When it comes to fashion and motorcycling, one of the popular things right now is the custom-built cafe racer style. You’ve seen them: the tarted-up scrambler or caféd-out UJM and its rider, both generally sporting a super retro look.
Well you can’t ride your custom antique motorcycle without rolled-up dark-wash jeans, brown leather workboots, some plaid flannel with a very retro-looking preferably brown leather riding jacket over top of it, and, of course, a retro helmet. Fear not, though! You don’t have to dig your dad’s 1970s era gold-flake Bell out of the closet, ‘cause you know that thing is falling apart. Companies are beginning to catch on to the retro vibe.
The latest manufacturer riding the trend is Urban Helmets with their “BigBore” full-face lid. With its small port, round shape, and chrome trim, it looks like it could have come right out of the late 70s. The visor is something of an afterthought; make sure you have your giant-lens retro sunglasses handy so that you don’t catch a hornet with your eyeball.
There are a bunch of design considerations that value fashion over function in this helmet, so choose wisely. If you’re just out for a putt and you’d never ride that custom machine in the rain, or very far from home, anyway, this might be just the ticket to complete your look.
The small eye port means you don’t have the visibility you would out of a full face helmet with a modern design. The optional face shield attaches to the helmet itself with snaps at the end of leather straps, so it’s not an easy one-finger flick to close that shield when things get buggy, or sandy, or rainy. The design is super fiddly. Maybe just stick to your aviators.
The ABS shell has EPS foam inside with an alcantara liner, which is a synthetic fabric somewhere between suede and felt, and the stitching makes it look kind of plaid. The cheek pads are removable so you can wash them once in a while. The helmet secures with a traditional double D-ring setup.
The helmet has a self-certified DOT sticker, but hasn’t been tested by the Snell foundation, so take that for what it’s worth. These helmets aren’t for sale except through the Urban Helmets USA site, or through “Deadbeat Customs.” They retail for just under $200, unless you want a custom painted one-of-a-kind helmet, in which case you’re looking at a price tag approaching $600.