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URBAN Helmets N350 Moto

URBAN Helmets N350 Moto Motorcycle Helmet

URBAN Helmets N350 Moto - Helmet Liner

by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com

More:  wBW Reviews Home  |  Urban N20 Astro Helmet Review  |  Owner Comments (Below)

UPDATE: As of December 2010, Urban Helmets is apparently no longer in business.

UPDATE:  September 21, 2007 - Photos and information on the DOT safety standard versions of the URBAN N20 Astro and N350 Moto helmets!

The N20 full-face retails for only $199.95 in Matte Black and $229.95 for graphics.  The N350 Moto shown here retails for $179.95.  The helmets are now DOT safety standard in the U.S.A. 

 Also see the wBW review of the Craft R2 and RX6 helmets sold by SMF Cycles).

Summary:  The N350 Moto is a high quality helmet at a very reasonable price.

Part 1 of our look at the new URBAN line of motorcycle helmets covered the URBAN N20 Astro, an excellent value for the money. 

The full-face N20 Astro features outstanding quality, which is especially noteworthy for a brand-new helmet manufacturer and a helmet at this price point.

We explained the URBAN Helmets story in more detail in that review, and you may recall that URBAN is a completely new brand in the UK.  The helmets are made in Europe and they're priced to compete with the Asian brands.

The release of the URBAN N350 Moto as the second offering of a brand-new helmet company may seem curious, but in reality I think the timing for this style is prescient, considering the recent popularity of retro motorcycles like Ducati GT1000, the Moto Guzzi Griso, the Triumph Thruxton and others. 

The URBAN N350 Moto is what we've been calling a "scooter style" or "jet" helmet, for lack of another term.  This style is becoming very popular in Europe and now in the U.S.A. 

But "scooter style" is a pretty broad (and probably inaccurate) description of this modern take on the open-face helmet.  This style has also been evolving into two different design paths, with some companies leaning towards the N350's retro styling cues while others are taking a sort of post-retro approach to styling.  An example of the latter is the Dainese Jet Stream Tourer we reviewed recently. 

Call 'em what you will, one thing's for sure: any new design movement that offers more helmet choices is good news, so we're all for it!  And hey, who knows -- maybe the popularity of these helmets will also finally light a fire under scooter sales in the U.S., something that's been predicted for several years now but has yet to materialize.

Paint and Finish
The N350 comes in your choice of 14 different colors, all with an interesting rubberized finish.  The "URBAN MOTO" text is the only graphic to break up the solid colors.  Some will like it while others won't. 

The text and, in fact, the helmet itself is reminiscent of the MOMO Komposit we reviewed a few years ago, which was a ground-breaking design back then and one of the first retro flavored scooter style helmets on the market.  I'd rather see some stripes or other retro design cues, rather than the text, but others may disagree.

It's always hard to evaluate the paint quality of a solid color helmet, but the N350 does have the same overall attention to detail and high quality as the N20 Astro.  The paint, with its rubberized finish, is evenly applied with no runs, drips or dust marks.  All of the color choices for this helmet are unique; they're  pale shades of rich metallic hues that look like they were recently lifted from George Barris' palette.  Not all of the colors have the slightly metallic look and feel of the silver/grey finish on our example; there are several non-metallic matte color choices.

If you've never touched this type of rubberized surface that is becoming popular with helmet manufacturers lately, I can tell you that it's a pretty interesting experience.  The surface has a cool grippy feel.  It feels like rubber but it isn't.  The combination of the semi-matte finish, the very slightly rough-on-purpose texture and the metallic look of our N350 softly diffuses the light that falls over the helmet, subtly adding to the distinctive shape and surface features.  It's a perfect match for the helmet's design, actually.

The "URBANMOTO" text is either painted on or is applied as part of the finish itself, it's hard to tell.  There seems to be no separation or noticeable height difference between the text and the helmet's surface.  The text is perfectly aligned and although you may argue with the aesthetics of the stylized font running up and down the helmet, it's at least nicely applied, which prevents it from looking cheap.

