Single Helmet Review: Biltwell Lanesplitter

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Hot off the heels of their Gringo and Gringo S helmets, Biltwell brings us the Lanesplitter, an undeniably cool retro model with upgraded tech. For riders pushing style but still wanting substantial performance, the Lanesplitter delivers on value.

The Lanesplitter features a Simpson-style full face design, sporting a squared jawline and a Bane-esque front cover. It arrives almost as the next evolution in Biltwell’s redesign approach, a more modern look than their full cover Gringo series and the original open-face Bonanza. 

As with these other models, Biltwell applies conscientious design standards in a cost-effective product. Although it is the most expensive of their helmet options, the Lanesplitter only retails at a modest mid-$200 price point.

By objective measures, the Lanesplitter is at least a “good” helmet but, depending on the rider, it could be perfect or completely impractical. We’ll break down the features, fit and function of the Biltwell Lanesplitter, highlighting positives and negatives to let you know whether it is the right helmet for you.

Biltwell Unisex-Adult Full face Lane Splitter Helmet (Flat Black, Large)

Ratings

Comfort:

88%
Comfort

Visibility:

85%
Visibility

Ventilation:

85%
Ventilation

Quietness:

75%
Quietness

Specifications

uter shell material : Polycarbonate/Fiberglass

Shell size : XS-XXL

Liner : Shock-absorbing, removable EPS liner

Weight : Approx. 3.6 lbs.

Pinlock : Yes

Strap System : Double-D ring fastener

Safety Ratings

DOT : Yes

ECE : Yes

SNELL : No

SHARP : Not tested


Shape and materials

The Lanesplitter is marketed to a wide range of riders. The intermediate oval shape conforms to most head shapes. 

Extra room in the temple creates a comfortable fit for even round heads. However, if you have an extra-long and narrow head shape, this may not be the best option.

This aerodynamic, ovular front-to-back helmet is available in six sizes, ranging from XS to XXL. With a neutral oval head shape, you may find your normal size is true to fit. 

Many riders find that the Lanesplitter fits larger, giving too much wiggle room and roll. You may need to step down a size or get swappable liners to give more padding. On the flip side, if you have a larger head, you can drop down to 5mm cheek pads to reduce pressure.

The injection-molded ABS cover is the standard Biltwell approach to building strength into a lightweight frame. The helmet only weighs in around 3 lbs. 5 oz. but the impact-absorbing outer cover and EPS inner shell are designed for long-term performance. 

The polycarbonate shield supplies anti-fog and anti-scratch features to round out an overall stout structure.

You can buy the Lanesplitter in seven different colors and one graphics option, the Rusty Butcher. The available matte and glossy options are both attractive finishes that hold up surprisingly well under abuse. For a sleek, head-turning vintage look, Biltwell’s classic color options never fail to impress.

Things I liked

  • Sturdy construction.
  • Competitive price point
  • Fairly lightweight
  • Stylish, comfortable design
  • Optically correct face shield

Things I don’t like

  • Chin bar vents add to the noise
  • No pin lock
  • Visor doesn’t fully seal
  • Vents are not closable

Overall comfort

The second iteration of the Lanesplitter added more customizable comfort to fit a broader range of head shapes. The removable, washable inner liner and accessory cheek pads can be exchanged into smaller or larger sizes to fine-tune the fit.

Glasses wearers struggled with tightness in version one of the Lanesplitter. The new pad shapes and customizability resolved most of the issue, giving riders a snug but ample amount of space to fit in frames.

The construction of the inner liners themselves consists of brushed fleece Lycra, an absorbent, moisture-wicking material to keep you comfortable. The hand-stitched quilted mesh padding adds breathability, completing an overall satisfying and durable design.

Riders can also take advantage of pockets for aftermarket accessories. The recesses can accommodate most drop-in audio and communication systems.

Visibility

The anti-scratch polycarbonate shield does also have limited anti-fog capabilities that are bolstered by venting, but you will more than likely get some fogging in certain conditions like rain and cold. The face shield lets in minor amounts of passive air, but a simple rubber gasket does its job in keeping wind from being bothersome at highway speed.

A nice, bolstered feature on the second version of the Lanesplitter is the various locking positions for the visor. Between being fully open and fully closed there are spots that hold it firmly in place, taking extra pressure to move. This works well when you want to keep it from flying around at high speeds.

The design is basic, with a simple closed position lock to complement a standard hinge system. The lock can be a pain to secure and unlock, which is not ideal if you have to quickly open or close your visor at traffic lights. 

The upside to basic, however, is cost, and swapping into any of the six different visor options is fairly inexpensive compared to other brands. 

