Caberg Sintesi Follow-Up
Caberg Sintesi - Part 2
by "Burn" for webBikeWorld.com
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Owner Comments (Below)
original review of the Caberg Sintesi
was published on webBikeWorld in September of 2009. My conclusion
about the helmet was...inconclusive. I usually have fairly strong
opinions one way or the other about a product, but I ended that
review with mixed feelings, or what I'd call a "60/40"
opinion of the Sintesi.
The reason I was 60/40 on the Sintesi was that despite being
a promising design with modern styling, there were some issues.
I had a few quibbles about the quality of the construction but
the weight of the helmet was also a significant factor.
The Sintesi we purchased for that review was sourced in Europe
and, as it turns out, it was one of the first off the assembly
line. As occasionally happens -- especially with a product as
complex as a flip-up helmet (and the Sintesi is more complex
than most) -- the first batch off the production line
may exhibit assembly or quality issues that are identified and
corrected as production continues.
In fact, Caberg sent us a note shortly after my Sintesi review
was published which confirmed this. That note was added in the
Owner Comments section of the Sintesi review, and Caberg basically
said that they were working to reduce the weight and that the
quality issues were being addressed. They also kindly offered
to send a size L and XL from the latest production run so we
could re-evaluate the situation and publish a follow-up.
Also, reading between the lines, it appears to me that developing,
manufacturing and distributing a fairly radical new design like
the Sintesi was a bit of a challenge, which I can completely
understand, especially for a smaller helmet manufacturer like
Caberg. Some choices had to be made, such as the decision to
develop only two shell sizes for the helmet.
Thus, the small Sintesi shell was designed to fit head sizes
from XS to L and the larger shell size to fit head sizes from
XL all the way up to XXXL, which was done to give riders with
larger-sized heads a chance.
That differs from the usual practice, which would probably
have three shell sizes to span a range from XS to XXL/XXXL and
this is the reason why the shell of the XL helmet I reviewed
seemed larger than normal; in fact, the XL is at the bottom
of the range of head sizes for that shell.
So we received the pair of what I'm calling "Version
2.0" Sintesi helmets from Caberg and I've been riding with
them for several weeks, right up until the major snowstorm of
last week, which dumped 21 inches on my doorstep. A good time
to curl up with the laptop in front of the fire and write up
The most recent version of the Caberg Sintesi in Gunmetal
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The Caberg Sintesi Version 2.0
As I mentioned in my original Sintesi review, Caberg is a relatively
small Italian motorcycle helmet manufacturer, known for their
progressive flip-up helmet designs that are also very stylish.
For example, the Caberg
Justissimo (review) is a solid helmet has been available
for several years and is very popular with many motorcyclists
in Europe and North America. The Justissimo 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) has also been a very popular
flip-up helmet and it is (was) one of the lightest flip-up helmets
available. The Trip is being phased out and will be replaced
by the new Caberg
Konda (First Look report), which was announced at the recent
EICMA show and which we hope to review as soon as it's released
The Sintesi (Italian for "synthesis" and pronounced
SEEN-te-zee) will apparently fill the role as the flagship helmet
of the Caberg line of flip-ups. The helmet takes its name for
the unique rotating visor which can be rotated upwards, where
it automatically locks into the raised position.
The Sintesi is homologated as ECE 22.05 as both a flip-up
and open-face helmet, so it can be used while riding with the
visor in either position. The Caberg design is not as complex
as the Shark Evoline
(review), which has a chin bar that rotates all the way
to the back of the helmet, and the Sintesi also looks more "normal"
-- although its styling is definitely futuristic.
While many riders incorrectly assume that all flip-up helmets
can be worn with the visor rotated upwards, this is not the
case and, in fact, this can be a dangerous proposition. The
visor on the Sintesi is spring-loaded and it positively locks
in place either when it is closed or rotated all the way open
and the helmet is specifically designed for use in either position.
This capability is very useful for both touring and slow-speed
riding, but that isn't all the helmet has to offer, as the Sintesi
has many other unique and useful features.
So the purpose of this follow-up is not to take you through
another complete review. Instead, I'll point out some of the
differences between the original and the latest version of the
Sintesi by following each of the standard categories used on
webBikeWorld for motorcycle helmet reviews.
