Best Modular Helmets [2019 Edition]


Updated February, 2019

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Shoei Neotec II in Matte Black

Shoei Neotec II

Best Value

Scorpion EXO-AT950

Scorpion EXO-AT950

Fully Loaded

SCHUBERTH C4 Pro

SCHUBERTH C4 Pro

Other great options: AGV Sportmodular CarbonHJC IS-Max 2Nolan N100-5


Updated June 2019 to reflect the replacement of the C4 with the C4 Pro.

Last year around this time we first published our recommended modular helmet article. Today we update it, taking into consideration a year’s worth of new products and testing.

Most of the helmets referenced in this article have been subjected to one of our comprehensive hands-on reviews. Those that we haven’t tested hands-on are included because of their overall reputation, quality, or position in the market. Every lid in this list is a lid I’d trust my own noggin in.

Most of the helmets on this years list are carryovers from 2018. The fact is that a good helmet is a good helmet, even if it hasn’t been updated for 2019.

Looking to pick up a new helmet and unsure of what to look for? Learn about proper helmet fit, safety standards, top-brands, and more in our helmet buyers guide.

 

Best Modular Helmets
In Detail

Best Overall

Shoei Neotec II

Buy: AmazonRevzilla | 2Wheel
Price: $699
Review: In-depth review

The Neotec II, new for 2018, proved to be the most consistently popular helmet among our reviewers.

Shoei Neotec II in Matte Black

The Neotec II is intermediate oval, average weight, and with the SENA SRL integrated, it’s also a communications and connectivity powerhouse. During my in-depth review, as well as extensive riding throughout the 2018 season, I found very little to fault in the Neotec II. It’s not perfect: the matte paint blemishes easily, the audio can be hard to discern once you’re in the airstream and being bombarded by wind, and at $700, the Neotec II is very much a premium helmet.

But it feels premium, too. The controls are smooth and precise; the integrated sun visor opens and closes with perfect resistance; the modular assembly feels rock solid and nigh indestructible. And on my head, it’s comfortable to the point where after a few minutes I almost forget that it’s there.

It comes with the features you’d expect of a high-end helmet, including a pinlock visor, and is rivaled by perhaps only the SCHUBERTH C4 in terms of quality, looks, riding comfort, and level of seamless intercom integration.

Compared to the Neotec II, the C4 is a bit more expensive and a bit bigger, too. Ultimately, while a hard choice to make, the Neotec II is the helmet I wear and ride the most.

Shoei Neotec II in Matte BlackBuy the Neotec II

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Best Value

Scorpion EXO AT950

Buy: Amazon | Revzilla | 2Wheel
Price: $270 – $300+ (for graphics)
Review: In-depth review

Currently available for around $270, the Scorpion EXO AT950 is a bargain and a great value.

During our comprehensive hands-on review, we noted that the AT950 is a bargain at its list price of $270. It’s comfortable to wear, fitting a bit snug but not uncomfortably so, and is well balanced. Ventilation is average to above average, but the fit and finish is excellent.

The AT950 is based on the AT920 (the 950 is the dual-sport version). Built-in features include an internal sun shade, removable interior, and chin curtain. The integrated peak can be removed, along with the face shield, allowing you to wear the EXO AT950 like a dual-sport helmet using Goggles. We prefer the peak removed, but the choice is yours- it only takes a few seconds to swap out.

The AT950 offers everything that the “big boys” in the modular adventure helmet space offer, but at ⅓ the price. It also looks fantastic. That’s a winning combination.

Scorpion EXO-AT950Buy the Scorpion EXO AT950

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Fully Loaded

SCHUBERTH C4 Pro

Buy: Revzilla
Price: $699
Review: In-depth review

A premium-priced modular with speakers and a mic built into the shell. Updated for 2019.

SCHUBERTH C4 Pro

The SCHUBERTH C4 Pro has recently replaced the legacy C4 (now called the C4 Basic) on this list. The C4 Pro is neck and neck with the Neotec II is almost every area, and is better in some. However, the choice of the Neotec 2 over the C4 Pro as the “best overall” came down to comfort and aesthetics. Ultimately, both helmets are exceptional.

The C4 Pro has two major detractions: first, it only uses 2 shell sizes across its entire range (resulting in bobblehead syndrome at times), and second, the ventilation is okay bu not great. If those two things don’t bother you, the C4 Pro has a leg up on the Neotec II in a couple of areas as well.

