Can someone think of a better name than “flip-up” for this type of helmet? After all, they’re becoming very popular.
And with good reason — flip-ups are really convenient for things like fueling up, talking to toll booth attendants, and where I work, for matching my face to my I.D. badge at the guard shack in the morning.
But one of the primary benefits of flip-up helmets is that they offer potentially better protection for eyeglass wearers, who may have only been able to wear open-face helmets before the flip-front was invented.
It’s not always easy to shove a pair of eyeglasses into a full-face helmet; in fact, with some helmets, it’s downright impossible. To help solve this problem, I’ve concocted a special pair with “shorty” arms that I can slide between the sides of a full-face helmet and my head.
I’m still experimenting with the best frame type and design, and I’ll report on my progress someday, but in the meantime, flip-ups are great for those of us who wear eyeglasses!
For some reason, flip-up design and technology doesn’t seem to be evolving as rapidly as it is for full-face or race-replica helmets. This is somewhat strange, considering the growing popularity of flip-ups. But the HJC Sy-max is one of the newest flip-up designs available, regardless of brand, and it has features that bring it closer to full-face functionality than any other flip-up I can think of. I’ve tried several flip-ups, and I own an older design (the Lazer Century), and the HJC really does seem to be more modern than any of them.
The first thing you notice is that the Sy-Max seems lighter than other flip-ups. One of these days, I’ll have to get a scale to weigh the helmets we test, but the subjective opinion is that the Sy-Max definitely feels lighter. (Editor’s Note: I finally got the scale; the Sy-Max weighs in at 1646 grams, which is actually 1 gram heavier than the Lazer Century. Still, it carries its weight nicely!)
This may be because the shell is made of a fiberglass compound with an ABS and polycarbonate chin bar, vs. the polycarbonate shells of some competing brands. The Sy-Max also has an alloy reinforcing structure inside the chin bar, which probably saves weight and may offer more protection than the plastic pieces in other flip-up helmets. The bottom line is that the Sy-Max feels lighter than several other full-face and race replica helmets we’ve tried.
Paint and Finish
The finish on this Candy Red example is just about perfect; the paint seems thick, shiny and smooth. It’s a really wonderful red; a true “candy” red that shows up very nicely in sunlight. The Sy-Max is available in some basic colors: solid black or white, and some metallics in Candy Red, Wine Red, Silver, and Pearl White.
The Sy-Max has a modern look to it; it’s basic and functional, yet it doesn’t look clumsy. The front releases via a single button at the bottom center of the chin bar. You push the button forward and up with your thumb, and a positive click releases it.
When you swing the front all the way up, another positive click holds it in place in the raised position. It feels very solid, unlike other flip-ups that often have a kind of flimsy feel to them and don’t always stay in the raised position.
Most flip-ups use only friction to hold the front up, and if you knock the helmet, look down, or turn your head too quickly when the front is flipped up, it can come smashing down. The Sy-Max has a definite locking mechanism that holds the front solidly up; in fact, you have to use the same central release to lower the front back in place. In my opinion, this is a definite plus and should be standard on all flip-up helmets.
The visor is part of the flip-up front, and the “ears” that cover the rotating mechanism are recessed and set nearly flush with the sides of the helmet when closed. The rotating “ears” have a really nice design feature — they have rubber gaskets that seal out air and noise when the front is closed. This is a very subtle feature that you probably wouldn’t think about or notice on other brands of flip-ups, but it’s obvious that HJC did their homework on this design, and it pays dividends in noise reduction.
Many flip-ups suffer from noise intrusion via the sides of the rotating flip-front mechanism. The Sy-Max is, in my opinion, very quiet for a flip-up style helmet. In fact, it’s quieter than other full-face helmets I own. I’m sure that the design of the rotating front is responsible for this; flip-ups are, in general, not noted for their ability to control wind noise.
Now don’t forget that I always wear properly inserted earplugs (see the wBWHearing Protection and Earplugspage), so your experience may differ. But I review every helmet under the same conditions — earplugs and the same helmet liner — and I can say that the Sy-Max has less obtrusive wind noise than some other flip-up helmets I’ve tried.
HJC also includes a pair of extra pads that can be easily installed in the cutouts for the ears, which help reduce noise even further if you’re not using the space for speakers for a communications device.
