Summary: Very lightweight helmet
with super-cool Casey Stoner replica graphics. Neutral
fit. Interesting new type of visor release.
Otherwise fairly average and very loud, probably due to
minimal padding around the back and bottom of the helmet.
We blew it! We've had this Nolan N94
Casey Stoner replica helmet kicking around for several weeks,
and I was working on the review, hoping to post it on the
day that Casey Stoner took the MotoGP Championship, which
has been inevitable since about half-way through the season.
(Editor's Note: We blew it?? WE??
What's with this "we" stuff??)
So along comes Sunday's
MotoGP race at Motegi, which started on a wet track,
usually a portent for a complete mixup in the normal finishing
order. Surely Stoner would wait until the next race
to take the Championship with a win on his home turf in
Australia? This would give me 3 more weeks to finish
Nope. You know the rest: Rossi chokes
and Stoner gains enough points to win the Championship at
Thanks, Casey! So I'm rushing this
review for publication with apologies for the brevity.
(Editor's Note: Let me get this straight:
So it's Stoner's fault the review wasn't done in time??)
The N94 is Nolan's top-of-the-line racing
helmet. It was developed by Casey Stoner, along with
Marco Melandri and other racers. The helmet's main
feature is the bag molded composite fiber shell, which makes
it very light at 1499 grams, one of the lightest full-face
size XL helmets we've reviewed (see the
Motorcycle Helmet Weights page for a chart that compares
the weights of all of the helmets we've reviewed).
The N94 is not yet available in the U.S.A.
and I'm not sure if it will be anytime soon, especially
with the incredibly weak greenback -- the price of the N94
Stoner replica is astronomical.
We thought for sure that the N94 Casey Stoner
replica would be a big hit, but I don't think Nolan full-face
helmets are all that popular in the U.S.A. for a variety
of reasons, one of which is: where's Nolan's U.S.A. website?
I can't find it, which is strange.... Yep, there's a "nolanhelmets.com"
run by Extreme Supply, an online retailer, but there doesn't
appear to be an official Nolan web presence in the U.S.A.
So don't expect the N94 here anytime soon...
By the way, the N94 is also available in
four other replica graphic patterns, but why bother?
Stoner's the champ!
Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality The N94 in the Casey Stoner replica graphics is a real
stunner. The colors are deep and vibrant, and although
you may notice that the pattern isn't exactly the same as
Stoner's real helmet, it's a pretty close approximation.
The clear coat seems thick and the overall
paint quality is high. But otherwise the helmet doesn't
break any new ground; in fact, it seems like a rather conservative
and almost boring design overall.
I'm also not too keen on the top vent chamber
assembly, which is stuck on to the top of the helmet shell
without much finesse. It all fits rather well, but
just seems uninspired, like it was designed to be as simple
as possible (perhaps to save weight?) and glued on top as
The operation of the vent mechanism on both
vents is adequate (see below), as is the visor, but both
are fairly normal and, in fact, don't look much different
than what might be found on many $200 helmets. Since
the N94 Stoner replica retails for £315.00,
which is about $636.00, you'd think you'd get a bit more
pizzazz. 600-plus bucks is a lot of dosh for a helmet...
Score: I'll give the N94 Stoner replica
a "Good" for paint, graphics and quality, but
if I was scoring it on value, it would be quite a different
story (see ratings scale in summary table below).
Helmet Fit and Comfort The N94
is pretty comfortable, mostly because of the silky-feeling
liner. There's not a heck of a lot of padding inside,
which becomes a noise issue as we'll see, but the liner
material makes up for it to some extent.
"Unitherm" is Nolan's name for
the microfiber fabric; the material is supposed to keep
the rider "warm and dry in cold weather conditions
and cool when hot". I've been wearing the helmet
in some pretty toasty temperatures and the fabric does seem
to work as designed and I do notice that it stays relatively
The liner is removable and cheek pads are
available in a variety of widths for a custom fit.
Also, the helmet has no padding over the
ear pockets. Some hard pieces of plastic are fitted
instead, and I think this affects the noise levels, as we'll
Score: I'll give the N94 a "Good"
rating for fit and comfort.
Nolan N94 Casey Stoner Replica Helmet, Rear View
Nolan N94 Casey Stoner Replica; Top View
Nolan N94 Top Vent
Nolan N94 Chin Vent
Internal Shape The N94 has a neutral
fit, with slightly narrow sides but round on top.
It should fit a variety of head shapes from barely long
oval to round, but true long oval shapes may find that the
helmet puts some pressure on the forehead.
I do notice that, like many other "full
race" helmets, the Nolan N94 is slightly shorter in
the top-to-bottom dimensions, and my chin sticks out just
a touch from the bottom of the helmet. I think they
try to shave off as much of the shell as possible in this
type of helmet to save every gram of weight.
For more information on motorcycle helmet
internal shapes and selecting and fitting motorcycle helmets,
see the wBW
Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page.
Score: I give the helmet a "Very
Good" rating for its relatively neutral fit.
Air Flow The N94 has some fairly
basic venting, with switch-operated chin and top vents.
The chin vent has a positive opening and closing, with a
different configuration than most street helmets.
The two vents fold open downwards, which helps direct air
into the helmet when the rider is in a racing tuck.
