Review by Don Eilenberger
Comments by James Pace Clayton
Review by P. K.
"No Warranty" Caution by Gary McCray
Compared to BMW System helmet by Phil Marx
Compared to BMW System helmet by Bill Z
Compared to BMW System 4 helmet by Bob Loblaw
Comments by Don Hamblin
A Fix For Faceshield Noise by Rick Miller

Four hour test review of a System IV alternative ...

By Don Eilenberger <>

Since the System IV it is not available yet in the US, and my Series II collection - although appreciating in value - is becoming rather long in the tooth, I finally broke down today and bought a new helmet.

My requirements for a helmet are:

The Shoei apparently is made for people with gourd shaped heads.. just couldn't get at all comfortable in it. The other one who's name escapes me - used a single sided catch - which didn't instill a lot of confidence in me about the flip-up staying closed in an unpleasant experience.

Oh, the other one I forgot the name of I remembered.. Bieffe, Made in Italy.... didn't fit my head either.

SO - today, I was at an open house, hosted by a NJ dealer (can't call any of them local - in a state as small as NJ - it seems a physical impossibility - but all the dealers are 90 miles from my house at present)

Anyway - I saw on their shelf - two Nolan helmets - which I'd seen mentioned here on the list. They had just gotten them in about 2 days ago.

One was a medium, one XL..

I just looked at the medium, and put it back on the shelf. The XL got tried on - and it fit like it was made for a moderately big pumpkin head (which takes a System II size 60-61 - I'll leave you to translate this into US size).

ADDITIONAL INFO: Model is Nolan "Top Vision". Is available in XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL..   XL appears to be System II 60-61 size.

Looked at the catch mechanism on the helmet - two sided, but an improvement over how BMW did it on the Series II - closes very easily and securely - and releases very easily with the helmet on. So far - good.

Looked at the ventilation - which was important today since it was about 92 degrees in the shade - and in the showroom.. nicely done chin vent system, easily operated with gloves on, and very nicely done scoop system with internal big vents for the top.. again, very nicely done.

Looked at the shield - nice optical quality. Supposed to be removeable with no tools (haven't tried yet - mebbe tonight). Has two little nubbies molded on the inside for attachment of a fog-city type fog shield - no stick on needed! This was not available, but the dealer thought they'd be getting some next week.

Looked at the pivot for the chinbar - very neatly done, with an off-axis elipical sorta pivot - which when pivoted up with the shield open automatically closes the shield (unlike the duotech which it appeared to me if you pushed it hard enough would break the shield..)

Hefted it - weighs considerably less than the Series II - enough to be noticeable.

SO - then I finally looked at the price - $206 and they had a 10% off for the open house - making it ~ $186, or less than 1/2 of what the non-purchaseable System IV would cost.

I bought it - and wore it home - about a 4 hour ride (with a few stops). Initial impressions on use:

Fit - Fits more snuggly around my cheeks, but then again, my System II is about 13 years old. Quite comfortable.

Ventilation - FAR superior to the System II - high temp I saw on the way home was 94F.. and I was not hot in the helmet at all as long as I was moving. Could feel a nice little breeze right across the top of my head. The top vent works very nicely, and appears to seal weathertight when closed (it's a neat sliding design.. no flaps..) Chin vent is below the windstream on my K-RT so I can't comment on it's effectiveness..

Shield - Worked fine, but could use one more detent position.. has one just cracked open, one about 1/2-3/4" open and then full open with a lock to keep it full open. I like one about 1.5".. since this is right below bug splatter level on my K-RT. The shield is very nicely gasketed to the helmet when it's closed.. appears fairly watertight.

Noise - With shield closed - *much* quieter than the System II.. with shield cracked to second position (1/2-3/4") noisier but not objectionably so with earplugs in (actually not bad even with them out - in the interests of this test I carefully forgot to put them in for one 10 mile section of the test ride..) With shield all the way open - VERY quiet - this *really* surprised me. Speeds test at ranged from 30MPH to 70MPH (this is still pre-65mph NJ!)..

