Speed And Strength Zealot Helmet Review

Speed and Strength is strengthening its designs for 2020.

Speed and Strength is stepping up its helmet designs for 2020 and this Zealot was one of the first to catch my eye in the lineup. For an MSRP of just $179.95 you get a whole lot of style as well as some amenities like a drop-down internal sun shade, an antifog/anti-scratch face shield, and a rear spoiler.

Speed and Strength’s 2020 Zealot motorcycle helmet has a custom-painted look for a wallet-friendly price of $179.95.
Speed and Strength’s 2020 Zealot motorcycle helmet has a custom-painted look for a wallet-friendly price of $179.95.Jeff Allen

When it comes to the exterior design, the pinstriping and faux custom-painted look on the Zealot and many other 2020 Speed and Strength lids has a built-in custom vibe. I do love the scrollwork graphics on the sides and the subtle accents of pinstriping throughout. Unlike other Speed and Strength designs, however, the “SS” logo is not plastered everywhere or splayed out on the sides. I appreciate this subtle branding because it allows the design to speak for itself, rather than relying on obtrusive SS lettering.

As for the shell, it is made of ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and is claimed to meet or exceed DOT and ECE 22.05 standards. In total the helmet weighs 3.2 pounds on our shop scale. An added safety feature is also seen on the edge of the back of the helmet’s base with the retroreflective material, however, since it is situated under the edge, it might not be as effective in reflecting the light of the cars behind you unless you’re in a significant tuck.

Coming to a beak-like point, the Zealot is aggressive in its shape and overall design.
Coming to a beak-like point, the Zealot is aggressive in its shape and overall design.Jeff Allen

In regard to shape, the chin guard comes down to an angular point, almost like a raven’s beak, resulting in a sharp, aggressive look, but when you set the helmet down on a flat surface it rocks like a ship on the stormy seas. The extra surface area of the thicker chin guard also does catch with the wind when you look over either shoulder to do head checks. Moving to the back of the helmet, you can say the rear spoiler not only adds to the overall sleek shape, but assists in stabilizing your noggin. At freeway speeds, it stood up to the task without any buffeting.

The drop-down internal visor is extremely helpful when you round a corner to end up in the sun’s direct heavenly spotlight, and activation is quick with the easy-to-locate and one-hand-operable switch. Peripheral vision is not obstructed thanks to the visor’s wide exterior field of view, but when you open and close it, it is a bit mechanically clunky. During one summer morning that was uncharacteristically cloudy and cool, I was certain the face shield would fog if I breathed hard, but the antifog face shield did well under my little test.

The drop-down internal sun visor is great for blocking the rays.
The drop-down internal sun visor is great for blocking the rays.Jeff Allen

Wind noise is not overly intrusive, though a whistling occurs when you angle your head down at speed. I did some detective work—and by detective work I mean feeling around all the edges with my hand, legit Sherlock stuff right there—and found that when I blocked just above the top edge of the visor the whistling subsided. Some additional attention by the designers to better seal that portion would reduce the hot-tea-kettle sound.

Inside, the padding was nicely snug around my small, oval-shaped head, and while the lining fabric wasn’t uncomfortable, it wasn’t the most comfortable either because the brushed, poly-cotton blend fabric was not as soft as some of the competition’s.

A chin vent and two intake vents on the forehead allow for a nice relief of airflow circulating through the helmet and out of the upper exhaust vent situated near the crown. The latches for all of the intake vents are also easily found with a glove on, and open and close smoothly.

The Zealot is a bargain with its scrollwork/pinstriping graphics, drop-down sun shield, and stabilizing rear spoiler.
The Zealot is a bargain with its scrollwork/pinstriping graphics, drop-down sun shield, and stabilizing rear spoiler.Jeff Allen

Keeping the helmet locked onto your skull is the common strap/double D-ring combo. While they do secure the helmet, they feel a bit on the cheap side with thinner fabric, a thin plastic button, and shifting stainless steel D-rings. Don’t expect top-shelf, Johnnie-Walker-whiskey level fasteners at the price tag; they still get the job done, Jack Daniel’s style, though.

For a price tag of a measly $179.95 you do get quite a range of function in a sleek, artistic SS package. The sun visor, artwork, sleekly incorporated ventilation system, and angular and aggressive design are definitely points deserving of a thumbs-up, while some material and design flaws can be improved upon. In comparison with the other budget helmets we’ve tried out, though, this is still a great and versatile helmet for the price.

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