Shoei Multitec, HJC CL-Max And More - Helmet Guide - Gear Box

Flip Your Lid

As motorcycle helmets go, modular-or "flip-up"-models seem an ideal melding of safety and convenience. The full-face design offers optimal head and face protection, while the open-face aspect allows us to do all the things we sometimes do (and sometimes shouldn't do) with our helmets on: yakking, smoking, shooting photos, eating and/or drinking, whatever. Modulars are rapidly gaining popularity, and there's a wide variety on the market, from under-$100 cheapies to pricier versions with loads of bells and whistles. We've assembled seven for your perusal this month; feel free to grab a glass of Cabernet or light that Punch Grand Cru as you read along.

More Than High-Tech
Shoei Multitec

Shoei's brand-new modular, the Multitec, replaces the long-running Syncrotec. The Japanese manufacturer spent years designing the $495.99 lid and is understandably proud, calling it "the pinnacle of flip-up helmet design and technology." Unlike the others, the Multitec's shell is constructed of fiberglass and is radically styled, not only for pleasing aesthetics but for less buffeting and noise at speed, something Shoei customers insisted on when polled about the Syncrotec's replacement. Other features include advanced ventilation, DOT certification, removable, five-layer cheek pads with cutouts for eyeglasses, a dual-density EPS (expanded polystyrene) liner, an all-new chinbar-locking mechanism with an easy-release (even with gloves on) button and EPS in the chinbar. www.shoei-helmets.com

Going The Extra Mile
AGV Miglia

Like many of the modular helmets pictured here, AGV's modular Miglia is a DOT-approved lid with a removable and washable liner, adjustable chinbar and forehead venting, one-finger chin-bar latch control and a polycarbonate shell. (All the shells here, with the exception of Shoei's, are polycarbonate, a flexible-yet-strong form of injection-molded plastic.) Designed in Italy and made in China, the $169.95 Miglia has been available for several years and offers a decent level of comfort and protection for the price. Other features include a quick-release retention strap and shield mechanism as well as a scratch-, fog- and UV-resistant faceshield. No EPS in the chinbar, though. www.agv.com

To The Max
HJC CL-Max

DOT-approved and featuring a convenient, single-button chinbar release that allows the assembly to be raised with one hand, HJC's CL-Max is a sharp, modern-looking polycarbonate modular featuring a mid-level price tag ($179.99 solids, $209 graphics). Adjustable chinbar and forehead venting is standard (along with a venturi system to remove heated air from the rear of the helmet) on the Korean-made lid, as is a two-stage pivot shield mechanism for a secure shield seal. The Nylex cheek pads and liner are both removable and washable, and the polycarbonate shield is scratch-resistant. There's no EPS in the chinbar, unfortunately. www.hjchelmets.com

Made 2 Ride
M2R 901

Here's a price-conscious modular that packs some relatively nice features. We're not sure we'd chose this helmet, but with a suggested retail price of just $99.95-and probably less than that on the open market-the Taiwanese-made lid actually offers quite a bit for the money. DOT-approved, the 901 offers a polycarbonate shell, chinbar and forehead venting, a scratch-resistant shield and an easy-to-use, single-button chinbar release. Unfortunately, there's no EPS in the chinbar, and the liner isn't removable, which means you'll need to clean it the old-fashioned way. Still, not a bad deal. www.made2race.com

Alphabet Hat
KBC FFR

KBC's FFR (Flip Front) modular has all the features you'd expect from a higher-end ($249.95 solids, $289.95 graphics) helmet-DOT approval, multiple vents, removable and washable liner, single-button release, the latest injection-molded shell technology, etc.-and one you don't: You can ride with it in the open position. This ability stems from what the Korean company calls its patented MagCam System, which allows the moveable chinbar assembly to slide, tuck and lock into place in both the up and down-and-locked positions. High-quality aluminum and magnesium components make up this chinbar mechanism, which does indeed lock into position with an audible and forceful snap. Sadly, no EPS in the chinbar. www.kbc-helmet.com

Communique
Nolan N-102 N-Com

Italy's Nolan has another all-new modular helmet, the polycarbonate, DOT-approved N-102 N-Com ($294.95 solids, $354.95 graphics). Features include a built-in spoiler, optically correct Lexan faceshield, dual-action release system, removable and washable liner and cheek pads, chinbar and forehead venting, a second, exterior-mounted and three-position dark shield to block harsh sunlight and EPS in the chinbar. But the coolest news might be the built-in N-Com (Nolan Communication) system, which allows simple plug-in installation of Nolan's own Bluetooth-ready intercom kit. No more cutting and modifying your helmet to accept a communications system. CIMA International, (866) 243-5638.

Isn't That A '78 Kawasaki?
Z1R Eclipse

If you read the helmet impact test in our June '05 issue, you've no doubt heard of Z1R. They're the folks who build the Strike, the $79 lid that scored the highest marks of all the helmets we tested in terms of impact protection. Made in South Korea, the DOT-approved Eclipse is the firm's modular offering, and it offers a long list of features for its $199.95 asking price. These include open- or closed-faced riding (a rare claim in this category), multi-density padding and EPS, a polycarbonate, scratch-resistant shield with a no-tool quick-release mechanism, adjustable chinbar and forehead venting and five color choices. www.z1rhelmets.com