Review: Nolan N91 Modular Helmet

Jul 20, 2014 View Comments by

Review: Nolan N91 Modular Helmet I’m a big fan of modular helmets. The ability to flip up the whole face is perfect for taking a quick photo, having a conversation, or any number of other instances when it’s nice to not have to take the whole helmet off—and yet you still have the protection of a full face. Over the years modular helmets have gotten progressively better and cheaper and the N91 is the latest to follow this trend. The N91 is basically an updated version of Nolan’s well-received N90—and at the same price!

At around $300 (for solid colors), the N91 is mid-priced for a modular helmet, and it deftly splits the difference between bargain priced and cheaply built models and the high-end, expensive options. The quality of the Nolan is hard to beat, the finish and materials are first class, and the flip up mechanism seems sturdy and closes with a satisfying click. Inside, the helmet is lined with an anti-microbial “Clima-Comfort” material that has a premium feel to it and is fully removable and washable. A pronounced neck roll fits tight to the skin and serves to reduce wind and noise making the N91 one of the quietest modulars I’ve yet to try.

A word on fit; because it doesn’t have much in the way of ear pockets like most helmets, the N91 feels very tight around the ears. This causes the helmet to feel a bit narrower than I’m used to. The solution, especially if your noggin is on the wide side, is to order a size larger than you normally would.

The N91 has a locking lever on the left side that holds the face in the open position, preventing those heart attack inducing unintentional closures. There’s also a flip down sun visor—something I consider a must in a touring helmet. Other handy features include an anti-fog Pinlock visor insert, an easily changed Lexan face shield, and a quick release chinstrap. It’s also ready to accept Nolan’s stellar N-Com communication system.

Venting is one of the N91’s weaker points, though it actually performs better than most modular helmets I’ve used. There’s one large top vent at the top of the forehead that draws air through channels along the crown of the helmet and out the multitude of exhaust vents in the back. There’s another forward facing vent in the chin area, but strangely, it points directly upwards, perpendicular to the direction of airflow. Still, a decent amount of airflow makes it to the wearer and I never got too hot in it, even while touring in Florida.

The N91’s field of view seems to be a bit narrower than most full-face helmets, yet not by enough to bother me at all. The helmet is DOT approved and its polycarbonate shell appears to have adequate aerodynamic properties, which also helps keep things quiet inside.

Though the N91 may not excel at any one thing, it does many things very well. It combines the convenience of a modular with good comfort, features, and quality all at an extremely affordable price. Just call it the renaissance helmet.

Nolan N91 Modular Helmet
Sizes: XS-XXL
Colors: various solid colors and graphics
Price: $315.95-$359.95
www.nolan-usa.com

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About the author

There’s something relentlessly romantic about riding a motorcycle. I’m blessed to know that feeling. With a background in photography and a love for motorcycles, I’m interested in the beauty and honesty of the open road. You’ll find me riding Carolina’s roads on my Suzuki SV650.