Liner and Fit
The liner is removable, and although the liner material is about average for a good helmet (it feels much like an HJC AC-10, if you’ve ever tried one), it fits my round shaped head very nicely.
Remember that helmets have a very personal fit and that human heads are very differently shaped, so if you have a “long oval” shaped head, you might have a different experience, but I found the Sy-Max to be comfortable right out of the box, with no “hot spots” after several hours of riding.
I do notice that the Sy-Max feels like it has a slightly higher center of gravity than other helmets. My chin at first seemed to be about even with the bottom of the helmet; but after the helmet was broken in, which seemed to take a bit longer than other helmets, it fits my round head well. The fit is nice and firm, so I have to pull the helmet down a bit more than normal to ensure a good fit; this isn’t a problem, just a characteristic of the Sy-Max.
I do feel a lot of air coming in under the chinbar, and it creates some turbulence that seems to be the single source of noise with the helmet. When sitting upright, as on a standard, cruiser or touring bike, I don’t notice the turbulence at all; it just about disappears. But when leaned forward a bit, like on a bike with low, flat bars or a sportbike, the angle of attack of the helmet causes air to rush under the chinbar, which creates some tickling turbulence and noise. It would be nice if HJC offered a chin curtain for this helmet, which I think could solve the problem.
The Sy-Max has a chinbar vent that directs air up onto the visor in front of the small breath deflector. The vent has three opening positions from closed, so there is some adjustability in the amount of air that enters.
The vents behind the breath guard do not flow air directly on to the rider’s face; I’ve noticed that some helmets have this “double venting” feature on their breath guards and some don’t.
There’s also a vacuum operated venting system on top of the helmet, with a two-position vent opening. I don’t really feel a strong airflow on top of my head, but my head doesn’t get hot inside the helmet either, so it must be doing its job. The liner does have some openings to allow the air to circulate around the top of your head.
As mentioned above, depending upon your riding position, a lot of air spills in under the chinbar, which is fine in hot weather, as it provides more ventilation, but it remains to be seen how troubling this might be when it turns colder.
The chin strap is of the D-ring type, which I like. However, the extra chin strapping must be secured by tucking it under the cross-strap; the helmet doesn’t include any “hook-and-loop” or button to secure the extra strap after you’ve secured it.
The visor has positive stops at several positions. This is important — it’s nice to have a visor that can open one or two very small clicks and stay there; it provides more options for ventilation. Opening the visor to the first or second notch doesn’t seem to affect the wind noise that much either. The visor is also easily removed and replaced without tools.
The Sy-Max is DOT safety standard, but not approved by the Snell Foundation. No flip-ups, as far as I know, meet Snell Foundation approval. Snell’s official wording on this is as follows:
“Why won’t Snell certify some types of helmets like flip up front designs? Snell does not dismiss out of hand, any helmet design that strays from the conventional. Snell does not point out any design specifications, other than general requirements in our standards. We are however, always concerned with innovations and new designs that may effect the helmet’s ability to protect the wearer, or in some cases the helmets potential to cause injury. At present, the Foundation has not had the opportunity to test any of the flip up front type helmets. So far, we can not find any fault with these designs as long as they are used according to the manufacturers instructions. We will also certify any size of helmet as long as it meets the same requirements as any other Snell certified helmet.”
Note the interesting sentence: “At present, the Foundation has not had the opportunity to test any of the flip up front type helmets.”
This is really a shame, and my feeling is that this is somewhat of a cop-out by the Snell Foundation. I’ve written to some of the Board members asking why they don’t test flip-ups, but I’ve never received a reply. Are flip-up helmet users not getting the full benefit of helmet protection?
It’s difficult to know, but you can’t ignore the increasing popularity of the flip-up helmet, and it’s my opinion that the Snell Foundation should be more proactive in developing a testing methodology for this type of helmet (Note: since this review was written, apparently at least one flip-up helmet manufacturer has submitted a helmet for Snell approval. Check webBikeWorld for more information as it becomes available).
Other features of the Sy-Max include:
The liner is removable and washable (I always wear a helmet liner, so this is less of a problem for me, but it’s nice to know you can do this); it’s also made of Cool Max to wick away moisture from your skin.