  1. The speakers and microphone are discreetly integrated into the helmet and completely hidden. Unlike the Neotec II, and indeed almost every other helmet out there (aside from SCHUBERTH’s C3 Pro and C4 Basic), there are no microphone booms protruding or battery packs bolted on to its exterior. This seamless integration makes the C4 look and feel luxurious and smartly designed.
  2. The overall look of the C4 Pro is very slick. Very German. It looks like a luxury sports saloon would look like if it were a modular helmet. I’m a big fan.

It flows good air and is comfortable to wear, though it will catch the slipstream with a bit more bite than some other helmets due to its size and shape. It also comes with pinlock and all the bells and whistles you’d want in a $750+ helmet.

The reality is that if you’re looking for a high-end modular, you’re looking at the Neotec II and the C4. Both are excellent helmets; neither is a poor choice.

SCHUBERTH C4Buy the SCHUBERTH C4 Pro

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Other Great Modular Helmets
In Detail

AGV Spordmodular Carbon

Buy: AmazonRevzilla | 2Wheel
Price: $750+
Review: Our in-depth review

A carbon fiber beauty, but one that comes at a premium price.

AGV Spordmodular Carbon

When Jim first reviewed the AGV Sportmodular Carbon, he was so beside himself with glee that he rode up to my place and proclaimed the AGV to be the king of the modulars.

“Cam!”, he cried, “nothing even comes close to this AGV.” I put it on, and immediately I can see why Jim is so ecstatic: next to the Neotec II and SCHUBERTH C4, both of which sit on my helmet rack in the garage, the Sportmodular Carbon weighs almost nothing. There’s no denying the value that today’s most popular wonder material – carbon fiber – brings to this modular helmet.

While other high-end modular helmets integrate technology and reduce the divide between the rider, the road, and our ever-connected lives, this AGV goes in a different direction. It’s almost spartan, by comparison, eschewing integrated electronics for unrivaled lightness. On my noggin, the Sportmodular is not as comfortable to wear as either the Shoei or the SCHUBERTH, but on Jim’s he proclaims that it’s simply heavenly.

Priced at $750, it finds itself in the upper echelons of the modular segment… and that’s a competitive segment indeed. I picked the Neotec II as the best overall modular, with the C4 close behind, but if Jim were writing this article in my place, he’d have the Sportmodular Carbon on top.

Hell, I can already see him lighting my inbox up with proclamations of superiority and how the AGV ought to be #1. Maybe next year, Jim 😉

AGV Spordmodular CarbonBuy the AGV Spordmodular Carbon

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HJC IS-Max 2

Buy: AmazonRevzilla | 2Wheel
Price: $190ish
Review: HJC IS-Max 2 review

A strong value-play at the sub-$200 price point.

HJC IS Max 2 Modular Helmet

A considerable upgrade compared to the IS-Max (we’d know), the HJC IS-Max 2 offers a strong value-play at the sub-$200 price point. It competes directly with the Bell Revolver EVO, GMax GM54S, and LS2 Strobe. We chose the HJC for a variety of reasons, the least of which being that we have had numerous positive hands-on experiences with HJC holistically.

Integrated into the IS-Max 2 are quality of life features that we appreciate, including a UV-blocking face shield and one-touch sun shield. The anti-bacterial interior is also a nice touch, making the IS-Max a little more forgiving on long-distance rides through hotter temperatures.

While the IS-Max 2 may lack some built-in functionality seen on segment leaders (like the Neotec 2 or C4), it more than holds its own in the sub-$200 price-point and is an excellent value. If you’re wanting a modular with the basics done really well, HJC’s IS-Max 2 is a worthy consideration.

HJC IS Max 2 Modular HelmetBuy the HJC IS-Max 2

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Nolan N100-5

Buy: Amazon | Revzilla | 2Wheel
Price: $450ish
Review: Nolan N100-5 review

The successor to the excellent N104, the N100-5 incorporates numerous improvements in its design compared to prior versions.

Nolan-N100-5

The successor to the excellent N104, the N100-5 incorporates numerous improvements in its design compared to prior versions. These include things like a Lexan polycarbonate shell, Pinlock integration, and tool-free face shield removal. Of course, quality of life features that we’ve come to expect from a mid-range helmet, such as an integrated sun visor and the micro-ratchet chin strap, are also present.

Perhaps the only real downside to the N100-5 is the fact that it comes with two shell sizes (sizing broken down as XXS-L and XL-XXL). This may make the N100-5 feel larger than expected, especially if you’re wearing a XXS which uses the same shell as a L.

The N100-5 weighs in a just over 3 lbs and is DOT/ECE approved. You can integrate communications via Nolan’s N-Com intercom system for integrated calling, audio streaming, and nav while riding.

