The SMK Helmets, as a brand are fairly new to the market. They are still on the rise. Not many people know this, but SMK helmets are Italian designed and manufactured by Studds, which is one of the leading manufacturers of helmets in India. But unlike the ISI certified Studds Helmets, the SMK ones are ECE 22.05 certified helmets meant for the European market. If you are not sure what these standards are, in simple words, for anything to be manufactured and sold in the market with good quality, it needs to follow a benchmark- a set of standards. In India, we have ISI and in Europe, we have ECE 22.05 for helmets.
The standards set by the ISI for helmets are a bit lower compared to the foreign ones – DOT and ECE. The SMK helmets have passed the ECE 22.05 certification, which i feel is better than DOT certified (US standard), since in ECE, the helmets are tested before it goes to the market, whereas in DOT, helmets are taken in random from the market and tested. Most people disagree with my remark, but then again this is just my personal opinion.
The helmet is a very good piece of work – Design wise as well feature wise. It satisfied all the points in my checklist.
- ECE Certification – Protection comes first and this certification guarantees it
- Pinlock Visor (Antifog Visor along with normal) – For all those early morning foggy and rainy day rides
- Sun Visor – For those sunny day rides. You need not change your visor for day and night rides. It is adjustable from outside itself.
- Hygiene – The material inside the helmet is antibacterial.
- Good Padding – It fits perfectly and makes sure that the helmet does not come off, in case of an impact.
- Bluetooth Headset port – In case you are planning to fit a bluetooth headset sometime in the future.
- 180 deg vision – Free vision without obstruction is a must to ride in traffic.
I personally have bought a Twister model of SMK. They are currently available in ebay and motocentral. I bought it from ebay, since they were giving some discounts. The helmet came in with a helmet bag, which looks good but is not that strong. So don’t expect to carry it inside that. Mine broke on the very first day I took it out. You can buy a stronger one, if you want. The one which I ordered is having a matte finish. The helmet came by default with a pinlock visor. The fitting was a bit tight. Hence putting it on and removing the helmet was a bit difficult. You have to pull the straps apart to actually put on the helmet.
I tried the helmet in all conditions – Sunny, really sunny, freezing cold, foggy, rainy. In all these conditions the helmet excelled. When things were really hot, the ventilation in the front and the top helped a lot. The air circulation was good when the vehicle was moving, but things get hot, when you are riding in traffic. The sun visor, which can be easily opened and retracted helped a lot to prevent glare. In cold temperatures, the helmet did protect my face from the cold. The helmet visor is almost air tight when you close it, and that prevent the water from coming inside the helmet during rainy days. The only con I noticed so far after riding for more than 1000 kms with it was that, even though that the company claims of good noise cancellation, there is a slight wind drag noise that comes, if you go at high speeds.
Altogether, the helmet packs a whole lot of features in such a small budget. The closest competition LS2 or MT, might give a better look and comfort for an extra 2-3k. But it would still not give all the features given by the SMK. The ones giving somewhat similar features would cost you aroung 9k to 10k. The pinlock visor, which comes as an additional fit, by itself, would cost you around 1k. It comes by default in SMK. The SMK helmets gives the same protection plus a whole lot more features for just a price tag of 4.3k. THH and Kranos offer cheaper DOT or ECE certified helmets, but you have to pay a lot more to get the same features as the SMK. This helmet is best suited for the Indian roads and Indian market. If you are planning on buying a helmet, then I would definitely recommend this one.
Please let me know in the comments below on what you think of this SMK helmet, if you already have one. I will be happy to answer your queries as well, if you are planning on buying this helmet. If you know a better helmet in this budget, you can put that down below as well.