by "Burn" for webBikeWorld
| Owner Comments (Below)
"Enduro" styled helmets continue to attract
interest from a dedicated but relatively small group of
Adventure Touring bike owners.
The HJC CL-XS shown here is the fourth Enduro helmet
we've reviewed, only one of which is legally available for sale
in the U.S.A. (the Arai XD.
The others are
European models that are technically illegal for use in
the U.S.A., but which can be purchased and shipped here
by enterprising riders.
However, the shipping costs alone are outrageous,
and the weak U.S. dollar-to-Euro (or GBP) exchange
rate surely doesn't help matters.
We have four of these helmets
in the webBikeWorld inventory and I've worn them all.
Here's my honest opinion: unless you absolutely have
to own one for the cool factor, the helmets have too
many compromises to justify the cost.
I'd wait for the next generation of
Enduro helmets -- if there is one. The
manufacturers have stuck a toe in the water to test
demand, and only the sales figures will tell them to
either continue the evolution or make the beast extinct.
My feeling is that the manufacturers haven't really sunk
a heck of a lot of money into the development of this
style helmet yet, so we'll see what happens.
The shipping cost to bring the HJC CL-XS
shown here from the UK to the U.S.A. was £70. That's $135.48 at today's
exchange rate -- not including the bank or credit card
fee. That's a huge chunk o' change, considering
the helmet itself cost "only" cost £120
Then for some reason, the box got stuck
in U.S. customs and it cost another $30.00 in duty fees
to bail it out. I'm not sure what that's about,
because we receive items from outside the U.S. all the
time that were purchased for webBikeWorld reviews and
this is the first time we had to pay a duty fee.
So let's call it an even $400, including the bank and
credit card exchange fees, just to get the helmet in the
door. Some will think that's way too much for a
helmet, while others may feel that it's acceptable.
I'll leave that up to you to decide. But the problem is that you've basically just paid
400 smackers for a helmet that's worth maybe $200?
Because the CL-XS appears to be similar the the low end
of the HJC helmet line. Again, the desire for coolness may allow your wallet to
take the hit, but what happens when cool wears thin?
My feeling is that the HJC CL-XS just isn't a $400 helmet, no
matter how you slice it. Let's take a look...
Our CL-XS in size XL weighs 1697 grams (3 lbs., 11-7/8
oz.), almost exactly the same as the
Enduro (the only one legal for use in the U.S.A.) and
the HJC CL-14
full-face helmet. This is neither heavy nor light,
but just about right for this type of helmet. See the wBW
Motorcycle Helmet Weights page for a comparison
chart listing the weights of all of the helmets we've
The CL-XL seems slightly short from top to bottom;
that is, it feels like my chin is sticking out slightly
at the bottom of the helmet, so it may be that the 1/4" or
so of shell which was eliminated in the design is affecting the weight
The helmet does feel very slightly top heavy, but
it rides well and the weight is unnoticeable under most
Helmet Fit, Internal Shape and Comfort
The HJC CL-XS has a slightly narrow round internal
shape. I'm glad we ordered an XL; I normally take
a size large, but the XL sure seems like it runs one
size small to me, because our XL fits just like a size large full-face helmet.
Since the proportions are usually the same for the
entire helmet line, you may find that you'll have to
order one size larger than normal throughout the entire
HJC claims that the lining is removable and washable,
but it's rare for us (as in never) that a liner becomes dirty
enough to have to send through the washer, so this isn't
relevant one way or another to me. Since we share
a lot of helmets, we always wear a silk or Coolmax
helmet liner, which prevents dirt and grease from
sullying the lining material.
The liner is relatively comfortable for a round head;
I'd say that it's slightly below middling for comfort.
The lining fabric feels a bit scratchy to me and the
smallish shell and internal shape means less padding
than I'd like. But overall, it's acceptable.
The extended motocross-style chin bar offers plenty
of room for those of Leno-like jaws, but there's never
as much room as I think there should be in the Enduro
Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page for more information on
fitting a motorcycle helmet and a discussion on head
I'm not pleased at all with the clear face shield; HJC seems
to have slipped from its usually high quality standards
on this. The face shield seems thin and too flexible
compared to a good face shield on a quality full-face helmet.
The face shield also does not have a molded-in lifting tab and HJC
also did not mold an indent in the shell under the lip
of the face shield
so that the rider could at least stick a finger under it
somewhere to lift the face shield up. I sort of have to
scratch around under there with my gloved hands to lever
it up high enough to raise it, then I have to grab the
face shield itself to lift it up.
The face shield on our example creaks when it's lifted and
makes a cracking noise as it reaches the widest opening, which isn't a good sign.
