Freedom is riding a motorcycle—the rev of your engine and wind rushing against your helmet.
No one understands this better than the engineers at SMK Helmets, the premium helmet line of STUDDS. Their goal is to help keep you safe and free to focus on what you love: Riding.
As one of the world’s largest helmet manufacturers, India-based SMK Helmets is dedicated to creating the safest, most comfortable, and stylish motorcycle helmets on the global market (they’re sold in over 50 countries across the world).
Last year, STUDDS celebrated 50 years in business by expanding SMK Helmets into the North American market. A household name in places like Asia and some parts of Europe, the company is now bringing its high-quality helmets to a whole new caliber of riders.
“The North American market is very unique,” said Shilpa Arora, daughter of SMK founder Madhu Bhushan Khurana and head of distribution in the U.S. “I’ve spoken to hundreds of riders in the last few months and it is a delight to talk to each one of them – riders are passionate, engaged and informed. Every conversation, I walk away having learned something new.”
But while SMK might be new to North America, they’re experts when it comes to helmets. All of SMK’s helmets are meticulously designed, tested, and manufactured in-house at cutting-edge manufacturing facilities located in India.
The company employs nearly 3,000 skilled workers to ensure that each helmet is crafted with precision and expertise. This is done in more than 750,000 square feet of manufacturing space, including SMK’s state-of-the-art safety lab.
“When you have your name on something, you want it to be the best that it can be,” said Arora, emphasizing that the family name is literally part of the SMK brand.
S stands for her brother, Sidhartha, an aeronautical engineer by education; M is for her father, Madhu, also an aeronautical engineer; and K is for Khurana, the family surname. But that’s as far as the family branding goes, because their true inspiration is you, the rider.
“We don’t want to push our personality on you,” Arora said. “SMK has the safest, best-fitting helmets and gear that allow you to express your personality, in your way.”
That rider-centric vision—backed by a commitment to safety, innovation, and affordability—is what sets SMK apart from other helmet manufacturers. And, unlike most helmet manufacturers, SMK is completely family owned and operated.
Madhu started the company, STUDDS, with his brother in 1972 out of a small home garage in India. For the first helmet ever made, the paint was dried in the family oven. The internal lining was shaped and hand stitched by Madhu’s wife, Chand.
Armed with grit, passion, and a learner mindset, the family continued growing their business. When wearing helmets became mandatory in 1983, the Studds brand became a household name in India.
In 1999, Sidhartha joined the business in a leadership capacity with dreams to take the brand global. The company set up new manufacturing facilities equipped with the latest technologies and started building relationships in other markets. A few years later the new SMK Helmets premium line was borne catering to global tastes, different set of expectations and more stringent safety standards
The new brand combined the inventive quality that made STUDDS famous, the aesthetics of Italian design, advanced technologies, and innovative materials to offer a new benchmark for premium motorcycle helmets. Today, SMK Helmets manufactures approximately 14 million helmets per year using the most advanced technology and safety testing methods available.
Sidhartha oversees the day to day operations for both brands and all markets, and Madhu and Chand are still involved in an advisory capacity. However, this isn’t a homespun family affair.
“What makes us unique is the soup-to-nuts process of making a helmet is inhouse. From market research, to design and development, production of all components, assembly of helmets and final testing – everything is done inhouse,” Arora said. “We are one of the very few, if not the only helmet manufacturing company that is fully backward integrated. EPS, which is one of the most critical elements of a helmet, is also manufactured in-house. This allows us to maintain a consistent high safety standard and provide a very comfortable fit, which riders in the U.S. are starting to appreciate as they use our products.”
Each of SMK’s four manufacturing facilities are equipped with state of the art technology. Contained within these facilities are their own in-house mold shop and design facilities, CNC fabric and laser cutting machines, and screen printing for decals, and ofcourse their testing lab. SMK’s lab is recognized as a top-rated safety lab with many major helmet brands using the facility for testing.
Their inhouse lab is certified to test safety standards and certifications from the ECE (Economic Commission of Europe) , DOT (U.S. Department of Transportation), and the U.K. Vehicle Certification Agency, a U.K.-based safety agency that certifies testing laboratories around the world three times a year.
SMK Helmets are also affordable for most riders, with price tags in the $250 to $300 range. Some popular styles include the full-face Titan Carbon Collection, featuring Pinlock® 70 fog-resistant shields, and the off-road Allterra, made with an outer-injected EIRT shell for enhanced safety and comfort.
With products like these, SMK is primed to meet the growing demand for high-quality motorcycle helmets among American riders.
“I am incredibly proud of what my family has achieved over the past 50 years and the future is very exciting. The reliable Indian manufacturing infrastructure, incredibly passionate and dedicated team and culture of innovation will help us win the minds and hearts of American riders.”
Your Dreams. Your Journey. Your Style. #SMKIsYou! To learn more about SMK Helmets and shop their full line of high-quality gear, visit smkhelmets-us.com.