Aimed at ‘professional’ riders, the Steelbird Ares A1 is an affordable and funky looking helmet. But it does have its shortcomings…
Motorcyclists in India have never had it this good. In the past few years, we have witnessed an onslaught of affordable performance motorcycles in the market. The Indian two-wheeler market has definitely come of age, however, same can’t be said about the people riding these bikes. You see, the concept of safety gear is yet to catch up with a majority of riders here. Agreed that most of us can’t afford a race suit for our daily commute, but basic riding gear like a certified helmet, gloves and riding boots won’t burn a big hole in your pocket, especially when you can afford a motorcycle costing around a lakh or more than that. In which case, buying a good quality helmet is the least you can do for, well, your own safety.
There’s no dearth of good quality, safe, affordable and stylish helmets. And the one you see here – Steelbird Ares Pro+ Series Flip-up modular helmet – falls in the same segment. It is a decently good looking, as well as a sturdy helmet. Speaking of its design, the helmet is available in matte and gloss finishes – the one we’ve got is the A1 Devil Face with the glossy finish. The helmet has a one-touch flip-up operation that is quite handy and easy to use. It comes with an anti-scratch visor that is available in different metalized coatings such as mercury, gold, rainbow, iridium blue and chrome blue. While the overall design looks sporty, the graphics do tend to look a bit tacky.
The Ares A1 has a polycarbonate-ABS blend shell and incorporates high-density EPS (expanded polystyrene). At 1,150 grams it’s also quite light. Additionally, it comes with a ventilation system and has two air-vents in front and two exhaust vents at the back. The strap is a Euro-spec micro-metric buckle that has a breaking load of 300kg, as per the company’s claims. The helmet also has a locking visor mechanism. The inner lining is mesh-type and has a thick and supportive padding, it is, however, non-removable so you can’t wash it or replace it.
Riding impressions? At normal city riding speeds, it’s quite comfortable but things start getting noisier at higher speeds. Also, being a flip-up modular helmet, there’s no padding or protection around the chin area. The helmet surprisingly does not cover the lower back part of the head, meaning it is always exposed – and this is something that the makers/designers need to look into.
All told, the Ares A1 comes across as a decent helmet, but needs improvements, especially in terms of design and quality. At Rs.2,999, it isn’t actually cheap, too.