HJC claims that the Sy-Max has a large eye-port, and I believe them. I have to really open my eyes wide to bring the top of the eye-port into peripheral view. I like large eye-ports; it can make you feel like you’re not wearing a helmet at all.
The Sy-Max has fairly deep ear pockets; HJC claims these make it easier to install earphones for a communication system. This may be why the Sy-Max is so popular with touring bike riders. HJC includes extra padding that can be easily installed in the ear pockets to help reduce noise if you haven’t installed speakers.
The helmet liner has a wrap-around neck roll that HJC claims helps reduces wind noise.
The Sy-Max comes with a nice helmet bag and a spare set of screws for the flip-up mechanism.
The Sy-Max seems to take just a bit longer than other helmets for the Sy-Max to break in. This isn’t a problem, just note that if the helmet feels like it rides a bit high at first, it should fit much better after several uses. The only minor complaint I have is that at certain angles of attack, there is a bit of wind noise and draft from under the chin bar.
I really like the HJC Sy-Max, and it will probably become my all-around daily helmet. It’s light enough, quiet enough, looks great and is comfortable; that’s about all I can ask from a helmet (besides safety, of course!). And the price is definitely reasonable. I think it’s the best of the latest crop of flip-ups!
Colors: Candy Red, Pearl White, Silver, Wine Red, Black, White (Candy Red shown)
Made In: Korea
Product Comments: Relatively light weight; good quality; relatively quiet except some buffeting around neck; removable liner; fits round heads; DOT safety standard.Has slightly high center of gravity; some turbulence and air ingress from under chin bar.Review Date: 2006?
From “D.J.”: “I am the proud owner of a HJC SY-MAX. I love the style and comfort. The replaceable padding was an extra plus. I got the helmet as a b-day gift, one size too big. But I was able to purchase the bigger pad and get the fit I need. The ease in which the face shield is changed is great, though since I work a mid-shift and ride daily to work. I have to bring my clear shield for the ride home.
I noticed early on like T.U says when I turned my head to the side or got a strong crosswind, the shield would lift. Now with the daily changing of the shield that problem is ten-fold. I think that the Scorpion “Speedshift” quick change system keeps the face shield detents less worn. All in all a great helmet functionally and design wise.”
From “A.F.”: “I recently purchased a Sy-Max helmet to replace my KBC FRR. I noticed some of the owner comments mentioning that the visor open on its own while riding. I had this happen to me today and when I got to a point that was safe to stop, I took the helmet off to have a look.
I found that even though the locking mechanism was secured, the guides on the visor itself were not seated properly in the groves on the helmet. What caused this (I assume) is that I had not opened the visor all the way when I previously changed from the clear to the smoke colored one. This caused the ‘C’
shaped guide in the center of the lock not to line up and when I put the shield on, it wasn’t seated properly. After lining them up and putting the shield back on the problem was gone.
While I think HJC could have done a better job with this part of the helmet design, I am still very pleased with it. My previous helmet was much louder and I found the venting system on it to be clumsy and not very effective. Thanks for the reviews!”
From “P.F.”: “I enjoy your site and check it frequently. I have been a rider for 40 years and presently own about 20 motorcycles (depending on whether or not one invokes the “2 hour rule” which states that “any pile of parts that you can get running in 2 hours or less is regarded as a motorcycle”).
Since discovering your site, a few years ago, I’ve based several thousand dollar’s worth of purchases on your advice and have seldom been disappointed. I am writing you to report one such instance because it may have safety implications for your readers.
I am a long time convert to flip-front helmets. As an eyeglass wearer and big-city commuter, the ability to open up a helmet for convenience and comfort outweighs any of their negative attributes such as weight and noise (I wear ear plugs at speed). My first and, in my opinion, still the best was a Shoei Syncrotec. This helmet was one of the first modular helmets offered (despite the fact that you have yet to review it) and, although expensive, is comfortable and very durable (Editor’s Note: We have reviewed the Shoei Syncrotec).
More importantly, it works. In 2002, I experienced a low-side (loose gravel) at 50 mph resulting in an immediate “face-plant” on the asphalt. There is nothing quite like sliding down the road, face down, watching the pavement go by you visor, an inch from your eye, to make you appreciate the security provided by a padded chin-bar with a secure latching system! Although there was no structural damage to the Shoei (or to me), I replaced it with an identical Syncrotec that I still use as my primary helmet.
