HJC CL-Max II Modular Helmet – Review

Clem really likes his helmet! (HJC CL-Max II)
Clem really likes his helmet! (HJC CL-Max II)

I have become quite fond of modular helmets, also called flip-ups, and unless I’m doing a track day or bashing around recklessly in the woods I will be wearing one. I like the modular for its openness, and a light push on a single lever opens the CL-Max II’s chinbar, making it easy to converse, enjoy a snack or a drink or kiss your wife without removing the helmet.

The outer shell of the CL-Max II is made of a molded polycarbonate plastic, tough stuff that is easily thermoformed and obviously approved by the Department of Transportation for use in motorcycle helmets. Should you be unfortunate enough to go sliding down the road and your head bounces off the asphalt, the shell will protect you.

Equally important in this HJC shell is the “impact absorbent liner,” the inside liner of expanded polystyrene foam that absorbs the blow. It is not overly thick, but its crushability dissipates the shock. The CL-Max II weighs 3.5 pounds in an XL, quite acceptable, being a few ounces less than my previous modular.

HJC CL-Max II with face shield in the lowered position.
HJC CL-Max II with face shield in the lowered position.

Then we have the “comfort” liner, consisting of crown pad and the two cheek pads. These are anti-bacterial, easily removed and washable—thank goodness! The pads have snaps to keep them in place, two on the cheeks, five on the crown. And HJC does offer cheek pads in various sizes; I changed my stock 25mm for 17mm, to maximize fit and comfort. Retention is with the tried and true D-ring strap, with a snap at the end of the long strap to secure it.

Face shield removal is very simple. Raise the shield to maximum open, and at the pivot points are what HJC calls handle lockers. Open each handle locker with a push and the shield is released. Reattachment is equally easy.

Venting is good, with two openings on top of the helmet and one in the chinbar, all easily operable with gloves on. Good idea, as I often come home in the afternoon with all vents open, and forget to close them. Should I leave early on a cool morning, by the time I get to the stop sign at the end of my road I am reminded, and can shut them down in two seconds.

The CL-Max II comes with a covered recess for the Chatterbox XBi2-H Bluetooth intercom, which is sold separately, but makes installing it a snap. HJC is a Korean company that has been making helmets since 1971, and now has factories in China and Vietnam as well. My helmet was labeled as “Made in China,” but I have no doubt about the quality control that HJC maintains. I liked the Ridge MC-4 green and black color scheme, because it is attractive and unusual. The CL-Max II comes in sizes XS-5XL; they are priced from $139.99 to $164.99.


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