Nolan N86 Crash Helmet Review

The Nolan N86 is an update to the N85 helmet we previously reviewed. Like the N85, it’s a medium priced full face helmet with an integral sun visor, Pinlock anti-fog visor that scored a good four out of five in the SHARP crash helmet safety test.

Main Features

  • This helmet is now discontinued. Click to see our main Nolan Helmets Page.
  • Scored 4 stars in the SHARP safety test
  • Comes with Pinlock anti fog insert
  • Integral sun visor with sunscreen
  • Polycarbonate shell
  • Weight 1.6Kg (about average)
  • Prices range from £130-£170 depending on model/retailer

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The Nolan N86 is a development from the popular and well-regarded N85. It features a polycarbonate shell, removable anti-bacterial liner, integral sun visor and Pinlock anti-fog insert. It’s a popular mid-priced helmet with a good safety rating. It’s about average for noise suppression and users reckon it’s pretty comfortable. All in all, a good value helmet that should serve you well. To check prices and see some of the colour schemes available on our affiliate partner store, click here (thanks!)


As we usually do on Billyscrashhelmets, we assess helmet safety by using the SHARP crash helmet testing score, where available. Like the N85, the N86 scored a very respectable four stars (out of five) with the helmet dropping the last star for a moderate (amber) side impact score. This is pretty typical for a four star helmet where they’re designed to be most impact resistant at the front of the helmet. The N86 has of course passed the ECE 22.05 European safety standard, which all new helmets have to pass. However, based on the SHARP test, we’d give the Nolan N86 a thumbs up for safety.

Wind Noise

Like most helmets, the amount of noise you’ll hear will depend on whether you’re used to riding with a helmet that’s particularly great at suppressing wind noise or not. It also depends on where your helmet is in the windflow (i.e. behind a helmet or not). That said, the Nolan N86 is widely reported by owners as pretty good in terms of noise levels. At any rate, you should always wear ear plugs if you’re travelling far, in which case wind noise should be kept to a minimum.


The Nolan N86 shell is polycarbonate and produced in one size only, which is not ideal. That usually means if you’re an XS or S size, it’ll look pretty big on you and they’ll make it fit by using extra padding inside. The converse is usually true for the larger sizes and you’ll get less padding. It’s not thought doing this appreciably affects the safety of the helmet, but isn’t ideal. More expensive helmets come in three helmet sizes.


Ventilation on the Nolan N86 is reported to be pretty good. It’s got the usual complement of chin, forehead and rear exhaust vent and all work well, with their levers that open the vents being fairly solid and relatively easy to use with a gloved hand. The chin vent directs a good amount air across the back of the visor so, together with the Pinlock, you should be OK there. If you regularly ride somewhere hot (I wish!) it might not be the coolest full face around, but should perform pretty well. If cooling’s what you’re particularly after, check out our Good Ventilation page for a range of helmets that excel here.

Nolan N86 helmet rear view
Shows the N86 rear exhaust vent and top vents


The visor on the N86 is sound. It seats firmly against the rubber gasket and there haven’t been any reports of rain entering. While not massive, the aperture is adequate, giving a decent view of the road with enough peripheral vision. The visor itself has a central tab which is good, making it very easy to find and open the visor, and the visor ratchet has five positions, including a first ‘cracked’ position for demisting. All of which is good.

The N86 has also got an integral sunscreen sun visor, meaning there’s a separate, secondary visor sitting behind the main visor that can be lowered to cut out the sun. It’s also anti-scratch and treated with anti fog. It’s operated by a lever on the left of the helmet and works really well. Especially nice is the ability to lower it partially rather than fully down or up, putting control right where it’s needed – in your hands.

Like many other Nolans, the visor is really simple to remove – great for if you want to take it off and clean it thoroughly. Nolan use a press button on each side of the helmet that you press and pull the visor out. Couldn’t be easier. Nolan users report they’re particularly happy with how easy this is. A final great feature is that the N86 comes with a Pinlock anti-fog insert. If you’re unsure what they are and how useful you’ll find one, click the link. But trust us, anti-fogs are pretty essential to stop visor misting – especially in the cold and/or wet!


The Nolan comes with fully removable liner that’s antibacterial treated. It snaps in and out pretty easily and is comfortable. Overall, the N86 is regarded as pretty comfortable, even on long journeys, by owners. The helmet is designed to be particularly streamlined with what Nolan call a compact design to reduce buffeting. Not sure it’s particularly worked but folks don’t seem to be complaining about helmet buffeting so it’s probably OK on that front. Most tend to regard the N86 as a comfortable helmet so provided you’ve followed the usual fitting rules so you don’t have pressure points, you should be happy.

Other stuff

If you like your bluetooth intercoms, then you’ll probably be happy with the N86. These days, Nolans come N-com bluetooth intercom ready. There’s a little flap on the side that will hold the intercom CPU with a recess inside for the microphone and speakers with a pop out section in the padding at the bottom to allow clear cable routing, so it’s all integrated very nicely. The N86 is fastened by a micrometric fastener which are very easy to operate, though if you’re planning on visiting a circuit, they’re not generally allowed as the ACU won’t give them a gold sticker for track use unless they’ve a double D-ring fastener.

nolan n86 burn out
In Burn Out colour scheme


The Nolan N86 is a good all round performer. It’s comfortable, has some useful features like the sun visor, anti-fog insert and integrated intercom; and it performed well in the SHARP safety test. Users like it and reckon it’s good value for money – and so do we. To see prices for the Nolan N86, click the graphic below. Or use the feature cloud to the right to sort helmet reviews by the feature you’re particularly interested in.

If you’ve ever owned a Nolan N86 helmet, we’d love to hear what you thought about it – please let us know in the Comments area below. For other motorcycle crash helmet reviews, visit our All Crash Helmets Reviews section or our Only SHARP 4 or 5 Star Helmet Reviews section.

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  1. Great and honest review. I have the n86 and it performs very well. Loving the vents, black color, stylishness, and that it is DOT Certified. Comfortable, easy enough to operate one-handed once you get used to where the levers are, and the ability to just open the visor a crack or three is exceptionally nice. It is my first Nolan and I never want to use any other brand because it is the real deal and I know my head would survive if anything ever happens.


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