Several years ago, based upon good reviews, I acquired an HJC Sy-Max helmet with the thought that it might provide better ventilation than the Syncrotec for hot, summer commuting. It turned out to be marginally better, the difference being most notable when riding with the chin bar raised in stop and go traffic, but I also noticed that it was, if anything, noisier than the Shoei and that the face shield would not stay put over 50mph. The unpadded chin bar and plastic latching system also gave me pause but I continued to use it around town.
Last week, I experienced an unexpected failure that makes me grateful that I’ve never had to use the Sy-max for its intended purpose. While riding an open stretch of expressway at 70mph, one side of the chin bar came loose and began to violently flog in the wind. To say that this was frightening, and more than a little distracting, in heavy traffic would be an understatement!
On arriving home, I removed the other chin bar pivot to determine what had happened and was dismayed to find that the entire pivot anchor on the chin bar is held in place by one tiny screw! It is obvious that this method of attachment would never survive a serious impact such as the one that I experienced in my 2002 crash. While I had it apart, I took the opportunity to inspect the rest of the helmet more closely and was not reassured by how cheaply it was made.
The small screw retaining the chin bar pivot had fractured the insubstantial plastic boss molded into the chin bar leaving one side completely unsupported. This helmet was never dropped or abused so I’ve no idea why this failed but it all appears to be quite “under engineered” to me. If you would like to examine the remains and draw your own conclusions, I’ll be happy to send you the remains of my Sy-Max for analysis.
My concern is that there are probably thousands of owners of HJC Sy-Max helmets riding around with the mistaken notion that, in the event of an accident, their helmet is going to provide them a better level of protection than an open faced helmet. Based on my experience, don’t count on it! The Sy-Max is an appealing helmet; good finish, great price, nice features (Hey, I bought 2, including one for my son who rides with me.). Just don’t make the mistake of assuming that it will protect you if you fall.
I’ve just ordered another Shoei Syncrotec for my son. Yes, it’s expensive, but I’m thankful to have re-learned the old truism: “If you’ve got a cheap head, wear a cheap helmet.” without actually having to test it. I’m also looking forward to the introduction of Shoei’s replacement for the Syncrotec which is due soon. I agree with you that the lack of development in modular helmets has been discouraging but I’m confident that, as more riders experience their advantages, they will become an increasingly important sector of the market and merit more attention. I just hope that poorly engineered examples don’t give them a bad rap before this happens.”
Editor’s Response: Thanks for visiting webBikeWorld and for sending your detailed comments on the SyMax helmet. I’ve been pretty disappointed at the lack of progress on flip-up helmet safety, and in fact, I’ve stopped wearing them and now wear only full-face helmets (except when evaluating other types) for safety reasons.
I wear eyeglasses also, and that was the main reason I went to a flip-up to begin with, but have found that some full-face helmets accommodate eyeglasses with no problems (Arai Quantum II, as an example). I also have an extra pair of eyeglasses and I cut off the ear retainers, which lets me slide them in between the helmet liner and my head on every full-face helmet I’ve ever tried. I have a pair of clip-on sunglasses also to use when necessary.”
From “BDS”: “My HJC SyMax is the best helmet I’ve had, and I’ve been riding since ’74. In the two years I’ve had the SyMax, I’ve never had the face shield lift while on the road. Average speeds 90 to 100 mph, on an old (and great) Honda V4, sometimes with a mid-height windshield, sometimes naked. Without the windshield, the helmet tends to bobble above 105 mph, but I suspect it just wasn’t designed for that. There’s more tire and valve noise than wind noise at those speeds. Yep, a great helmet. I also love these German autobahns…”
From “R.C”: “I just thought I’d add my 2 cents about the HJC SyMax helmet. Context: I’ve had this helmet for a year and a half. I’ve been riding for 3 years. My only other helmet has been the Arai RX-7RR4. I don’t have a car, and ride at least 30 miles at least 4 days a week. I ride a Honda TransAlp, an adventure-touring type bike, which has only a small wind screen that redirects airflow to above my chest and shoulders rather than really keeping it off my head. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have a small head.
