The Simpson Mod Bandit is definitely its own beast. Derived from the ever-popular Simpson Ghost Bandit model, the Mod Bandit has the aggressive styling of sport and racing helmets, but it’s a fully functional modular. Modulars are typically the purview of the cruiser bike crowd, but they have been gaining popularity with the performance and road bike crowd in recent years. The Simpson Mod Bandit combines the best of both worlds to create lid for all seasons, both literally and figuratively.Helmet enthusiasts are big fans of the Mod Bandit, as it offers the look of a full-cover helmet with the superior options and customizable features of a modular helmet. Like all Simpson products, this isn’t a budget-friendly offering, but Simpson is synonymous with both superb craftsmanship and high quality materials. They aren’t cheap for a reason. Is the Mod Bandit a worthwhile investment? Let’s take a look at all it offers and you can decide for yourself.
Outer shell material : Lightweight composite
Shell size : 2 shell sizes XS-MD, LG-2XL
Liner : removable nylon, washable, hypoallergenic and antimicrobial
Weight : 3.73 pounds
Pinlock : Ready
Strap System : Double D ring
DOT : Yes
ECE : Yes
SNELL : No
SHARP : Not tested
Shape and materials
At first glance, this helmet does not look like your typical modular. It does have that ubiquitous seam you see on all modulars, but the chrome mesh vent slits parallel to the chin bar make it far less obvious than your typical modular helmet. These slits also serve to give the Mod Bandit the appearance of a jaguar or panther with silver fangs and whiskers. If nothing else, Simpson has given the Mod Bandit it’s signature bad boy style.
Looking at the outer shell, it’s an ultralight tri-composite material that has a matte finish. Matte finish does tend to fingerprint more easily than most finishes, but this is clearly intentional design on Simpson’s part. The matte finish offsets the chrome colored accents, causing them to stand out aggressively, but you may find that you need to clean your Mod Bandit more often to keep it looking its best.The composite material is also highly scratch resistant and gives the Mod Bandit a feather-weight feel compared to modulars from Shoei and Schuberth. The chin bar is a polycarbonate alloy that adds both balance and enhanced durability, and a carbon-fiber version of the Mod Bandit is supposed to be on the horizon in the next couple years. Clearly, Simpson is calling out the 800-lb. gorillas of the modular helmet world: AVG, Shoei and Schuberth better watch their step!
Things I liked
Things I don’t like
Let’s begin with the padding: covered in removable and washable smooth nylon, setting a Mod Bandit up for the perfect fit is a quick and easy process. The pad liners are also hypoallergenic and antimicrobial, so you won’t spend much time breathing in your own helmet funk or dealing with skin allergies on long rides. There are also preset areas for easy Bluetooth audio and communication kit installation, so installing your helmet audio and call management system won’t require you to extensively modify the Mod Bandit.
There is an issue that has come up for some riders regarding the shape of this helmet. The Mod Bandit is an intermediate oval (IO) design intended to allow for a comfortable fit for both round oval (RO) and long oval (LO) head shapes. That being said, many round oval users have found the IO helmet shape is more suited to long oval head shapes, causing pressure points for round oval users. If you aren’t an RO head shape this won’t be an issue for you, but the overall design does tend more towards the LO spectrum of IO users.
Like all modular helmets, the Mod Bandit excels at presenting an expansive eyeport and multiple visor systems that can quickly be exchanged depending on your preference and the nature of your ride. The visor seal is generously proportioned and fits perfectly to keep rain and wind out when you need it to. It doesn’t include a pinlock system, but it is pinlock ready for riders that prefer extra airflow when they ride.
A drawback to the visor is it only has four positions above open, and that may not sit well with some users who are used to infinitely adjustable systems. There are three tint options currently manufactured for the Mod Bandit: the factory-clear visor, a smoke tint visor, and an iridium dark visor.
The latter two offer the most aggressive styling, but the integrated sun lens works just fine for keeping harsh lighting from affecting your vision. Best of all, the integrated sun lens is controlled by a smooth-operating slide lever to drop it into place. Exchanging the visor is a simple matter thanks to the quick-release system Simpson uses on all their helmets.
Opening the Mod Bandit face shield is just as well as smooth as all the other moving parts on the helmet, though the release is located on the lip of the shell (an inconvenient placement if you are installing a clamp-on Bluetooth microphone for your in-helmet audio system). All in all, this helmet definitely delivers the goods on visibility and ease of use.
Here’s where many users feel Simpson is taking second place, especially when you have your vents open wide. When ports are in a more closed position, the inside of the Mod Bandit is nice and quiet. You don’t even have to crank up your music when riding at highway speed (unless you want to, of course).
That being said, riding without a chin flap on and the vents open wide can get pretty noisy. It’s always a trade-off between ventilation and noise though, and ventilation is where the Mod Bandit really shines.
This helmet has airflow superior to the vast majority of full cover helmets and most modular helmets as well. Even on hot days riding in the desert, the Mod Bandit stays fog free with the visor fully closed. Low temperature riding doesn’t phase it either, and unless you are purposefully breathing heavily to try and fog your visor it stays clear even when you are at a standstill.
Most users find they don’t need to keep the vents wide open to maintain this de-fogging performance, and using a pinlock system pretty much makes it the ultimate anti-fogging helmet.
The Mod Bandit is rated for EU and US DOT standards. It doesn’t have a SNELL or SHARP rating yet, but that doesn’t mean it won’t receive the seal of approval from both in due time. There are no major flaws or weaknesses in the design, and the materials are as tough as they come.
Your brains are safe in this bucket, and you don’t need to worry about the potential for breakup or failure due to the modular design.
If you are in the market for a modular helmet that performs on par with the top of the line models from Schuberth or Shoei, the Simpson Mod Bandit is the choice for you. It’s tough, aggressive looking, and can be customized and configured easily to suit your needs.
The ventilation system is the best you can find at this price point, and the fit and function is world-class. This may very well be the best value modular helmet on the market.
If you want a modular without the Goldwing rider look, get a Simpson Mod Bandit. It’s everything you want, everything you need, and makes no compromises.
Where to buy this helmet :