The Gunwind offers a solid but comfortable fit that continued to feel as good as it did when it was first slipped on.
The Suomy Gunwind definitely looks and feels like a top of the line lid, as it should with a suggested retail price of $399.95.
Upon first impression, the Italian helmet looks great and its paint finish and quality of materials are superb. We received the Pere Riba Replica in time for our Italian Twins shootout. Unfortunately for this test (but not for me!), I never got to test the crash protection of Suomy’s latest lid.
One of the Gunwind’s best features is its lack of weight. Its fiberglass/Kevlar composite shell helps make the the lid significantly lighter than other helmets in this price range. According to our Fed-Ex certified scales, the Suomy was 0.25 lb. lighter than comparable HJC and AGV models. (see the numbers below.)
Tale of the Scale
Suomy Gunwind: 3.10 lbs
HJC AC-10: 3.35 lbs
AGV X-Vent: 3.35 lbs
Shoei RF900: 3.70 lbs
Features include forward facing vents on the forehead and chin area for fresh air and shield de-fogging. The Venturi vent system stretches across the top and around the rear of the helmet where the exit vents are located. The system not only facilitates air circulation throughout the helmet, it also finishes off the stylish and aggressive look. Since current popular helmet designs are leaning towards the wild and crazy side, the Suomy Gunwind will fit right in.
One of the most important qualities of a piece of equipment is how little you are aware of its presence after a few hours of riding, and the Gunwind offers a solid but comfortable fit that continued to feel as good as it did when it was first slipped on.
While riding the Ducati 998, a rider’s head is hung out in the elements, so I was able to get a good idea how the Gunwind handled windblast after a week aboard that nasty red Duc. Helmet noise was kept to a minimum at cruising speeds, allowing you to concentrate on the important things like that cell-phone-toting SUV driver oblivious to your presence. Once you get up to triple-digit speeds, the wind noise really begins to escalate, but that is what ear plugs are for, right? At these speeds, no helmet will be able to keep all the audible intruders at bay. Some helmet designs seem to handle it better than others, and the Gunwind design is among the best.
Changing the Gunwind’s visor is about as simple as it gets. Just pry the side panels off with your fingers and remove the visor from the ratcheting mechanism. It makes a loud cracking noise when you first remove it, but that’s just the nature of its design and no damage occurs.
This is about as simple as it gets. Just pry the side panels off with your fingers and remove the visor from the ratcheting mechanism. It makes a loud cracking noise when you first remove it, but that’s just the nature of its design and no damage occurs.
The D-ring fastener has a nifty little grab tab which makes it easier to locate when strapping it on. Like most helmets, the excess strap is neatly tucked away by buttoning it back to the helmet. But Suomy placed the snap a bit too high which made it difficult to make a connection, and nearly impossible to accomplish with gloves on. If that button is moved down a half an inch the problem is solved. As it is, you will need to get it snapped prior to putting on your gloves. Also, many contemporary high-end helmets have a removable liner, as it’s a great way to keep your helmet smelling fresh and clean. The Gunwind, sadly, does not.
Despite the minor complaints listed above, the Suomy’s Gunwind is an excellent helmet. It’s comfy, built well and looks good. And at 3.1 lbs., it weighs considerably less than the competition. With a cool dozen racer replicas offered, you can stand out in the crowd while bench racing at your local biker hangout.
Overall, we give the Gunwind our recommendation.
Suomy began as a project of Vigano Accessori, an old-school Italian motorcycle accessories manufacturer that expanded its product range to include helmets in 1997. Its endeavor began in the dirt with World MX star Andrea Bartolini, and he won the 1999 500cc World Championship wearing a Suomy helmet, giving the company instant credibility. Former World Superbike Champion Troy Corser was enlisted in 1998 as a factory Suomy rider followed by a huge marketing campaign promoting their street helmets that same year. In 2000, it worked a blockbuster deal with Ducati that has the factory riders wearing Suomy helmets exclusively. The Italian manufacturer then made their debut in MotoGP during the 2001 season when Max Biaggi signed on. Suomy’s rise to prominence took yet another step up that same season when Ducati’s Troy Bayliss claimed the WSB title and American Ben Bostrom began his meteoric rise to stardom, both proudly displaying their helmets on podiums along the way. World Supersport rider Andrew Pitt and Superside champs Klaffenbock & Panzer all wore Suomy lids during their 2001 championship seasons.
Potential U.S. consumers might wonder why Suomy helmets are not Snell approved (though they do carry DOT approval). Instead of the Snell system, Suomy helmets are approved to the British Standards Institute (BSI) rating. The comprehensive BSI European rating is considered by many experts as the best global standard, and it is accepted by every racing organization in the U.S. For more information on BSI check out the British Standards Institute website.
The Suomy Website is as innovative as any out there. It shows the testing procedures and more in a cool layout full of FLASH and other whirly gigs and gizmos intended to keep you entertained. Check it out at Suomy.com.