In April, before the Janta Curfew came into effect, public transport gave a hard time to the common man of Bengaluru. Due to some payment woes of the public transport personnel (read busses), they went on a long strike and that meant no busses for commuting within the city. And this meant taking the keys of the office scooter for work, which is a humble Suzuki Access. Transport sorted, now I needed to buy a good lid for the scooter for the regular home-office commute, which is 4km. With the Janta Curfew in effect and a partial lockdown looming large, I scrambled to the helmet store near my place in search of a helmet. Though the shop itself was small, there were some decent helmets on the display from brands like Studds, Vega, and Steelbird. And the helmet that caught my eye was the Steelbird SBH-17 Robot, in two different colors – one with lime green accents and the other one with red accents you see in the picture below. After taking the feel of it, viewing it from every angle possible, and trying the fit numerous times, I bought it.
The exterior of the Steelbird SBH-17 Robot helmet
Though I would have preferred an MT helmet, those were desperate times and I had to make do with what was on offer. And the Steelbird SBH-17 Robot caught my eye. The orange and white accents on the overall black and grey theme on the helmet looked cool and eye-catching. The helmet itself is not light and though I haven’t weighed it, I am pretty sure that the weight must be above 1200g.
The helmet has many ventilation points to help in airflow and keeping your head cool inside. These air vents are located on the chin, cheeks, and top portion of the helmet. You also get a couple of steel mesh ventilation on the backside. There is a protrusion on the back of the helmet that looks like a spoiler and it looks stylish, though I doubt if it has any functional value. The helmet’s outer shell is made of ABS, which is known for its impact resistance.
The interior of the Steelbird SBH-17 Robot helmet
It is a sturdy helmet and on the inside, you get a lot of padding to make it a snug fit. Remove the cushion padding and you will see the multi-layer EPS (Expanded Polystyrene or Thermocol). These paddings are also removable in case you want to wash them. For people who put their helmets after wearing a bandana on their heads and now with masks, I doubt that they will feel the airflow. But at least they won’t feel too hot thanks to the numerous ventilation points.
I used the helmet on hot summer days and even at city speeds for short distances, I didn’t feel uncomfortable, thanks to the ventilation points. The clear visor means that you might need your sunglasses on sunny days, as there is no provision for an additional blacked-out half visor inside, which is a downside. The helmet also does not fog up in rainy and moist conditions, thanks to the chin-vent that you can open to let fresh air in. One cool trick I like about the helmet is the one-click visor-open mechanism, which is quite cool. Closing the visor is manual, of course. The closing mechanism for the helmet is push-pull buckle type, which most people might be familiar with.
Price, standard, and alternatives
The brochure says that the insides of the helmet are coated with anti-bacteria coating and it also claims that this anti-bacterial coating will not affect your hair. The lid conforms to IS 4151 standards and overall, I think it is a good value for money lid if you are looking to buy a city helmet for urban commuting. It is available in two sizes – 580mm and 600mm. The price of this helmet is Rs 2109 on Steelbird’s official website. I bought it for Rs 2200 at a nearby store, which is not a bad deal considering that I did not need to wait for a few days before delivery.