All told, a strong contender in the modular segment and a good choice for a lid.

Nolan-N100-5Buy the Nolan N100-5

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9 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Mark Drummond
    February 25, 2018
    Reply

    I was very interested in the C4, but the reported weight is way out there: 4.11lbs for size L without the comm module and battery installed. Doubly surprising considering the C3 Pro was only 3.53lbs. Granted the C4 has the speakers, mic and related wiring pre-installed, but even the new Neotec II is apparently only 3.86lbs with the SENA SRL comm system installed.

  2. Avatar
    cholo
    September 10, 2018
    Reply

    None of the helmets you recomend get a high SHARP rating

    • Avatar
      Jim Pruner
      March 28, 2019
      Reply

      Hi Cholo. Have a look at the updated helmets on the SHARP site.

      The C4 only got 3 stars but the AGV Sportmodular got 4 stars. The first generation Shoei Neotec got 4 stars as well and I would think the Neotec II would likely get the same score if not better.
      Cheers.

  3. Avatar
    Jukka Ruoti
    February 26, 2019
    Reply

    I have both Schuberth C3 Pro and C4 and they are quite heavy indeed. So, I am considering buying an AGV Spordmodular as well. Thanks for the review.

    • Cameron Martel
      February 26, 2019
      Reply

      Sportmodular is a great helmet. I prefer more tech and a quieter ride myself.

    • Avatar
      Jim Pruner
      March 28, 2019
      Reply

      The AGV is quieter on my head than the C4 because it fits my round oval shaped head better than the intermediate oval Schuberth does.

      If your head is intermediate oval shaped like Cam’s is then chances are you may find the AGV noisier as he does.

      The other reason I pick the AGV over the C4 is airflow. I can’t get any satisfaction from the C4 when it comes to copious cooling flow inwards. The AGV has a direct vent to the outside world right in front of the wearer’s nose. When I open it fully and the temperature is on the cool side I can actually get uncomfortably cold while riding. That never happens to me while wearing the C4. I tend to lift the chinbar often just to get some fresh air while wearing it.

      For me my Sena 30K mounts very well in the AGV SMC and that’s all the integration I need. If your number one priority is low mass followed by airflow it’s no contest between these helmets. The AGV wins in my books.

      Having said all that. I just finished testing the Nolan N100-5 and like it just as much as the AGV SMC! It’s much less expensive and nearly as light. It’s also more of a round oval shape, but I think will work on a intermediate oval head well too. It has excellent airflow and a fully integrated Nolan N-Com bluetooth system you can buy separately. Unfortunately the N-Com system isn’t as high tech and user friendly as the Sena 30K or high end Cardo units, but it’s pretty good all the same. You also will have a hard time installing a Sena 30K or Cardo unit in the N100-5 because Nolan feels those systems compromise the safety rating and built the helmet for the N-Com exclusively.

      My review should be published fairly soon on the site and you can read all the details then.

  4. Avatar
    Todd Fagan
    April 17, 2019
    Reply

    In the future please list how hard it is to integrate comms to the different helmets. I have ZERO use for a proprietary system like what the Nolan has. It is getting harder to find helmets that are NOT built for a custom comms system. I own about 9 helmets and they all have comms. I use the U-Clear in all of them except for the Modular I use on my HD Ultra. I refuse to pay the Harley tax to purchase their Bluetooth upgrade for my 2017 Ultra, and they too have made it that you can ONLY use the Harley branded SENA systems they sell if you want stereo when paired with their system. It is customer unfriendly as far as I am concerned. I hate a boom mic, and I rarely talk using the BT system preferring it for music and GPS instructions. Revzilla reviews aren’t as specific as yours are since you ride with the equipment which is why I come here to see if you have reviewed gear I am interested in.

  5. Avatar
    Hal Brown
    October 6, 2019
    Reply

    I currently have a NeoTec 1 modular. It has been very good, but a bit heavy and noisy. I bought a NeoTec2 a year ago, but had to to return it because the chin strap was too far back and cut into my throat. I find the same problem with the Schuberts and also with AGV carbon, which I wanted to love. I need a new helmet, but everyone I try, has a chin strap that keeps digging into my throat. Is there a fix for this, or a model that does not do this? Do other people have this problem?
    thanks

    • Cameron Martel
      October 7, 2019
      Reply

      Hi Hal,

      I have this EXACT problem. I note it in my reviews of the Neotec II, C4/C4 Pro, and X.Vilitur.

      The padding on the C4 Pro makes it much more manageable compared to other options. Have you tried one on?

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