Summary The Caberg Sintesi
is comfortable and it has modern styling and many interesting
features. It can be worn with the rotating visor down or up
and it meets the ECE 22.05 safety standard for use in both positions.
The helmet is very heavy, however, and our example also has
a few minor quality issues.
Background Caberg is a relatively
small Italian motorcycle helmet manufacturer probably best known
for its stylish flip-up helmets, two of which are very popular
with webBikeWorld visitors.
Justissimo (review) is a solid helmet that's been available
for several years but is still very popular. It was considered
to be a leading-edge design when it first arrived and it still
feels more solid than most of the other flip-up helmets available
The Caberg Rhyno
(aka Caberg Trip) (review) is another one of our all-time
favorite flip-up helmets; it combines light weight (especially
for a flip-up) and modern styling at a very reasonable price.
Now we have the Caberg Sintesi, another much-anticipated
and pretty cool-looking helmet, this time from the "angles"
school of design that looks more German than Italian to me.
An analogy that immediately came to me when I opened the box
is the Sintesi is the Italian version of the
Schuberth C3 (review).
Our Italian friends say that "Sintesi" is an Italian
word meaning "synthesis". They also told us that Sintesi
is pronounced SEEN-tee-zee. We hope we got it right in the video!
It's an apt name for a helmet that was designed to be used
with the rotating visor in either the closed and locked position
or with the visor rotated all the way up, where it snaps into
place to keep it from closing.
This capability makes it a good candidate for touring. The
Sintesi has many other interesting features, so let's take a
Caberg Sintesi Paint, Graphics and Overall
Quality The Sintesi is currently available in
what's become the "standard" flip-up muted color palette:
Silver, Metallic Black, White, Matte Black and Gunmetal.
The paint on this Silver version is very nicely applied,
with tiny but thick metalflake mixed in and a decent clear coat
that gives the surface a quality feel. We like the Caberg decal
also, which is understated and adds just a touch of flair, with
the Italian flag colors peeking out from underneath.
All of the moving parts on this example work well and are
solid enough; however, a couple of quality issues were apparent
right from the start. Besides the louder than normal creaking
sounds that are all too common in flip-up helmets, the rubber
breath guard is loose, as is the backing that holds it and which
also serves as the inside lining of the chin guard. Also, the
large chin curtain underneath is loose, so it must be tucked
in behind the outer shell on just about every ride.
The side plates that form the rear edges of the rotating
visor also have more play and a larger gap than expected and
this may be causing some of the noise issues we encountered,
which I'll describe in a later section.
Some loose threads here and there in the liner are also apparent.
The top vent assembly also has too much lateral play (see the
video below), although this seems to be caused more by the design
than from a fault in quality.
Caberg Sintesi quality issues (L to R): Loose breath guard;
loose threads; glue and mis-aligned name plate.
None of these issues are deal-breakers, and in general the
helmet feels fairly solid (as it should, considering the weight),
but it's as if the quality is only 90% there and if Caberg would
tighten up some of the design and manufacturing standards, they
should easily be able to push that last 9.999% that can make
a big difference.
The Sintesi isn't an inexpensive helmet either; it lists
for £229.99, which is about $378.00 USD or 264.00 EUR at current
Score: When all is tallied up, I'll give the
Caberg Sintesi a "Very Good" rating for overall quality.
See the Summary Table at the end of this page for a description
of our rating system.
Flash Slide Show: Caberg Sintesi
Helmet Fit, Comfort and Internal Shape The Sintesi has a comfortably generous fit I'd characterize
as just to the round side of neutral, so I'll classify it as
a "Slightly Round" shape in the webBikeWorld helmet
It should fit a majority of head shapes (see our chart that
lists the helmet weights of webBikeWorld reviewed helmets by
shape on our new
Motorcycle Helmet Shapes page).
The size XL shown here fits just as expected, so we can assume
that all sizes run true. My feeling is that the size XL will
fit a 61-62 head size, which is correct for a size XL.
