My Quest to find the Best Modular Helmet
I originally set up Billy’s Crash Helmets because I was looking for the best helmet, but couldn’t find it. So I started tons of research, scouring the four corners of the interweb (yes, there are only four 🙂 ) looking for the best and safest helmet around that I could buy for a sensible amount of cash.
And what helmet did I end up with? As it turns out it was a Roof Desmo. Which, if you’ve seen the review, is a decent helmet but decidedly NOT the best helmet out there. By a country mile.
Nope, even though I was looking for many of the things that we focus on in our reviews – safety, features, comfort, quietness, value – I ended up going for a helmet that I thought was cool.
Just goes to show what fickle buggers us blokes are eh? Or maybe it’s just me…!?
Anyhow, six years on after starting the site (and several helmets later), I’m at it again – I’m looking for my next new helmet. I’m going on a romp around Scandinavia and I’m looking for a new helmet to take along on the trip.
And my checklist hasn’t really changed that much. I’d quite like a flip-up lid. One that’s gonna protect me, that’ll be comfy, has a great, big, anti-fog visor, sun visor; and now I want one that’ll happily fit a bluetooth set – preferably with ear cutouts that actually attempt to locate near where my ears are, not where the helmet maker wants them to be!.
So that shouldn’t be a problem now should it?
Well, it turns out it is. Because while there’s lots of great helmets out there, every one of them is a bit of a compromise. Bit like buying a bike – none of them quite ticks every box.
Quite literally. Our smartish filters page proves the point. If you tick every box of every feature you’d like so see in a helmet, you’ll not get any results back. That’s because no helmet has every feature. Simple.
There’s some cracking modular helmets out there, some scoring 5 SHARP stars for safety. But even those that do, their chin guards aren’t quite up to the job – as SHARP shows, they sometimes come unlocked during impacts, meaning they could feasibly open during an accident (SHARP just shows % of times they come ‘unlocked’ because they can’t evaluate exactly how much at risk that puts you at).
That even includes the popular, SHARP 5 star rated Caberg Duke for example. If my maths is up to scratch, it means that, of the 32 impact tests SHARP did on the helmet, the chin guard unlocked four times.
Don’t know about you but that’s four times too many for me!
Anyhow, the Duke’s great value, but I want a flip-front helmet where the chin bar pushes right round to the back of the helmet out of the way – one of the reasons I bought a Roof Desmo in the first place.
So what’re the options?
There’s some Roof helmets of course but they’re all a bit flawed. The Desmo’s cool but looked a bit big on my head when I wear it, the visor isn’t antifog and it hasn’t been SHARP safety tested. The Roof Boxers are great but they lack vents and have the same visor problem.
Shark do a few modulars, including the Evoline 3 which is 5 star safety rated, and the Evo-one that’s 4 star rated. Happy days? Well the Evoline 3’s chin guard unlocked in 43% of the impact tests and the Evo-one in a crazy 66% of the tests!
Of course now there’s an Evo-one 2 out – which hopefully means Shark’s addressed some of those safety issues – but that’s not been tested by SHARP yet, so it’s still a bit of a punt.
Can’t quite see how the ECE can rate those chin guards as protective if it can’t stay locked and in place when you need it to!
OK, so what about a modular where the chin guard doesn’t flip around to the back of the helmet?
TBH I don’t fancy riding around with a massive chunk of plastic protruding from my forehead. I guess you could argue that if you did have an accident with the chin guard up like that, it might give a bit more protection than if there wasn’t a chin guard there at all. But you could also argue that it might hit the deck and break your neck after it digs into the tarmac too.
Plus, looking over the reviews, many of these modulars rate highly for safety but they’re usually flawed in some other way.
Nolan modulars that have been SHARP safety tested have all scored 4/5 stars for safety and their chin guards have NEVER unlocked during testing. Bloody well done Nolan. But for me, they always come up short in other ways – or more likely they’re now discontinued!
I like the idea of the weird and wonderful Nolan N44 though – but would rather have a chin bar that wraps over the helmet rather than removes all together. And while the Nolan N90 was four star safety rated, its successor, the N90-2 hasn’t been tested yet. Boo.
AGV’s Sport Modular appeals, but that’s not yet been tested either.
And there’s something a bit dull about the Shoei Neotech 2 for me. They’re great helmets but they’re a bit staid?
The Schuberth C3 looks OK but it’s only 3 star safety rated. And while the Schuberth C4 looks pretty cool on paper and is a bit more modern looking, it’s an unknown when it comes to protection and it’s too pricey for me.
The X-Lite X1004 scores a healthy 4/5 stars for safety and a 100% chin guard result but, as our review points out, it’s flawed in some other meaty respects.
Like I said, there always seems to be a compromise somewhere!
So maybe I’ll get myself another full face this time. Removing the chin guard conundrum from the equation might make things a bit more straight forward. We’ll see.
The journey continues…