Biltwell Gringo helmet with a custom face shield

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by JGT, May 3, 2014.

  1. JGT

    JGT Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2013
    Oddometer:
    501
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I've got a Biltwell Gringo helmet and I like it -- not too closed in and looks sort of cool as well.

    On slower back roads (which I prefer) having the open front is fine. But when there is a need to ride 45 mph or faster, the wind does get tiring.

    Biltwell offers a bubble shield or a "blast shield" -- both snap on to the helmet. The problem with that for me is that I wear glasses, and adjusting them (or itching my face) at a stop sign or whatever is quite awkward. The whole thing has to be unsnapped and then re-snapped while the helmet is on my head.

    I saw a sort of goggle/shield called the Loup that Ruby makes for their helmets. It costs $200 and of course is custom fit to their helmet. Seemed like I could make something similar for the Gringo that would be easier to put on and take off.

    Here are some photos of how it was done -- material cost probably under $30.

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    The shield itself is .040" lexan (actually a Biltwell "blast shield" that I cut up). First I tried using .090" lexan, and then .060". Both were too thick to be curved and held in place by the band. Pre-forming the lexan using heat was very difficult and I failed (using both heat gun and oven). So the .040 lexan worked best.

    I did not put trim around the edge as the Loup has, because it did not seem necessary and was cleaner without it.

    The band is a piece of shock cord (a thin bungee basically) from a camping store. Green webbing is from some keychains. Snaps are from the hardware store.

    In the first picture, you can see a black rubber grommet put around the middle snap on the helmet. This is to provide a place for the shield to rest when it is up and the stickiness of the rubber keeps it from slipping.

    It is necessary to have a retainer at the back of the helmet to hold the band, or it will slide off the helmet. I made this one from a piece of .060 lexan (as I had plenty left over) that was bent and cut. Nylon webbing was glued to it and some snaps put on it. The retainer slips into the back of the helmet between the foam and the shell, and comes out easily enough when not needed. This could probably use some aesthetic and functional improvement, but it works for now.

    The shield really seals well around the trim on the front opening of the helmet, and works great at speed.

    Not as easy to use as a flip-up shield, but it is nice to have it gone when I don't want to use it. It fits in a small tank bag.
    #1
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  2. HeatXfer

    HeatXfer Bad knees

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    814
    Location:
    S.F. Bay Area
    I had to look up Biltwell. Really, what you've got is a circa 1975 Bell Star without a flip-up shield. I can't imagine a more inconvenient arrangement.

    Is this their way to get hipsters to start wearing legitimate head & face protection?

    To each his own.

    EDIT: Apologizes: It completes the look for a vintage bike. :thumbup
    #2
  3. JGT

    JGT Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2013
    Oddometer:
    501
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I'm not even a hipster! Too old.

    But you are right, to each his own.
    #3
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  4. Ziggyy

    Ziggyy n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2015
    Oddometer:
    1
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    JGT, I love what you've done. I'm trying to decide between the Gringo and Gringo S. Personally, I would mainly use it with just glasses, because I like the blast of air in my face. The only time I need a shield is in the rain or long trips on the highway. That said, I have a few questions, if you don't mind.

    1) How did you cut the lexan? I researched it, and cutting the thickness you stated should be possible with some sharp utility scissors.

    2) Since it's as thin as it is, how difficult is it to lift up, especially with gloves on, to get some air at a stop light?

    3) Have you tried riding with it in the rain? I imagine it seals better than the Gringo S shield, which doesn't sit tight against the rubber eye gasket.

    4) How does it handle fogging on cold or wet days? Can you easily defog it by lifting it up about an 1/8"?

    5) Now that you've had it a while, what would you do differently if you were to make a new one? Personally, I think I would leave a little more lexan near the back edges, and cut in a vertical slit (about 2" tall x 1/8" wide) so I could fish through a Gringo strap off one of their goggles.

    I'm new to this forum, so I don't know if you can IM or call me, but I'd love to hear your responses and possible talk some more.

    Thanks
    #4