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Nolan N102 Review

Nolan N102 Helmet

Nolan N-102 Helmet Review

wBW Owner Report
by Rick W. for webBikeWorld.com

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Summary

Good modular helmet for riders with round-shaped heads looking for a solid, feature rich modular should be well pleased with the Nolan N102.

If you're sensitive to weight or price, you may want to look elsewhere.

Introduction

The Nolan N-102 helmet is a feature rich big brother to the Nolan X-Lite X-1002 which was the subject of a  previous webBikeWorld review.

A quick synopsis of the N-102 feature set includes a flip down external sun shade; one-handed release; a removable anti-fog shield; removable under-chin air dam; the Nolan "Microlock" Retention System for the chinstrap and a 5 year warranty.

The DOT-approved, GE Lexan shell of the N-102 is available in eight solid colors from a rather sinister looking black graphite to high visibility yellow.

In addition there are six graphics models all with a durable clear coat finish. The overall finish of the N-102 is excellent. Sizing is available from X-Small to XXL.

So do all these features make for a winner?

Helmet Fit and Comfort

I found the N102 comfortable even during extended rides. The interior does an excellent job of absorbing perspiration and keeping it away from the skin unlike some helmets which turn into soggy sponges after a few hours in the saddle.

The antimicrobial interior also appears to do its job even during hot multi-day road trips. The interior remained odorless compared to some helmet interiors which can begin to smell like a laundry hamper full of gym clothes in no time at all.

The interior padding of the N-102 is completely removable and is kept in place by snaps and tabs. The interior is made from hypoallergenic and antimicrobial material and is very comfortable. A word that comes to mind when describing the interior is "plush".

Under the chin of the face shield is a removable rubber air dam. The air dam blocks air from blowing up into the helmet which is a very nice feature in cold weather and it also cuts down noise considerably. The air dam can be removed or replaced in seconds.

Nolan N102 Visor "Vision Protection System" (VPS)

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Internal Shape

I think that the N-102 fitting will favor round heads and full faces, a trait it shares with the X-1002. Some riders may wish for a bit less room around the face and a bit more room for the chin and around the forehead.

The N-102 also sits a bit higher on the head than some helmets such as the Vega Summit (see the webBikeWorld review of the original Vega Summit and the more recent Vega Summit II.

For more information on motorcycle helmet internal shapes and selecting and fitting motorcycle helmets, see the wBW Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page.

Ventilation

Ventilation is provided by two flip open ports in front of the helmet and a large three position slider on the top of the helmet. The ventilation provided is adequate but not outstanding.

The front ports are designed so that they are either open or closed but they may be used independently of each other allowing for three possible settings.

Visor

The clear visor used on the Nolan N102 has a single point release via a tab which is located in the middle of the face shield; the tab could probably be slightly larger, which would make it easier to find and use.

When closed, the N102’s Lexan visor seals against a top and bottom rubber gasket, which makes for a very tight and quiet fit. Optically, the visor is superb.

The flip-up, or modular visor is opened by using the thumb to pull a latch located on the bottom of the shield forward and then the forefinger to press down the opening latch which pops out. Although it may sound complicated, it works very nicely even with thick gloves. The locking mechanisms on the N102 are metal and very rugged.

It can be a bit difficult lifting the visor with bulky winter gloves. Also, due to the tight seal of the visor, closing it sometimes requires an extra push from the top to get it fully down.

Sun Shield and Nolan Fog Resistant System

One of the most prominent features of the Nolan N102 is the sun shield, which is mounted on the exterior of the helmet. The sun shield, called the "Vision Protection System" (VPS) by Nolan, may be lifted up and out of the field of vision while riding or removed entirely. The N-102 ships with two latch covers that replace the VPS when it is removed. I don't notice any buzzing or vibration from the visor when riding with it in the up position at highway speeds.

Optically, the VPS introduces no visual distortions. Its usefulness however will somewhat depend on riding style.

The VPS when fully lowered covers a little over half the height of the main visor and I found that it worked quite well for most riding positions but the potential does exist that a rider could find the visual line made by the VPS distracting in some situations such as looking down at instruments. Also, the difference in light intensity between the visor area and clear area can be troubling in the bright sunlight.