Pros: I like the flip-up aspect a lot. I find the helmet quite comfortable, even for long rides (I’ve done a number of 275+ mile rides with it). Wind buffeting does take its toll on my neck after a while, but I am not sure if there is more than with other helmets. The helmet is significantly quieter than my Arai helmet, and I can’t say that I think the SyMax is much hotter (everyone says the Arai is noisier because of all the venting, but I don’t get it). Also, I have found that the SyMax gives me less trouble with the face shield fogging than the Arai, especially when stopped or at low speeds.
Cons: The main one is the spontaneous face shield flip-up problem when turning my head that others have reported. It makes turning my head to look for lane changes a pain. It only happens at speeds over 60-65 mph, although if it’s windy enough in the right direction it can occasionally happen below 60 mph. I have noticed that there are certain spots where it ALWAYS happens, so I suspect that wind speed and direction make a difference. I have tried messing with the ratchet mechanism but haven’t managed to do anything but diminish the problem slightly for a short time. In the Bay Area, where it’s very often windy and highway speeds over 65 mph are the norm, this is a major annoyance. I suspect that this wouldn’t be an issue on a bike that had a bigger/higher windshield.
Other cons: The elastic that holds the chin strap end, unsurprisingly, stretches into uselessness after a while. The two things I miss most from the Arai helmet are the snap to hold the chin strap end and the chin curtain. Another thing I prefer about the Arai is the way the pads allow for more comfortable wearing of glasses or sunglasses; the SyMax pads tend to make the arms of glasses dig into my head. Of course, the pad placement may account for at least some of the reason the SyMax is quieter, so maybe it’s a trade-off.
Summary: I’ve put close to 20,000 miles on the Symax over the last year and a half, and I’m currently looking for a new helmet. I won’t get another SyMax, mostly because of the problem with the face shield flipping up. I like the flip-up helmet design, but expect that I will have to forego it to get an equally quiet helmet, which is more important to me.”
From “T.M.”: “I tried a Sy-Max for around 270 miles and enjoyed just about everything about it except for the noise level. Simply put, this is the loudest – as in wind whistle – helmet I have ever owned ( quite a few ). This is a shame since the fit, finish, and overall build quality was very impressive, not to mention having a flip-up during everyday riding, is so handy that I can’t believe it is only been in the last couple of years that this style of helmet has started to catch notice. Although I never had the visor “pop” open on me, even at triple digit speeds, the noise level from around 50mph on up was so bad, I couldn’t even hear the motor ( and I’m the type that like to listen for valves and such ). I tried it with the ear pads, without the ear pads, with ear plugs ( custom molded for me at Road Atlanta in ’99 ), without ear plugs ( ouch, really loud ), and with two sportbikes and one cruiser. No dice, just plain loud. Maybe I got a dud….
I have since returned it ( thank goodness I’m on good terms with the local dealer ) and now I’m bummed because I miss the functionality of the breed. Maybe in another year or so when R&D catches up with the noise level of modern full face helmets.”
Sorry to learn about your Sy-Max experience, T.M. All helmets are noisy, in my opinion; some are less noisy than others. I own and use full-face helmets that are noisier than the Sy-Max, so it isn’t necessarily the flip-up design that accounts for the volume. Since I always wear earplugs, I’ve pretty much been able to ignore any helmet noise. It’s my understanding that some types of custom-fitted earplugs do not offer as much noise reduction as some correctly fitted disposables. It’s very important to make sure the earplug fits correctly and is properly inserted. Visit the wBW Earplugs and Hearing Protection page for more information.
From “D.F.”: “I noticed several comments about the face shield blowing open on the HJC Symax. I have the Symax, as well as a friend of mine. His had the same problem. It’s an easy fix to tighten the ratcheting mechanism. You just remove the face shield, and bend the ratchet piece to give more tension. Takes 2 minutes, and the problem is gone.” Thanks for the tip, D.F..!
From “M.T.”: “I’ve been using the helmet just over a week and though I have long, thick hair I find the helmet to be very comfortable. I NEED this type of helmet in order to wear a full face helmet. It’s as quiet as I can expect from a motorcycle helmet. I imagine it’ll be even more comfortable as the weeks go on. The fit and finish are above reproach; great color and detailing on the helmet. I don’t feel it’s any less of a helmet than the Arai Quantum-e I wore for a few years. In fact I like it better; I’d buy another HJC in a heartbeat.”