The too-thin plastic flexes as the face shield is lifted or
closed, although maybe not quite as bad as other inexpensive helmets
we've tried. But the CL-XS isn't inexpensive,
When the clear face shield is lifted all the way up, it
interferes with the underside of the sun shade face
This has left some wear marks on the clear face shield over
Finally, the face shield doesn't have a locking or snap
mechanism to hold it closed. It is held in
position only by the friction
that is placed on it from the side screw tightness (see
photos below). Although the face shield seals against
the full-circumference eye port gasket, the
friction-only mechanism doesn't allow it to seal very
tight and since there's no snap or detents to
hold it shut, there's really no way that it could seal
Sun Shield Peak
The side screws also hold the sun shade "peak" (don't
know what to call these) to the
helmet by friction. It seems like a flimsy
and cheap arrangement -- if the screws are tightened too
much, the visor won't lift.
But the screws have to
be pretty tight to hold the shade. If the screws aren't
tightened enough, they can back out; it happened to me.
That may be why HJC provides an extra set of screws in
the box...although the screws are at least made from
The sun shade peak that gives the helmet its Enduro
styling is pretty much unnoticeable when
riding, until speeds reach about 70 MPH or so, when some
lift can be felt. I've been surprised at how
little the sun shades seem to affect helmet lift on the
Enduro helmets that I've tried. I guess the air
doesn't have too much of a problem flowing under and
through the peaks.
The helmet also lacks a center support for the sun
shade, so the two screws on each side are the only
devices that offer holding power. It just seems
like an altogether flimsy arrangement compared to the
other Enduro helmets we've reviewed.
By the way, the helmet can be used without the sun
shade and HJC provides some side plates to cover the
sides when the sun shade is removed, but the helmet
looks too dorky to consider in this configuration.
Venting and Air Flow
The HJC CL-XS has an "always open" chin vent. The
air flows through the chrome plastic opening at the tip
of the extended chin bar and on to the rider's face
through some holes in the back of the chin bar.
The back of the chin bar is lined with some hard plastic
But that extended chin means that plenty
of air comes up from underneath anyway. This
probably is not the helmet to wear in the winter,
because there's simply no way to close off the huge
amounts of air flowing up from underneath.
The helmet also has two intake vents on
top and two exhausts in the rear. All four are
non-closable. So much air comes in the front that
it's hard to tell if any air is coming in from the top.
But overall, the helmet is definitely
cool enough and would probably be a good solution for
hot weather or desert riding.
I'm actually surprised at the relatively low noise levels in
the CL-XS. There's
always going to be some wind rushing noise in a helmet
of this type, due to its design. But the CL-XS
doesn't seem to have any unusual vices like "booming" or
"whistling" from the vents. Understand though that
the overall noise level is probably about half-way
between a full-face and open-face helmet.
Note also that we always wear correctly
fitted, high quality earplugs and an extra helmet liner
when riding, and we strongly recommend that you always
wear hearing protection also. See the
Earplugs and Hearing Protection page for more
information on choosing and wearing earplugs.
Note also that
your experience with this helmet's noise levels may
differ, depending upon many factors, including your
head shape and how the helmet fits, your motorcycle's configuration
or windscreen, prevailing winds
Chin Strap and Miscellaneous Features
The CL-XS has the European style and oxymoronic "quick
release" buckle. Why anyone would pay extra to fit
one of these as an option to a nice D-ring unit is beyond me, but
there you have it. The first time out, the rider
will have to fuss with the thing to get the chin strap
to exactly the right length. Just hope that you
don't have to adjust it after that -- it's a pain. The chin strap has a fabric loop sewn on
for the extra length to tuck under.
The HJC CL-XS is available in sizes from XS to XL,
but as I mentioned above, I think the XL fits like an L,
so if this holds true for the entire size range, then
the range may actually be equivalent to XXS to L.
The helmet is available in the
Anthracite and Silver color with the "Vapour" graphics
shown here and as far as I
can tell, it is the only color that is actually for
sale. The paint and graphics are typically good HJC quality
with no orange peel or dust underneath and the decals are covered with a nice clearcoat.
The CL-XS meets the ECE 22.05 European
safety standard but it is not DOT FMVSS 218. I've
seen claims on some of the UK websites that the helmet
is also meets the ACU Gold standard for track use, but
there's no ACU Gold sticker on ours.
I'm just not that thrilled with Enduro helmets in
general. Yes, they look great when you're riding a
GS or KTM 990, but not so cool when on an R1 or Ducati
1098. The helmets have been designed for a niche
market and it's not clear how the manufacturers view the
future of this type of helmet for American riders.
Thus, they don't seem to be as committed to perfecting
this type of helmet as they do for some of their other
We've been big fans of HJC design and
quality in the past, but the CL-XS doesn't really seem
to do anything exceptional. Combined with the high
cost of getting one to the U.S. and the anxiety over
wearing a non-DOT FMVSS 218 helmet, I'm not sure it's
Review: HJC CL-XS Helmet
Oxford Products is
||List Price (2006): £120 + £70 S/H plus possible duty fees.
|Colors: Silver/Anthracite "Vapour"
||Made In: China
|Review Date: January
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