Strap - Neat sliding/ratching buckle design - no D rings. Even neater than the BMW one since it is adjustable very easily for fine length adjustment. Easy to use. Easy to release.

So far - I'm impressed. The helmet is made in Spain, and it's lightness is attributable to it being made from Lexan (that's what it sez inside).. same stuff used as bulletproof glass. It has a very nice finish, inside is nicely done, and it came with some do-dads for sealing the chin area (as the BMW System helmets do), and a breath deflector thingie to prevent fogging the faceshield.

It does not appear to have any reflective tape on it - but the silver finish appears reflective itself. Gonna have to try a flashlight on it in the garage tonight.

I did try to fog the faceshield - even though it was 92-94F, it was also very humid - and when moving, closing it and breathing hard on it created no visible fogging.

As usual - YMMV and I don't own any Nolan stock.. but it seems a reasonable alternative ot an unobtainium IV.

Figured I'd let'cha know.

Next - if I get ambitious - K-Heat-Guards *DO* WORK!

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Comments of a different view

By James Pace Clayton M.D. <>

My two cents on the Nolan flip up helmet after purchasing one and using approx 300 miles:

In the store, the helmet looks very sexy -- great lines, great colors, cool chin strap, the works.

In real time, I found the following difficulties.

  1. Finish - very easy to mar/scratch/defect. Very soft. Same for face shield.
  2. Noise level - okay if you're on a R1100RT (which I am;-) but no contest when compared to an Arai. [I know, no fair -- can't compare a flip up with non flip]
  3. Comfort - initially good, especially in store. On the road, my chin was way too close to helmet, causing discomfort much of the time [again, noproblem with the Arai]


This is an economy helmet, and looks sexy, covers the basics plus some for a flip up helmet, and makes us coke bottle wearers more comfortable with insertion of glass frames. This is NOT a high end helmet, has problems with finish, fit (for big chins like me), noise, and durability. When compared to a helmet like an Arai Quantum (I know, I know) -- there is no comparison! So, if you're going to spend all that money on a Beemer, clothing, accessorries, etc, why not buy the best in helmets -- either an Arai for nonflip-up, or European System IV for flip up???? I hope this is helpful for potential shoppers.

JP Clayton

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Review by P. K.

By P. K <>

After travelling over 1500+ miles on a R1100RT with the Nolan 100 helmet, I would like to add my thoughts on its foul weather worthiness and comfort over long tours.

Foul Weather Worthiness: The Nolan is watertight, except in the worst of downpours. The only place where moisture was felt were along the lower cheek plates which attaches to the faceplate. To get this part of the helmet damp, the rain would have to come down in literal sheets.

Comfort: After buying the helmet at BMW Indianapolis, I travelled over two days through Indiana, Kentucky, W. Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Riding was a mix of interstate, local roads, and ahhhh...Blue Ridge Parkway. The helmet felt like a second skin on my head, no headaches, good peripheral vision, and just looking cool.

Yes they do have XXL's, I'm wearing one.

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"No Warranty" Caution by Gary McCray

By Gary J McCray <>

I was talking with a riding friend last night and he was telling me that a mutual friend who had purchased a new Nolan Flip-up helmet is experiencing some difficulty. Thought y'all might be interested.

Seems that some of the internal pieces (liners, foam parts, I'm not sure exactly what) came out of the helmet and could not be repaired by the owner. He took the helmet back to the dealer. When the dealer contacted Nolan, he was informed that there was no warrantee on the helmet and that Nolan would not replace the helmet. Since it had been LESS THAN 90 DAYS since the helmet was purchased, the dealer (Kegle's in Rockford, IL) said that they would replace the helmet under their own customer satisfaction policy. *Nice dealer!* However, they didn't have the correct size/color in stock so they are ordering it. My friend has now been waiting for the helmet for several weeks.

