Nolan X-Lite X-1002 Helmet
Nolan X-1002 Flip-Up Helmet Review
by Glenn W. for webBikeWorld.com
| Owner Comments (Below)
Relatively expensive, louder than average and
somewhat uncomfortable due to a thin liner.
Two hands needed to rotate the flip-up visor.
Includes an external sun shade.
Someday, maybe, we'll see the perfect flip-up
It would meet all worldwide safety standards, with a comfortable
and removable liner, have excellent ventilation and it
would be as quiet as the best
of the full-face helmets.
It would weigh in the neighborhood of 1550 to 1600
grams and have plenty of chin room, along with a visor
with one hand yet closes as tight as a vault.
And by the way, it should sell for around
$250.00 to $300.00.
Will we ever see one?
In the meantime, flip-up
helmet design seems to be going in the opposite direction.
The recently released KBC FFR is one of the latest
but as we discovered
recent webBikeWorld review, it's somewhat
disappointing, mainly due to its mass and inability to
The Nolan X-lite X-1002 also promises something
unique and different. Nolan is well known for its
N100 flip-up, marketed under the Nolan brand.
owns the X-lite brand name, which is more commonly known in
Europe than in the U.S., and Nolan markets a line of
helmets using that name.
As often happens when companies mix and match
corporate brands, the end result can be confusion for
the consumer. The X-1002 helmet has a big "Nolan" logo on the
front, and a smaller "X-lite" logo underneath.
the owner's manual, helmet bag and other information
make no mention of the Nolan brand. Who knows what strange compulsions lurk in the minds
of the marketeers who think up these strategies?
In any event, the X-1002 is a relatively unknown
step-sister of the more common N100, at least in the
U.S.A. Maybe price
is a factor, because the X-1002 retails at a whopping
$359.99, which makes it one of the highest-priced
flip-up helmets available.
Considering that our
favorite flip-up so far has been the
Vega Summit XPV
at only $129.99, is the X-1002 two-and-a-half times as
good? Sure, the Vega has its faults also, but we'd
rather be a victim of the "under-promise and over-deliver"
experience than vice versa.
We're not sure about the logic behind Nolan's U.S.
pricing model. Perhaps it's the beating that the
U.S. dollar is taking against the Euro (the X-1002 is
made in Italy)? Or it may have something to do
with the X-1002's feature set, which probably adds to the cost
-- an external sun shade, a unique chin strap
retention system and a dual latch arrangement to lift
External Sun Shade
Motorcycle helmet manufacturers must have some research
motorcyclists are clamoring for rotating sun shade
visors, because the sun shade concept seems to be
getting lots of attention lately.
we haven't found a helmet with a sun shade design that has been
executed successfully, including the cost-no-object
We can't help but feel that the rotating
sun shade concept is simply a way to justify a higher
price for the helmet. The X-1002 is the latest iteration of sun-shade
mania. This time, it's attached to the outside of
the visor, with its own rotating mechanism.
not sure if the placement of the sun
shade on the outside of the X-1002's clear visor does
the trick, but it does seem to be free of the distortion
that plagues every other sun shade equipped helmet we've
tried. The distortion problem, when present, can
range from annoying to painful -- we've tried at least one sun
shade equipped helmet that has enough distortion to
give the wearer a headache.
With the flip-up visor closed, the external sun shade
can be rotated through two positions, from fully raised
and out of the line of sight, to half-closed, to fully
closed, where the top of the sun shade rests against the
top of the clear helmet visor.
The bottom edge of
the sun shade on the X-1002 can end up in the rider's line of sight
if the rider is sitting in a more-or-less upright riding
position, like on a touring bike. However, the
bottom edge of the sun shade does seem to move down
below the line of sight (but is still visible) when the
head is tilted even slightly forward, as it would on a
sport or sport-touring bike.
Chin Strap and Retention
Nolan has designed a
new type of chin strap retention
system for the X-1002. Visitors to webBikeWorld know that we're
fond of the classic and proven motorcycle helmet retention system: the simple, uncomplicated, infinitely
adjustable, no moving parts D-ring.
is no better mouse trap, as far as we're concerned.
When Valentino Rossi starts using a quick release on his
AGV, we'll reconsider. Until then, why spend
money, time and resources on redesigning something that
has worked well for decades?
Nolan (or X-lite) calls their new chin strap retention
device the "Microlock
Retention System". They have issued a separate
owner's manual, printed in 12 different languages, that covers the operation of the system.
