If you favor an open-face helmet but still want a lid that can do double-duty as a full-face when needed, this helmet can be your best friend. The polycarbonate N44 is an upgrade to the popular mid-priced N43. Features include a vastly larger view port, a removable chinbar, improved ventilation, a Pinlock visor and a clever helmet buckle. The larger view port is nice. My regular helmet has a much smaller eyeport and avoiding freeway blind spots requires a concerted head turn. Not so with the Nolan.
The visor (face shield) has a four-position ratchet detent: Fully closed, open one inch, fully open and down one inch. The visor is large enough to cover the rider’s chin when the chinbar is removed. Nolan says that ventilation is improved over the N43. Large forward-facing vents on the helmet crown allow fresh air in, and a rear spoiler draws warm air out. Three sliders control the airflow; all are easily manipulated with gloves. The chin vent is located on the visor and has three positions—open, closed and half volume; plenty of air enters. When the visor is closed against the rubber gasket and the vent is fully open, the fresh air is diffused and directed upward by the shape of the chinbar to control fogging. It would be nice to have a bit more air in the forehead area. I ride with prescription eyewear and fogging can be a problem without fresh air.
The VPS system is a dropdown sun visor that is lowered by a slider on the left lower edge and retracts instantly by pressing a spring-loaded button. Being able to ride without having to swap out sunglasses is sweet. With the chinbar and clear shield removed, an off-road type peaked visor can be snapped on and the helmet used with goggles. After a play day in the dirt, the removable liner can be washed.
I didn’t try it, but the N44 comes ready for the installation of Nolan’s clever and proprietary N-Com Bluetooth communicator system inside the helmet, not out in the airflow where it contributes to ambient noise. Note that if you already have an expensive investment in communicators, unless you use an adhesive mount there is simply no easy location on which to clamp an aftermarket communicator on the N44.
The N44’s removable neck roll seals well, denying chilly wind much access. The underside of the helmet also has two small winglets that are said to diffuse air away from the interior. The helmet fits well on my long oval skull and the ear pockets are comfy if a bit snug. The helmet strap is a quick-release buckle with a pre-adjustable ratchet system that can be manipulated with gloves on…sweet.
All at a good price. The Nolan N44 comes in many solid, hi-viz and graphic colors in sizes 2XS-3XL and lists for $389-$419.
For more information: Call (866) 243-5638 (866-2HELMET), (630) 701-1601 or visit nolan-usa.com
(This Gearlab review was published in the September 2014 issue of Rider magazine.)
I have the N43E Trilogy and for the most part it is a good helmet. However, a few items that I hope that they addressed with this new model. I wear a 2XL and the crown fits well, unfortunately, the detachable chin bar is useless as my chin hits the bar when installed. Also, the N43E is LOUD, very loud. The N-Com system is effective but has somewhat of a funky operation. With a Cardo system, if you are paired with another headset, you are “on” and communicating with them. With the Nolan, you have to switch over to comm mode (2x 2-second pushes on controller) and then a short 1-second push on another button to “call” the other headset. The other headset has to press a button to “answer” your call. Very clunky for a “comm” system.
The N43 fits my head very well. Comfortable for all day, but poor ventilation. The latch is handy and secure. Drop-down shade should be larger-fine if looking straight ahead, but looks weird when you glance at the instrument panel. Color should be grey, not green, or at least available in another color. A gradient would be nice and would partly address the above mentioned weird contrast when looking at the dash. Fogs badly even in warm weather. Visor will not stay open a small amount to address this problem. It’s either open or closed. No ratcheting as many other helmets will do. I use an intercom system, and if you have a wreck that contacts the chinbar while a mike is in place, you will be minus several teeth. For some as yet unknown reason, my forehead gets sunburned every time I wear this helmet in hot weather. Sunscreen is a must. I ride with sunglasses and with the visor up in hot weather. I think I must be getting sun reflected back to my forehead from the visor somehow. Cheeks and nose not burned, just forehead. I bought this helmet instead of a full face or modular because the side vision is better, and it gives some face/chin protection. Hopefully the N44 will fix some of these problems.
Not overjoyed with this helmet, but not really disappointed either. At least it is comfortable.