Buyers, beware!

Gary McCray__"Macarena" Red Metallic '97 R1100RT__Springfield, Illinois

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Compared to BMW System helmet by Phil Marx

By Phil Marx <>

James P. Clayton wrote:
>I do not particularly like the Nolan. Yes,it's inexpensive, and yes it's
>slick, BUT...
>It's finish is very soft, winshield/visor is soft and scratches easy, is
>relatively heavy, unbelievably noisy when compared to my Arai, and for many
>people the fit is problematic (chin is too close to the lower plate!!!).

I've used my Nolan for nearly 4000 unfaired miles and about 400 with an "S" cockpit fairing. My experiences may not be meaningful to some but everyone who bought a Nolan on my advice is very satisfied.

My previous helmet was a BMW system helmet and that's what I've gotten used to. For those who question the safety of such designs, what is the data you base your opinion on? As for the weight and noise, to a person, all find this helmet quite light and very quiet. As Don mentioned, I zymoled (special wax normally found at BMW Car Club events, or on my Granada Red R60/5 in Esquire Magazine) all the helmets I got for my friends and no one has any problem with the finish. I have seen some pretty beat up ones already but they weren't from my batch and probably haven't seen wax. All Nolan N100s are clearcoated metallic finishes, even the white is metallic. Untreated they act like early R11 saddle bag finishes. I think the flex additive in the paint makes it sticky at first, like a puddle of Imron paint. A good carnauba wax will make it slick and easy to clean. The visor is Lexan and tough. I remove mine after long unfaired rides and wash it in the sink. It comes off quite easily with no tools. As for fit, it's all relative. I needed the XXL, unlike any other helmet I've owned. (That's how I ended up with a dozen of them. Most distributors deny the existance of the XXL so I had to order an entire lot.) Be sure to try them on where you can experience all sizes. Mail order probably won't work.

No one should skimp on a helmet and no one should assume the Nolan is a cheap alternative to anything. Less expensive, yes. Cheap, no. Porsche chose Nolan to produce their Porsche Design helmet years ago. If you think about it, the price for the "competition" is what's gotten crazy. We are now conditioned to think that $225 is "cheap" and good protection must cost over $500. If the price of the Nolan gets more people to trade out of their older System helmets into something fresh, new and thus safer, it's done us all a favor. An older helmet has usually lost much of its protective properties through age rather than deformation. Heck, for the going rate of under $200, try the Nolan and if you don't like it, give it to someone less fortunate.

-Phil Marx      R27, R69US, R60/5, R100CS
(one who has owned BMW bikes that cost less than a System IV helmet)

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Compared to BMW System helmet by Bill Z


At this point I have about 20,000 miles in a Nolan flip front helmet. Other helmets owned are a BMW System ? that is noisy ( on my scoot, K11rs ), sits so that there is constant pressure on the top of my glasses, and is hot, Shoei DuoTec with at least 100,000 miles on it, noisy, but very comfortable, and hot. The ventilation on the Nolan is superior to anything I have evey worn, including open face helmets, the chin guard is closer than I like, but not a problem, only a preference, the latch system is fantastic, perifical ( sp?) vision seems to be superior, the exterior seems to be harder to clean, but when I use a damp section of terry cloth and rub in some toothpaste, it cleans up and shines. And it is comfortable.

AND IT ONLY COST $185.00!!!!!!!

Bill Z

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Compared to BMW System 4 helmet by Bob Loblaw


I had an opportunity on the weekend to go into the dealers in Vancouver and check out a new System 4 helmet.

In comparing it to my new Nolan 100, I'm glad I have the Nolan.

Leaving aside the fact that the Nolan 100 cost $300.00cdn and the System 4 costs $685.00cdn, there are definitely some superior elements to the Nolan.

