Italy’s Nolangroup, maker of Nolan helmets, has a premium helmet line called X-Lite that made its U.S. debut in early 2017 with two helmets: the lightweight X-802RR carbon fiber full-face, and the one you see here, the X-1004 modular.
My first experience wearing the X-1004 was during the two-day press launch for the BMW K 1600 B in North Carolina, followed by a 5-day cross-country ride back to California. Those were long days in late August, with up to 14 hours per day in the saddle, highs up to 115 degrees, and everything from cut-it-with-a-knife humidity to bone-dry desert heat, high winds, cold mornings and light rain. During a week like that, a helmet’s shortcomings will become painfully obvious.
I needn’t have worried. Slipping on the X-1004, its Touring Performance Unitherm2 comfort liner—soft, moisture-wicking padding with recessed mesh panels that helps maximize interior airflow and maintain a consistent internal temperature—cradled my head like a mother holding a newborn. The lining is removable and washable, as is the thickly padded neck roll, which can be unzipped separately. A bright red, dual-action latch on the front makes it easy to flip the chinbar up, and it closes again effortlessly, clicking audibly when it locks. A large eyeport provides an unobstructed view in all directions, a drop-down VPS sunshield with UV400 protection provides on-demand tinting, the face shield is a cinch to remove without tools and channels in the comfort liner accommodate eyeglasses.
The X-1004’s composite fiber shell has a pleasing, aerodynamic shape, with subtle ridges along the sides and crown and a small rear spoiler housing the exhaust vents. According to X-Lite, “dimensionally correct sizing allows for ample room in chin/nose area,” but when I jut my chin forward, it comes into contact with the inside of the chinbar. During normal riding the closeness of the chinbar is never a problem, but the limited space meant that I couldn’t slide the mouthpiece for my hydration pack’s drinking tube under the chinbar to drink on the go; I had to unlock the chinbar and raise it slightly, which is less than ideal from a safety standpoint.
Speaking of safety, all X-Lite and Nolan modular helmets are ECE certified for use in both the P (chinbar closed) and J (chinbar open) configurations, though for optimal protection, Nolangroup recommends that “users always ride with the visor and chin guard closed,” and we agree. At a smidge less than 4 pounds for my size medium, the X-1004 is on the heavy side, but not once over the course of more than 4,000 miles did I think about the weight. Lightness is a virtue, but good fit, an aerodynamic shape and a well-balanced design can make up for a few extra ounces.
Touring helmets need to be comfortable and capable of dealing with changing conditions. The X-1004’s adjustable ventilation system moves plenty of refreshing air through the helmet, the Pinlock insert keeps the face shield from fogging and the ratcheting Microlock2 double-lever retention system simplifies chinstrap adjustments. There’s also a removable chin curtain, optional cheek pads in different thicknesses to customize fit and compatibility with N-Com BX5 and BX1 communicators. It’s available in sizes XS-XXL (spread over three shell sizes) in solid colors for $574.95 or hi-viz yellow for $624.95.
For more information, see your dealer or visit xlite-usa.com.