Suomy D20 Flip-up Motorcycle Helmet
by "Burn" for webBikeWorld.com
Owner Comments (Below) | wBW Motorcycle
Summary: The Suomy D20 is the company's
first attempt at a flip-up helmet. It feels solid
and has a good surface finish and it's available with
several options, including different size cheek pads and
a Bluetooth communications system.
Suomy helmets suddenly became very popular a few years ago in
the U.S., but my impression is that the brand still
remains somewhat of a niche player in the North American
Suomy is known for their unique graphic designs and a
focus on race helmets, but they don't release new helmets
very often and it's also possible that the complicated
U.S. distribution system may affect Suomy helmet
But the Suomy D20 is notable because it's both
a brand-new helmet design and it's the company's
first flip-up, with the potential to expand their market
share to a wider range of motorcyclists.
Based on the volume of email received at
webBikeWorld, the Suomy D20 was highly anticipated,
perhaps by riders thinking that Suomy might bring some
fresh ideas, innovation and technology to the flip-up
That would have been great news, but, alas, it's not
to be. The short answer is that the D20 doesn't
break any new ground in flip-up design.
I'm a flip-up guy and I've been doing
most of the webBikeWorld flip-up helmet evaluations and
I've also been scratching my head, wondering when the
"perfect" flip-up would arrive. I was
one of those who thought that maybe Suomy would give us
something new and innovative, so I'm a bit disappointed.
It has been mentioned before in other
webBikeWorld helmet reviews, but it seems that the
manufacturers generally saddle flip-up helmets with more conservative designs and
styles than full-face helmets. My conjecture is
that touring riders are the primary target market for
flip-ups, and for some reason they want more
conservative styling? All is not lost, however --
Caberg is probably a notable exception to this rule.
And since Suomy has a reputation for
some very interesting and complex graphic designs on their full-face helmets, I
expected that this would carry over to the D20.
But the helmet is available only in black, white, silver
and a '70's-look white graphic. Oh well...
Finally, Suomy is also known for making light
weight helmets, and the D20...well, wait a second -- I'm
stealing my own thunder again, so you'll have to read on
to learn more!
Suomy D20 Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality
The D20 color palette may not be very adventurous,
but the silver gloss D20 shown here in nicely applied
and the surface finish has a hard-feeling clearcoat that
feels like it will do a solid job at protecting the
The clearcoat must be that new formula
that is being used by several helmet manufacturers
recently; I've noticed it on other helmets. It
feels "hard" -- but I'm not sure if that's the right
term -- it has a harder surface than the old-style
clearcoat used in the past.
The D20 also feels solid in the way it
opens and closes and operates. It has a
metal-to-metal latch system with metal hooks inside the
rotating flip-up visor that lock securely on to the
metal posts on the cheeks of the helmet shell.
Between the visor lock, the release and
the rotating mechanism, the D20 closes up tight, which
eliminates most or all of those creaking and groaning
noises that can be heard in most flip-ups that are
usually the result of loose tolerances and poor fit.
The helmet shell also has a firm feel
when the visor is closed and locked, so if all this
solidity is an indicator of quality, then the D20 has
The liner is also comfortable and I'd
rate it as above average in this regard, especially for
a flip-up. Suomy has optional cheek pads listed
for the helmet, which will allow somewhat of a bespoke
The top vent, chin vent, rotating
internal sun visor and unique rear exhaust spoiler have
large operating tabs or buttons that work well and are
easy to use when wearing gloves. The top and chin
vents open and close with authority and it looks like
they should flow large volumes of air, but, as you'll
learn in a minute, this isn't really the case,
The only quality issue I have with this
D20 revolves around the clear face shield, or rather its
rotating and removal mechanism. The face shield
feels a bit flimsy and I think this is due to the system
that holds the visor on to the helmet.
There's a removable cover on the side
that is held on by a little friction lever (illustrated
in the video below). Slide the lever and pull off
the cover, then there's a plastic lever that must be
removed to release the face shield. Reverse the
process to install, but basically the face shield and
the cover is held by friction, using only by these small
The system doesn't hold the face shield
tight to the helmet shell and the face shield feels
slightly wobbly when it's raised.
We're not sure why Suomy didn't just copy one of the
solid existing systems rather than cobbling together a
new design that uses small parts that may be easy to
Score: I'll give the Suomy
D20 a "Very Good" rating for overall quality,
surface finish, clear coat and overall fit and finish.
The clumsy face shield removal system prevents me from
giving the D20 an Excellent or Outstanding rating in
this category. See
the ratings descriptions in the summary table at the end of this page.