The third feature of the visor is the "Nolan Fog Resistant System" or NFRS. The NFRS is a piece of plastic, most likely Lexan (Nolan isn’t saying), which fits on the inside of the visor between two pins on the main visor. When in place (it is shipped uninstalled) the NFRS did a very nice job of preventing fogging during test rides in temperatures from the 30’s to 90’s.

Removing the visor is tools free but not particularly simple. To remove the visor, you first remove the VPS (sun shade), which is simple. A sliding latch accomplishes this with no fuss.

However, to remove and replace the main visor takes some practice and following the instructions closely. Worse, there is the potential of losing a small spring loaded plastic pin which can fall out of the locking ring. The process, in my opinion, seems overly complicated.

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Chin Strap

The chin strap on the Nolan N102 features what Nolan calls a "Microlock Retention System", the same as used on the X-1002. A serrated rubber strap is inserted into a lever operated locking mechanism and unlike a simple D-Ring strap; it takes a fair bit of fiddling to get the right fit.

The bulk of the locking mechanism can also interfere with the chin air dam. In our opinion a simple D-Ring strap would be preferable and as it is, the strap may not work with certain helmet locks.

Noise and Aerodynamics

The aerodynamics of the N102 are quite good for such a large profile helmet. After using the helmet in a variety of riding positions and speeds I didn’t find one that induced buffeting.

Noise levels within the helmet are not outstanding but they are certainly comparable and perhaps a bit better than most modular helmets. Riders wishing to use the Nolan N102 with intercom sets or music headphones should certainly have no problems doing so, and the Nolan N102 is now available with the optional "N-Com Communication System".

Don't forget, perceived noise levels are highly variable and are based on owner opinions. We always wear correctly inserted earplugs when we ride -- see the wBWEarplugs and Hearing Protection page for more information on choosing and wearing ear plugs.

For more information on helmet noise, visit the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Noise page.

Nolan N102 N-Com

The Nolan N-Com system is a Bluetooth modular communication system that incorporates a rider-to-passenger Bluetooth intercom and Bluetooth connectivity to other Bluetooth-enabled communication devices, cell phones, GPS systems or radios.  The N-Com system is available for use with the Nolan N102, the Nolan N84, N42 (Jet) and N32 (Demi-Jet) helmets

Nolan claims that the N-Com system is "easy to transfer from one Nolan helmet to another".

Weight and Price

There is a price for the rugged construction however and that is weight. A medium Nolan 102 tips the scales at 1820g (4.01 lbs) and the extra large size weighs in at 1850g (4.08 lbs) making the N102 among the heaviest modular helmets on the market and one of the heaviest modular helmets we've reviewed.

See the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Weights page for a chart that compares the weights of all of the helmets we've reviewed.

However, I didn’t find the weight particularly problematic on several 200-plus mile rides.

Nolan N102 Liner

Conclusion

The locking mechanism’s durability and one handed operation along with the visor system, excellent construction and finish are this helmet’s strongest points. Also don’t forget the 5 year warranty and the fog resistant feature is a particular standout. The weakest points are the strap system, weight and price with noise being neither particularly good nor bad.

Overall, riders with round heads looking for a solid, feature rich modular should be well pleased. Riders who are sensitive to weight or the pocket book may want to look elsewhere.

The price of the Nolan-102 starts at $279.00 MSRP for a solid color; graphics and N-Com equipped versions are more.

wBW Review: Nolan N-102 Helmet
Manufacturer: Micatech List Price (2007):  Starting at $279.95.
Colors: Variety of solids and graphics. Made In: Italy
Review Date: May 2007

Note: For informational use only. All material and photographs are Copyright © webWorld International, LLC since 2000. All rights reserved. See the webBikeWorld© Site Info page. Product specifications, features and details may change or differ from our descriptions. Always check before purchasing. Read the Terms and Conditions!

Your Comments and Feedback

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 "C.S." (04/11):  "Been wearing this helmet now for 3 years, roughly 15,000 miles. General use: Commuting with occasional long trip. Ridden from roughly 10 degrees Fahrenheit to nearly 100 degrees and all temps and weather in between. Only ice and snow on the road stop me from riding.

I had a cheap closeout helmet found on-line for my first year riding. When I could not get a replacement visor for it, I decided that I'd shop locally at a place I know would be there if I needed something. Their stock, my trying on various models, and liking the ability to flip up the whole face determined my purchase.