This is fine for racing, but not so fine
at legal street speeds or when the rider isn't splayed out
over the fuel tank. When the rider is in a more upright
riding position, the air flows more directly on to the vents,
then has to find its way up and over the vent opening and
down into the helmet.
There are two filtered ducts through the
chin bar, but I don't really notice a lot of air flow from
the chin vents unless my head is tilted forward in a sort
of motorcycle racing position.
The top vent also opens and closes with
a switch, and you'd think that the switch would operate
front-to-rear to match the operation of the chin vent --
forward to close, backward to open would make sense.
Instead, the switch operates side-to-side,
and I always have to look at the helmet before a ride to
remember which direction opens the vent and which direction
closes it: right to close, middle for half-open and left
for full open.
Thankfully, the vent does seem to work at
street speeds and I do feel the air coming in, partly because
the liner is fairly thin on top and has some mesh openings
that allow the air to flow down on to the rider's head.
The N94 has no rear or side exhaust vents,
which I think is rather strange.
Score: Overall, I give the N94 a "Good"
rating for venting and air flow.
Nolan N94 visor removal mechanism and visor lock.
Tour of the Nolan N94 Casey Stoner Replica Helmet
Visor The clear visor has a tab
in the center for raising and lowering, and once you get
used to this location, it actually works pretty well.
It also prevents the visor from twisting as it is being
There are only four detents to hold the
visor open, which I guess is adequate for racing.
The visor has a switch lock on the left-hand side, which
prevents it from opening at speed.
The visor fits tightly to the eye port gasket
seal, but it does seem to have a wider-than-normal gap between
the visor and the shell. I would think some air would
catch in there at high speeds, but who knows?
The eye port seems narrower in both the
top-to-bottom and side-to-side dimensions than other helmets,
which is also a surprise to me. The top of the eye
port is in my field of vision when riding, especially when
Various colored tinted visors are available
as replacements, along with visors pegged for tear-offs.
The standard visor is claimed to be treated with anti-fog
coating, but the weather has been too warm to evaluate this
The visor uses yet another new type of removal
mechanism. It took me a while to figure out how it
works: raise the visor, then push in a small button, slide
the visor down and then out. It pops back in fairly
easily, but doesn't seat until the visor is lowered.
It works, but somehow doesn't seem as robust
as other helmets I've worn. Although it's mucho better
than Arai's old-fashioned and complex visor attachment system...
Score: I'll give the N94 a "Good"
for the quality of the visor, its centrally located tab
and the visor seal against the eye port.
Noise and Aerodynamics The light
weight and aerodynamics of the N94 seem to prevent most
of the movement that can occur from buffeting and cross-winds.
However, my opinion is that the N94 is a
very noisy helmet; in fact, I'd say it's among the loudest
helmets I've tried, and I've tried plenty.
The problem seems to be caused by a gap
in the liner between the cheek pads and the helmet liner,
just where the back of the cheek pads end.
When I'm wearing the helmet, I can easily
stick my finger up into this gap all the way up behind my
ears. I can feel the hard plastic liner in the gap
and under the thin padding in the rear of the helmet.
Compounding this, the bottom of the helmet
shell on the sides has a slight upward scallop, and this
seems to cause the air and turbulence to flow up into the
back of the helmet at this critical area, just at the gap
between the liner and the cheek pad.
The bottom part of the liner is also comparatively
thin, which also doesn't do much to block the air flow and
turbulence. And the helmet liner in the back of the
helmet is also very thin, which doesn't offer much insulation
from ambient noise.
The result is that the helmet transmits
a very loud wind rushing noise; not necessarily the low-frequency "booming"
noise that is usually caused by windscreen turbulence, but
just a continuous loud air blast noise that seems to start
around 30 MPH and continues. It's so loud that I honestly
can't wear this helmet for extended periods, and I always
wear high-quality, properly fitted ear plugs when riding.
Now perceived noise levels are highly variable
and are based on owner opinions and can vary depending upon
the way the helmet fits. 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.
Score: Sorry, I'll have to rate the
N94 as "Unacceptable" when it comes to noise;
it's one of the loudest helmets I've ever worn, both behind
a fairing and on a "naked" bike.
Weight The N94 may cut some corners,
but it pays off in the weight department. Our size
XL weighs just 1499 grams (3 lbs., 4-7/8 oz.), which puts
it among the lightest full-face helmets we've reviewed.
But you know what? We've learned over
the years that weight isn't everything -- in fact, it's
not really that important. Fit, comfort and balance
are crucial, and we've found that some heavier helmets just
feel better because they fit correctly and they're comfortable.
I'd much rather the N94 add a few grams
in padding and noise control. This brings up the issue
of the value of race helmets for the street, although I
suppose some amateur racers may use helmets of this type
also. For street use, the graphics would be cool but
more creature comforts would be appreciated.
Score: The N94 gets an "Outstanding"
when it comes to light weight, but it comes at the expense
of some other important characteristics.
Miscellaneous The N94 uses the
preferred D-ring chin strap, and the strap includes a nice
snap to secure the loose end.
Conclusions Casey Stoner fans
will surely want this helmet, but to be honest, my feeling
is that there isn't really a compelling reason to own it.
It is a rather conservative design and I just don't feel
that it's worth over $600.00. The extreme noise levels
make it very uncomfortable for me, so it's ended up gracing
a shelf, making it an expensive indulgence.