I’ve updated from a Nolan N44 EVO to a Nolan N70-2 GT.
I might be a bit of a Nolan helmet fan – this is my third. Prior to the N44 EVO I wore a Nolan N43 Air.
The N70-2 GT, like my previous Nolan’s is a modular helmet. You can wear it as an open face or a Jet style or ADV style with peak visor and goggles. The removable chin bar when installed has been tested to be same safety rating as a regular full face helmet. I just leave the chin bar locked in as shown these days but I did enjoy the N43 as a open face riding a scooter around Philippines.
The thing that attracts me to Nolan helmets is the nearly unlimited vision they offer a rider from the wide eye level opening and the lower chin bar that is almost out of sight making them feel like a open face helmet. If you have never worn a open face you cannot imagine how much more you can see than the narrow view out of a full face helmet.
I’ve worn Shoei then AGV helmets then KBC then I moved to Shark helmets which I liked a lot and bought the Nolan N43 Air just as a summer helmet but got accustomed to the increased vision thus improved safety the Nolan design offers.
The Nolan N70-2 GT is very similar to the N44 EVO it replaces. Just minor refinements which is fine by me as the N44 EVO is the best helmet I have ever used. In fact I had no pressing plans to replace the N44 which is just 5 years old and still in good order structurally.
There is an urban myth that you must replace a helmet every 5 years, this was created by people who sell helmets with zero empirical evidence – I posted some time back proper testing that shows the foam in helmets does not deteriorate as the myth claims.
However there is no denying that after 5 years of touring the cloth liner gets to a stage where the odor can’t be completely washed out and the shield has many scratches. The cost of those items was half way to a new helmet on sale. But if you had a collectors model or lightly used spare helmet then there is no reason to think those need to be retired at a certain age.
The main difference from the N44 is the N70-2 GT has redesigned top vents which now have smaller and different shape openings as well their operating mechanism has been altered.
The new vents are quieter – but this is not the quietest helmet because it flows a heap of air. With vents closed it seems no more noisy than other helmets but I really cannot give a good appraisal on that since I wear ear plugs so all helmets are fairly quiet for me but the N44 was definitely noisier at highway speed.
Another difference is the inner tinted flip down visor now has a number of ratchet places you can place it at between retracted to flipped down although not sure how useful that might be.
The finish of the Nolan N70-2 GT outer Lexan shell is excellent which reminds me of another helmet myth that hardest shell is best. The harder the shell the more G-force from impact gets transferred to your brain. You want the shell to deform and absorb as much G-force as much as possible without it breaking apart if you are to have any chance of surviving a crash where you impact into something.
This critical design aspect is totally lost on the simple minded YouTuber’s smashing helmets with baseball bats as a test measure.
All these Nolan’s have removable washable liners, the N70’s is a mix of microsuede and anti microbial mesh material that is very comfortable and wicks away perspiration. New on the N70-2 GT is a drawstring style adjustment of the collar which would further reduce noise but I find the opening fine as is.
Nolan use micro metric (rachet) type of chin fasteners and I prefer this over the old double D. I find this style consistently has the helmet more secure on my head than the double D ring system and that is an important safety feature. The pads that cover the ratchet fastener have been improved each model and the latest are very comfortable.
If you wonder how you can secure this type of buckle to bike helmet locks there is a simple accessory which I wrote about in this post previously.
Everything has winglets now – even helmets, and the N70-2 GT has a chin inner screen attached to external winglets. I presume both are for noise, I will never be going fast enough to confirm otherwise and since I wear earplugs I might remove this as greater air circulation will benefit me more.
A jet style visor is more susceptible to fog. Nolan supply a pinlock with this helmet but I prefer to just apply anti fog on a cold or rainy day before setting off than adding another layer of plastic.
I ride a FJR1300 which affords me good protection from wind that in turn allows me to ride with outer shield up in summer just using the inner tinted shield. If you use a jet helmet on a naked or ADV bike where you need to have main shield closed more you might find it stuffy on hot days.
Nolan was an early pioneer in helmet intercoms with their N-Com systems. The N70-2 GT accepts those if you already own and adds the ability to install their latest helmet accessory called ESS. This is a smart LED that can detect sudden braking. I’d give one a try but it retails for around 1/3rd the price of the helmet…
I chose white again because I like how white helmets stand out and how they are always the lowest priced. This one was further discounted so I saved nearly $200 by choosing white over fancy graphics model and frankly I think it looks better.
Nolan helmets are entirely made in Italy. Take a look at them if you would like the best peripheral field of view when riding.
Update: I’ve now completed two tours with this helmet and can add a few things. I did not like the chin curtain as it reduced air in summer and have removed it. The vents seal well, I rode in torrential rain a few times. The inner tinted visor seems to not want to retract sometimes just the same as the N44, usually when in rain this occurs. Overall very happy with this helmet.