The ventilation on the Nolan is far better than the chintzy little holes on the System 4. The interior upholstery in the brain bucket of the Nolan looks better and appears more plushy.

Nolans ratchet chin strap as compared to System 4 D rings.

Editor's note: System 4 helmets sold in Canada are made to "British Specification", which requires D ring closures. Helmets made for other European countires have snap buckle closures.

The velcro ear pieces are easily removed on the Nolan to allow for such feature on System 4 that I could see.

The chin dam and nose breath guard on the Nolan are quickly removeable......on the System 4 they appear permanently fixed.

On the System 4, the visors first open click stop is huge. I like being able to just crack open the Nolan a 1/4 inch.

The single centre lever release is nice on the System 4 and the paint job on the checkerboard (yellow/grey) version is well done, but it is hard for me to justify them for $385.00 + taxes when the Nolan has the edge in these other areas.


Bob Loblaw

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Comments by Don Hamblin

By Don Hamblin <>

The first thing I noticed after opening the box from under the Christmas tree was a package of owner's manuals. There are no less than six manuals. You get one each of operating instructions, warnings on proper use, instructions for the fog resistant inner visor, directions for use of the microlock strap retention system, how the Jet Stream Wing ventilation system works, and even one on the benefits of the Sanitized anti-bacterial treatment for the padding. Now here's a company that doesn't hold back any information!

I did find that the "sizing chart" found in a couple of catalogs would have put me in a helmet one size too small. I'd recommend making sure to try one on, and be sure it fits, prior to buying.

Two rotating levers at the base of the chin-guard latch, and unlatch, with an easy but positive click. The chin-guard then rotates not only up, but also out, to ease the hassle for those of us who wear glasses or sunglasses. No more snagging the frames when you're in a hurry. Myself, I had no trouble at all with my own chin hitting the inside of the guard. My teenage daughter made note of the fact that the chin vents look just like a cat's face. Well, so much for the chin-guard.

You may hear that this is a "warm weather" helmet. I don't believe it. The Weather Channel had just announced a local temperature of 31 degrees Farenheit as I left the garage for my first N-100 equipped ride. I do wear a "head skin" under my helmets, but this one was as warm as any other that I've ever owned. Installing the breath deflector and neck wind protector kept the cool air out, and warm breath from fogging the visor. The weather trim around the visor sealed any other potential drafts. Opening the chin-guard vents directs outside air across the inside of the visor, further reducing fogging.

For the warmer rides, the Jet Stream Wing ventilation system earns its keep. A trapezoid wing on the front of the shell opens to direct air into two progressively narrowing channels. The increasing speed of the air creates a reduced pressure at the entrance, so that the warmer air inside is eliminated. Nolan calls it air-conditioning - I call it comfort. The first time I used the "wing" was for Daytona this year. Yep, it seems to do exactly what they said.

Riding behind an "older" K-RT fairing, equipped with a Parabellum windscreen and "highly modified" lowers, I noticed much less noise than with my prior System II helmets. Closing the visor completely makes a substantial difference in noise during buffeting winds.

While the price should be considered reasonable, I wouldn't consider it cheap. I found no lack of quality throughout the helmet. I think it looks more expensive than it is. If this bothers someone, I guess that they could always say that they paid more.

The real reason for wearing any helmet should be safety. The N-100's visor and external shell are injection molded LEXAN ML. That's the material used in some bulletproof windows for the stretch limos. Needless to say, the material's also scratch resistant. After a couple of thousand miles mine still looks new. But the best recommendation I got was from a friend I visited in the hospital. The first thing he said was, "The Nolan helmet worked." Not much else to say after that.

Don Hamblin
Madison (Huntsville), Alabama

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A Fix For Faceshield Noise by Rick Miller

By Rick Miller <>

Hello Nolan N-100 wearers,

I found a cheap fix to the "shield noise" created at highway speeds on a N100.

The quick fix can be found at:

as always, YMMV, RMNBT.

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