Caberg Sintesi in size L on the left has a noticeably smaller
shell size than the XL on the right.
Caberg Sintesi "Version 2.0" - Paint,
Graphics and Overall Quality
First of all, I can
positively say this: every one of the quality issues I had with
the original have been completely resolved -- and then some.
Both of these most recent helmets have excellent quality
and all of the tolerances are very tight and the fit and finish
on both of these is outstanding.
In fact, rather than repeat the photos already published
with my original review, I took some close-ups instead of many
of the features on the helmet and put them together in an extended
slide show, which you can see below. You can pause any one of
the slides, click through the slides manually or just let it
Either way, you will see that even in the close-ups, which
usually uncover any detail quality issues, the construction
and the tolerances are beautiful.
Overall Parts Quality and Vent Operation
All of the moving parts on both of these helmets have an excellent
feel in the way they operate. The top vent and chin vent covers
especially have a very solid feel and they snap firmly open
and shut. They have a bonus feature also, with their corrugated
and rubberized grippers, which provide the best tactile feel
of any motorcycle helmet venting system I've tried.
Designing solid-feeling vent covers should be a no-brainer,
but for some reason this is a continuing problem on most motorcycle
helmets -- even some helmets that cost north of $500.00 USD.
It's obvious that the designer of the vents on the Sintesi must
be an avid motorcyclist who understands the importance of this
Rotating "Flip-up" Visor
rotating and locking visor on both of these updated Sintesi
helmets works perfectly. There's a small recess under the center
of the chin guard to hook the thumb and the forefinger presses
the red release button on the front of the helmet, labeled "Push".
Pull the visor forward against the spring and it can be rotated
upwards and locked into position at the top of the helmet.
It all works perfectly and smoothly on this "Version
2.0" of the Sintesi, and the bonus is that the inside of
the rotating visor and the tips of the shell at the chin where
it meets are so nicely finished that it's difficult to determine
how the visor actually locks to the helmet shell. No exposed
and ugly parts here, so a lot of work must have gone into this
Paint and Overall Finish
The two helmets
shown here are the color code 90 "Gunmetal", which
is a very nice metallic gray that is a few shades darker than
the (06 color code) Silver Sintesi I reviewed previously.
Although probably not the most visible color -- and it would
be nice to see the Sintesi in, say, a bright yellow or orange
metallic -- the Gunmetal color is now my favorite. It gives
the helmet a sophisticated look and the paint has been perfectly
applied to both of these helmets. The tiny metallic bits are
perfectly distributed and the paint seems thick, deep and sturdy
-- if that can be said of paint.
The Sintesi features the "hard" clear coat finish
that we've noticed on several European helmets. This is an excellent
coating that just feels harder than the clear coat on many other
brands -- including the "soft" feeling clear coat
on the very expensive
Shoei X-12 (review)
I'm not sure what the difference is, but some of the European
helmets we've reviewed recently use this new type of clear coat
finish, which seems perfect for a motorcycle helmet, which naturally
takes a lot of abuse. I wish all helmets used something similar.
Conclusion: Overall Quality
I couldn't be more pleased with the improvements on these "Version
2.0" Sintesi helmets. Caberg has addressed every one of
the issues noted in the original webBikeWorld review and that
says a lot for the dedication and determination of the company.
In fact, I'll go as far as saying that these two examples
now have the best quality I've ever seen on a flip-up helmet,
surpassing even the Schuberth C3 (review). The quality on these
is far better than the average flip-up, which usually has so
many creaks and groans and loose-fitting parts that they can
feel 5 years old right out of the box.
OK, here's a peek at the slide show I promised. Take your
time and study all the details of the Caberg Sintesi "Version
Helmet Fit, Comfort and Internal Shape
Not much changed here; I can still confirm that the Sintesi
has what we'd characterize as a "Slight Round" fit,
as described in the webBikeWorld
Motorcycle Helmet Shapes chart.
As always, it's a difficult call, but the Sintesi does seem
slightly on the round side of neutral with just enough "roundness"
at the top so I can't slide my finger between the helmet liner
and my forehead as I can with the "Narrow" shapes.
So the Sintesi should fit a majority of owners in the "sweet
spot" of the standard distribution.
