Biltwell Inc. Gringo S Helmet Review
Biltwell Inc., a Southern California based brand, has produced stylish gear for a few years with a vintage-vibe for the new generation of riders. One of the staples in Biltwell lineup is the Gringo S full face helmet.
The Gringo S full face satisfies a rider who has yearned for the classic styling of the original Bell Star of the late 1960s. We sometimes see riders donning these older Bell Stars—the lids not only feel like they are from the 1960s, but are well past their expiration date in 2016, so safety is non-existent.
Constructed out of an ABS, polycarbonate, injected-molded shell with an industry-conforming EPS liner, the Biltwell Gringo S has a classic fit. Fitment is subjective, as we all have unique needs when it comes to sizing, but the Gringo S does not offer a “race” feel. What you can expect is a bit more room in the chin-bar, and something with a bit less precision than you’ll be accustomed to—especially for those who use state-of-the-art, race inspired helmets.
That isn’t a knock, not in the least, but you need to be aware as to what you’re getting into. The Gringo isn’t meant for those who want to break personal records at the track; it’s for getting there in style, while being adequately protected.
The Gringo S provides comfort, and wearers will surely appreciate the hand-stitched Lycra liner that, unlike helmets of old, is beyond pleasant. At no point were my ears being boxed by the Gringo S, which is massively importantly because I happen to be a bespectacled rider. Even if you’re not, and you go in for shades while cruising, that’s something to consider.
One might also question the lack of venting, and that is a cause for concern. However, the Gringo S is what I’d consider an airy helmet, allowing for a healthy amount of ventilation from the bottom opening without creating turbulence or excess noise.
I tend to ride with earplugs and immediately regret doing so if I don’t, so we’ll spare the volume details. The Gringo S doesn’t suffer from wind buffeting problems, which helps keep noise subdued. I also didn’t experience lifting when reaching freeway speeds.
Why the “S” in the Gringo S? It stands for shield. Basic enough, but one should note that it’s an optically corrected, removable shield. Do note that it isn’t making use of a tool-less removable system. However, thanks to the large, plastic hardware, a coin will work just fine for swapping out shields. While we’re on the subject, a dollop of light-duty thread locker wouldn’t hurt either.
There is a fair bit of customization offered from Biltwell when it comes to shields, with a variety of not only shield colors, but hardware as well.
In line with the vintage aesthetic is the single snap-and-tab that secures the visor. Admittedly, I’d never actually used a helmet that used a snap-and-tab configuration. While a modern locking system is certainly much smoother, sometimes my issue is that I have a hard time confirming if the shield is fully locked and or closed, due to a lack of tactile feel. In this case, it’s either closed or isn’t, and the hearty snap will put any second guessing to bed. Under your chin, you’ll find a tried and true D-ring strap.
The gasket seal between visor and helmet—though not all that beefy—does a good job of keeping air out. While running around in the Malibu canyons, I didn’t detect any distracting air leaks. In the rain, that might be a different story.
Our particular Gringo S is an LE Tracker in Black/Vintage White. The Gringo S is available in a plethora of colors to match just about any look that you have going on, but we chose the Limited Edition model, hence the LE.
In build, the LE Tracker does not differentiate itself from any other Gringo S. The main difference is the hand-painted color scheme that is absolutely gorgeous, and I can say with conviction that pictures simply don’t do it justice. Visually, Biltwell Inc. has done an incredible job with their LE helmets, available in Black/Vintage White and Checkered Stripe White.
Biltwell Inc. has done more than an admirable job in creating the Gringo S lineup. If you’re in the market for an affordable, era-specific reproduction that isn’t still making use of the technology from several decades ago, than look into the Biltwell Gringo S line.
Biltwell Gringo S Helmet Fast Facts
Colors: 13 choices (including solids, metal flake, and graphics)
Biltwell Gringo S Helmet Price: From $230 MSRP