing rear vents

It’s probably fair to say that most folks who buy the Speed and Strength SS1600 do so because it looks so damn cool and because it’s not too expensive (and probably both). But when they get their hands on it, most owners seem to like it as a solid, usable helmet too.

Provided you’ve a rounder head shape (and take note of our fitment comments above for sizing) then the SS1600 seems to be a great all rounder helmet that most owners love. OK it’s pretty noisy, but owners really rate that drop down sun visor and find it a really comfortable helmet, once they get the fitment right.

It’s pretty no-frills in today’s market, but with those super aggressive looks and a good low price point, then for most urban bandits and highway cruisers, the SS1600 is a really great buy.

Crash Helmet Buying Guides & Top 10s

For 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 helmet lists where we've got the Top 10 rated helmets overall along with Top 10 Budget/Top 10 Safest/Top 10 Full Face/Top 10 Modular/Flip-up/Top 10 Sportsbike/Track helmets.

Good Alternatives to the SS1600?

So, you’re in the market for a lower priced helmet with sun visor? Here’s a few of our recommended helmets to try out…

First up is the Shark Skwal. That’s around the same price as the SS1600 but has a decent SHARP 5 star safety rating. It’s got a sun visor too and should come with a Pinlock antifog insert as well which should sort out any fogging. It’s also got the bonus of having a few funky LED light strips too.

You should also probably check out the SHARP 5 star safety rated HJC IS-17. It’s very similar in overall spec and price to the SS1600 but has consistently been one of our highest rated helmets over the years.

If you’d consider a flip-front helmet, then take a look at the AGV Compact, that’s rated highly for safety, has a sun visor and is rated as comfortable and well-ventilated by owners.

Other full face helmets?

We've got lots of other ways you can find your ideal full face helmet. You can check out our Top 10 full-face crash helmets list to see our best rated helmets or head over to our Smartish Filters pages and zoom in on helmets with your 'must have' features. You can browse through all our full face crash helmet reviews as well as our safest motorcycle helmets page where you'll only find helmets that are SHARP four or five star rated - so you'll know you're wearing the best protection out there. Finally, check out our helmet gallery to find a lid that takes your fancy.

Star Ratings


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