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
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
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
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
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,
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
The URBAN N350 Moto in size large weighs a miniscule 1056 grams, or 2 lbs.,
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.
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.
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
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
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
Video Tour of the URBAN N350 Moto Motorcycle
wBW Product Review: URBAN Helmets N350 Moto
Helmets (UK) (Note: As of December 2010, the company is apparently no
longer in business).
Retail Price: $179.95 USD; £79.99
14 different hues.
Made In: E.U.
Summary: Meets DOT approval in the U.S.A. and ECE 22.05 safety
standards for Europe.
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
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."