Along with the X-402GT in the Nolan showroom was the new X-Lite X-551 Enduro (Adventure Touring) helmet, and Nolan kindly sent an example of each for a webBikeWorld review.
The X-551 review is forthcoming, but first up is the X-402GT.
The X-Lite brand is the high-performance division of the Nolan Helmet Group.
Besides Nolan Helmets and X-Lite, the Group includes Grex, a brand probably not familiar to U.S. motorcyclists but popular in Europe as a less expensive helmet.
X-Lite helmets are manufactured in a separate facility on the other side of town from the Nolan helmet factory in Brembate di Sopra, Italy.
All X-Lite helmets feature a composite shell.
The production of composite helmets shells is so different from manufacturing polycarbonate shells that Nolan established a separate manufacturing plant (all described in my report) for X-Lite production.
I toured both facilities, and although my gracious Nolan hosts showed me every secret to their special composite helmet manufacturing process, I was sworn to secrecy on the composites.
Suffice it to say that the process of making a composite helmet shell is very different from molding a polycarbonate shell (the polycarbonate shell process can be seen in the video embedded in the Nolan factory tour report). — The Editor.
The X-402GT converts from a full-face to a “Jet” styled helmet and is ECE homologated for both configurations.
The X-Lite X-402GT is currently the sole member of the “Crossover” category in the Nolan helmet lineup for 2011.
It started life as the X-Lite X-402, an open-face or “Jet” helmet that was in the Nolan lineup (Maxi-Jet, actually because of the larger side/cheek protection in the shell).
The X-402 line was split — or shall we say evolved? — and now consists of two helmets. The X-402T, which is very similar to the X-402GT, has a removable chin bar, but it is an optional accessory.
The X-402T comes with (removable) plastic plugs installed in the receiver in the front of the shell, so if you didn’t buy the removable chin bar, you’d never know the helmet wasn’t a Jet style to begin with.
The “GT” in the X-402GT designation stands for “Gran Turismo” (Grand Touring) and the helmet comes with the chin bar installed and the shell plugs are included in the box.
The X-402T and the X-402GT both meet the ECE standards for full-face helmets and as a Jet styled helmet (the latter with the removable chin guard installed, of course).
The “Crossover” Modular
I’m not sure why Nolan created a separate “Crossover” marketing category for the X-402GT, while the X-402T remains in the “Jet” category.
This is somewhat confused by the fact that the X-551 Enduro-styled helmet is also referred to on the Nolan website as a “Crossover”, even though it’s in the X-Lite “Full-Face” product line.
Confused yet? We hope not…
The reality is, none of this makes a difference to the performance and function of the helmet. This is all pure semantics and simply the marketing department trying their best to one-up the competition..
Call it a “Crossover”, a “Convertible” or a “Modular” — it doesn’t matter. What is important is that this versatile helmet style is an up-and-coming motorcycle helmet category.
This type of helmet has been appearing in webBikeWorld reviews for some time.
The first examples, like the Airoh TR-1 (review) or the Givi X.01 (review) were comparatively crude affairs, with a simple plastic chin guard that felt like they would give up at the first hit by a honey bee, much less protect the rider in a real emergency.
The more recent modular helmets, like the X-Lite X-402GT and the Caberg HyperX reviewed on webBikeWorld.com recently, feel much more solid and integrated than the first generation of this type.
Plug in the chin bar and the helmets feel about as solid as a decent full-face, and more solid than most flip-ups.
These “crossover” helmets are indeed highly versatile and they may make a better choice for multi-purpose riding than either a flip-up or Enduro styled helmet in most instances.
This is especially the case for motorcyclists living in hot climates; for touring; adventure touring or leisurely slow-speed cruising.
It’s also a lot easier to install an intercom system on a helmet like the X-402GT than on a flip-up, and of course Nolan has just the thing for you: the Nolan N-Com system (which we hope to review some day soon).
So let’s start the tour of the new X-Lite X-402GT and see what makes it tick…
The “Hyper” graphics shown here in black is also available in a “Metal White” version that is the exact opposite of this one; i.e., the white and black painted sections are reversed.
The video (below), which was made earlier, erroneously calls the graphics on this example the Metal White.
