Warren
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I have been very happy with my Nolan N43 helmet which I have had for 6 years. A replacement liner gave it a new lease of life however I recently discovered there is a legal issue with my third party vehicle insurance if I have an accident wearing a non Japanese approved helmet. That is, one with a sticker saying this helmet meets safety standards for Japan. I thought it best I do something and brought the replacement of my N43 forward. Since I am in the land of many famous helmet manufactures I naturally went to look over all their wares. And despite the pricing for Japanese made helmets here being much better than Australia I came back to preferring the successor to my existing helmet – the Nolan N44.

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(I will talk first about the helmet here then further down I have updates for using it on tour and long term review)

The main thing that kept me wearing a Nolan is the huge view angle their helmets have compared to the others. Your side vision is significantly wider compared to normal helmets and your forward vision is unlimited. Once you get used to this it is very hard to wear other helmets that restrict your vision. When I used to swap from my N43 to my Shark RSR2 Carbon I previously owned I noticed the two blind spot areas either side from the restricted vision on the conventional Shark helmet. Having the extra level of vision is to me a safety element when I ride. When I rent a helmet overseas like I did recently in Spain and Sicily I immediately noticed the closed in feeling both helmets conveyed to me despite being quality items in their own right.

The second thing I like with these helmets is the massive venting systems which make these excellent air flow helmets since I tend to get very hot wearing conventional helmets. If you don’t wear earplugs then I would not recommend you look at these helmets because good venting equals more wind noise. (see update about noise level below)

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Both these helmets are modular. The chin section can be removed to convert them into jet style helmets. The N44 can further be converted into adventure style helmet as it comes with a peaked sun visor but that requires the removal of the normal screen and use of goggles. I do not think it was designed primarily for that sort of use, rather most people wear these as jet helmets.

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Everything seems slightly different to my N43 pictured above with its chin section removed.  The N44 has a redesigned visor with vent which I hope will be good in the rain. It comes with pinlock visor as well in the box which is surprising and a generous free item. The top vents have changed from the large passive vent on the N43 (note mine is the N43 ‘Air’ version) to three large air intakes on the N44. Lucky I have a windscreen on the FJR, these might fill with bugs otherwise. The internal tinted sun visor has a different lever and it comes down a little lower then the N43 which is nice. It also has one touch button to retract automatically by spring loaded mechanism. The finish is very nice and everything has a solid feel and overall you get a sense of high quality.

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There is a place to install the Nolan NCom system still. The chin section is revised and has two winglets either side and mesh fitted underneath. Not entirely sure if this is for reduction of noise or turbulence since with the FJR screen up I am well protected from the elements but I will expand on this in my long term update in a couple of months. I chose white again because I have come to like that best in helmets, less heat build up than a black helmet.

Liner is very plush, nicer perhaps than the N43 but not say Shark or Arai helmet soft however I find those get hotter against my face where as a slightly more open weave of the Nolan breathes better. Same ratchet style fastener rather then double D ring. Having used so many different brands of rental helmets I adapt to either system without giving it a second thought.

So anyway how is the N44 on the road.

Feedback after 17 day tour

First the bad, the visor fogs up in cold or rain and the new bigger visor vent flows very little air and is weak design point compared to the original which with just a slit in the visor managed to flow enough air to clear fog quickly. The opening of the main visor on the other hand is great, I can position it at a slightly open amount unlike the N43 which is open or closed only and this keeps visor clear.

The top helmet main vent never seem to completely seal closed thus in cold weather there is a very slight bit of cold air leaking in, this could be a real problem if on a naked or adventure bike. Behind my screen the affect so far has not been too bad but like the visor this is disappointing. In heavy rain this lead to water entry as well. After a 1/2 day in heavy rain the helmet was quite wet inside. (Update – after further use they bed in and are ok)

The aerodynamics are good but I think the wind noise is maybe a touch more than the N43 on highway. I like the one touch spring loaded retracting internal visor, nice feature that is well executed. (Update, the spring return sometimes gets stuck)

Comfort level is very great, the liner is excellent and fit also, easy as good as my Shark helmet which was nicest helmet I have worn comfort wise. I’m very pleased so far.

Long term update.

I have come to really love the N44 now. It is so comfortable and offers superb vision with its wide portal. The vents after some use bed in but I tend to leave the main closed and use the two side vents more. It comes with pinlock visor which I failed to mention in the initial review because I just don’t want to add another layer of plastic to look through when riding but I have better anti-fog now for cold wet days.

It’s done a lot of miles by now but still looks good, the shell being colour impregnated never shows scratches like a painted one. I had to replace the visor when I dropped it and scratched the original but the inner liner is still in good order.

I will probably update my helmet in another year or so and while I will look around I am so pleased with this one the Nolan N70 or whatever the latest version of this series will likely be the one I buy.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you very much for your review.

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