The shell used in the size XL seems huge; it gives even large-headed
riders like me the dreaded "fish bowl" effect (i.e.,
tiny head in a too-big helmet).
The upside is that the Sintesi, unlike the Justissimo, has
plenty of front/back headroom, including lots of room in the
chin bar area. As far as I know, Caberg only makes the Sintesi
in sizes XS to XL, but let's hope there's a smaller shell size
for the smaller head sizes, or owners will look like they're
wearing a beach ball.
The removable liner is very comfortable and the padding feels
thick, with no hard edges poking through. The only place where
the padding does feel slightly thin is up around the temples,
but it doesn't seem uncomfortable in that area nor have I experienced
any problems when I'm wearing the helmet.
The fabric used in the lining of the Sintesi is also comfortable.
The Sintesi has an interesting twist: the sides of the liner
are colored red and they feature a small image of a pair of
eyeglasses with the word "Seating" underneath. I assume
this means the red fabric or that section is designed to accommodate
eyeglasses, and my wire-framed eyeglasses and sunglasses fit
inside the helmet, but I don't really notice that the Sintesi
deals with eyeglasses any better or worse than any other flip-up
The upper part of the lining has some mesh sections running
fore and aft, but I don't see a direct air vent through the
EPS liner, although there are 4 indirect vent holes located
in a radial fashion around the crown.
Score: I'll give the Caberg Sintesi an "Excellent"
for overall comfort and fit.
Line up the arrows on the face shield and the round black release
to remove the face shield.
Caberg Sintesi Face Shield One of the most noticeable features of the Sintesi -- besides
its angular styling -- is the large face shield that also covers
a portion of the brow and is sealed by a thick gasket that also
adds a bit of design accent along the top.
With such a large face shield, you may think the visibility
out the front of the helmet is excellent, but the edgy styling
interferes slightly here, and the angled sides of the chin bar
serve to limit the side vision, or at least limit it more than
what I'd consider average.
Also, due to what seems like a very large shell size for
an XL, my head feels like it's sitting farther back inside the
helmet than normal, so the outer edges of the eye port limit
my outward vision along the top, sides and bottom. I've gotten
used to it, after a fashion, but I do think the helmet's design
will interfere with outward visibility for some.
The face shield has a small central snap to lock it in place
when it's closed, and it has small lifting tabs on either side;
both are nice features.
The face shield lifts through 5 detents and overall it feels
sturdy and non-flexible; not as firm as some, but better than
average, in my opinion. The removal mechanism is slightly fussy,
but acceptable. It's yet another new design; this time, the
small arrows etched on the face shield must be lined up with
the arrows on the black release.
Note that the face shield can only be removed when it is
in the second-to-last notch, rather than all the way raised.
This is apparently designed to keep the face shield from coming
loose if it is in the uppermost raised position.
Once the arrows are lined up, push upwards on the spring-loaded
button and the face shield should come off. Replacing it is
a bit more difficult, as the small tabs molded into the clear
face shield plastic have to be placed under the round release
button. Be careful with these -- we've seen systems like this
before (e.g., on a KBC helmet) where the little plastic tabs
are too easy to break.
Caberg Sintesi can be worn with the visor in the raised position
and still meet ECE safety standards.
The Sintesi -- or Synthesis -- in the Rotating Flip-up
Visor The rotating visor feels smooth and it uses metal
hooks to hold it in place. The centrally located release button
has a sort of grab handle underneath, and once the visor is
lifted all the way up, it locks by snapping into place in a
notch when it reaches the fully raised position.
To lower the visor, it must first be pulled outwards against
the spring tension, then it can be rotated downwards. When I
first took the helmet out of the box, I opened the visor and
then could not rotate it back down. I thought it was broken,
until I discovered that it must be pulled forward first. I read
the owner's manual twice, but didn't catch this and I'll have
to go back and look at it again to see where this is addressed.