Overall, the paint, finish and detailing on the N350 Moto demonstrates the same high levels of quality we found on the N20 Astro. The fittings and the edge trim on the N350 are perfectly aligned with no glue marks and excellent quality stitching.

Helmet Fit
Of course, open-face helmets fit quite differently than their full-face cousins, and I've found that I usually have to take one size smaller than normal for a good fit.  The N350 is no exception and the size large fits my extra-large head. 

It's always strange putting on a helmet like this after wearing a full-face for so many years, but the N350 has a round-ish internal shape that works for me as long as I push it firmly down on to my head.  Like many open-face helmets, the N350 does feel like it's sitting a bit high, but my experience with this style helmet leads me to believe that this will change after break in.

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

Liner
The liner in the N350 Moto feels plush and comfy, not always the case with open-face helmets for some reason.  The liner is shaped so that the ear sections extend a bit lower than the bottom of the helmet, behind the retro-styled ear flaps that form part of the chin strap.  The extensions provide enough padding to cover my ears and it also helps to keep the noise levels lower than they would be otherwise.

The liner is very well made, with a combination of some type of black microfiber on the parts that touch the head and the typical helmet liner fabric covering the rest.

Again, this is all very much different than is typical for helmets in this class, and it's a very nice surprise, especially considering the low price.

URBAN Helmets N350 Moto - Front View

URBAN Helmets N350 Moto - Visor

Venting
Not much to say here.  It's a short, open-face design.  You get lots of air flow, whether you want it or not.

The N350 doesn't have the top vents that it doesn't need; the only type of open-face helmet that might need top vents is the 3/4-style.

Noise Levels
Although you'd think any open-face helmet would transmit higher noise levels than a full-face helmet, this isn't necessarily so, as our many helmet reviews have demonstrated.  It all depends on the design of the helmet, the liner, the fit and other factors.  We have used open-face helmets that for one reason or another were quieter than some full-face helmets.

The N350 does transmit relatively high noise levels, but the plush liner and the little bit of extra length over the ears does seem to help.  Let's put it this way: I've worn louder helmets and I've worn quieter helmets, but the N350 works very well behind a big fairing, like the barn door on Burn's K1100LT.  In fact, I bet a lot of touring bike owners will go for this style helmet.

Remember that 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.  And for more information on helmet noise, be sure to visit the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Noise page.

Rotating Visor
The N350 Moto has a lightly tinted rotating sun visor.  The visor is riveted to a plastic mounting, which is attached to the helmet on the sides with a machined aluminum nut.

The visor has a nice, positive feel as it rotates through its middle and top open positions.  It feels solid, unlike some of the other helmets with this style that we've tried.  I find that I have to push the helmet down on my head and slightly forward for the visor to close down low enough so that the cutout for the nose doesn't interfere with my line of sight when riding.  This is a common problem on the internal or external rotating sun visors on any type of helmet.

Helmet Weight
The URBAN N350 Moto in size large weighs a miniscule 1056 grams, or 2 lbs., 5-1/4 oz.  This makes it the lightest weight open-face helmet we've reviewed.  Other than the slightly top-heavy feel, which I think will change over time as the helmet becomes broken in, the weight is virtually unnoticeable. 

One of the joys of wearing an open-face helmet like this is the freedom it offers in terms of movement.  This is especially noticeable at stop signs or turns, when swinging your head back and forth without resistance is a real treat.

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

Other Features
The N350 uses one of the so-called "quick release" fittings, which are becoming more common on European helmets.  We don't like them and prefer the easy adjustment of a D-ring, but once the strap is adjusted on the N350, the latch works without problems.

The helmet also has an non-allergenic removable liner.

Conclusion
The URBAN N350 demonstrates that the company has discovered the formula for making nicely designed, high-quality helmets at surprisingly reasonable prices.  In fact, I'd say that from the examples we've seen so far, the URBAN helmets are among the highest quality motorcycle helmets we've tried, regardless of price. 

I don't know how they do this, to be honest, because the helmet is manufactured in Europe, not the first place one thinks of for low-cost manufacturing. 

