Most of the time, the CW brigade opts for full-face helmets, but there are times when preference and circumstance can dictate dropping the chin bar. Still, if you’ve ever taken a bee in the face, been sandblasted by high winds or pelted by rain, a shield-equipped open-face helmet like the HJC IS-33 is a great in-between solution.
First off, this is a very nice DOT-approved helmet at a good price. The polycarbonate composite shell has clean contours and easily accessible vents that breathe well when open. Paint quality is excellent (metallic vs. non-metallic exterior colors account for the minor price difference). The SilverCool antibacterial/anti-odor interior is plush, comfortable and easily removable for washing.
Our test cranium has a 60cm circumference, which is called a Large on HJC’s size chart, but said head is a bit longer than it is wide, leading to the XL being a better fit. Available size range is XS-XXL.
Sure, photochromatic faceshields are nice (see Bell’s $119.95 self-tinting SolFX), but the built-in, flip-down sun visor on the IS-33 works great. There are three locked-down positions (helping to avoid contact with the wearer’s nose), and top-of-shell push-button retraction is pretty convenient. The main faceshield (anti-fog/anti-scratch) has good optics, and the “QuickSlide Shield Replacement System” makes it mega-easy to remove and replace.
Particularly in light of its low cost, this is an excellent lightweight, all-day-comfortable helmet for those times when you want a bit more fresh air but aren’t quite ready to eat bugs.
16918 Edwards Rd.
Cerritos, CA 90703
• Great shield mechanism
• Just 3.1 pounds (head not included)
• Cheap without looking like it
• Totally not hipster-approved
• Better for rounder heads
• Full-face helmets protect better