The reason for all this? Well, the "Synthesis"
name is because the Sintesi is ECE homologated for use while
riding with the visor in either the fully closed and locked
position, or with the visor pushed all the way up and "locked".
Other flip-up helmets are not designed for use with the visor
in the raised position, so this is a definite Sintesi advantage.
It's especially useful when riding behind a touring bike windscreen
at lower speeds or in hot weather, where the visor can remain
in the raised position. It works surprisingly well also on a
motorcycle without a windscreen, as I discovered.
The large chin curtain apparently is designed to prevent
lift, by blocking the air from coming through when the visor
is raised. I was very skeptical at first, but it seems to work.
Internal Rotating Sun Visor
The bonus is that the internally rotating sun visor provides
more and better coverage than others I've tried, because it
is designed to also serve as the face shield when the helmet
is being worn with the visor in the raised position. This is
the first flip-up or full-face helmet I've tried where the internal
sun shade is large enough to use instead of my sunglasses. Too
bad they all weren't like this...
The internal sun visor is rotated by a large slider on the
top rear of the helmet, which is a bit clumsy, but it works.
The shade can also be stopped in any position, rather than the
on/off spring-loaded types that I don't care for.
Note that when the sun visor is rotated down and the helmet
visor is closed and locked and the face shield is closed, the
air stream coming from the chin vent gets blocked by about 50%,
with half the air going up in front of the sun visor. There's
a noticeable difference in cooling capability when the sun visor
is rotated down, which is somewhat of a curiosity.
The clear face shield and the internal sun shade both seem
to have excellent optical qualities.
Score: I'll give the design, the face shield
and the internal sun shade all a score of "Outstanding",
albeit with the recognition that the design of the Sintesi helmet
shell seems to limit outward vision slightly.
Caberg Sintesi Ventilation and Air Flow
One of these days, some manufacturer will get
it right and combine excellent controllable air flow with low
noise levels. Air flow seems to be a particular problem with
flip-up helmets in general, and unfortunately the Sintesi doesn't
break any new ground here either.
The large chin curtain -- which, by the way, is so large
that it rests against my neck, making it slightly uncomfortable
-- keeps the air from flowing up underneath the front of the
helmet, which is where most of the fresh air seems to come from
in helmets anyway.
The small chin vent and side openings direct the air through
a very small and narrow opening just at the top of the rubber
backing for the chin bar. When the internal sun visor is not
lowered (see note in the visor discussion in the previous section),
some air can be felt on the rider's face, so the system does
work, but could be better.
The top vent, however, is a very small horizontal slit covered
by a very large slider. I couldn't find any direct venting holes
through the EPS in back of the top vent, and what air comes
through isn't directly felt. In 80 degree F (~27 C) weather,
the best I can say is that while I've felt warmer helmets, it's
just too bad that the top vent, which appears to be large in
size with its big slider, isn't more efficient.
The Sintesi has a pair of always-open rear exhaust vents,
which hopefully are adding (or subtracting) something by drawing
the air out the back in the region of low pressure.
The large clear face shield can be opened a notch for defogging
or ventilation, but the shape of the face shield and the helmet
somehow forces the air right into my nose and eyes (when I'm
riding on a motorcycle without a windscreen), so this position
doesn't work for me in anything other than low-speed riding.
Score: Overall, I'd have to rate the air flow
in the Sintesi as "Poor" on top and "Good"
from the chin vent.
The design of the side plate may increase noise levels by creating
Noise Control The Sintesi promises
Schuberth C3-like noise control, and it delivers in all respects
The helmet has low noise levels from the vents and
visor, but it has what I consider to be an elevated level of
wind rushing noise at or below the ears.
Whether it is the loose gap in the side plates or the angle
where the sides of the rotating visor are raised against the
back of the helmet (photo above), or perhaps the design of the
neck roll in back, the helmet just seems to have a continuous
volume of wind rushing noise which comes from just below and
behind my ears.
In most cases, it's fairly easy to isolate the source of
helmet noise, whether it's from a vent or a gap in the liner,
by covering different areas with the hand when riding.