The X-402GT is also available in the standard solid colors of white, black, silver and matte black. Those are referred to as the “Elegance” variations of the X-402GT on the X-Lite website.
The X-402T is available in more colors also, including a cool Italian flag version.
We think the black and white “Hyper” graphics on this one are the most complimentary to the X-402GT design. The paint has a very high gloss finish that makes photography a challenge.
The surface is also covered with the Nolan special clear coat, which is done right in the factory and is apparently something of their own formula.
The special clear coat has been commented on and complimented before in webBikeWorld reviews of Nolan helmets and for good reason; it feels thick and protective.
The surface finish has no flaws at all that we can detect and the paint is very nicely polished, without orange peel or dust nits; typical Nolan quality in our experience.
The X-402GT feels solid, especially with the chin bar installed.
The composite X-Lite helmet shell really helps here, and although the helmet isn’t quite as light weight as one might think, the shell feels much more solid and substantial than most open-face or Jet helmets of this type that I’ve handled.
The chin bar on this helmet is made from some type of heavy plastic. It has built-in vent ports and a permanently attached chin curtain, both of which make the X-402GT a fully-functioning helmet when the chin bar is attached.
The chin bar has dual “hooks” on each side, made from heavy plastic, that latch into the receivers on both sides of the helmet shell for a secure fit.
The back of the chin bar appears to have the same type of padding used in a flip-up helmet.
The moving parts on the X-402GT operate smoothly and precisely and apparently Nolan is standardizing the “flipper” vent openings, which were first used on the Nolan N90 flip-up (review).
The liner is also nicely made and a good fit, although the padding does seem a bit thin; I’ll report on that in the next section.
Score: We’ll give the X-402GT an “Outstanding” rating for overall quality, especially with regards to the paint and finish. See the Summary Table at the end of this review for a description of the rating system.
X-Lite X-402GT Helmet Fit, Internal Shape and Liner
Nolan isn’t shy about informing customers about the shell sizes of their helmets, which is commendable.
For some reason, many of the helmet manufacturers treat the shell-to-head-size information as Super Double-Naught Spy secrets.
The X-402GT comes in three shell sizes, with the smallest shell covering the XS and S head sizes; the medium shell fitting the M and L sizes and the largest shell for the XL and XXL sizes.
This is actually a nice, narrow range for the helmet proportions, pretty much ensuring that no one will end up with the dreaded “space helmet” look that comes with a too-large shell for a small head size.
In fact, we have almost the opposite issue here, because the size L helmet is said to fit a 59-60 cm head and it seems tight for that size when compared to other size L helmets.
We’re all in agreement on this and feel that the size L fits more like a typical size M.
Although we unfortunately don’t have access to an X-402GT in size XL, it seems like that would be the choice for anyone with a head circumference of 60.0 to 60.5 cm.
The internal shape of the X-402GT feels very neutral and it should fit a wide array of head shapes.
The ear pockets feel small though, especially in the vertical plane. Each evaluator noticed the smaller ear pocket size, which can put some pressure on the upper part of the ear.
The helmet lining also has a designed-in gap between the cheek pad and the upper crown, just where the eyeglass temple slides into the helmet.
The material backing is very firm and although it appears that the gap is designed to accommodate eyeglasses, the thin padding compresses too much to allow the gap.
The result is that it can be difficult to slip on a pair of eyeglasses or sunglasses inside the helmet.
Perhaps the next larger helmet size would be better, but the size L actually is a good fit otherwise.
So our suggestion to Nolan would be to perhaps increase the proportions of the shell by maybe a half-size, which could then allow an increase in the thickness of the padding inside the helmet, adding even more comfort.
Otherwise, the liner material feels comfortable and smooth, although we noticed some immediate pilling of the fabric where it touches a day-old growth beard. A shave before riding may be the answer to that!
Score: We’ll give the X-Lite X-402GT an “Excellent” rating for fit and comfort, with thin liner padding keeping it from an Outstanding rating.
Rotating Sun Visor
The X-402GT features an internally rotating sun visor, which is engaged via an easy-to-find slider on the left-hand side of the helmet, just above the ear.
The slider rotates the visor in a more-or-less on/off (up or down) position; it’s difficult to stop the visor at an intermediate position, but it can be done with a steady hand.
