A list of the best motorycle helmet brands available in India..
For many Indians, a helmet that costs Rs. 1,000 or above seems to be a preposterous idea. Actually in most cases Indians don’t bother to wear a helmet at all. So even if one decides to get one, he/she mostly opts for something within the range of Rs. 500 (ok maybe Rs. 700), sometimes even resorting to buying from the roadside vendors.
Also in many cases, guys who are new to biking are not aware of which helmet brands are of good quality, and in the process end up buying anything from the market which has a snazzy design.
Yet, I hope that there would be at least a few who wouldn’t mind loosening their purse strings to get the best quality helmet that they can afford. Posted below is a list of a helmet brands (Indian and International) available in India (in 2011). Hopefully one can use this list as a guide to get a decent helmet for himself/herself.
Update 15'th Aug 2011: If anybody has any information about MPA helmets (like its website),please let me know. I am not sure if MPA helmets still exist in India
1. Entry Level Brands (Vega, Studds, Steelbird)
These 3 are Indian brands which have been around for many years. There are umpteen other desi helmet brands available in the market, but among them I have found only these 3 worth talking about. All these 3 brands have the mandatory ISI (Indian standards) certification. If you are just a normal biker who is looking for some decent quality protection at an affordable price, then you could look at these brands.
(Pros: Attractive designs/options, Cons: Relatively flimsy build quality, inadequate padding)
Internationally there also exists a brand called Vega Helmets but this one is a different Indian brand. I have not used any Vega Helmet so far but I have checked out a few. The flip up helmet called “Boolean” and the Motocross helmet from Vega are among its flagship models.
The distribution/availabilty and marketing of Vega helmets seem to be quite good. But so far I have never been impressed by the build quality or the internal padding of Vega Helmets.
Check out: Vega Auto's Website
(Pros: Decent Build at an affordable price, Cons: Need for a premium model)
This brand has been for many years now. Although I have not used helmets from Studds, the Ninja (a flip up model) was the first helmet which had impressed me 15 years back..!! But Studds have not upgraded much over the years and their Ninja model still continues to be among their flagship models.
Studds Ninja, Price: Around Rs. 1,500
Check out: Studds Helmet Website
(Pros: Decent Build at an affordable price, Cons: Flimsy face shield on its Premium GP one model)
The Steelbird “GP One” was my first helmet and back in the early 2000’s it was the first near international quality helmet in India. Steelbird has a technical tie up with an international helmet brand called “Bieffe”, so sometimes the helmets are branded as Steelbird Bieffe. Recently Steelbird has launched India’s first carbon fibre helmets.
Till a couple of years back, the Steelbird GP One was the best quality helmet in India. The fit and build quality of the GP One was quite good but the only issue was with its face visor which has a relatively flimsy build quality.
According to me among the entry level Indian brands, Steelbird is on the Top. I just wish their website was a bit more informative; as the current one doesn’t reflect well on its brand or products.
Steelbird GP One, Price: Around Rs. 2,000
Steelbird Carbon Fibre, Price: Around Rs, 10,000
Check out: Steelbird Helmets Website
2. Best Bang for You Buck Enthusiasts Brands (LS2, Daijya, Nuvo)
Moving up the ladder would be these 3 brands. These models are a step above in terms of design, fit and comfort. They are also priced over a premium over the entry level Indian brands. If you are a bit more enthusiastic about your bikes than a normal desi biker and have a budget of around Rs. 3,000-6,000 for a motorcycle helmet, then these are the best brands of helmets that you can buy in India.
These helmets are not certified by ISI (Indian standards) as they aren’t manufactured in India but are certified by DOT (American Standards) or ECE (European Standards).
(Pros: Attractive designs, decent build, decent face shield mechanism, Cons: The padding could have been better, quality varies depending on the Indian retailer)
LS2 is a Chinese helmet brand. Usually a Made is China tag is looked at with suspicion but after having checked out a few at DSG (Pune), they seem to be of more than ok. Decent build quality of the shell and the face shield plus attractive graphics make the LS2 a good buy at its price point. The padding could have been a little better though.
One big issue with the LS2 brand is that it is being brought to India by a couple of different retailers and therefore the quality and hence price can vary from as low as Rs. 1,800 to about Rs. 4,000. Therefore if you are really looking for some good quality stuff, you better be sure of what you are buying.
LS2 Price: From as low as Rs. 1,800 to Rs. 4,000 (depending on the quality and the Indian retailer)
Check out LS2 Helmet’s international site
(Pros: Attractive designs, good build quality of shell and face shield, good padding, Cons: A bit on the heavier side)
After the Steelbird GP One, Daijya was my second helmet. Daijya is a Helmet brand which DSG (Pune India) owns. The manufacturing of the helmets is made in China. In terms of quality the Daijya for me was two steps ahead of my Steelbird GP One experience. Apart from the build quality and finish, I was particularly impressed with the padding inside the helmet which was very good. Very firm yet comfortable. Just that the Daijya is slightly on the heavier side.
Daijya Price: Rs. 4,750
Check out: DSG's website
(Pros: Excellent padding, reasonable weight, ok quality of the face shield mechanism, Cons: nothing particular)
Nuvo is a helmet from from the UK brought to India by DSG (India, Pune). The padding of the helmet is excellent and the helmet is reasonably light weight. The face shield mechanism could have had slightly more positive feel to it. But this is one of the best helmets that one can get within Rs. 6,000 in India and is worth every paise it’s price.
Nuvo Price: Rs. 5,990
Check out: DSG's website & Novo Helmets international site
3. Slightly Expensive Brands (Sparx, KBC, Joe Rocket)
These helmets are a step above in the pricing ladder and for those who are ready to spend slightly more. All the above mentioned three brands are from the USA and brought to India by Performance Racing Store (Mumbai). In the USA these brands aren’t considered exactly premium brands, but due to it’s pricing it can taken to be slightly premium offerings in India.
I have not checked out the Joe Rocket and KBC Helmets so can’t comment much on them but I have checked out one particular Sparx helmet that belongs to one of my friend. It cost him about Rs. 8,000 and have been using for over a year and a half now.
The Sparx brand is actually a budget brand of KBC helmets and it certainly did seem a bit budget to me. The shell and visor was ok but the padding could have been better and after one and half year of use, the rubber beading at the bottom of my friend’s Sparx helmet was coming off.
- Sparx, Rs. 8,000-8,500
KBC, Rs. 8,500-25,000
Joe Rocket, Rs. 15,000-25,000
These brands are like the Ferrari, Lamborghini and BMW’s in the world of helmets and they are available in India as well. Needless to say that they will be the best that money can buy.
Prices range from Rs. 15,000-30,000 for the HJC helmets in India and Rs. 33,000-50,000 for the Arai Helmets.
These helmets can be bought from the Performance Racing Store (Mumbai). Check out the international website of HJC Helmets, Arai
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