In the store, I wandered around with the helmet on for about 20 minutes and it felt like a great fit. For the first month or so, I'd get a feeling after a while that the helmet was 'hanging' off my forehead. Nothing uncomfortable, but more pressure there than anywhere else. Didn't feel it all the time, and after a month or so, never felt it again. Probably due to head shape.

I lost the anti-fog insert that first summer. Been riding without it since. On some cool mornings the visor does fog up when I stop for an intersection, but a lift of one click of the visor takes care of that. Most times fogging isn't an issue.

Got tired of finding my chin vents closed, so I popped them off (force them open further than they want to go and they just pop right off). Figured I'd pop them back on when the weather got cold. Even in sub-freezing temps, the flowing air is never uncomfortable, so I've never put them back in.

The top vent is interesting. In cold weather, open or closed makes no difference in my opinion. However, the slightest breeze on a hot day is all it takes to really cool down if the vent is open.

In the heat of the summer I often pop up the whole face guard when sitting at an intersection (especially a traffic light) to allow air in. However, most of the time I don't need to open up. Riding in rain isn't a problem. Yes, the visor does leak a little around the gasket, but the top vents leak more open or closed when the rain is heavy.

Surprisingly, I never had any serious water in the helmet and sitting on the shelf in my office for the day or at home over night is all it took to dry out.

The microlock chinstrap is different than a double D ring. However, I spent time getting it adjusted perfectly and now all I do is push it together until it's all the way and I get the same fit every time. Release is MUCH easier than a double D - especially when wet - with one hand.

The one downside is that the strap is harder to attach to the helmet lock strap on my cycle as I have to thread it into the loop in the strap rather than a D ring. But that is a fairly minor issue.

The only real complaint I have is that every so often the latches that hold the sun visor in place dislodge and I get one side of the visor loose. I'd say it happens once or twice a year. A more positive lock would solve this. It is probably caused by me bumping the sliding lock, but still, when it comes loose, it's a PIA. I usually have to stop, pull the helmet off and reattach the visor. Not a big deal, but still not a nice thing when you find it loose on a busy road. I keep the removable piece under my chin in place when it is cool, but remove it every summer.

I don't find it adds much noise, but I have a windscreen that might be deflecting that wind. When it is in place, I need to put a thumb over it and guide it under my chin as I close the face guard. Not too tough, but would be nice to have a little more clearance there.

View is fantastic. For me, the sun shield falls just right and allows me an unfiltered view of my gages, but filtered view of everything else.

Only cleaning is a real chore. I have to remove the whole visor setup to really clean it. The sun shield gets dirty on the inside and it is nearly impossible to clean while mounted. And the inside of the main visor is hard to clean when mounted. Just sneeze once and you'll appreciate easy cleaning. (^_^)  However, I've found that pre-moistened wipes do a really good job, so once I get the visors off, the actual cleaning goes quick.

Paint (silver just like the review) is still great with the only wear near the rear 'bump' as that's where it tends to land when you put it down holding it from the chin strap. Latches work as well as when it was new. Detents in the visor still hold well.

Interior is comfortable, shows little signs of wear, never smells bad, dries quick, and doesn't give "helmet head" as bad as some people get. I was going to get the N-Com Bluetooth, but found my little Bluetooth headset fits fine with the helmet on, so I just use that in place of an earplug. I do have to pull over for the other person to really hear me, but I don't have to take the helmet off.

Even after long rides (5 hours+) I have not felt the weight to be an issue. Even wind buffeting does not make this heavy shell blow around much.

All in all I'm very happy with this helmet. I don't find I use the flip-up front as much as I had envisioned. As a result, I'll most likely look for a lighter full-face design as my next helmet. But in no way am I seeking a replacement now. I can still get replacement visors at the local shop if I needed them. But everything is still great." 


From L.M. (11/10):  "The N102 is a past year's model by now, but there are still closeouts out there so I wanted to mention a finish issue. The finish on my solid-white 102 flaked like crazy almost from the get-go. Eventually the shell looked like it had a bad case of eczema.

This was a minor disappointment since I and my tiny round head were very happy with the fit and functionality of the helmet. But I crashed my bike recently, and the EMTs, on seeing the condition of the shell, thought I had been tossed about a lot more than I actually had (Fortunately I was conscious and able to tell them it was already like that!).

 I replaced the 102 with a 103 and am interested to see whether the finish on this one will hold up better. Thanks for the always helpful and informative site!" 


