Tested Dirt Bike Products - Suomy Spectre Helmet - Experts on Dirtbikes at Dirt Rider Magazine

Suomy is a relatively unknown brand in the United States, especially in the motocross/off-road motorcycle world, but based on the features and performance of its new Spectre helmet, it will likely become a much more common sight at the tracks. This Italian company entered the U.S. market a few years ago with its Pro Cross helmet, which frankly had outdated looks and features that just did not catch on. Suomy, however, is very popular in roadracing circles due to cutting-edge styling and features, which have attracted several top MotoGP and World Superbike racers to the brand. It has now applied that focus to this new dirt helmet and has created a product that is definitely worthy of consideration.Unlike a lot of brands, Suomy makes its own helmets, and the company went its own way when it came to the design and look of this new model. Most of our staff agrees the Spectre is visually appealing, and the graphic design is available in five color combinations. Speaking of the graphics, Suomy's application process makes them all but permanent, whereas the ones applied to most helmet visors usually crack and peel off the first time the visor gets tweaked. Since this visor can be folded in half without breaking, the graphics will stay intact; so this helmet will still look good after a lot of use.A peek inside reveals a removable/washable liner and cheek pads, which is a must for anybody who rides hard enough to sweat—unless you enjoy sticking your head inside a dirty-clothes hamper to begin your ride. Behind that liner are a number of channels in the crushable EPS liner. Suomy calls this a "Dynamically Variable Resistance Crush Zone," which is designed to help the helmet do its most-important job: manage energy in an impact. These channels have the additional benefit of providing space for ventilation, though the Spectre has only one intake and two exhaust vents, and our testers didn't note that it vented any better than most helmets. One thing our testers did notice was the weight—or rather the lack of weight. At 3 pounds 1.8 ounces, this lid is noticeably lighter than most brain buckets on the market, and you can tell the difference on the track.As with the design and styling, Suomy broke tradition when it came to the safety standard it chose to meet. All helmets sold in the United States must meet the Department of Transportation (DOT) standard. Most brands sold here also have their helmets certified by Snell, which is an independent organization with testing standards it claims "... significantly surpass those set by the U.S. Department of Transportation." Suomy instead designed its helmets to meet the British BSI 6658 Type A standard, which is also recognized around the world as a quality safety standard. Suomy went this unconventional route because it feels the BSI 6658 is more applicable to real-world accidents and, perhaps more important, requires a set percentage of each batch of helmets made to be tested before the helmet is certified. The DOT and Snell standards are a kind of honor system in which manufacturers submit sample helmets to be certified, and then a very small percentage may be randomly tested to ensure that production helmets also meet the standard. In short, you have more assurance that your particular Suomy lid meets the standard it was designed for and that it is a quality standard that is legal for most racing organizations, including the AMA.If you need top racers' endorsements to prove a product's worthiness, legendary off-road racer Scott Summers has been wearing the Spectre in this year's GNCC series; and former World MX champion Sebastien Tortelli is also donning one in his return to racing. Overall, the Suomy Spectre is a very nice helmet and is competitively priced with other top-quality helmets at $349.95.DR Tested: 9.5Suomy USA: 800/524-9938; www.suomy-usa.com