In Conversation: Rajeev Kapur, MD Steelbird Helmets

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Steelbird helmets is one of the most renowned and relevant names in the helmet industry in India. With global domination of more than 50 years and the inspiration to protect bike lovers and adventure enthusiasts all over the world, Steelbird Hi-Tech India Ltd. (SBHT) was founded on 13th March 1964. SBHT has 4 major brands- Steelbird, Ares, Steelbird Air & Ignyte. Air Helmet and Ignyte Accessories have been launched very recently. Ares is a premium brand of SBHT manufactured in collaboration with OUTLAST, NASA certified technology. Steelbird Air is another world-class brand crafted with revolutionary ventilation system. Ignyte is a compact kit bag of biking accessories. Both Steelbird Air and Ignyte were launched on 11th April 2015, at Steelbird Awards Ceremony. Their genesis is based on the requirements of a nation with tropical climatic conditions.

Steelbird Air SBA-2 Glossy Blue

We recently got a chance to interact with Mr. Rajeev Kapur, MD, Steelbird Helmets and here’s an excerpt of the whole conversation:

In a country with the most number of road accidents, as a helmet maker, how does Steelbird plan to enhance road safety?

– Steelbird’s intention has always been to produce high-quality helmets and it will always be. We will continue to make good quality ISI Marked helmets and we request the public to purchase ISI marked helmets as it is a necessity not an accessory.

For a growing two-wheeler market like India, what are Steelbird’s plans for the future?

– The demand for helmets in India would be close to 100 million helmets annually. With the government mandating helmets for the rider and pillion in some cities, I am positive that eventually the demand for the helmets is bound to increase. Currently, Steelbird manufactures around 22,000 helmets daily and intend to scale up to 50,000 units this year.

Being the oldest helmet brand in India, does Steelbird have plans to go truly international?

–  Yes, Steelbird has already tied up with Blauer. Steelbird is manufacturing and providing the helmets to them and Blauer is exporting the helmets internationally in a very vast and rapid manner. Steelbird itself is Exporting in many countries.

Steelbird MD

Will we ever see a SNELL, ECE, DOT-certified Steelbird helmet at a store?

– Steelbird has launched many helmets meeting ISI, DOT and European standards. When we talk about SNELL we are not thinking of moving forward with that as they are very huge in size as well as are really heavy.

Has Steelbird got any plans to foray into motorsports?

– If we talk about pre-covid scenario, we did want to do a lot in this field. As we have opened Steelbird motorsports too & we will restart it once Covid will be 100% over.

How does the company plan to address the fake ISI/unbranded helmets market?

– Steelbird really commends what Hyderabad Government has done for the fake helmet manufacturers and we would request that every state government should do the same. The helmet helps in saving millions of lives and we really hope that all state government makes the same move & sure that the rule should be made to make helmets compulsory.

Has Steelbird got any plans to cater to the premium biker in India and take on the likes of ARAI, Shoei, AGV, etc?

– The helmets that we are manufacturing for Blauer are available in the Indian market. They are as of now being sold at 200 euros internationally. We also have launched Aeronautics series that is also on a high end. We are planning to launch some more High-End Helmets this year.

What are the company’s expectations from the upcoming budget?

– For this upcoming budget, Government should keep working on the road safety so that millions of important lives can be saved. The prices of safety gears and helmets which helps in saving the lives of pillion riders should be lessened. The GST on helmets is 18% which should be reduced 5% or 0.                                                                             Affordable Helmets will save millions of lives as people won’t opt for cheap fake ISI helmets but for affordable good quality helmets.                                                                                                                                                                                   I also suggest the GST should be lessen on the things where the labor and the hand work is more as a larger number of people will be employed by this move. This will not only help in better employment rate but also our country’s economy will rise up. For the upcoming budget, I would appeal the government to minimize the GST on 100cc Motorcycles, electric motorcycles, 29inch Television and entry category laptops , mobiles, etc. On the other hand, the GST should be doubled on the expensive mobiles, fridges, big televisions , cars , etc. to maintain the balance.

Do you think BIS standards are comparable to global standards of helmet manufacturing?

– Yes, the BIS standard is comparable to European standard except for the impact. The G value for European standard is 275 and for Indian standard is 400. Rest All the parameters for European and Indian standard are same. Because European rider bike rides 250/km and speed limit in India is way too less.

What are the challenges a helmet manufacturer faces in the Indian market?

-there are several challenges for a helmet manufacturer in the Indian market. Some of them being the GST on helmets are 18% and that should be lessened. The government should make the helmets compulsory, the regulations for helmets should be made.

Strict actions against Fake ISI helmets and non-BIS helmets should be taken as so many lives are being at risk because of these low-quality helmets.

Motor vehicle act 138 should be implemented and all two-wheelers manufactures must provide helmets along with the two-wheelers to save millions of lives.

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