From "P.D." (10/09):  "Having used the Nolan N102 for two seasons, I really like it. It is pretty loud, especially with the visor down. However that's nothing that ear plugs can't fix. The ventilation is very good, though the front vent ports constantly closed from normal handling. I glued mine open and have never looked back.

I do have two complaints:

1) After the oncoming wind flipped the sun visor down for the 100th time, I removed it. It would be a great feature if it would stay up until you decided to put it down, but it won't. Stronger detents would easily fix this.

2) I don't know what kind of pixie dust the anti-fog shield is made of, but do yourself a favor and never attempt to clean it. If will scratch if you look at it wrong. Imagine trying to clean a moth without damaging it.

Other than that, a great helmet for the round-headed. I would buy another."


From "A.W." (9/09):  "I own 2 Nolan N-100 helmets and purchased their N-102 and these are my experiences to pass along. My riding is limited to a Harley Sportster with and w/o a windscreen and my Road King touring bike w and w/o a windscreen Lots of touring miles with long trips:

1) The micro-latch system is just great IMHO. I found that on all three helmets that I had to adjust the right side web slider to prevent the "buckle" portion from laying against the side of the helmet pad, thus causing a lump thru the chin strap padding and great discomfort on my jaw bone. Took 30 seconds to correct for my fix.

2) The "noisy" review I can't agree with at all. I discovered, after I installed speaker headsets behind the ear pads, that by repositioning the small black, trapezoid shaped, pads in the ear area, you could have in effect "ear plugs" that made the helmet very quiet and I could hear the 2 way radios much better as well.

3) One (comment below) mentioned that "vent assembly always falls off with in the first 4 weeks or the first time you drop it."  I have yet to have any vents fall off after 5 years with the N-100's and I never drop my helmet. If I did drop a helmet I've always understood that the helmet isn't worth wearing any longer and needs replacing!!!

4) Vents work okay, not great. I've never had a full face helmet vent "great" at all, ever.

5) Sun visor and visor in general work quite nice and don't seem to close on their own w/ wind.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this helmet and the N-com system as well. I might note that I'm very hard to please with any purchase so this goes a long way with my recommending to anyone that it fits well."


From "G.C." (11/08):  "The Nolan helmet top vents have always been extremely poor. I own the N-100, two N-100Es, and an N-102, and the complete vent assembly always falls off within the first 4 weeks or the first time you drop it. It whistles like hell on my FJR-1300, so I leave it off.

The other problem is that the side panels fall off within two weeks of fitting new ones, and they have pins to locate the visor cams, so it makes the visor fall down. It looks like they completely redesigned that.

The N-102 uses the same "push out & squeeze" latch, and it quickly becomes second nature to use.

My major complaint is that it's for a round head, and I have a very oval one. I have to spend a couple hours with a spoon to make it fit, but it's the only flip-up with a buckle instead of D-rings, so I'm stuck with it. I still have to buy an XXL and kind of rattle around in there.

I wish the Shoei flip-up had a buckle. And I don't mean that Echo POS.

When your bike is your main transportation, dicking around with D-rings quickly becomes tiresome, especially with gloves."


From "M.M.":  "Bikes used while testing helmet, Concours 1000, ST1300, CBR600F4i and SV650S. I have posted this review on several forums and 7 out of 10 owners have agreed with me.

Nolan N-102 Review after 12,000 Miles

Summary:  If you're sensitive to weight, price and noise, you will want to look elsewhere.

Helmet Fit and Comfort:  This helmet is obviously built for large round heads. The helmet fit my head for the most part but the foam over the forehead area was to tight and caused pressure that would give me a headache similar to a sinus headache after wearing it for 2+ hours.

I fixed this by attacking the foam with 80 grit paper to make more room for my “Neanderthal man” like forehead but the weight of the helmet still gives me a headache after a long days ride. The latch for the chin bar closes properly 8 out of 10 times. Sometime the chin bar comes down and has a vague feel to it so you have to re-open it and shut it again. I expected more from Nolan, after all my el cheapo Sy-max did not have this problem.

Air Flow:  As with most helmets the airflow inside just isn’t enough on hot days and way to much on cold days. Not sure what can be done about this but “helmet vents” are somewhat of a joke in my opinion anyway. They do nothing more than cause a lot of noise.