But I've tried blocking the padding around the liner in back
of the Sintesi, which helps some, but I just can't seem to find
the main cause of this noise, so I'll have to figure it's caused
by the overall design of the helmet.
What's also strange is that the noise level seems to be the
same at most road speeds and while riding a variety of different
motorcycles, with or without windscreens or fairings.
It's too bad, because I think otherwise the Sintesi would
be a fairly quiet helmet, with the large eye port gasket doing
a good job at sealing the face shield, and the rest of the design
promising efficient air flow.
Note that our helmet evaluations are normally a combined effort
of several riders over time, on different types of motorcycles with and without
Evaluators wear correctly fitted, high quality ear plugs (even when
evaluating motorcycle intercom systems).
Always protect your hearing when riding a motorcycle. See the wBWEarplug
Reviews for more information on choosing and wearing earplugs.
Note also that perceived noise levels will vary, depending on the
Noise can be caused by many factors, including helmet fit; the
type of motorcycle and windscreen; wind speed and direction and even the type of
clothing that is being worn. For more information on helmet noise, visit the
Motorcycle Helmet Noise page.
Score: I'll give the Sintesi a "Good"
score for noise control, which would probably raise to Excellent
if only the side noise was more controlled.
wBWVideo: The Caberg Sintesi Helmet
Helmet Weight OK, here's
the really bad news: We never thought we'd encounter a
motorcycle helmet weighing more than 2 kilograms -- that's 2,000
plus grams -- but here we are. This Sintesi in size XL weighs
in at a massive 2,034 grams, or 4 lbs., 7-3/4 oz.
Just as an aside, the weight of this helmet is such that
it raised the average of the 119 helmets reviewed prior to this
by 3.2 grams and the median by 1.5 grams. That may not seem
like much, but when you're talking about 120 helmets and that
amount of weight effect on the average and median, it's significant.
The weight of the Sintesi is basically unacceptable in my
book. Although some of the mass disappears when riding (much
like the mass of a diving bell is less apparent when it's submerged),
this is the first helmet I've ever worn that actually gives
me a neck muscle ache after about 45 minutes or so. I've heard
about this happening before with other riders, but it's a first
The weight is complicated by the sheer size of the helmet.
When I turn my head, I can literally feel the entire thing swinging
back and forth with a lot of momentum that then takes what I
think is significant muscle power to control, thus the sore
muscles I suppose.
For comparison purposes, see the
Motorcycle Helmet Weights page for a listing of all of the
helmets we've reviewed along with their weight and internal
shape. The Sintesi is #120 out of 120, not something to be proud
Of course, unfortunately all of the heaviest helmets we've
reviewed are flip-ups, holding 16 of the last spots in terms
of weight. And it doesn't seem to be getting any better, despite
modern materials and technology. It seems that each flip-up
is heavier than the one before.
For those of you who don't think helmet weight is a problem,
wear, say, an Akuma
Phantom II or even
Caberg's own Trip
and then put on the Sintesi. Weight makes a huge difference
in comfort and reduced fatigue. Sorry, but 2 kg is a barrier
that should not be crossed when it comes to motorcycle helmets.
Score: Unacceptable weight.
The extra length after the chin strap is adjusted correctly
for the "quick release" system.
Miscellaneous Note that the
Caberg Sintesi is ECE approved only and is currently not sold
in the U.S.
The helmet has a "quick release" chin strap, which
only adds more weight (albeit not much) and complexity to the
helmet. In this design, the extra length of chin strap has nowhere
to go when the strap is adjusted correctly, so it flops in the
wind or must be tucked up under the rest (see photo above).
It also interferes with the large chin curtain.
The padding under the chin strap is plush and thicker than
Also, the Sintesi has a built-in door and housing for a Bluetooth
intercom, along with a slightly recessed molded pattern on the
inside of the chin bar padding, apparently designed to accommodate
some type of Bluetooth intercom system.
