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Putting a lid on it

February 16, 2010
Nolan N43 Trilogy N-com

Nolan N43 Trilogy N-com helmet (Nolan Helmets)

I’m rather annoyed. My less-than-18-month-old HJC CS-R1 helmet’s eyeshield is stuck in the up position, due to one of the cheap plastic screws that hold the mounting/pivot bracket breaking.

Our wonderfully litigious society rules out repairs to things like motorcycle helmets. And I haven’t been able to find one from which I could cannibalize the needed parts.

Luckily, I’m not riding very far these days, so the concentrated blast of cold air on my face is merely uncomfortable. And unlike Seattle, there isn’t anywhere near the amount of debris on the road. I wear glasses with Lexan lenses, so there is some eye protection in place. Said he, hopefully.

But at some point I’m going to need a new helmet. I’m thinking Nolan N43 Trilogy N-com.

In spite of its British-sounding name, Nolan is an Italian company. Their helmets are high-quality items with clever features, and the ones with N-com appended to their names allow installation of a kit that makes them fully Bluetooth capable. Add a Bluetooth-capable GPS and you can not only hear your favorite synthetic voice’s directions, many such devices recognize your Bluetooth-capable mobile phone as well, enabling hands-free operation. (My lawyer reminds me to mention that riding while distracted is dangerous, so don’t do it.)

But my favorite feature is the removable chin guard. It’s held in place with sturdy stainless steel fasteners, but is easily removed for those times when you want people to see your face. Group rides, the trip to the grocery store, those kinds of things. (My lawyer also asks me to remind you that a helmet cannot protect any part of your head it doesn’t cover.)

I rather like the flippable (and removable) sun visor, and the fully removable (and washable) liner, which is designed to wick moisture away from your head. And hair, I imagine.

Unfortunately, as I write this the N43 is nowhere to be found on Nolan’s Web site. Luckily, retailers like Dennis Kirk have all the info. It comes in several colors, and there’s even an “Outlaw” version with a removable Nolan emblem, so you can look like you haven’t sold out to The Man. Favicon

  1. February 16, 2010 11:08 pm

    My Nolan has been the worst money I ever spent. I’ve had to send it in for warranty work and it came back with a new issue.

    The latching system doesn’t always latch fully so you have to wrangle with it, the airflow is nearly non-existent so you have to ride with the visor cracked most of the time as the vents up front and in back do nothing.

    Then the NCOM system, I spent close to $500 on the Basic kit and Bluetooth kit only to have nothing but issues with the basic kit staying latched and connected. I’ve had three basic kits under warranty, it would fall out of place everytime I took off my helmet. The first two were dropping connector pins due to lousy design, the third they fixed the design flaw. But now it pops out due to pressure from the new springs it needs another revision with a screw. The dealer even tried to lie and say it was a safety feature. Vespa Seattle told this to Chuck and myself, but CIMA (US Distro) said otherwise.

    I sent mine in to Nolan (CIMA) and they fixed the latches but the basic kit now falls out whenever it feels like it and has rendered the bluetooth system too frustrating to operate. It now sits in my closet and I wear my HJC nearly all the time now.

    I will never buy another Nolan helmet, as this happend to mine, my GF’s and a couple more people I know. The more parts it has, the more likely it’s gonna break, and it takes them a long time to do warranty work so I hope you keep a second helmet.

  2. Andrew A permalink
    February 17, 2010 9:33 pm

    You can buy replacement base plates, that will include screws, for HJC helmets. I’m not sure what kit you’d need for the R1 but I’m sure there is one:

  3. February 19, 2010 9:40 am

    I’m pretty impressed with Fulmer (a Tennessee company, which makes the locals happy) both in terms of quality and price. I’ve got an AF-655 which I use when it’s warm enough, and will be looking to get one of their modular full-face helmets by next winter (for now, my old Icon Mainframe will have to do).

  4. February 19, 2010 6:55 pm

    Dear Orin:

    Now I have had an entirely different experience with Nolan. I suffered a head-on collision with a minivan on a main highway in Virginia, got ejected from the bike, and smashed my head on the hood and bumper of the vehicle. My Nolan flip-face helmet (N-102, I think), remained in place and tightly locked. I believe that helmet saved my face and jaw.

    I have put several hundred hours on the replacement model, many in the rain, and experienced no looseness in the chin plate, the visor, or any of the other components. My few calls to CIMA involved getting extra helmet liners, to start each season with a fresh one. I am forced to stretch each dollar as far as I can get it to go this year (as I am virtually unemployed), which means using a dated Garmin Nuvi as my GPS. This unit would not interface with Nolan system, which was not a big deal to me as the volume is loud enough for me to hear the prompts up to 75 mph.

    I would honestly say that I will be considering a Nolan helmet when it comes to purchasing another one.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  5. Jonathan permalink
    February 26, 2010 1:16 pm

    I’m very interested in this helmet. I’m an open-face rider, so the N43 appears like a great compromise for me. Question. For me, the best configuration would be with the chin-bar and removing the face screen. I’m a goggles guy. Does anyone have any thoughts on goggles with the N43. Do they slip off easy? Do they fit? (I have a pair of the T2 Aviator goggles as seen here:

    Thanks for the advice in advance!

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