Visor:  I really do like the visor, the armor coating on the Lexan really does a great job preventing scratches. The one thing I DO not like is the latching system. It doesn’t seem to have a “positive” shut so at times when riding I question if the visor is all the way down or not. Mostly because of all the air leaks (more on this later).

Sun Shield and Nolan Fog Resistant System:  The sun shield is a great addition and could be useful on any helmet in my opinion. Being able to flip it down on sunny days and up on cloudy or night riding is a big plus!

Now the “Nolan Fog Resistant System” is something I didn’t clue into when I first purchased the helmet. When a manufacturer includes an accessory with this name a signal flare should go up. This helmet will fog over in the blink of an eye on days where NOHTING should ever fog over. It's one of the many complaints I have about this helmet. I did try the NFRS and it works “OK” but I think having to apply this Band-Aid (all the time because it will fog on a 90 degree clear summer day) to this poorly designed helmet is a big minus!

Retention Strap:  While it seemed cool at first I have grown to hate the retention strap. Its HUGE and in cold weather when your jacket is zipped all the way up and or you have a neck gator on this thing turns into something similar to baseball jamming you in the Adam's apple. Give me a strap with D rings over this thing any day!!

Noise and Aerodynamics:  Oh my god, time for the review to go south!  How noisy is this helmet?  Well I think not wearing a helmet at all would be quieter!  Honestly, why would Nolan release a helmet this loud when its supposed to be setup to integrate a blue-tooth module for communications?

I am sure glad I didn’t buy the whole shebang when I first purchased the helmet or I would really be upset. This is absolutely the loudest helmet I have ever placed on my head and the sad thing is the main reason I purchased it was to install the blue tooth for phone and intercom applications.

This would be nearly impossible for anyone to use unless they find themselves behind a big windshield. On a sport bike?  Forget about it, you are not going to be able to hear the speakers. I am sure the noise is a direct relation to the amount of air leaks this helmet has. Honestly it is so bad you have to wear glasses under the shield because at 80mph there are odd blast of wind that hit you in the eyes and eventually dry your eyes out or worse yet blow foreign matter into your eyes.

Aerodynamically this helmet is great unless you have a passenger. For some odd reason once you add another helmet within a few feet aft of the Nolan it starts to bob and weave all over the place. You start to feel like you’re a prize fighter trying to dodge the opponent’s jabs. I have never experienced this before with any other helmet in over 30 years of riding.

Weight and Price:  I consider myself a fairly burly guy and didn’t think an extra few ounces would make much of a difference. Holy cow was I wrong, the extra weight really starts to “weigh” on you at the 2 hour mark. I will never make this mistake again, weight is important!  At a $279.00 MSRP I feel this helmet is over priced by about $200. In fact I am pretty sure I wouldn’t buy another one for $50 so take that for what its worth.

Conclusions:  Well it’s a pretty helmet and seems to be built well but other than that I wouldn’t wish this thing on anyone. Would I recommend to a friend?  No, would I buy another one?  Hell NO!  The purchase of this helmet as been the largest waste of money to date on motorcycling gear."


From "D":  "There are a number of owner replies regarding the Nolan N-102 helmet and it's plusses and minuses but I thought it might be helpful to have some owner's comments that are specific to the N-com system in the N-102 - both basic and Bluetooth kit.

The installation of the basic kit and Bluetooth option in the N-102 is straightforward and the included directions are clear. The entire process might have taken me 25 minutes and consists of removing most of the helmet's inner liner to first put in place the speaker and the accompanying boom microphone.

It all snaps into place on the inside of the helmet and the liner fits back on without any issues. Two cables (power and aux) end up running around to the back of the helmet and hang just below the liner of the helmet at the very back.

The Bluetooth module installs by removing the small side cover on the N-102 and snapping it into the exposed cavity - fit is quite good. The BT module is connected on the inside of the helmet to the basic speaker/mic kit. I found the boom mic to be a little obtrusive and keep it folded back as much as possible when not in use. When it is folded down I have to work to get it to not press against my lips but can usually find a spot where it is just off to the side of my mouth which leads to much better voice quality on calls.

When it comes to performance of the system the N-Com performs brilliantly. Pairing with a phone happened easily and just as importantly, re-connecting with a phone, after the system or phone has been turned off, also takes place without intervention.

