Nolan N104 EVO Modular Helmet Review

The words revolution and evolution only differ by the letter r, which could very well stand for rate, as in rate of change. Revolution is usually rapid and risky, while evolution is slower, continuous and more reliable. The Nolan N104 modular helmet, for example, is a good lid its Italian makers felt only needed to evolve. So instead of an N105 or something completely different, now we have the N104 EVO.

The basics stay the same. The N104 is DOT approved, and its Lexan polycarbonate shell has a built-in spoiler in back for more stability at speed. Dual tabs unlock the pivoting EPS-lined chinbar with one hand, which has a stainless-steel latching mechanism for security, as well as a latch to lock it in the open position. As it swings upward, the chinbar’s patented elliptical trajectory helps keep it close to the helmet for better aerodynamics. You shouldn’t ride with it open, though it is approved to the European ECE-2025 standard as both an open- and full-face helmet. Weight in a size large remains 3 pounds, 10 ounces, comparable to other street helmets in my noggin size.

As before, the N104 EVO comes ready to install Nolan’s N-Com Bluetooth communication system. The wide and tall eyeport is covered with an optically correct face shield that can be easily changed without tools, offers UV400 protection and accepts a Pinlock anti-fog insert (included). Instant sun relief is provided by the internal scratch- and fog-resistant sunshield, which is lowered with a slider and retracted instantly with a button on the lower left edge of the helmet. I love the convenience of the sunshield vs. carrying a separate dark shield, but wish it were more darkly tinted and came down farther.

Nolan N104 EVO Modular Helmet
Nolan N104 EVO Modular Helmet

Evolutionary changes include softer, more comfortable Clima-Comfort padding inside, which is fully removable, washable and treated with natural silver salt to be antibacterial and antifungal. The chin curtain and neck roll have reflective panels for nighttime visibility, and can be removed for more airflow. For more comfort, the Micro-Lock quick-release buckle on the adjustable chinstrap is smaller and lighter, and the face shield ratchets into five positions now vs. three, with two additional positions at smaller openings. Venting has been improved as well, with a larger new chinbar vent—both it and the top vent are easier to open now and the helmet flows a lot of air.

As with most modulars the N104 EVO chinbar sits close to my face in the closed position, and I had to get used to my chin actually brushing the chinbar when talking or chewing. The helmet fits a little more snugly than before, and the new comfort liner is very cozy indeed. Riding with them back-to-back, the EVO seems a tad quieter than the reasonably quiet N104, too. Overall this is a very functional, comfortable modular helmet that looks good and offers plug-and-play Nolan N-Com Bluetooth headset compatibility.

The Nolan N104 EVO helmet comes in sizes 2XS-3XL in solid, graphic and hi-viz colors ranging in price from $499.95-$529.95.

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  1. I’ve ridden street 20 plus years. Used Nolan fiip ups always and my wife. Bought 104 EVO 2014. I ride every day. Had problem with sun visor so sent it in for repair. I paid shipping there, they paid for return. Repair lasted about a week. Sent it back. They paid both ways . Repair lasted 4 days. Sent it back. They paid. Repair lasted 4-5 days. Sent it back They paid shipping. Repair lasted 3-4 days. Now if I want it repaired, Nolan says I must pay shipping. I offered to buy new helmet at 50%. They said they’d give me 10% off new helmet, even tho they stand behind helmet for 5 years and this one started failing at less than 2 years. I said no. They apparently believe that if they give me a 4 day fix for the price of shipping , $30 – $40, I’ll give up and walk away. Maybe they are right. I’ve bought 10 or 12 Nolan helmets in the past. NEVER AGAIN.

  2. Thanks for this. I’m looking for a new helmet after a couple decades away from riding. For me safety and support are very important. Makes me shy away from this helmet if they can’t stand behind it.

  3. I recently replaced my aging N104 with the newer N104 EVO. The quality to the new helmet is excellent, its air flow is higher and its noise level is lower. I tried a Shoei prior to the N104 EVO but returned it because it was too noisy at low speeds. The quality of the Nolan N104EVO is as good as the Shoei. Both share the same American and EU safety ratings. The Nolan N104 EVO, however, has much larger field of vision and it costs a lot less than the Shoei. I’m happy.

  4. I recenlyt purchased a Nolan 104 EVO and am happy with everything but the noise. Very noisy especially on the left hand side. I have tapped over the sun visor control lever to try and reduce wind noise. I also have fitted some self adhesive door jamb foam to the helmet on the joint line where the flip up part fits to the main body of the helmet when closed. . This has helped But now I wear earmould ear plugs. I have fitted N-com B5 which is fantastic but you can hardly hear the tunes because of the ear plugs, which is too bad because it has ruined what is othesrwise a great bit of kit. It’s not good enough for a $500 helmet because you can’t try before you buy. Retailers should install a helmet wind test tunnel that would soon make manufacturers step up to the plate


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