Suomy D20 Helmet Fit, Comfort and Internal Shape
It took us some time to agree on a characterization of
the D20's shape in accordance with the webBikeWorld
Motorcycle Helmet FAQ but I can say this: it's
comfortable. For me anyway.
Our experience has demonstrated that choices for
flip-up head shapes are more limited than the head
shapes available for full-face helmets. The
internal shapes of most flip-ups run pretty close to
neutral, and the D20 is basically the same.
But the Suomy D20 does offer a variation, in that the
top of the helmet feels round and the sides feel
slightly narrow. So our feeling is that the D20 is
a combination of neutral on the bottom and round on top,
and we rated it as a "Slightly Round" in the
Helmet Shapes chart.
I can tell that the upper part of the D20 is round
because I can't stick my finger straight up above my
nose between the helmet liner and my forehead.
This is my indicator; on some helmets, like the very
"Long Oval" Arai Profile, two fingers nearly fit.
But true round helmets fit as tight as a wool watch cap,
and that's the feeling I get from the D20.
The sides aren't as proportional, but the helmet is
still comfortable, and Suomy offers a variety of cheek
pads for the D20 which can make a semi-custom fit.
The liner of the D20 is removable, as are the cheek
pads, of course, and Suomy also says the neck padding
(aka neck roll) is also removable and washable. I
don't recall ever pulling a neck roll out of a helmet,
and never really thought about doing it, but I do know
mine get pretty dirty sometimes from setting the helmet
down on the ground when I park.
I won't say the D20 is "vault like" when it's closed,
but it does seem to clamp shut pretty tightly, and
between that and the good fit, the helmet feels secure
The fit feels slightly undersized to me -- based on
this example, the D20 runs about 1/2 to 1 size small.
The D20 comes in a smaller range of sizes, from XS to XL
only, according to the Suomy information table we have.
The XL shown here is said to fit a 61-62 cm head, but
I do think 62 cm would be too tight; 60-61 is more like
it. I'm not sure if these proportions hold for the
smaller sized D20's, but that's usually the case.
So to sum this section up, I'll repeat myself and say
that the Suomy D20 feels secure, it has a comfortable
liner with a good fit for me and it should fit a wide
range of head shapes due to its Slightly Round internal
shape. The availability of sized cheek pads will
help custom-tailor the fit and I think also this shows a
dedication to the D20 range by Suomy.
For more information on choosing and
fitting a motorcycle helmet, please see the
Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page, which also includes a
discussion on head shapes.
Score: I'll give the Suomy
D20 an "Excellent" rating for
fit and liner comfort.
The large top vent system on the Suomy D20 unfortunately
Rear exhaust vent is hidden under the popup spoiler.
Suomy D20 chin vent.
Suomy D20 Ventilation
The chin vent and top vent on the D20 have a substantial
look and feel and the vents appear to be larger than
average, promising a large volume of air flow which, in
a flip-up helmet, would be a revolution in and of
Unfortunately, it doesn't work out that
way. The chin vent directs the air up through the
top of the chin bar to the two narrow slits that can be
seen in the photo directly above. Those slits are
covered by the face shield when it's closed, so the air
doesn't get a chance to flow directly on the rider's
face, but it can be felt moving up the face shield and
towards the forehead.
I suppose this will be good for
anti-fogging purposes, although I wasn't able to confirm
this during my evaluation time. The D20 has a
large vinyl wind block under the chin bar, which
prevents most of the air from flowing up underneath and
I suppose it can be removed if necessary, which might
The top vent also appears promising with
its large openings, but the EPS liner is designed so
that the air flowing through the vent must first make a
90-degree turn downwards, where it runs smack into the
front of the helmet liner, which blocks it from reaching
the rider's head. This is unfortunate, because I
think there's potential here for a lot more air flow up
top with a design tweak.
The rear spoiler flips open or closed
and it uncovers the rear exhaust vents. This seems
a bit gimmicky, and it's usually impossible to tell if
the rear exhausts on any helmet actually help, but this
one is probably more discreet than some of the other
designs I've seen.
So overall, I have to say that I'm
disappointed in the weak air flow from what at first
appears to be larger than average vents. The vent
switchgear works well and feels solid and the simplicity
of the design is a plus, but it just doesn't seem to
deliver on the potential.
The face shield can be popped open at an
initial setting to let in more air, but it's one of
those designs that opens too wide at the first notch to
be useful in anything other than slow speed riding.