There are three small buttons on the BT "control panel" that serve the basic functions of up and down volume and connect and disconnect call. There is more that you can do, including voice activation of calls, but I have not played with those functions yet. The sound quality is excellent (even in a somewhat noisy helmet like the N-102) and it has been an almost cliché "I can't believe you are on your bike!" experience every time I use the phone.

Being able to put your helmet on with secure speakers and mic already connected combined with the excellent sound quality make the Nolan N-Com system an excellent choice for those looking for a communication solution on their bike. By the time you add the cost of the basic system and Bluetooth option to the base price of the N-102 helmet. you will have a considerable investment your "head gear" but the resulting package really works well.

I'm planning on testing the addition of a two-way radio via the AUX port to see how bike-to-bike communications work soon."


Update from "T.P." (See below):  "I sent comments on my new N102 a few months ago, and thought I would update.

All the features including chin strap and sun visor are still excellent in my book, and no breakage problems anywhere. Noise is still the only complaint I have, and it dawned on me at some point that the reason I may be having more trouble than others is that the helmet is HUGE!  I don't know this for sure, but it seems like my helmet has an XL shell which was then filled with padding to make it a "small".

Whether Nolan has different size shells, I don't know, but people almost invariably say that I look like an astronaut when I have the face flipped up, so thought it fits me well internally as a small, it seems to be too big externally for my head (and body?). So smaller-headed riders might want to try this guy on in front of a mirror or risk both extra wind noise and potentially looking goofy. Not that motorcyclists care about looking cool...

I have been moderating the wind noise with some success by stuffing a dress sock up into the neck roll from ear to ear after I put the helmet on, thereby creating a better fit along the back of my neck."


From "J.S.":  "Just a few observations on my relatively new N102. I bought it after years with my first modular (the original Schuberth), which was a poor fit but I endured only because of the convenient sunshield which I valued highly. But after too many migraines from a hard EPS shell pressing on my forehead I went with a new Nolan, which fit me much better (not a plus or minus -- just a matter of 'try before buy' experience).

The new Nolan's external sunshade is, as I suspected, not as good as the Schuberth's interior shield. And, as I expected, being external it's also a bug catcher. And it's either open or closed; no in-between position as with the Schuberth. There is a midpoint detent but the sunshield won't stay there at any speed. Unless it's all the way down, up it goes.

In the fully lowered position the bug-catching edge and related distortion fall right in my field of view (in a touring/more upright riding position). My Schuberth's shield was more substantial and the edge fell below my line of sight. Nolan could offer a choice of shield sizes/contours to overcome this, but probably won't.

Due to a close and more personally conforming fit, the Nolan is quieter for me, though not as good as the (again, for me) ideal-fitting full-face Baehr helmet I road-tested for a couple of weeks some years back. Again, the old Schuberth shouldn't be faulted as I could/should have purchased a size smaller than I did, but it was my first modular and I didn't know any better at the time.

I like the into-the-rising/setting-sun advantage of the Nolan sunshield so I won't remove it. But I'll add a stick-on removable sun visor to the top of the clear visor. It'll darken the Nolan's visor-down field of view at the top but cover that noonday sun area which the Nolan's visor misses in the full-up position. I've had no problem as yet with the whistling that you experienced, perhaps due to the noise-abating still snug but good fit the helmet offers me. Time may change that."


From "E.H.":  "OK here is a report on the Nolan N102 flip up helmet. I love it. My bike is a 2005 ZX-10R and I am 6'-3" tall so my head is completely in the airstream.

I rode to work this morning at the break of dawn. So I didn't want the dark shield. Tinted visor flipped up out of the way. With my head completely in the airstream no noise or chatter. I thought it may make noise because the VPS sun shield is not locked in real solid and flexes when touched. No problems. I tried the sun visor closed at 70 mph and still no noise.

Everything I read about Flip-ups said they were louder than any full face. The wind noise was not a big step up from my Shoei TZR -- not bad at all. There is a tight fitting curtain around the chin and sides that keeps noise down.

The Chin strap is the best design I have ever seen. It is like a ski buckle that is easy to use with gloves. It has a ratchet that lets you micro adjust the tightness. I read that this was to big. I didn't notice this at all. If the strap is a little loose you just click it a few more times. Here is the biggest plus. You don't have to snap the end of the strap to keep from it smacking your throat.

I wear a Shoei size large and the Nolan fits about the same maybe tighter on the skull. The only possible issue is the distance from your chin to the chin bar. I also read that flip ups have less room here. My chin is almost touching the chin bar but it is ok with me.

