The unofficial word is that motorcycle helmets should be replaced every five years or so. My Nolan N-100 Modular (a.k.a. flip-up) was pushing that age last year, so I asked Clement to get me a replacement; I liked my Nolan because it fit well and was “100 percent Italian” … always a plus in my book.
Clem said that the N-100 was no longer in production, but was now bracketed by two modular: the $300 N-90 and the $400 N-103 (and now the brand new $450 N-104). Being the penny-pincher in the family and not needing the minor additional benefits of the 103, I opted for the 90 in white. My N-100 was black, but I prefer the lighter color as the black absorbs more heat and we do live in a warm climate.
Now I’ve had a few months to evaluate the N-90. The biggest advantage to this new model is that the Centromatic release mechanism for the chin piece is in the middle of the chin, easily accessible with either the left or right hand. It did take a little getting used to, as it is a two-part action. My thumb brings forward the little lever under the chin, and then my forefinger pulls the actual release forward and I lift up the chin piece. In two days I was quite happy with the design and could flip the chin up at a traffic light with one hand holding in the clutch lever.
On the left side where the chin piece pivots is a small lever, which can lock the chin-piece into place at full open should a rider want to cruise around town and not worry about a violent rush of wind unexpectedly closing it. Next to that is a slider which will bring down an internal sun-shield, should I be out without sunglasses. The sun-shield can be used whether the face-shield is up or down. I like to use a clear shield, so I don’t like to have to worry about being out after sunset with a dark shield, and the sun-shield is a definite added benefit. The Lexan windshield does have a quick-change mechanism … and an external “pinlock” system—two little pins on the edges of the shield for use with the included anti-fog insert.
The outer shell is the almost universally used polycarbonate, with a crushable polystyrene interior and a Clima-Comfort removable liner, which is also machine-washable—a nice advantage for people who want to smell good. The retention system is the well-known Nolan Microlock, which I prefer to the old-fashioned D-rings, with a dented tongue sliding into a buckle to attach, lifting a lever to detach. It’s easier to connect, and easier to disconnect … especially when I have cold fingers.
The helmet has two vents on the chin and two on the forehead, which are easily operable with gloved fingers, and “extraction” is at the rear of the helmet.
My head is an XS, and while my N-100 weighed three and a half pounds, this N-90, with the added features, is up an additional four ounces. Acceptable. The helmet has a nice fit and there is sufficient padding around the base to keep it quite quiet and comfortable.
I should add that the helmet is also wired for N-Com, the Nolan Communication system, which I did not use—though I have heard nothing but good things about it. In truth, I prefer to be thinking my own thoughts when on a motorcycle rather than listening to my tour-guide husband or the radio.
As noted before, the N-90 costs $299.95. It is available in six colors and comes in sizes XS to XXL.
For more information, visit nolan-usa.com or call (866) 243-5638.