Unfortunately, although a line in the owner's manual states "In order
to have the maximum protection and to appreciate the
advantages of the 'Microlock' system...", it never tells
us what those advantages might be.
The "dumb" end of the chin strap in the Microlok
system has a plastic or nylon serrated surface. It
is designed to fit through a ratcheting lock
mechanism on the matching chin strap.
The lock (orange/red lever in the photo
above) must be held open while the strap is passed
through. When the orange/red lever is closed, it
catches in between two of the serrations and secures the
It works, but it's more complicated than a D-ring
system and it has a greater number of moving parts.
We're not sure
how long the serrations will last after they've been
pulled through the latch many times, but
visitor "L.C." (see
comments below) had no problems with his after
several years of use.
We think that the latch is
difficult to remove with one hand. In addition,
the half of the chin strap with the serrated piece has a
separate length adjuster, and this half of the strap must
be adjusted so that the serrations will be correctly
located for the individual rider's head size.
Visor Latching Mechanism
There's one more feature on the X-1002 that's worth mentioning.
Nolan has developed a different type of flip-up visor latching
system for this helmet. Rather than simply add a one-handed latch in the
middle of the flip-up visor, the X-1002 has two latches,
located on the underside of the flip-up visor.
The visor can be lifted by flipping both
latches on either side or by pushing only the left-hand
latch forward. We found this to be overly
complicated and somewhat strange when compared to
single-latch flip-up helmets.
The flip-up visor appears to be spring loaded, and it
moves upward when the latches are released.
There's no solid "click" when the visor reaches the full
vertical position, and this may bother some owners.
The visor can actually be flipped back down and locked
into place with a vigorous (and not recommended) head
The visor has no tab or indentation to grab for
raising or lowering, so it
takes two hands to pull the top of the visor down from
above to get it to close. It does have a solid
locking sound when it's shut, and the latches look like
they're manufactured from metal stampings.
Our X-lite X-1002 had some problems right out of the
box. The liner was detached from the
helmet, which must have occurred either during manufacturing or shipping, and
the external sun shade was hanging by only one side.
We were able to put everything back together, but this
episode didn't give us much confidence in Nolan's
quality control system.
The removable liner is very thin. Pick up an edge and
the foam padding in the helmet's shell is immediately visible.
of liner padding is apparent when wearing the helmet --
isn't very comfortable and the absence of liner padding
could be the cause of the high noise levels we
wear earplugs when riding (see the
Earplugs and Hearing Protection page for more
information on choosing and wearing earplugs), but the
X-1002 is one of the noisiest helmets we've tried
The noise levels aren't helped by the visor's design.
When the external rotating sun shade is in the "up"
position on our helmet, it catches the air and makes a
high-frequency whistling noise.
The extra parts
necessary to rotate both visors add bulk to the sides of
the helmet, and the extra pieces also catch the wind and
add to the noise levels.
This is somewhat mitigated by the vinyl chin curtain
that has been added to the bottom of the flip-up visor,
helping to prevent some of the turbulence which can
cause low-frequency "booming" noises.
Most of the volume is caused by a variety of whistling
type noises which are probably caused by air passing
over the visor and its associated parts.
By the way, the clear
visor has a centrally located tab, which makes it easy
to open or close. It has 4 clicks from fully
closed to fully open. The clear visor is also
provided with studs for a Pinlock anti-fog visor system;
of the Pinlock system.
The X-1002 has a chin vent and a top vent. Each
are easily opened or closed by pressing directly on the
vent covers. They provide an average amount of air
The chin vent directs air up on to the back
of the clear visor, and there are a few vent holes in
the helmet shell, located around the top of the visor
opening, and these direct air up
through the top of the helmet. However, our
helmet's liner does not fit correctly in this area,
blocking some of the holes.
Helmet Size and Fit
We ordered our X-1002 in size XL, and our opinion,
based on this helmet, is that the sizing runs slightly small.
Our size XL is probably the equivalent of a size large
in other brands. Our feeling is that the X-1002
will fit neutral to round shaped heads best (see the
Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page for more information on
choosing and fitting a motorcycle helmet), with one
The middle of the inside of the helmet seems slightly
narrower than normal, and it can place a lot of pressure
on the temples and upper jaw of motorcyclists with
"earth" shaped heads (i.e., wider in the middle in the
area above the ears).
We measured the X-1002 in size XL at a hefty 1855 grams, or
4 lbs., 1-3/8 oz. See the
Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page for a chart that compares
the helmet weights of every helmet we've reviewed.
