Biltwell vs Daytona: Retro Fullface Battle
So most of you are already aware that Biltwell has released the Gringo, a retro inspired fullface helmet that mimics the old Buco Allsport’s and Bell Star’s from the late 60’s and 70’s. What many of you many not have noticed is that a little known brand, Daytona Helmets, has released a Gringo Competitor into the market. The Retro Ride is what they are calling it, and it is quite a helmet.
Weighing in at 2lbs 6.2oz, the Retro Ride is about 4oz lighter than a similarly sized Gringo. The difference on the scale might be slight, but in your hand it feels much lighter. The shell is fiberglass which contributes to the low weight and is also advantageous in accidents as it will crack, dispersing energy, rather than just flex, like a polycarbonate/ABS (plastic) shell.
The interior of the helmet is not as refined as the Gringo. The lining is not as plush and made of a cheaper nylon/polyester type material on the “head facing” sides of the pads and mesh on the non “head facing” sides. The cheek pads are larger than the Gingo’s, but I found the added padding kept the helmet more stable at highway speeds. My Gringo tends to lift a tad when cruising along at 80. The poorer quality lining didn’t really bother me and after riding for a couple hours straight in both helmets I wouldn’t be able to tell you which one was more comfortable. To the touch and eye though, the Biltwell wins out on quality.
The over all shape of the helmets are similar, although the Daytona is slightly shorter front to back and has a slightly smaller eye port. This doesn’t really limit your field of vision at all, and makes for a slimmer profile when its on your head. Internal head-shapes are similar as well. The Daytona leans a little more toward the intermediate oval shape than the Gringo, but I found them to be equally comfortable both around town and at speed on the highway. If you have a super round dome I would go with the Gingo. A super narrow dome and you should go with the Daytona. Something in between like my melon and you should be good with either helmet.
One of the cool features of the Daytona is that it comes with a flip up face shield. I will preface this by saying the face shield is terrible quality. It’s super flimsy and cannot be removed easily. It is held on the helmet with two rubber grommets stuck on two plastic nipples that are affixed to the side of the helmet and are NON-REMOVABLE. These nipples are a major downfall for this lid because you cannot wear it without the shield unless you are fine with having black plastic nipples hanging off the side of your helmet. Though it is flimsy and the nipples it is affixed to are black and permanent, the shield is super handy. After riding for two hours in the pouring cold rain with no front fender last weekend I was very glad to have it (my head was the only dry part of my body). Securing it with the snaps at the bottom of the shield is a pain (I tend to ride with only one snapped for ease of use), but having a shield that you can raise and lower with ease is a nice feature on a retro helmet. Lets face it the bubble shields are a pain in the ass, fly off when checking blind spots, and are not very portable. Having a flat shield fixed to your helmet may not be such a bad thing after all, and you’ll be damn glad you got it when it starts raining.
Over all the Biltwell is a better helmet. It feels nicer, is more versatile, and is certainly worth the extra $30. The Daytona, though, is not to be over looked. I think once they release some more colors (black and white is the only color available right now) it will catch on. If they made the shield completely removable and dropped the price to $99 they would have a real winner. After riding in it for a about a week I really like it. It seems to do better on the highway than the Gringo, but I credit that to the shield, not to any aerodynamic advantage. The thicker pads and shield also make it a great cold weather helmet. Since the Shield is not air tight, it doesn’t fog up too bad and defogs quickly once you start moving.
All that being said, if want to abandon the bandwagon and are reluctant to get a Gringo because Ben already has one, or you can’t afford a Joe King masterpiece, the Daytona Retro Ride is a great option. Check them out on Daytona’s website Here and if you don’t already have a Gringo and are thinking of buying one click Here.
PS – A special thanks to A.S. for modeling the helmets so you dirty bastards out there on the interweb don’t have to look at my ugly mug.
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Published - Dec 11, 2010