Conclusion I have mixed feelings
about the Caberg Sintesi. One one hand, I like the design and
some of the features; while on the other hand, the quality issues,
the noise factor and certainly the weight are disappointing.
We expected more after the very nice Caberg Rhyno (Trip).
We'd like to hear from other Sintesi owners; see the comments
Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details).
Comments may be edited for clarity prior to publication.
From "F" (4/10): "I have
recently bought a Sintesti and all in all I am very pleased
with it, but have two comments.
First, about the annoying
sound in the review "coming from underneath the ears".
I think I know why -- I also heard that sound, clearly, from
30km/h and up, but only from underneath the left ear. The right
side was really quiet compared to all my previous helmets. I
don't have the Just Speak installed, and remembered that the
space for the Bluetooth unit is....just below the left ear.
So I opened the Bluetooth box, found an empty hole, filled
it with foam, and the sound disappeared! Why didn't Caberg
think of that?!
The reviewer seems to have heard the annoying sound from
underneath both ears. In that case, maybe a bad example cause
mine have always been quiet from the right ear side.
Second, yes the visors are anti-fog treated, but my glasses
are not:) Since the helmet doesn't let almost any air
in from underneath the chin, or any other places, they get foggy
when I'm riding below 50km/h.
The easy solution is to take away the chin-guard, but since
the interior of the helmet feels really comfortable, and the
chin-guard really blocks the chilly wind from coming in when
riding in cold temperatures, I'll try to find another solution.
All in all, the best helmet I have owned. Really pleased
with how all the controls work (build quality and design) and
that the soundproofing is really good, and not to forget, the
From CABERG srl (10/09): "As premise
I would like to say that in respect to fair information towards
your numerous readers and in respect to the work done by Caberg
especially during a very complicated market situation, your
article is incomplete and a bit misleading; it has been omitted
one of the major features that characterize the product, that
is the double shell and chin guard size.
Our idea to produce (a larger) size (helmet shell) has been
dictated by our intent to offer an adequate room, fitting, comfort,
and maneuverability also to those riders who usually wear not
only a XL but also XXL and even the XXXL. The small shell (fits
the size range) from XS to L.
We do agree with you with regards to some manufacturing imprecision
you highlighted, that have been already solved, but that unfortunately
can often be part of the first development steps of a new and
As far as the weight, we are aware that the large shell is
penalized by it, but we are working to reduce it by a dozen
grams without compromising the safety of the product. Moreover,
we think that the decision to offer two shells and two chin
guards dimension match anyway fairly the weight and dimension
of the helmet with the real ones of the motorcyclist. We do
strongly believe instead that it is necessary to work to offer
an helmet for the small sizes that do not overcome the 1900gr.
As far as the difficulty you encountered while trying to
close the chin guard, you just need to pull outwards the small
grey plastic thumb-grip right below the chin without having
to press also the opening red button."
Editor's Note: Caberg said they will
be sending us updated versions of the Sintesi in size L (small
shell size) and XL (large shell size) for an upcoming follow-up
From "P.C." (9/09): "I
have had a Sintesi for a couple of months now (I am in the UK)
and would like to give you my opinion.
My helmet is a (size) large, which is the biggest size in
the small shell type. I have found the fit and visibility good,
and looking at your site photos, I can see why the XL would
affect your vision as the large shell appears a good bit larger
I have the Caberg Bluetooth kit fitted (my partner has a
Sintesi as well) which works OK under about 30 mph but just
about useless above that. I may get some earplugs with speakers
and adapt those which should improve things. We have been unable
to get the integral radios to work at all. Have tried repeatedly
but the radios don't even sound like they are trying to find
a station, all we get is a constant low hiss.
The straps on our helmets have a much shorter end, about
an inch and a half past the buckle so we have not had the same
problem as (you).
I have just weighed my helmet, and including the Bluetooth
kit fitted, came to 4.1lb. Heavy but feels about the same to
wear as my old Roof Boxer. Agree with you about the front vents
and inner visor."