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.
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.
For more information, see your dealer or visit nolan-usa.com