Date Reviewed - January 2019 Reviewed by - Luke Price - £50-70
The Italian company Duchinni are renowned for their ability to produce quality motorcycle helmets at an affordable price. The new Duchinni D501 is the brand’s latest effort to deliver on that front, and at a modest price of around £30-70, you can certainly get value for money from the open-faced D501. Featuring an anti-scratch pull down internal visor, you’re not going to discover anything revolutionary from the D501, but for those who are not prepared to spend top dollar on a motorcycle helmet, Duchinni have presented a reliable option that is good value for money.
The outer shell of the Duchinni D501 is made of synthetic ABS plastic, a material known for being tough and durable. While the shell is not composed of any fibre glass or composite material, you can expect a tough shell from the D501, even if it is not quite as lightweight as many of the best open faced helmets. Although there is a ‘the lighter the better’ rule of thumb when it comes to crash helmets such as this one, the D501 appears to sacrifice a light weight in favour of a more reliable, durable shell, which is perfectly understandable.
Of course, being an open-faced helmet, the D501 may already cause some safety concerns to arise for some riders. However, with ECE 22.05 certification, the Duchinni D501 has already passed enough testing to be considered safe on the road. There’s nothing particularly flashy or remarkable about the D501’s ability to provide protection, but you can be assured of reliability when wearing this one out on the road.
For a modestly priced open faced helmet such as the D501, you may not expect any major features to help with ventilation. And unsurprisingly, there are no outer vents on this helmet’s shell at all. The retro design of the Duchinni D501 – plus the fact that it is an open faced helmet – mean that all of the ventilation comes from the wind hitting your face. This means that there is no way of making your helmet warmer in cold weather, although those of us that wear open faced helmets should not see this as too much of an issue. There are also no ventilation features that manage to prevent the helmet from getting overly sweaty in warmer weather. However, the washable interior should ensure that this is no real problem.
The Duchinni D501 is probably not the helmet for you if you’re looking for a helmet that is excellent across the board. When a helmet is as affordable as the D501, it should come as no real shock that areas such as ventilation are put aside in favour of more crucial features. Even so, ventilation should rarely ever be an issue for anyone wearing the D501, as the wind should provide all the necessary ventilation for an open faced helmet such as this one.
While the D501’s ventilation is not quite its main selling point, the visor is most likely one of them. The Duchinni D501 comes with an internal anti-scratch flip down visor as well as a helmet peak that manages to effectively keep the Sun out of your eyes while you ride. The visor doesn’t affect vision at all, and the D501 manages to provide a great, wide field of view. The anti-scratch visor is also tinted, which can be valuable if you are without sunglass for whatever reason. Thankfully, it’s also quite easy to operate, even with only one hand at your disposal.
It’s pretty clear that more focus was put into the visor of the Duchinni D501 than other elements of the helmet. The visor and peak remain effective and functional the more you use them, and the wide field of view gives you a real sense of freedom while you ride, which is constantly reinforced by the feeling of wind hitting your face.
As long as you have the right fit, the Duchinni shouldn’t present too many issues regarding wind noise. If your helmet fits slightly too big, then there may be some unnecessary and unwanted noise that you will want to eliminate. As with any open faced helmet, noise could potentially become a real annoyance once you start riding at very high speeds. However, the D501 is most likely not the helmet you want to be wearing for the top speeds anyway given its weight compared to more expensive helmets.
However, if you’re riding at more sensible speeds, wind noise should not be a real issue at all. There will be a lot of wind hitting your face, and your ride will not exactly be silent, but the thrill of feeling and hearing the wind as you ride through it is part of the fun when wearing retro-style helmets such as the Duchinni D501.
The D501 will likely favour those with a rounder head, and for a real snug fit, it may be worth downsizing slightly. Coming in sizes XS-XL, if you can manage to get the right fit, the Duchinni D501 is really comfortable to wear – more so than the price would suggest. However, weighing around 1180g, the D501 is heavier than other open faced helmets made with more expensive material, and at times it may feel slightly heavy while you wear it. The quick release chin strap, while functional, is not exactly too comfortable.The retro-style aesthetic seen in the Duchinni D501 adds a lot to the uniqueness of the helmet, giving it a more stylish and fashionable look. There are a number of different styles and colours to choose from for the D501, and they’re all relatively attractive. There are also no special technology features on the D501, which is no real surprise given the price.
All in all, you’re getting exactly what you pay for with the Duchinni D501. For a price of around just £30-70, you can get yourself a sturdy, reliable open faced helmet that offers a nice amount of protection as well as a great field of view. The D501 is not as refined or sleek as many open faced helmets, but you are unlikely to find many crash helmets as functional and well working as the Duchinni D501 for the price you’re paying for it.