The sun visor on this helmet doesn’t quite roll down far enough to remain fully out of my line of sight, but the bottom edge is relatively straight, so at least it doesn’t annoy, as some of them do.
However, we think there may be a fault unique to this helmet only, because the sun visor can be pulled down by hand about another 50% or so lower.
In other words, there seems to be plenty of travel in the sun visor, but something in this helmet is preventing it from rotating through its full distance of travel.
The sun visor does a good job otherwise at its intended purpose and it meets the ECE rules that “the minimum light transmission levels must be greater than 80% when riding at night and not less than 50% when riding during the day” (X-402GT Owner’s Manual).
X-Lite X-402GT Face Shield, Eye Port and Visibility
Another advantage of this type of modular “crossover” helmet is the huge amount of visibility they provide.
This in and of itself is a safety factor; once you ride with this much visibility, it really does feel confining to go back to wearing a “normal” full-face helmet.
The visibility out the front of the X-402GT with the chin bar installed is nearly limitless, with just a touch of the helmet shell visible at the extremes of peripheral vision, both vertical and horizontal.
This makes it much easier to do an over-the-shoulder “head check” for traffic or to look down a side street when stopped at a stop sign.
The increased vision out the bottom of the eye port is the most noticeable and it allows much better visibility for the instruments and the added peripheral vision for the road in front of the bike. It just feels so much less confining and, in a way, liberating.
The clear face shield on this helmet measures 2.18 mm thick and it has excellent optical properties.
It comes with posts for the “Pinlock-type” anti-fog insert that is provided with the helmet. The insert is apparently made by Nolan or made for Nolan under license by Pinlock.
And for all practical purposes, it is a Pinlock anti-fog insert (review), although we don’t know if it is directly interchangeable with a Pinlock-branded insert.
The face shield has a black plastic lift tab on the lower left-hand side and the face shield lifts cleanly through its five detents to the fully raised position without twisting.
The face shield is easily removable and Nolan is apparently standardizing on this type of removal system. To remove the face shield, first raise it to the highest position.
Then push the small spring-loaded buttons located in the center on each side of the helmet. This releases the face shield.
To reinstall the face shield, simply slide the tabs into the rotating mechanisms on either side and close the shield and it’s done.
The first opening for the face shield is a bit larger than we’d like; it doesn’t have a small first opening for defogging or extra ventilation. Opening the face shield to its first position lets in too much air if you’re going over about 20 MPH or so.
But the built-in chin vents in the removable chin bar do seem to flow a good volume of air up on to the back of the face shield, which does provide a good defogging effect.
The eye port gasket on this helmet seals perfectly across the top of the face shield, preventing water from leaking past the gasket.
The bottom of the face shield has a weaker fit against the gasket on the removable chin bar, but this doesn’t seem to have any effect on noise or water ingress.
Score: I’ll give the X-402GT C3 DOT an “Outstanding” rating for the overall quality and operation of the face shield and eye port and outward visibility.
The top vents on the X-402GT are the “flipper” type used on the Nolan N90 flip-up reviewed on webBikeWorld. They look small but provide good air flow.
The air is directed through holes in the EPS liner and the liner has a very large network of channels molded in that direct the air over the rider’s head and out the rear exhaust.
The “flippers” are easy to use; they have a molded raised surface towards the rear and the lever action is off-center, so pressing on the back raises the vent cover and then pressing on the front closes it.
The same vent covers in the removable chin bar are very similar in their operation.
When opened, they direct air up through the chin bar and on to the back of the face shield for defogging and ventilation.
The helmet also has a brow vent that can be opened with a single slider to direct air through dual openings and then through more vent holes in the EPS. Of course, when riding with the chin bar removed, the ventilation is nearly unlimited.
The helmet liner doesn’t completely cover the EPS liner, which seems to make the air channels more effective. The entire system works very well and provides excellent ventilation.
Score: I’ll give the X-402GT an “Outstanding” rating for ventilation and air flow.
X-402GT Sound Levels
It has been difficult to evaluate the sound levels of the X-402GT because the weather is so cold here this winter that riding with a balaclava or neck warmer is a must.