From “C.C.”: “After 20 years (1983) I parted with my Simpson RX-3/Bandits and purchased 2 brand new HJC Symax helmets for my wife and I. They arrived from Motorcycle Accessory Warehouse about 3 weeks ago. We absolutely love these helmets. Fit and finish is quite good for a low priced helmet. The Wine Color, which matches my 1995 Concours, is superb in quality and depth of metallic. After our first several rides, we are convinced we made the right choice of helmet and supplier. The price was $167.50 each, which beat the next closest online competitor. The comfort of the interior is great. The road noise reduction without earplugs is very good compared to my Simpsons. The wind noise behind my fairing is non-existent and overall, the cooling is good (riding here in the Desert near El Paso, Texas).
The flip-up feature is the best idea. I like the protection of a full face helmet, but when stopped briefly at a light or for a quick gas station/convenience store run, it is so convenient to flip up the helmet face and breathe easy without having to remove the helmet. We have not yet experience any problems with the faceshield flipping up when the head is turned sideways. I purposely have tried this, but have not had any problems. Granted our fairing may be reducing the overall wind and impacting this condition. I highly recommend this helmet and supplier to anyone out there looking for a comfortable, well thought out, flip-up helmet design!”
From “P.D.”: “I have ridden with this helmet for several years. It has a problem. At speed above 60 – 70 mph the face shield flips up when I look over my shoulder for a lane change. Disconcerting and potentially dangerous. HJC does not respond to my suggestions for a product improvement. Disappointing.”
Editor’s Note: Thanks for the feedback, P.D.! Several other owners (see following comments) have reported this problem. I haven’t experienced it… I wonder if there is an adjustment at the face shield attachment that can help prevent this from happening?
From “C.B.”: “I recently purchased the HJC Sy-Max helmet after reading your review & others. So far I’m quite pleased with the helmet & feel it much quieter than my Arai Quantum F. My wife has the Nolan, but I never cared for how it fit my head. It will be nice to be able to drink something, blow my nose or talk to someone without having to take my helmet off. Thanks”
From “T.J.”: “I currently own over 100 helmets??? I know, but I wear them all so I can honestly say I really can give an honest opinion on almost any helmet . I own three flip front helmets, a Nolan , a Shoei & the HJC. Bottom line is for the money , no comparison — the HJC is it! I think the Shoei is a better helmet overall but is pricey, and the Nolan doesn’t have the best fit (for me) but the HJC is great for the price. As a wearer of eyeglasses these are a god-send. One of the best reasons for a flip front is when you go into a gas station or ask someone for directions people don’t seem near as intimidated talking to you when they can see a face as opposed to a dark shield. I highly recommend the HJC for anyone who wants a great helmet for a good price.”
Here’s an incredible story sent to us by “G.P.”: “I recently purchased an HJC Sy-Max helmet along with my new Honda Valkyrie. I am happy to report that after a serious collision yesterday with an automobile I am able able to send this testimonial due to the protection extended to me by the HJC Sy-Max helmet. I was thrown from the Valkyrie over the bars and came to meet the street directly on my head (Sy-Max protected).
I am not a small person (275) and the force could very well have injured (severely) or broken my neck. The police and medical team were simply amazed that while incredibly sore, I was literally able to walk away. A CAT scan proved no injury to my neck.
Another testimony would have to go to First Gear for the incredible protection I received by their “Fire” jacket, also newly acquired; the padding and optional “armor” kept me from sustaining not “one” broken bone. I am very bruised and very sore but very much alive and well thanks to these two outstanding products.” Thanks very much for sharing this with us, G.P.! We’re really glad to hear that you came through it OK and hope you feel better soon!
From “E.J.” really likes the Sy-Max: “I’ve been a licensed cyclist for 15 years, but have not ridden for the last 10. Just purchased a 2003 VTX 1800C in mid March. Looked at tons of reviews for motorcycle helmets and yours was by far the most thorough in presenting the pros and cons as well as real user feedback. No recent experience to compare the helmet to – but for a newbie – it is turning out to be a GREAT first helmet.
