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Featured Nolan N104 Evo review

Discussion in 'Helmets' started by Pugsly, May 16, 2015.

  1. After being assigned a project on the other side of Melbourne from home (need 2-3 tanks a week), and the security at the customer requiring I show my mug before I enter, I decided a new lid was in order - one where I could flip up the face.

    I have a rather large and round head, and having tried on the Shoei Neotec, the Bell Revolver, the HJC, and a bunch of others, I found that the XXL Nolan N104 Evo was the best fit for me. A bit tight around the temporomandibular joint, but otherwise quite comfortable.

    I bought this helmet today, and thought I'd share my thoughts on it. My point of comparison is my Shoei TZ-R.

    First, the bad. Getting parts or a colour for this helmet that's not already in country is unacceptably horrible. I wanted to order some XXXL cheekpads to improve the fit. The distributor advices a 2-3 *MONTH* wait. The same applied if I wanted the XXXL helmet in the colour I wanted. I've ordered the cheekpads from the US myself. I expect them in a couple of weeks.

    I immediately went for a ride when I got it home, and the first thing I noticed was just how big the eyeport is. At first I thought I had the face flipped up. It's huge! I've got noticeably better peripheral vision which reduces my blind spots and makes head checks easier.

    I had an expectation that this helmet would be both heavier and noisier than my current lid and I'm happy to say that neither is true. Weight feels roughly the same, and after trying riding with both earplugs in and out, it's certainly quieter than my old TZ-R.

    It's also more aerodynamic than the old Shoei. North of $1 the Shoei would sometimes feel like it wanted to lift off my head, or would be buffered around a bit, but the Nolan felt less impacted by the wind.

    Today was sunny, and my mid afternoon ride had the sun getting lower in the sky so I had an excuse to use the sun shield. The mechanism to use it works well enough with gloves on, the sun shield is adequate. It's a little milky as I've noticed a number of tinted visors to be, it could be darker, but it's acceptable.

    The mechanism to open the face of the helmet is a little fiddly if you're not used to it. I'm sure it will become second nature. You can do it one handed, and it's entirely possible to do on the move. I tested having it open up to 80km. It didn't noticeably act like a sail or do anything untoward. There's also a switch to lock it up if that's your thing.

    The tab to raise the visor is in the middle, instead of offset to the left like my old Shoei. That will also take some getting used to. When closing the visor it will stop a mm or two short and you have to push it down to get it to seal completely. That should be helpful if the included pinlock is overwhelmed.

    The vents work. The weather is cool and I noticed increased airflow when I opened them, but otherwise had them closed.

    For some reason (I guess it's an AS thing) we don't get the micro-lock system for the strap, it's simply a double D.

    So, first impressions are, so far, so good. The debacle around the length of time to get parts and colours, plus some other messing about from the retailer gave me a lever to get quite a reasonable discount, so don't be afraid to haggle on price!

    I'll post a followup once I've been riding with this helmet for a few weeks, and once the XXXL cheekpads come in.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. Awesome post. Just make sure you don't put too much pressure on the TMJ. It can cause some pretty nasty headaches.
  3. I love these lids, I'm on my 4th Nolan flip lid and the 104 is the best yet. But I do reckon it's heavy and noisy. Won't stop me buying more next time!
  4. Update:
    I've had my lid for two months now, which would equate to about 80 hours of wear.

    The XXXL cheek pads arrived about a week after my post, they took away the pressure on the jaw which made the helmet perfectly comfortable for me.

    The weather has been mostly cold to very cold (just under 0C) and fairly wet on and off. I'd say half to three quarters of my riding has been in the dark.

    I've made the following observations over the past couple of months.

    In daylight hours, I really like the optics of the visor, even with the pinlock. During the night, you get the usual glare/reflections from lights with the pinlock

    The helmet is good in the rain, except for one small issue. When the rain is particularly heavy, and I'm above about 80km/h there is a very small gap (that I can't see) between the bottom dead centre of the visor and the seal. If you imagine the bubbles you get off a bike inner tube puncture when you put water over it, that's what I get in these conditions. It's a small amount of water, and results in a small spray to the lower face. It's a minor annoyance, and doesn't happen often. I need to look into if I can adjust the visor to stop it happening.

    The helmet is good in the cold/rain. The pinlock works well. My commute is about an hour in each direction. I don't have any vents open, or the visor open. I've had no fogging that impacts my forward vision, and a little condensation where my breath hits the pinlock resulting in an obscured speedo.

    The flip down tinted lens is good in the sun, but in riding in cold weather, I've noticed it's fogged up significantly when I've flipped it down. This may well be a problem with all helmets.

    The flip up mechanism for the front of the helmet works well. The centred release clip works well, though feels vaguely flimsy. I'm glad the helmet has a 5 year warranty, because I've a feeling that this is the component that would be first to go.

    All in all, I'm very happy with this purchase, and would not hesitate recommending this helmet. Having said that, I haven't worn it in the hotter weather yet. :)

    I've just ordered the integrated N-Com B5 bluetooth jobbie that goes with this helmet. So will report back on that when it arrives, I've installed it and have had a play.
    • Informative Informative x 2
  5. Ive got a Nolan flip face myself, Brilliant helmet, A mate of mine used the R-Jays, very noisy he thought, so that was interesting. I have found my Nolan excellent and would reccommend them highly!