This affects the perceived noise levels from the helmet, so we’ll have to re-evaluate it when the temperatures are more reasonable.
The top vents do make the same type of noise that was reported on the Nolan N90. When the vents are open, a slight wind rushing noise can be heard and this will increase or decrease, depending upon the forward lean angle of the head.
For example, sitting upright behind the fairing on the K1100LT pushes air over the top of the helmet and the noise levels increase, due to the fast air and turbulence at the top of the helmet.
But when the helmet is out in the open airstream, the noise isn’t as noticeable when sitting upright and pretty much disappears when the head is tilted forward even sligthly.
The turbulence noise around the bottom of the helmet is either well controlled or not as noticeable due to the design of this type of helmet, which is more open around the bottom than most full-face helmets.
It seems counterintuitive, but sometimes less padding around the bottom of the helmet allows the air to pass through and this reduces the low-frequency buffeting wind noise.
The chin vents seem quiet, whether open or closed and the front of the helmet with the large face shield also doesn’t add to the noise levels.
There is some general wind rushing noise around the helmet, and it is probably increased due to the thinner than average internal padding in the helmet.
The bottom line is that I’d rate the X-402GT about average for sound levels, although a reduced amount of time with the helmet and other factors caused by the extremely cold riding conditions make this a difficult call.
Note that our helmet evaluations are a combined effort of several riders over time on different types of motorcycles with and without windscreens.
Evaluators wear correctly fitted, high quality ear plugs (even when evaluating motorcycle intercom systems).
Always protect your hearing when riding a motorcycle. See the wBWEarplug Reviews for more information on choosing and wearing earplugs.
Note also that perceived noise levels will vary, depending on the individual.
Noise can be caused by many factors, including helmet fit, the type of motorcycle and windscreen, wind speed and direction and even the rider’s clothing.
Score: I’ll give the X-Lite X-402GT a “Very Good” rating for noise control.
wBW Video: Nolan X-Lite X-402GT Helmet
X-Lite X-402GT Helmet Weight
This X-402GT in size large weighs 1606 grams, or 3 lbs. 8-5/8 oz.
We was surprised because we thought it felt lighter than that, but the solidity of the composite shell makes up for it. It is possible that the internally rotating sun visor probably adds some weight also.
This puts the helmet currently at number 58 out of 156 helmets weighed for webBikeWorld reviews, so it is just about in the lowest 1/3 of helmet weights, a pretty good result.
The helmet feels very well balanced and the minimal shell proportions, due to the three shell sizes spread across the range of head sizes, ensures that the helmet doesn’t feel unbalanced when riding.
We did not notice any excess buffeting or lift either when riding with the helmet in a variety of conditions.
The removable chin bar weighs 160 grams (5-5/8 oz.), so that can be subtracted from the total if the helmet is worn in its Jet configuration.
Score: The X-Lite X-402GT gets an “Excellent” rating for its relatively low weight and excellent balance.
The X-402GT comes with the double D-ring chin strap retainer system, which is preferred by webBikeWorld evaluators for its lightness and simplicity.
The X-402GT is ready for the Nolan N-Com intercom system.
The ear pockets in the helmet are specially designed to accommodate the N-Com speakers and the ear pocket lining has holes to improve the sound volume.
The EPS is molded to accept the special N-Com speakers. But a combination of thin liner padding and what feels like a smaller-than-average ear pocket size means that fitting aftermarket speakers is slightly difficult and further reduces the width of the helmet.
The helmet and all of the parts are made entirely in Italy by Nolan, including the sun visor and face shield — this is unusual and a good way to control quality.
The X-402GT is another example of what is a new and evolving class of helmets.
We call them “modular” because they can be converted from one form to another. Others call them “crossovers”. But everyone calls them “versatile”.
We think this type of helmet is more useful for a wider range of riding styles and adventures than single-purpose helmets like the flip-up.
Most flip-up helmets can only be worn with the rotating visor closed and locked, or the so-called “enduro” or “adventure touring” helmet (with the baseball cap-like peak).
The X-Lite X-402GT is a very nice-looking helmet that feels well made. It does seem moderately expensive but this can be offset by the versatility and the 5-year warranty, which effectively covers the helmet for its life span.