Very reasonable price (actually got it at local bike shop for $170). Love the fit and the weight. Extremely usable flip and visor system – seems very quiet (even without earplugs) with minimal wind noise (have not had the BEAST over 75 yet however). Easy to change the visor (put the light smoked on). So for all those with no recent helmet experience – try it on – if you like the fit – it appears to be a hard first helmet to beat!”
wBW Visitor “D.E.” and his wife both have Sy-Max helmets: “Both my wife and I have the Sy-Max and like them very much. Much easier to put on and much more comfortable when you are not riding (flipped up). The only problem I had with mine was a wind “whistle” above 40mph caused by an improperly molded plastic hinge cover (one corner would stick out from the helmet’s surface). A little light sanding and a very small piece of door insulating foam (underneath) fixed it.” Thanks for the tip on fixing the whistling noise, D.E.!
From “T.U.” and his wife both wear an HJC Sy-Max helmet. T.U.: “I purchased this helmet in June from Sierra Electronics with the J&M Goldwing headsets installed. I’ve ridden almost 10K miles with it, and it has out performed my expectations. I’m very happy with it. In July I rode to the AZ desert wearing it. While no helmet will keep you cool behind a GL-1500 fairing, this one did an outstanding job in the 120+ degree heat. I never once regretted wearing it. Using the smoked face shield kept my face from sun burning also.
I’ve had no trouble with any of the hardware. Unlike you, I like the extra chin strapping to secure the helmet strap. Clean and simple. (I hated the clip so much on my Shoei 900 that I ripped it off, got a small hair-tie at K-mart, and made a similar strap holder on it). Would I purchase it again? Yes, and I recommend it to all that want a great fitting flip-face helmet. One other note: My wife loves this helmet too. She has never found a helmet that fit her until this one. She just loves it. I rate it 9 out of 10. (Only the face shield mounting system lowers this score. Shoei still is the best in this area).
A couple of weeks after using his Sy-Max, T.U. had another observation:
“One note on the Sy-Max that I discovered today. In a strong cross-wind, the face shield can be blown open. It happened to me three time today while I was out riding my Wing. (58 degrees > and a 20+ MPH > cross-wind)… it was the face shield. Not the chin bar. I changed to a brand new HJC clear shield when I got home. (I had an 8 month old HJC smoked shield installed on the ride this morning). I went out again and it did the same thing 2 more times.
I checked the hardware and all seems fine. Nothing loose. The face shield position tension doesn’t seem as strong as other full face helmets. The Shoei system is still my favorite. It didn’t frighten me. It just popped open about a quarter of an inch. One or two notches on the retention device. I often ride with it open a little to dissipate the fog from the inside of the face sheild when its cold. Just a little FYI if you ever find yourself in a brisk crosswind.” Thanks again T.U. — I haven’t experienced that problem, but both my bikes have very tiny fairings, so my head and shoulders are out in the air stream. Perhaps it has something to do with the combination of the ‘Wing’s fairing and the cross-wind?
From “P.D.”: “I love this helmet also. You guessed it, I wear glasses. I have a BMW R1150R with a Givi fairing. I get quite a bit of wind noise and some turbulence. I, too, have experienced the face shield being blown open. Never in a cross-wind, but several times when I look back over my shoulder. It might have something to do with cross-wind. First couple of times it startled me, but after that I just expect that it will happen occasionally.”
From “C” : “I have had all sorts of HJC’s throughout the years and love this one just the same. I really do enjoy the flip up design and have yet to experience the visor blowing open. As a matter of fact, I sometimes have a hard time raising it up with the bulky gloves and rain slicked visor in the current NorCal weather.
I mostly wear it with my 1985 Honda GL1200 Aspencade and behind that windscreen, the music going and my feet on the highway pegs, it is like driving the sofa to work….no buffeting or wind under the helmet. The ratcheting design seems real tight on mine and it feels well made and firm. I have noticed that is does sit kinda high on the head, but I can get over that. I too have noticed no sweating at all with all the vents that it has.
Because I do run hot on the thermostat, I too also have to keep the visor a click or two from fully close, but again, I can hear the radio better this way and still not get rain or debris in. Bottom line – a great birthday gift from my wife and another great helmet by the people at HJC”