The latch mechanism for the chin bar is one handed which is easy and intuitive to use. The latch buttons are not going to come open if you hit the pavement. The latch mechanism has metal locking connections. No, it's not as strong as the cheapest full face but I still feel protected.

The visor comes with an anti fog Pinlock shield insert. These are awesome. They are a thin layer of plastic that acts to double glaze your visor. There is a small layer of air trapped between the two shields that really does keep the visor from fogging. It was 52 degrees F when I rode and the small edges around the Pinlock were fogged up but not the Pinlock. The Pinlock must be cleaned with the softest cotton and water or other mild cleaner. It is softer than the visor. Do not use Plexus plastic cleaner on the Pinlock.

The visor mechanism is pretty complicated and doesn't seem like it will withstand a lot of on and off. Just plan on cleaning the shield on the helmet. The visibility from the sides is much better. You don't have to turn your head as far to see. This helmet was released the first year without NCom capability so if you want Ncom make sure it says N102 NCom. The Bluetooth Ncom works with your phone, GPS (Bluetooth), MP3 ( Bluetooth), and non Bluetooth devices via cable. I have found a PTT Bluetooth adaptor for two way radios in Europe but none here in the US. The chatterbox will not mount up to the side of this helmet."


From "D.G.":  "I recently moved from an AGV Airtech to the Nolan. I wanted a flip-up and the Nolan seemed grand. I'm not too bothered by noise as it's certainly quieter than the AGV (what isn't?), but....

The visor detaching saga is a farce. I LOVE the AGV's simple pop and remove. Every time I want to do something to the visor (which is frequently - read on...) I have to go through an operation similar to repairing the extendable arm on the Space Shuttle, and each time I do, the pins and springs get a bit weaker. One finally broke this morning.

Now why am I constantly disassembling the lid?  It steams up!  I think I have a duffer, and I'm taking it back to the shop tomorrow, but it mists so badly I can't see anything. I've tried all sorts, I've taken it back to have the shop guys play with it - Fog City indeed!

I'm sorry this is a rather negative review - I'll update you when (or if) it's fixed. This being Scotland - something that works in the rain would be nice!"


From "S.P.":  "I found your web site today and I think I will be back many more times in the near future as I need to replace much of my motorcycle gear. I fell off my bike a month ago on the NY Thruway. I landed face first on my Nolan N102 chin bar. It has a nasty road rash as does my Nitro jacket and Shift over pants. My only road rash was due to the failure of my summer weight perforated leather gloves and this was minor. I did have significant internal injuries, but none to my face, head or neck.

There seems to be some general concern with the safety of the modular helmet design. Yes, you have to follow the directions and make sure that the latch has closed on both sides. Once on properly, if my face first landing is any indication, the helmet did it's job just fine.

While noise level and comfort level are very individual due to shapes and styles, (head and riding) LOL. Over the past two years I found the features of the N102 to meet my needs. It is very stable in the wind, I rode with and without a windshield. It is convenient, with my glasses and with the retention strap which once set (read the directions) is not only fast, but always goes to the correct setting, not to loose or too tight.

And for those of us that commute east in the morning and west in the evening the sun shield is a god send. No more stopping to change shield at sunset and then again at dark, or fighting to add my clip-on sun glasses while in traffic. FYI, the fog resistant system works too. My custom made ear plugs have made noise a non-issue."


From "T.P.":  "I recently bought an N102 based on your review and others, and like many others I am very happy with it except that I find it noisy at 30 mph and very noisy above 50 mph, to the point that I wonder if it is worth it to have a helmet that I can put on and take off without removing my glasses.

Everything else about the helmet is great, so much so that if I decide to move to a non-flip full-face I would most likely buy another Nolan. It is very comfortable on my oval head. Construction quality is outstanding. I like the VPS system, though I suspect it may be contributing to noise by directing airflow toward the pivot point. And while the wBW stance on d-rings seems reasonable on its face, I really like the Nolan's chinstrap. It is just as infinitesimally adjustable as d-rings since you can adjust the strap at the buckle as well as at the connector, and it's a snap to buckle and unbuckle with gloves on, a boon in colder weather and something I absolutely cannot do with d-rings.