The X-1002 is only 12 grams (0.5 ounces) lighter than
the heaviest helmet on the list, the KBC FFC.
On the plus side, the X-1002 does not feel anywhere near
as heavy as the KBC. In fact, we were surprised
when we put the X-1002 on the scales, and we re-weighed
it using a
different scale as a cross check. The helmet carries its
weight well and doesn't have the heavy feeling of mass that
characterizes the KBC FFC.
We wanted to like the X-1002, but the combination of
the relatively high price, the lapses in quality control,
the noise levels
and the overly-complicated (in our opinion) latching
mechanism and chin strap retention system conspire
The X-1002 is available in only a few
basic solid colors, and although the finish appears to
have good quality, it's otherwise unexceptional. A
nice graphic pattern or other colors would have been
We still recommend the
Vega Summit XPV
flip-up as our favorite compromise of cost, weight,
comfort and performance. The Vega isn't perfect by
any means -- the perfect flip-up doesn't yet exist, in
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►Your Comments and
Please send comments to
Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details
). Comments may be edited for
clarity prior to publication.
(regarding the Nolan N102): "I recently purchased this helmet
(the Nolan N-102) and I have to say that it's one of the best
I've worn. The noise is not bad at all even after 2 hours
continuous riding. The vents seem to cool well, including
the front chin vents and the padding seems comfortable.
As for the microlock...it's nice and easy to use and won't pull
apart even with extreme force (a friend and I played tug of war in the store
before I was convinced). The flip up front has a security feature that's
rather nice. The button under the chin can't just get bumped...you have to
pull it forward and then pull down on the exposed button that gets exposed on
the front of the chin bar.
As for the VPS system, it may seem a bit cheesy but I like it.
It doesn't occlude my FOV (field of view) as well as negates a need for
sunglasses. At night it's not too dark to use on the freeway as it helps
cut down on headlight glare while letting me see my speedometer without
I have read your site extensively before buying any helmet and
want to thank you for such in depth reviews as it made my shopping easier.
I knew which ones to avoid as well as some aspects to look at that I never
thought of. I must say that after your review of the Nolan X-lite 1000 I
was very skeptical about buying any Nolan product.
The Cycle shop was very
accommodating and let me wear the exact helmet I bought around the shop for a
while (as you suggest) as well as letting me buy it with the caveat that I could
return in a few hours if it didn't work out (as long as I didn't screw it up).
You may want to give this helmet a shot to see what you think as
I would be quite eager to see your take on it. Not sure if size matters as
you have spoken about in many articles....mine is a medium."
From "P.G.": "I read your
Nolan X-1002 review with trepidation, since I had such a
miserable experience with mine despite calls from Nolan and the
distributor trying to convince me I was nuts. (I attached
an) email thread with the importer for your amusement, although
I lost interest in the whole thing and sold the helmet on eBay
for $100 just to be rid of it. I bought a Scorpion EXO-700
based on yours and others favorable reviews, and I just love it.
I agree with most things you said, but several issues deserve
The paint finish on mine was terrible, like an old Korean
Fogging was horrid, worst I've ever experienced.
Vent does nothing but make noise.
Fogging "solved" by installing the Pinlock anti-fog layer
(which incidentally has heat-stamped in the plastic "Not for use at night").
Let me just stop on the highway and take it out every night, pulling off the
(X-1002's) six piece face shield mechanism...
Importer promised me a breath-guard, which they said they
traded off in favor of the Pinlock layer. Never sent it.
My VPS (sun shade) shield was distorted (fuzzy). So
was the replacement Nolan kindly sent me. Also, it scratches the clear
Really tight cheek pads, with a seam right at the square
edge that digs into your cheek.
Almost no padding in the helmet. Many pressure points.
Funny, whereas I wear an XL Shoei, Arai or Scorpion, the
X-1002 was a large.
From "L.C.": "I read the recent review of
the Nolan X-1002 and couldn't help but wonder why you would think so poorly of
the micro-lock system. My N100e that I've been riding with for the last
three years has the same retention system and it is by far easier to use than a
It takes two seconds to attach, releases easily (yes with
one hand) and can be adjusted easily with gloves on. I often use the bike
for running errands which means a lot of helmet on-helmet off.
imagine having to run the webbing each time, which is why I put quick release
buckle on my two Shoei helmets. The Nolan micro-lock isn't worn at all
after three years. I'd really miss it if I switched to another brand. Just
my two cents."