Southern California-based Biltwell has been in the business of producing stylish motorcycle riding gear as well as parts and accessories for over a decade now, and the retro-inspired Gringo S is one of the company's staple products.
Reminiscent of the original Bell Star (circa the 1970s), the Gringo S offers riders old-school styling and "new-school” protection. DOT rated with an ABS outer shell, shock-absorbing EPS liner, and double D-ring chin strap, it is also reasonably priced.
When first donning the Gringo S, the fit feels roomy but secure (bespectacled riders will rejoice), and the large eye port allows for a wide field of vision. Incorporating a simple single-snap closure on the shield adds of vintage vibe but requires a bit of getting used to. While it lacks a traditional (modern) seal between the shield and helmet, when closed the optically correct shield does a good job of keeping the wind off your face and road noise down. I would however suspect some issues in rainy conditions due to this design.
The lack of vents does not impede airflow, as the shape of the helmet allows for an ample amount of fresh air intake under the chin bar. While airflow is generous, I didn’t note any lifting or turbulence at highway speeds. It should be noted that I always wear and highly recommend the use of ear plugs when traveling at speeds above 45 mph for any distance.
Available in two shell sizes (XS-MD and LG-XXL) and various finishes and paint schemes, there are currently few other choices in this price range for those seeking a new but retro-styled full-face helmet. The Gringo S wouldn’t be my first choice for a track day, but it does the job of getting you and your vintage—or vintage-inspired—ride most anywhere in style, while offering DOT protection.