The shell used for the size XL still seems very large and
it's too bad Sintesi didn't have three shell sizes, which would
more evenly distribute the difference between the shell size
and the internal head size. However, anyone with an XXL or XXXL
sized head should find the larger Sintesi shell to fit very
nicely, which isn't always the case with flip-up helmets.
Conversely, the size large (head size) is at the top of the
range for the smaller shell and the shell feels just slightly
small, but it is a tight internal fit, with what I'd say is
about a 1/2 size smaller than normal.
Caberg lists the size large for a 59-60 cm head and I think
that range is ideal. The helmet feels tight when I first put
it on, but the internal shape is generous enough that it feels
comfortable when I'm riding.
The smaller shell in the head size large of course doesn't
have the same roomy feeling in back of the chin bar, but such
is the nature of compromise. Overall, the size large in the
smaller shell is obviously a better choice for me and the helmet
just feels more proportionally accurate than the XL for my head
The removable liner is still comfortable, although the snugness
of the size large does use up most of the cushioning effect.
You can see again in the photo below, taken from the rear
and in the photo at the top of the page that the size differences
in the helmet shells are very apparent (even taking into account
the tilted angle of the smaller shell size on the left in the
For more information on helmet shapes and fit, please see
Motorcycle Helmet FAQ, the
Motorcycle Helmet Weights page and the
Motorcycle Helmet Shapes page.
The Sintesi has a special arrangement to help fit eyeglasses.
The speakers (when fitted) go underneath.
Update on Other Features of the Caberg
The XL with the larger
shell size makes the helmet feel too big on me and this also
causes the outward peripheral vision to be slightly impaired.
With the smaller shell size in the head size large, the peripheral
vision is slightly improved but the slanted edges of the chin
bar can still be seen at the corner of my vision.
However, the top-to-bottom vision seems much improved in
the size large, especially towards the bottom. So overall, the
vision is significantly improved with the size large.
Face Shield Operation
The Sintesi face shield
still has the small snap at the center of the bottom edge, which
locks it in place when it's closed and the dual lifting tabs
on either side at the center are also handy.
The face shield seals tightly to the helmet shell with a
large gasket and it didn't leak the few times I used it in the
rain. However, I ran water along the upper edge of the face
shield and it did not leak past the gasket but there is no gasket
around the inside of the face shield removal mechanism, so some
water may leak into the helmet via that path. The solution is
to maintain speed whenever possible!
Face shield removal was discussed in my original review and
hasn't changed. By the way, something I should mention is the
excellent anti-fog capabilities of the Sintesi face shield.
The label on the face shield claims that it is a double layer
visor and although I'm not sure about this, I do know that it
probably has some of the best anti-fog capabilities of any face
shield I've used. It may fog up slightly when I breathe directly
on it, but the fogging seems to immediately dissipate, especially
Internal Sun Shade
The internal sun shade
in both of these "Version 2.0" helmets works very
smoothly via a slider at the upper rear portion of the helmet
and it can be stopped at any intermediate position, which is
a real plus.
The smaller shell size brings
the top ventilation closer to my head, making it slightly better.
But the vent holes through the EPS liner are hidden, as they
are in the original version, so there's no direct path that
I can see for air to flow through.
When I blow into the open top vent it appears that most of
the air goes out the back of the top vent cover instead of down
into the helmet. So I'm now wondering if the upper ventilation
in the helmet is designed to be indirect, so that the air is "pulled"
up and through the helmet via negative pressure created by the
open top vent.
The chin vent still works very well and flows a good volume
of air. The large chin curtain, necessary to prevent lift when
the rotating visor is in the raised position, helps the air
from the chin vent to be felt on the rider's face.
Speakers and Bluetooth Communication System
The Sintesi is designed to readily install the Caberg "Just
Speak" Bluetooth intercom and communications system.
We don't have a system installed so I can't comment on it,
but the chin bar has a molded recess for the microphone and
the EPS at the bottom of the ear pockets are also molded for
The helmet has a removable cover at the left-hand side to
fit the Bluetooth module. This isn't just a simple snap-in cover;
it's held in place by a spring-loaded slider that is located
on the left side of the outer cheek area of the helmet shell,
hidden from view when the rotating visor is closed. It fits
tightly and is indicative of the overall quality of the helmet.