If you like this style helmet, the N350 should be high on your shopping list.  I can tell you that there are way too many very cheap feeling open-face and scooter style helmets, because the manufacturers apparently feel that they can cut corners with this design and no one will complain.  The N350 sets a new standard for quality that has raised the bar at this price point.


wBW Video Tour of the URBAN N350 Moto Motorcycle Helmet

wBW Product Review:  URBAN Helmets N350 Moto

Available From:  URBAN Helmets (UK) (Note: As of December 2010, the company is apparently no longer in business). Suggested Retail Price:  $179.95 USD; £79.99
Colors: 14 different hues. Made In: E.U.
Summary:  Meets DOT approval in the U.S.A. and ECE 22.05 safety standards for Europe. 

More:  690x650 pixel photo of the URBAN N20 Astro (JavaScript window)

Review Date: March 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

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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 "D.A." (6/09):  " like the helmet quite a bit. T he small seems to fit well, but of course itís unfortunate I couldnít try on an XS before ordering.

One huge concern: about 600 miles into a 1,000+ trip, the visor began to crack at the lower rivets on both sides. The cracks spread a bit during the trip and a piece of visor has flaked off.  Luckily it held up for entire trip without splitting in half.  I emailed SMF Cycles today and am awaiting a reply.

Follow-up:  All's well that ends well.  They asked me to send back the visor for a replacement.  Upon removing it, it appears all six fasteners are beginning to crack on the inside.  They stated they would be sending it back to the manufacturer for analyzing.

Theyíre replacing my visor, the only explanation I can think of for the visor is that it was bad materials or perhaps whoever riveted it to the hinges didnít do it correctly, causing all the premature cracking.

You might want to also note that my helmet did not come with a removable liner."


From "D.R." (5/09):  "Love the helmet is very comfortable and quiet.  However, the graphic takes away from the looks.  I have had the helmet now for almost a year, it is holding up ok, although the shield has loosened up a bit.  I've tried to tighten it to no avail.  The helmet gives great wind protection for a 3/4 helmet and is very quiet since your ears are covered.  I would buy this helmet again."


From "PatyJ" (3/09):  "When I ordered my new motorcycle, a Harley Davidson Sportster Low, I began search for a cool retro motorcycle helmet.  The Urban N350 Moto caught my attention and when it became available in the US, I was sold.

I talked about it to everyone and anyone, while I patiently waited for it to arrive at my home in Canada.  Upon arrival, I eagerly opened the box and removed the helmet Ö.. to gales of laughter from my family.  This helmet is HUGE.  The XS fit me perfectly but it looks HUGE.  Iíve stubbornly worn my beautiful green helmet for over a year now, often defending it with tales of comfort and quality.  But to be honest, I donít feel the least bit slick in this fish bowl."

Editor's Reply:  It can be very difficult to find a helmet that looks proportional on an XS head size and it depends on the range of helmet shell sizes used by the manufacturer.  A large shell with a small head size usually means more padding, which can give the "fish bowl" look.


From "S":  "The "URBANMOTO" text is either painted on or is applied as part of the finish itself, it's hard to tell.  There seems to be no separation or noticeable height difference between the text and the helmet's surface. The text is perfectly aligned and although you may argue with the aesthetics of the stylized font running up and down the helmet, it's at least nicely applied, which prevents it from looking cheap.

Rick, good review.  This helmet would be exactly what I am looking for if not for the tacky "URBAN MOTO" graphic across the helmet.  You let them off to easily, this kind of helmet decal should be either removable (peeling off) or they should offer models without graphics.  I love the fighter pilot design, the half-visor, and the rubber texture, but the huge text graphic is just too awful.  Man, so close!"


From "M.T.":  "A few thoughts on the Urban N350 Moto helmet: The review you gave it is spot on.  This is a great, quality helmet with a insanely affordable price tag.  Especially if you compare it to similar type helmets like Momo.  This helmet has attitude and is a head turner.  Go get one now before the secret gets out and the price goes up.  Thanks webBikeWorld for your review and keep up the good work."

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