Score: I'll give the Suomy
D20 a "Good" rating (which is the equivalent
of a "neutral") for below-average ventilation.
Now for some bad news. This size XL Suomy D20
breaks that nasty 2 kg barrier. It
weighs in at 2003 grams (4 lbs.
5-5/8 oz.), giving it the dubious
distinction of being the second heaviest
helmet we've reviewed so far out of 125
The Over-1900 club includes these heavyweights, with
Caberg Sintesi taking the top spot:
But Caberg has recognized this issue; we'll be
reviewing an updated version of the Sintesi and Caberg
said they've pared a few ounces here and there.
Carrying 2 kilograms on your head can get tiring, but
I will admit that the D20's snug and comfortable fit and
its solidity work in its favor.
We typically do not weigh the helmets until we sit
down to write the final evaluation to avoid any bias.
In working with the D20 over the last couple of weeks, I
did notice its weight, but I thought it would end up
somewhere in the 1800 gram range. So I suppose
that says something for the design.
The puzzling issue is that one of Suomy's strengths
is their relatively lightweight full-face designs, like
Suomy Vandal (review) at 1486 grams and the
Suomy Extreme Spec-1R
(review) in size XL at 1570 grams. So of all
things, you'd think Suomy would have figured out a way
to make a solid flip-up that was also a lightweight
leader. Caberg did it with the very nice
Caberg Trip, at only 1614 grams, one of the lightest
flip-ups we've reviewed.
The D20 does feel its weight, but it is also at least
nicely balanced when riding and other than the mass,
which can be felt when moving the head side-to-side, it
does not display any tendency towards lifting or
Motorcycle Helmet Weights page for a matrix and chart comparing the
weights of all
of the open-face, full-face and flip-up helmets we've
Score: The Suomy D20 gets a
"Unacceptable" rating from me for its weight.
Side pods are held on by a simple lever. Metal
post keeps the rotating visor locked.
The D20 is ready for the Suomy Bluetooth intercom
system, which fits into the cutout seen above.
Rotating Flip-up Visor and Internal Sun Shade
I described the issues with the face shield removal
system above in the "Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality"
section above, so I won't go into that here other than
to refer you to the photograph above, in which you can
see the black lever bar that rotates up slightly to hold
the side cover in place.
Also, the clear face shield that comes with the
helmet has good optical qualities, but the removal
system also makes it wobble back and forth more than
necessary. The face shield has a centrally located
tab for lifting, which I prefer.
[UPDATE: Found in the box: a "Clear" anti-fog
insert, made by
Fog City (review) for Suomy. Apparently Suomy
is the latest manufacturer to abandon all pretense of an
anti-fog coating and instead opt for providing an
anti-fog insert that must be installed by the owner.]
My vision out the front is better than average
side-to-side, but the wide (tall) chin bar does block my
vision at the bottom more than average, although my
vision out the top is better than average.
The D20 otherwise has a solid-feeling rotating visor
that operates smoothly. The centrally-located
release button must be squeezed to open the visor to
raise it. Then it must be squeezed again to lower
the visor, which I think is a very good safety feature
once I got used to it.
The visor locks solidly in place when closed, and it
feels solid also when it's raised all the way up.
So no complaints here. The metal hooks lock to the
metal posts at the cheek of the shell. The
left-hand side post can also be seen in the photo
The vinyl chin curtain is larger than average (good)
but feels slightly flimsy and sort of gets in the way
when my thumb reaches under the chin bar. I get
the feeling that the chin curtain will one day come
loose from its moorings, but so far, so good.
The internal sun shade on the D20 works with a
friction slider at the top of the helmet. It is
designed to allow the sun visor to stop at any position,
which I prefer, rather than the designs that only allow
an off or on (like HJC). This allows me to rotate
the sun shade down just enough to keep the sun out of my
eyes when necessary.
Like most of the internal sun shades, this one could
rotate down even farther, because the lower edge is a
bit distracting, but it's not bad. Someday,
someone will design one of these internally rotating sun
visors that adds virtually no weight to the helmet and
can be lowered all the way down out of the rider's line
Score: I'll rate the face shield clarity
and visor operation and
visibility of the D20 as "Excellent" but the face
shield gets a lower score because of the flimsy-feeling
removal mechanism, which also allows too much
side-to-side play in the face shield.
Suomy D20 helmet liner.
The D20 is ready for the Suomy Bluetooth intercom system.
The ear pocket lining is ready for speakers.
Those big vents on the D20 don't add much to the sound
levels, but there seems to be an unusual amount of noise
coming from the lower sides of the helmet. I can't
quite figure out what's causing it; I think it may be
some turbulence around the side plates.