(Also) I actually can reduce the noise in this helmet significantly just by pushing it down on the top of my head. So the way the helmet sits on my head has a big impact, but I don't see any way to make it ride lower, and it's kinda hard to ride one-handed at 70 mph while pushing down hard on the top of my helmet."


From "E.J.":  "I have had my Nolan N102 helmet for a while now, and I'm fairly pleased with it. Yes, it is noisy. I think it's even noisier than the HJC SyMax I used before the Nolan. Still, nothing a quality set of ear plugs won't fix.

I have some issues with the whole chin bar latching system. Occasionally, the chin bar will not properly engage when it is swung down toward the lock position. The sides of the chin bar get out of alignment, pushing out the side of the bar and leaving it unable to latch. It's an intermittent problem, though.

I can usually resolve it by holding the unlocking mechanism in the "open" position as I close the chin bar. I have to make sure the latches are fully engaged when I do this though. It's easy to tell when they're not, because the chin bar will stick out a quarter to half inch on the unlatched side! I've had this problem on warm days and cool days, whether the helmet has been in the sun or in the house.

Other than that, the helmet has been quite comfortable. I especially enjoy the chin curtain. The SyMax lacked that feature, and it was one of the main reasons I bought the Nolan. The visor is great, if you're wearing smoke or gray tinted sunglasses. I usually wear bronze or amber lenses, and the combination cuts out too many colors to be comfortable. If an amber visor was available, I'd be a happy man.

Thanks, wBW, for continuing to provide an excellent service. I'll be back!"

UPDATE: "Quick update for you. I contacted Nolan via e-mail and received a reply the next day from their US supplier. They have offered to rebuild the helmet if I ship it to them. There was no mention of a charge. I'm waiting to hear how long the turn-around will be."


From "M.B.":  "Based largely on the wBW review, I purchased a Nolan N102 helmet. I concur with your reviewers comments -- with one exception. For me, the helmet is VERY noisy. Yes, I am comparing it to a quiet helmet (Shoei RF-series). But even with properly inserted earplugs, I get significant wind noise. Since I do long rides (often 300-500 miles), this is a problem for me.

However, the excess noise may be a function of directed airflow. On my VFR, I have a Zero Gravity "Double-Bubble" windscreen (which I love). I'm going to switch to the stock windscreen -- I'm hoping the lower air stream will quiet things down. Even if it does, I'll hate to lose the ZG screen. If it doesn't, I'm afraid the N102 will probably be consigned to shorter rides (I'll let you know what happens).

Oh, and I have come to like the strap retention mechanism. I was leery of it at first, but it is so fast and easy with gloves, that I've really come to appreciate it. Only downside is that it DOESN'T work with my helmet lock on the bike. This isn't much of an issue for me, as I rarely use the helmet lock anyway, and have a light cable that I can lock it with if I'm concerned about casual theft."


From "G.C.":  "I replaced my (Nolan) N100E with an N102 about 2 years ago when it first came out, and I love it. With glasses, "normal" helmets are not an option.

I also like being able to "zip and go" so I hate D-rings and I love the Nolan buckle. It's nice being able to zip it closed and hang the helmet over your arm, freeing up your hands. If I had to use D-rings, I would probably stop wearing a helmet.

You're right about the visor removal. Holy cow, that's the big flaw in the helmet. My side plates fell off, but Nolan replaced them free of charge, and the replacements fit much better. The top vent fell off too, but it it's so ugly I left it off. That also stopped an annoying whistle.

The biggest improvement over the N100E is the one-handed latch system. The N100E usually required both hands and never really became "second nature" like the N102 has. I feel secure that if I hit something, the latch isn't coming loose.

Thanks for a "spot-on" review."


From "H.T.":  "Thank you for reviewing this helmet. I've been using one for more than 1 year now finding it to be an excellent helmet that has no weaknesses. Fit, finish, and comfort is very good, plus it is sleek-looking in my opinion.

The Nolan Modular Retention system is a superior latch compared to the D-Ring, which I find is slow and awkward to use particularly with gloves on. Also, the Nolan MRS is very simple to adjust the fit for comfort once it is attached because of the notches on the strap and the lever latch.

My only complaint is that the N102 has some helmet whistle at Interstate highway speed that may be more a function of the standard FJR1300 wind screen and helmet interaction. I changed it out to a GIVI screen and the whistle is hardly noticeable now, but there is sharply lower wind buffeting now. (You may want to review it - I really like it).

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