Nolan didn’t invent the modular helmet, but the Italian company does claim to have “reinvented” the popular flip-up style with its N-104.
This DOT-approved design stands out from the crowd of modular helmets because of its unique shape. Slab sides of the polycarbonate shell taper toward a kicked-up, spoiler-like ridge above the rear air-extraction vents. The vent face itself is inset longitudinally from the lower rim, perhaps adding to the pressure differential of the vents and thereby enhancing their ability to pull air from the rider’s head and help cool it via tubes molded in the EPS lining. Similar-edged shapes for frontal vents are set above and below the visor.
The flip-up release is located below the front vent and uses a dual-action lock; you free it by pulling the red lower lip out, which triggers a small, red, recessed tab that you squeeze while holding the lower one. The chinbar then can be swung easily up above the eye port in an elliptical arc designed to minimize the “sail effect” and locked in place for legal use as an open-face.
Spreading the sides apart to ease pulling on our size-Medium test sample (XXS-XXXL sizes available) sometimes resulted in a plastic trim piece on the left side popping out of its retaining slot. Also, not surprisingly, the vent system works best with clean airflow; behind fairings and windscreens, hot-air extraction is slower.
With its immense field of view through the optically clear visor, the N-104 impressed us as a good choice in the expanding field of flip-up helmets.
1585 Beverly Ct. #118
Aurora, IL 60502
Price…$449.95 to $499.95
- Vision Protection System drop-down sun shield easy to deploy and retract
- All components effortlessly operated while wearing gloves
- Ready for Bluetooth N-Com B1 ($229.95) or B4 ($369.95)
- Quieter than previous Nolan flip-ups, but ear protection still a good idea
- Microlock retention system can’t be secured to underseat helmet locking posts
- Larger of two shell sizes might be a challenge to stow in a saddlebag or trunk