We can’t get enough of modular helmets here at Rider. The protection of a full-face helmet combined with the convenience of a flip-up chinbar is really hard to beat. Add in the premium features of a helmet like HJC’s RPHA 90S, and you cover all the bases: safety, comfort, aerodynamics, ventilation, versatility, and ease of use.
Based in Korea, HJC is the world’s largest helmet manufacturer. RPHA, which stands for Revolutionary Performance Helmet Advanced and is pronounced “arfa,” is HJC’s premium line of full-face and modular helmets. The 90S shell is made of HJC’s proprietary, lightweight Premium Integrated Matrix (P.I.M.) Plus that blends carbon and carbon-glass into a hybrid fabric. My medium-sized 90S weighs 3 pounds, 11 ounces, which is comparable to other premium modular helmets we’ve tested.
The interior is 3D-engineered to reduce noise, and combined with the aerodynamic shell, neck roll, and chin curtain, the helmet does a good job of dulling wind noise. The 90S has a plush, removable comfort liner, recessed ear pockets, and channels to accommodate glasses. The anti-scratch faceshield is Pinlock-ready (an anti-fog insert comes in the box), and a sliding lever on the lower left edge of the helmet deploys or retracts the drop-down sunshield. Vents on the chinbar, crown, and rear of the helmet are easy to open or close with gloved hands. Airflow through the helmet is decent but could be better (though that would increase wind noise; I wear earplugs most of the time, so it’s a trade-off I’d be happy to make). Sold separately are Sena-made Smart HJC 20B and 10B Bluetooth communication systems that integrate into a port inside the rear of the helmet.
I’ve been wearing the RPHA 90S for about a month on bikes ranging from a Triumph Speed Triple naked sportbike to the Honda Gold Wing. There is no EPS padding built into the chinbar, but it does latch closed with metal pins and locks securely. The chinbar’s release tab and the center locking mechanism for the faceshield are both easy to find and use on the fly, though with the faceshield cracked open the mechanism ends up in my line of sight. Otherwise, vision is very good through the large eyeport. I appreciate the plush liner for the chinstrap, which secures with a traditional D-ring. The 90S was comfortable, quiet, and user-friendly during 12-hour days in the saddle with highs in the triple digits. Can’t ask for much more than that.
The HJC RPHA 90S is available in sizes XS-2XL. Pricing ranges from $459.99-$469.99 for solids to $499.99 for graphics (shown).
For more information: See your dealer or visit hjchelmets.us
I am sure that at some point Snell will need to bow to the pressure and develop and test modular helmets and assign a safety rating higher than DOT.
Snell tests helmets when people submit them for testing. Seems the modular crowd hasn’t done that. But it would be good to see tests specific to the mechanism. Sharp lists the failure rate – but that’s it.
No photochromatic face shield? How 90s.
With new helmets, the first question I have is: what is the head shape? If it won’t fit, it doesn’t matter. I’d love an alternative to my Arai Signet X in a modular style.
I’m in the same boat – I got a Bell SRT that fits well, however it’s sure no Arai when it comes to quality. I’m happy with it for the discounted price I paid, but desperately would like to up the level of quality and perceived safety – I wear the Bell on longer (tour) rides but wear the Arai when play harder.
I’ve the regular RPHA 90, that does not have the recess for the Sena wireless. The head shape is more round/oval, than an oval shape. It’s kinda smack in the middle between full round and full oval. I have a huge head and the 2xl fits great, not loose even after breaking in, and it’s not too tight either. Ventilation atop the head is very noticeable, and if you have a bike with some sort of wind protection, the face vent isn’t that noticeable – I get better venting cracking the face shield open the minimum amount. The lever operated internal sun shade is probably my favorite feature – and I wear glasses to, and there is no pressure on the temple pieces, so for you glasses wearers, this helmet is really great. I’d totally get another one of these, and it’s a terrific helmet.