There’s a mighty counterculture of motorists who treasure their vintage rocker vinyls of Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. They identify with rebellious, hedonistic icons like James Dean, Brigitte Bardot, and Steve McQueen. They pine for by-gone eras of cultural revolution, all-things leather, and nonconformity—including stripped-down, bullshit-free bikes. They’ve put in work to covet the synonymous retro flair of a cafe racer, classic cruiser, or reconditioned scrambler—raw, rugged, utilitarian, unadorned, direct, and tough. The epochal styling of the 50s, 60s, and 70s simply cannot be imitated amongst today’s modern crotch-rocket and power sportbike—encrusted with eccentric bells/whistles and ostentatious “upgrades.”
If you share an affinity for the “Easy Rider” styles that embody the edginess and nostalgia of past decades—but want to incorporate the advanced, technical mechanics of today’s manufacturing—your options up until recently were limited. The development of the neo-retro motoring segment has been fueled by the rise of new-wave custom bike builders and a reclaimed love of cafe racer culture. Everything new is old again. Major manufacturing brands see value in vintage now—having added, or enhanced, their range of classic models to their lines that pay homage to the true breeding ground for motorcycles.
To complement the aesthetics of your Bonneville or salvaged Honda CB, here’s a list of sensible helmets that not only imbue the retro renegade spirit, but offer the modern production, protection, and ventilation of today’s standards. Your country road touring plans can now be satisfied in true enduro style with an old-school brain bucket that encompasses new-school safety certifications. Right on. Send us a postcard when you reach your destination.
HEDON Heroine Classics - Ash Matte
This one here’s a top-shelf cranium cover. Heroine Classic offers the riding freedom and wide field-of-vision of an open face lid, whilst keeping your mug as protected as a full face would. Designed in London, and handmade with a classic British retro style, notice natural calf leather trim, Hed Armor lining with 360″ cushion padding made of Merlin anti-bacterial fabric, and three channels of ventilation. Customize its clean, cool design with Anti-Fog goggle visors and Sun Peaks for a further vintage racing look. (DOT, ECE approved)
Epicurist 60s was designed with the most fashionable, swinging era in mind. Timeless and spirited, this teal blue/white head hugger beckons those who ride for the simple, ultimate pleasure of it. The composite fiber shell sets itself apart from the crowd with a fitted 2mm thermoformed shield and polycarbonate visor, handcrafted in Europe, and attached with two quality, copper/brass machined screws for that added luxury (available raw or anodized). The banded design also helps riders be seen on the road. (DOT, ECE approved).
Go, go speed racer. This pristinely striped colorway has a vintage, Japanese-inspired draw. Made with a lightweight shell to keep it easy on the head without minimizing protection. The hull is ABC natural virgin, while the ¾ design includes removable cheek pads, a padded chin strap with D-ring, as well as three snaps to allow the use of a visor or bubble shield. Tracer’s internal lining in Alcantara combines the softness of wool, the luxury of silk, and the resistance of linen. (DOT, Inmetro certified).
While paying admiration to the heritage of the classic 3/4 open face design, Scorpion discreetly melds contemporary technology, as well as its SpeedView® drop-down Dark Smoke sun visor. Hand-lain fiberglass shell, Nappa leather liner, stunning off-set stitching, and mega-plush comfort interior all give this badass piece of armor an air of luxury. Belfast is a prime example of balancing retro style, modern comfort, and state-of-the-art technology. (DOT-certified).
Don’t let the name throw you. Contemporary riders who seek comfort dig the Gringo’s brushed fleece Lycra touchpoints in the cheek pads for softness and to absorb/evaporate perspiration. Its eyeport fits pretty much any type of goggle, and any of the five snaps accommodate Biltwell’s polycarbonate flip-up shield with robust hinge hardware and anti-fog/anti-scratch treatments. Added EPS foam on the inside and BioFoam in the molded urethane chin bar dissipate impact and fortifies this helmet for a super-secure, protective fit. Ombre striping outfitted on the outer finish is as groovy as the built-in space inside for mounting speakers for audio—allowing you to take your playlists to the freeway. (DOT, ECE approved).
With an ultra-low profile half shell that sits low on the dome, TORC’s T-5 design reinvents this timeless helmet style and bona fide functionality. A new faux suede liner envelops the interior, with removable and washable antimicrobial sweat-wicking technology. The matte finish and minimalist, no-nonsense look features an optional shorty peak visor or smoothie, along with a padded chin strap and D-ring closure. (DOT-certified).
This full-face bad boy boasts front chin and forehead vents to breathe easy through the desert heat, along with metal intake and exhaust vents. It’s tough-looking and authentic in its overall design ethos. An antimicrobial, sweat-wicking faux suede liner, multi-density EPS padding, composite shell construction, and padded chin strap with D-ring closure all contribute to its multi-certification ratings to keep up with just about anything the road throws at you. Buckle on a bubble for the ultimate space cowboy look. (DOT, ECE, CCC, and KC certified).
With an advanced, lightweight thermo resin shell of ATR construction, Nexx’s Jazzy helmet line reaps old-school aviator pilot feels. A practical, quick-release buckle with micrometric adjustments, along with a 3D formed interior to fit any noggin shape, get groovy with a helmet that keeps you both stylish and safe traversing through town. Keep the interior fresh with a soft, allergy-free, removable/washable lining. Also equipped with Polycarbonate Lexan face shield and a drop-down sun visor to keep your eyes covered from suicidal insects and blinding UV rays. (DOT, ECE certified)
Immersing the golden age with cutting-edge technology, X.G100 Purist takes classic moto styling into the 21st century. Oozing military style while offering superb protection and performance, the smooth, rounded outer shape and snap-on shield—tailored with optic leather bands—gives that coveted retro-style demeanor. Underneath its skin is X-Mart Dry technology, which brings a soft touch and clever cooling system—featuring a drying rate twice as fast as normal cotton and giving extra insulation on colder days. The double D-ring closure retention strap system is reliable if nothing else, and the X-Matrix shell delivers durable strength, combined with weight savings not previously seen in a retro full-face lid. (DOT, ECE certified).
Iconic in its own regard, USA-made Bells moved to the leading edge of helmetry in the 1950s as one of the most renowned cafe racer helmets in the world. Bullitt comes integrated with an attractive, eye-catching hull design—best described as “retro-future.” Inspired by the Legendary Bell Star helmets of the 60s and 70s, it blends in modern language for a highly-functional piece-of-art. Genuine leather make up the interior liner, while contoured cheek pads mold to your face like a memory mattress for fit/comfort worth writing home to mom about. A clear face shield comes already installed, while many other customizations are made available—including integrated speaker pockets, communicator ready for group rides. (DOT-certified).