The standard clear visor is decidedly underwhelming, and Biltwell does have slick-looking alternate shields that are well worth the price for the fashion upgrade. They make it easy enough to change out visors with a Phillips head screwdriver. This may not be the most efficient design but if you have to cut corners somewhere, this is a reasonable place to do it.

Quietness

If there is one area where the Lanesplitter does not excel, it’s in volume. Padding options can help improve noise absorption, and the optional chin curtain and neck roll can be adjusted to block it to some extent. The big problem lies in the front ventilation that lets in a lot of road noise that you have no hope of reducing.

If there is one area where the Lanesplitter does not excel, it’s in volume. Padding options can help improve noise absorption, and the optional chin curtain and neck roll can be adjusted to block it to some extent. The big problem lies in the front ventilation that lets in a lot of road noise that you have no hope of reducing.

If you are on the highway, you will definitely want to consider using ear plugs. When you slow down under 65 mph, the noise level gets a lot more comfortable.

If you are on the highway, you will definitely want to consider using ear plugs. When you slow down under 65 mph, the noise level gets a lot more comfortable.

Ventilation

There are plenty of positives and negatives in the way Biltwell constructed the ventilation system.

The removable chin curtain is a nice addition that opens or blocks ventilation from the underside. This is handy for sealing out some cold air but it’s even more effective at keeping you cool on hot summer cruises when you remove it.

The Lanesplitter sports a proper venturi vent in the rear of the helmet. The rear slit has a suction effect that extracts air through the EPS inner shell. It’s a simple but innovative feature that would be even more effective if it had better supporting features.

Unfortunately, the other ventilation features have their own pitfalls. To start, having a brow vent would be useful for improving circulation because the Lanesplitter can get uncomfortably stuffy at times.

The biggest downside is also the most glaring aesthetic feature. The triple vent chin bar is supposed to let air in, which it does, but for such a dominant product feature, its design makes it look almost like an afterthought.

The vents may be good for anti-fogging and demisting to a point but the inability to close them can make cold air riding intolerable. For winter and spring riding, you will probably have to put tape or cloth over the vents or use a face cover. And if you are out in any kind of precipitation, expect a good amount of water to hit you in the mouth and chin while riding.

The vents also allow a lot of extra outside noise. If you ride a crotch rocket, the wind noise will be enough to make your audio accessories useless as you approach 80 mph.

In general, the Lanesplitter’s ventilation is ideal for dry summer days. Being able to open the chin curtain to let air in while hot air is sucked through the rear outlet creates a conditioned microclimate in warm weather.

Safety

The Biltwell Lanesplitter is DOT and ECE certified, passing safety requirements for use in the United States, Europe and any country accepting those certifications. These run by strict guidelines so you can be confident that this helmet will keep you safe on the road.

Unfortunately, the Lanesplitter has not been independently tested in the Snell or SHARP tests, so it’s hard to fully understand the extent of its protection. 

From a marketing standpoint, it’s understandable why Biltwell did not pursue those ratings. DOT and ECE certifications make the Lanesplitter widely available but safety is not its primary selling point. 

The Lanesplitter is sold more on style than on superior protection, and the design still does a reliable job in protecting the rider. The ABS shell is one of the more rugged protective materials and it pairs nicely with the shock-absorbing three-piece EPS liner, making it perfectly suitable for most riders.

Conclusion

For style points, looks do not get much cooler than the Lanesplitter. They nailed it with the hand-painted colors and finishes, and the retro design adds yet another layer to Biltwell’s fashion appeal.

The Lanesplitter also does a fine job with comfort. The moisture-wicking quilted Lycra panels actually do work to keep your face cool. Being able to remove, adjust and replace interior linings and cheek pads guarantee a snug, conforming fit.

The visor does leave a bit to be desired and suffers from its hinge and pin lock features. Still, the polycarbonate design does a decent job with UV filtering and optical clarity.

The big downsides are the lack of ventilation control and noise filtration, the main culprit of both being the defining chin bar air vents. Its versatility in different riding conditions is minimal. 

If you plan on cruising around on a warm, sunny day, take off the chin curtain and enjoy keeping cool. Otherwise, you can anticipate a lot of rain and cold air to flow in during bad weather, which also tends to overwhelm the visor’s relatively unremarkable anti-fog features.

The Biltwell Lanesplitter is a solid helmet, big in style and intelligent in safety and comfort design. There are certainly better versions of most of its features from other brands on the market. But for a helmet that prices under $300, the Lanesplitter is a great combination of looks, usability and value.

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