Also, there's some wind rushing noise that is louder
than it should be due to a mismatch between my head
shape and the neck roll. I can place my hand at
the neck roll under my ear and the noise levels
Surprisingly, the noise levels don't seem to vary much
whether I ride behind a windscreen or not. So
there's something about the design of the lower part of
the helmet that seems to allow more wind noise to enter
than is normal.
Helmet Noise Level Estimator - Suomy D20
Note that our helmet evaluations are normally a combined effort
of several riders over time, on different types of motorcycles with and without
windscreens. Evaluators wear correctly fitted, high quality earplugs (even
when evaluating motorcycle intercom systems) and (usually) a helmet liner. It is strongly recommended that hearing protection is used when riding a motorcycle.
See the wBW
and Hearing Protection page for more information on choosing and wearing earplugs.
Note also that perceived noise levels will vary, depending on the
individual. 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 Suomy D20
rating for noise control.
Suomy says the D20 helmet shell is made from
"thermoplastic composite resin" and it meets both ECE
and DOT safety specifications. The D20 is also
ready for the Suomy Bluetooth system.
The chin strap uses a "quick release" system which
feels bulky under the neck and the cushioning that goes
under the strap isn't quite as comfortable as it could
The Opinionator - Suomy D20 Helmet
Rotating visor works smoothly,
Liner feels comfortable & fits
Surface Finish and clearcoat
The Suomy D20 is a solid design with some nice features,
but the relatively weak ventilation, louder than average
noise levels and heavy weight are disappointing.
Although it's a good first attempt by Suomy, the helmet
unfortunately doesn't break any new ground in flip-up
design and it's also relatively expensive.
Review: Suomy D20 Motorcycle
||List Price: $389.95
|Colors: Black, Matte Black,
Silver, White. Sizes: XS to XL
Shell Sizes: Unknown.
||Made In: Italy
Date: October 2009 Note: Helmet provided by
our affiliate, Motorcycle Superstore, for this review (more).
|Ratings Scale: For
reference, our ratings scale is subjective and ranges from Unacceptable
to Poor, Good, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding.
Note: For informational use only. All material and
photographs are Copyright © webWorld International, LLC - 2000-2011. All
rights reserved. See the webBikeWorld®
page. NOTE: Product specifications, features and details may
change or differ from our descriptions. Always check before purchasing. Read
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►Your Comments and
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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 "S.H." (6/10): "This is my
third flip helmet, previously I’ve worn the Century
Lazer and Vega Summit. Formerly an Arai user,
I found the D20 to be comparable in terms of fit,
finish and feeling of quality.
The weight of helmets is not an issue of purely a
weight on the scale but how it rides on the head
when underway. The Suomy is excellent in
cutting air, despite the weight on the scale it
feels lighter and is mostly unaffected by turbulence
in comparison to the models I mentioned previously.
No buffeting means longer and more enjoyable riding.
Even with the chin bar up this helmet remains
balanced. I have not had the pleasure of a
helmet that does this better even at speed and when
doing a head check.
I don’t ride open face often but nice to know
that Suomy paid extra attention at the wind tunnel
testing to make this happen. The venting of
the helmet does work, for a time I thought my hair
was wet on a sunny day. The vent is highly
localized and felt like water running through my
hair. Opening and closing the ports while
under way is simple; same direction on the chin bar
and forehead, something I’ve longed for when I’ve
had to guess whether vents were open or closed.
The inclusion of space for a communication system
is nice if you need to remain connected. The
cover is unobtrusive; the ear placement for the
speakers is marked but doesn’t need to be altered if
I found the chin strap to be very comfortable and
the quick release secure and fast, on and off.
What really made this helmet my favorite is the
integrated sun shade; I wear glasses and with the
shield down sunglasses always add a moiré pattern
having two levels of polarization; the shield and
With the integrated sun visor this is a problem
of the past. I can’t even forget to bring my
sunglasses, this one’s built in! Ok, the
helmet's not perfect, it’s expensive, the color
choices are limited and distribution is limited.
After a month I’m still very pleased and looking
forward to the next version assuming it will be just
that much better."
From "G.C." (12/09): "I received
this helmet for Christmas, the helmet's quality is good
and very comfortable. However, I'm very
disappointed that Suomy does not offer a Mac version of
their communicator software. Not sure what I'm
going to do, since I think its not really a valid reason
to install Windows on my Mac just so I can use the Suomy
software to configure my communicator that I received
along with the helmet."