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.
we'll see the perfect flip-up motorcycle helmet.
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 that rotates
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 designs,
but as we discovered
in the recent webBikeWorld
review, it's somewhat disappointing, mainly due to its mass
and inability to control noise.
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.
Nolan also 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.
But 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 the visor.
External Sun Shade
Motorcycle helmet manufacturers must have some research
indicating that motorcyclists are clamoring for rotating sun
shade visors, because the sun shade concept seems to be getting
lots of attention lately.
Unfortunately, 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
We're 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
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 rider's head is
tilted even slightly forward, as it would on a sport or sport-touring
Chin Strap and
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.
There 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
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
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 chin strap.
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 wBW
visitor "L.C." (see
comments below) had no problems with his after several years
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)
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.
The lack of liner padding is apparent when wearing the helmet
-- the helmet isn't very comfortable and the absence of liner
padding could be the cause of the high noise levels we experienced.
We always wear earplugs when riding (see the
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 recently.
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"
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; see the
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 flow.
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
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 wBW
Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page for more information on choosing
and fitting a motorcycle helmet), with one exception.
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
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 against it.
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 nice.
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 our opinion.
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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.
From "J.D." (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
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 obstruction.
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
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 car.
Fogging was horrid,
worst I've ever experienced.
Vent does nothing
but make noise.
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...
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 shield.
Really tight cheek
pads, with a seam right at the square edge that digs into
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
I can't 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."