Look the part: The DMD Rivale retro full face helmet

DMD Rivale retro full face motorcycle helmet
Given the rise in popularity of modern classic motorcycles in recent years, it’s only natural that motorcycle gear and apparel would follow suit. Just like most major OEMs have at least a couple of retro-styled bikes in their catalogs, most major gear and helmet companies have at least a couple of retro-styled items to match those bikes. But the Italian company DMD does it differently.

DMD doesn’t just dabble in café racer gear… they live and breathe it. Case in point: the DMD Rivale retro full-face helmet.

DMD Rivale retro full face motorcycle helmet
Based in Bergamo, an impossibly picturesque city in Italy’s alpine Lombardy region, DMD specializes in helmets and apparel. Specifically, helmets and apparel that combine modern materials and manufacturing processes, with all the style and panache of yesteryear.

This family-owned enterprise traces its roots back to 1975 California. While traveling to the US, the patriarch of the family, Amilcare, decided to start a motorcycle gear import and distribution company.

DMD Rivale retro full face motorcycle helmet
Many years later, he and his son, Davide, found themselves in a warehouse filled with archived motorcycle products from the 70s—and an idea was sparked.

Amilcare and Davide reasoned that the market was ripe for a modern remake of one of the helmets that they’d seen there. The neo-retro and new wave custom scenes were only just starting to blossom, and the market for vintage-inspired gear was largely untapped. So, in 2007, DMD was launched, named after Amilcare’s kids; Davide, Michela and Danila.

DMD Rivale retro full face motorcycle helmet
Since then, the company has produced a slew of vintage style helmets—including both open and full face designs, with and without visors. The graphics range from timeless solid colors, to occasional special editions that feature bespoke illustrations from collaborators. Supplementing the brand’s helmets is a full apparel catalog, with jackets, pants, gloves, bandanas and more.

DMD might have been born in the 70s, but the full face Rivale borrows its design from the motorcycle and auto race helmets of the 80s and early 90s. Available in an assortment of solid colors and tasteful graphics, it sports a minimalist aesthetic that’ll look right at home on anything from a classic Ducati Pantah to a modern Triumph Bonneville. Slap a Marlboro or Elf decal on it, and you could easily mistake it for an old racing helmet.

Its shell is sleek and compact, punctuated only by a pair of slim chin vents and very discreet branding. The outer shell uses a fiberglass and carbon kevlar composite, with two shell sizes across the five-size range [XS to XL]. Inside, you’ll find a cushy anti-bacterial lining, with synthetic leather trim to add a touch of class. The liner is removable, washable and even replaceable, plus it’s hella comfortable against your head.

DMD Rivale retro full face motorcycle helmet
The Rivale ships with a clear visor, but you can order a smoked shield for it too. The visor retainer bolts and guides look and feel solid, requiring an Allen key to remove, while a simple tab at the bottom left of the visor snaps it into place while riding. Although the visor doesn’t have any stops on the way up or down, it’s easy to snap in and out of place with gloves on.

The Rivale also features a padded chin strap with a D-ring closure, and a removable chin curtain. And despite its retro appeal, it meets with the ECE 22.05 standard.

DMD Rivale retro full face motorcycle helmet
If you’re considering getting one, it’s worth noting that the Rivale has a very close-fitting chin bar, and that its ventilation is limited. But those tradeoffs are what make the Rivale look as good as it does (and besides, the chin vents are just sufficient enough to stop the helmet from being stuffy). And it does look good; the off-white paint job is as tasteful as it gets, and every last piece of trim is tidily finished.

It also runs true to size, and won’t tire out your neck, showing a respectable 1,428 grams [3.15 lbs] on our scale. Out on the road, it isn’t quite as quiet as some high-end touring helmets, but it’s aerodynamic enough to adequately mitigate excessive wind noise.

DMD Rivale retro full face motorcycle helmet
DMD used the same process to design and develop the Rivale that they do with all of their helmets, under the guidance of Davide, who acts as the company’s CEO and lead designer. It started out as a sketch, before moving to digital design and simulations. From there, DMD built a prototype and started testing it—including putting it in a wind tunnel.

As a family business, the DMD team is extremely hands-on when it comes to not only helmet design, but testing too. The siblings share a love for motorcycles and travel, which informs and inspires every decision they make.

DMD Rivale retro full face motorcycle helmet
When a new helmet is in prototype mode, they often airbrush or hand-paint it to figure out precisely which direction to go in. And if you’re buying a DMD helmet, you can be sure that it’s been worn and critiqued by the hands that designed it.

Add that experience up, and the Rivale hits the mark for a simple, café racer-appropriate lid. It’s available now directly from DMD, starting at €469 for solid colorways.

Produced in partnership with DMD | Outdoor images by Devin Paisley

DMD Rivale retro full face motorcycle helmet