This is a nice detail and indicative of the thought that
went into the design. Inside the recess under the cover is a
wire and connector, so apparently the helmet is pre-wired for
the speakers and microphone.
Caberg Sintesi can be worn with the visor in the raised position
and still meet ECE safety standards.
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Not much changed here either;
the helmet vents don't generate much noise but both the "Version
2.0" size L and XL have a wind rushing noise that seems
to be located under the helmet, below the ears. I'm not sure
what causes it, but the helmet shape is such that it feels angled
upwards and it causes a wind rushing noise around the bottom
rear of the helmet.
See my full review for more details on this issue.
Caberg said in their email
that they recognized the weight issue in the larger shell and
that they were "working to reduce it by a dozen grams without
compromising the safety of the product".
Well, the dozen grams goal was achieved, as we measured the
size XL shown here at 2,006 grams, 28 grams less than the 2,034
grams of the original size XL. That's still a lot of weight
though and it breaks the 2 kg barrier.
The good news is that the smaller shell in the head size
large weighs 1,772 grams, or 3 lbs., 14-1/2 oz., which isn't
outside the realm of reasonability for a flip-up with the features
of the Sintesi. The combination of the smaller shell size and
roughly half-pound or quarter-kilo weight reduction make the
size large Sintesi a much better solution, at least for me.
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
Note that the Caberg Sintesi meets
EC helmets safety standards only and is currently not sold in
Overall Conclusion for the Caberg Sintesi "Version
As you can tell, I'm very impressed
with the improved quality of the recent Caberg Sintesi. The
helmet now feels solid and the parts and fit and finish are
probably the best I've seen on a flip-up helmet. Knowing about
the shell sizing issue is important and can help owners obtain
the best fit.
The higher than average noise levels from the lower rear
of the helmet are the only concern, but since apparent noise
is so variable, depending on the rider, head shape, motorcycle
configuration and other factors, I'll leave this one up to you.
The bottom line here is that these latest versions of the
Caberg Sintesi offer a lot of functionality and they may just
be the "perfect" touring helmet.
More: Caberg Sintesi
Helmet Review (includes specification table, slide show,
video and more information).
Publication Date: December 21,
For informational use only. All material and photographs are Copyright © webWorld International, LLC since 2000.
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►Your Comments and Feedback
Please send comments to
Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details
Comments may be edited for clarity prior to publication.
NOTE: These are comments regarding
the "Version 2" Sintesi only.
Read more Owner Comments
in our original Caberg Sintesi helmet
From "A.B." (01/11): "Fully
agree on your Sintesi review. I bought a Caberg Sintesi a couple
of months ago and I must say I am very pleased overall. I bought
it together with the Bluetooth kit and after being used to the
Parrot SK4000 I felt a bit disappointed as I believe the Parrot
is a better product as Bluetooth for helmet.
There are is one thing I donīt like about the Sintesi. It
is so big that if I would not have the top case it would not
fit in any of my MP3 Piaggio compartments. Also, I want to ask
if this model can turn into a jet Sintesi for the summer by
removing the chin guard. I believe the jet visor should be bought."
Response From Caberg: The flip-up Sintesi
can't be converted into the Jet version unfortunately. Also
for the Jet Sintesi, it is not possible to convert it into the
From "S.N." (5/10): "My
recent purchase of a new Sintesi mirrors your reviews. I ordered
a new Sintesi from Kickstart Motorcycles in the UK. First off
I must say their customer service was excellent. The first helmet
they sent me had issues just as your first review. I think it
was a first run helmet. Quality problems, paint, exterior trim
and interior trim.
Caberg could not help me because I am in the USA and this
helmet is not DOT FMVSS 218. I did not realize they could not
provide warranty service to the USA, but that is the way it
is. Even if they wanted to, they could not mail me a non DOT
helmet or parts.
But this is where Kickstart Motorcycles really helped. They
offered to send me a new helmet and work out the warranty issues
with Caberg on their end. I was out the shipping back
to them but they sent me another helmet and it is perfect.
What a great helmet, fit, finish and I love the features.
It is comfortable and quiet. It fits the way I would have expected
for the size. Great helmet.
Thanks for all you do at webBikeWorld, your real world reviews
are an outstanding source for information."