The Nolan N-104 Flip-Up Motorcycle Helmet

Nolan didn't invent the modular helmet, but the Italian motorcycle helmet company does claim to have 'reinvented' the popular flip-up style with its Nolan N-104.

This by DOT, Snell and P/J approved, and complies with the UN/ECE 22-05 standard, the design stands out from the crowd of modular helmets because of its unique shape. Slab sides of the polycarbonate shell taper toward a kicked-up, spoiler-like ridge above the rear air-extraction vents. The vent face ifself is inset longitudinally from the lower rim, perhaps adding to the pressure differential of the vents and thereby enhancing their ability to pull air from the rider's head and help cool it via tubes molded in the EPS lining. Similar-edged shapes for frontal vents are set above and below the visor.

The flip-up release is located below the front vent and uses a dual-action lock; you free it by pulling the red lower lip out, which triggers a small, red, recessed tab that you squeeze while holding the lower one. The chin-bar than can be swung easily up above the eye port in an elliptical arc designed to minimize the 'sail effect' and locked in place for legal use as an open-face motorcycle helmet.

Spreading the sides apart to ease pulling on our size-Medium test sample (sizes are available from XXS up to XXXL) sometimes resulted in a plastic trim piece on the left side popping out of its retaining slot. Also, not surprisingly, the vent system works best with clean airflow; behind fairing and windscreens, hot-air extraction is slower.

With its immense field of view through the optically clear visor, the Nolan N-104 impressed us as a good choice in the expanding field of flip-up motorcycle helmets.

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