It’s an Open and Shut Case The Best 5 Motorcycle Modular Helmets of 2020
Modular, flip-front, convertible, call it what you will, but the flip-up helmet has been with us for almost 20 years now. According to German helmet manufacturer Schuberth, they came up with the concept in 1998.
Reaction at the time was mixed, to say the least. Full face fans decried them as inferior regarding safety, while open face aficionados wrote them off as being too cumbersome.
There’s no denying it, the very first modular helmets were certainly bulky, but like any innovative ideas, it took time for people to realize their potential. Today, the flip-up lid has evolved incredibly, passing the equivalent rigorous safety standards as full face helmets. And with an ease of operation that makes open face helmet wearers think twice.
But let’s be honest, they are convenient, and everyone from dispatch riders to police officers wear them, not to mention every full-face rider who likes smoke. So sit back, flip up the front of your lid and check out our Best 5 Motorcycle Modular Helmets of 2017.
Being such perfectionists with their top of the range helmets (ok, all their helmets), it’s no surprise that the Neotec should come with such an array of features.
The shell makes use of their tried and tested advanced integrated matrix composition, which gives the helmet excellent strength while keeping it as light as possible. This process also lets them build a spoiler into the back of the helmet.
Unlike other manufacturers, shell density remains constant and doesn’t lessen the rest of the integrity of the helmet. This feature is backed up on the inside by a dual-layer, impact absorbing EPS liner, with built-in air channels.
As for the chin bar, stainless steel components in the pivot lock ensures it locks solidly in place. And releasing it is a single finger, operation.
Incidentally, when the release button is engaged, the shield automatically closes, which is a nice touch and typical of Shoei’s attention to detail.
The RPHA range is HJC’s top of the line helmet series that have been developed the hard way, on the racetrack. And just because this is modular, doesn’t mean it misses out on any of those MotoGP derived features, as can be seen from the rear spoiler.
The Max is also HJC’s lightest modular helmet to date weighing in at a mere 3.55lbs. To put that into perspective, the Core Cruiser, which featured in our Best 5 Motorcycle Half Helmets of 2017, tipped the scales at a little over 3lbs!
The Max’s chin bar is a one-touch item, and the shield clicks firmly into place to provide an excellent seal. Included in the box is a clear Max Vision pin lock shield. A sliding mechanism on the roof of the lid deploys the integral sun shield which has two positions.
Large closeable vents feature on the front roof and rear of the helmet, and the interior features their Cool4ever antibacterial, Ginkgo extract comfort liner. The Max also comes with a removable chin curtain and breath guard.
I did wonder why Nolan chose to call it the N104 Outlaw, but then it became evident. The bank teller needs to hear you loud and clear when you’re asking them to hand over the money, and this modular helmet is ideal.
It also features their widest ever eye port opening to give an excellent field of vision, which would also be just the job for quick getaways. Ok, the Outlaw designation is just for their flat black N104, but I prefer my explanation.
The Italian made N104 is made from injected polycarbonate Lexan, which helps keep the weight down, and comes in two outer shell sizes. These size options, say Nolan allow for a correct fit around the nose and chin area. Poor fit is a common criticism point on some modulars.
Ventilation comes courtesy of one chin vent, two more on the sides and two extractors on the rear. Chin bar opening is a single push button operation located on the lower front of the helmet, and included in the deal is a pin lock anti-fog shield.
The chinstrap is nicely padded, the comfort liner is removable, and the DOT approved helmet comes ready to take Nolan’s Bluetooth N-Com system.
Now if you were a fan of the old GT900, check out this bad boy! The Scorpion Exo GT920 has had some major updates, not least of which is the weight saving. It is now an incredible 10 ounces less; add that to the aggressively aerodynamic rear spoiler, and you’ve got a helmet that’s good to go all day.
Scorpion has an excellent reputation for fit and comfort, and the 920 is no exception. It’s DOT certified safety features start with a polycarbonate shell and dual density EPS liner. And continue with a washable KwickWick II comfort liner that keeps you at just the right temperature.
This say Scorpion is a sports helmet with modular features, and it shows. They’ve also been listening to customer feedback too, which is evident in the slightly lower drop down sun shield and aero-tuned high capacity vents.
The Evo is Bell’s second-generation modular helmet and the first, although a good attempt, did come in for some flack about the noise levels. Naturally, this being Bell, they’ve come back fighting.
The Evo now features an improved eye port gasket, to ensure a tighter fit on the shield and backed it up with an extended chin curtain and thicker neck lining.
The polycarbonate alloy shell weighs in at a little over 4lbs and is fed fresh air through three intakes and F1 type cowling around the exhaust vents.
Release button for the easy to operate flip front is underneath and when closed, locks reassuringly. The main shield is fog resistant, the flip down sun visor is spring-loaded, and the padded chinstrap has a magnetic keeper.
Flip-fronts have come such a long way from the cumbersome, heavyweight, glove unfriendly helmets of the past. Today, composite construction techniques allow for durable, lightweight shells of unprecedented strength.
The Best 5 Motorcycle Modular Helmets of 2020 : A real alternative to the full-face
While the innovative design characteristics of our Best 5 Motorcycle Modular Helmets of 2017, give an incredible range of features, that make modular helmets a very real alternative to the full-face.
You’d have to be nutz not to like the Shoei, the HJC certainly has a lot going for it, the well sorted Nolan comes right in the middle of the price range, and the Scorpion looks cool. But in the bang for buck sweepstakes, the Bell for me has the winning ticket.