I bought my Nolan with gifts from my friends and family who pitched in as a combined 60th birthday present. I wanted another flip-front helmet after having an excellent run with my HJC Symax. People can deride the flip-front all they like and question its strength and all that yada, yada, but I like the idea and, being a spectacle wearing rider, the flip front is absolutely ideal.
I tried on several different helmets in that field before settling on the Nolan, mainly based on the integral sun visor which saves me having to wear sunnies and the N-Com communications systems which is available as a (high-cost) addition. On reflection, the N-Com was never really going to happen, but, you know, shiny-shiny and all that.
The helmet is lighter than my HJC and a little more “claustrophobic”, the chin piece being considerably closer to the chin than the HJC. However, I soon got used to that and noticed that the helmet is also quieter and seems to be less affected by buffeting than the old one (more aerodynamic shape, perhaps?)
As a touring helmet it is plain excellent. The integral visor works exactly as it should and is easily manipulated. The visor opening, with the tab in the middle of the visor rather than off to one side was also a bit of a challenge to get used to, especially since I have continued wearing the HJC as well.
The chin release mechanism also seems to be of a much better quality than the HJC, albeit still easy to operate.
The helmet IS quieter and feels more comfortable, being fitted with a better quality lining. It also is set up already for the Pinlock visor system which I probably would be using if I was still living in foggy Canberra and riding backwards and forwards to Wakefield Park regularly. As it is, I went right through last Winter without needing it, so who knows if I will. It’s nice knowing that it’s there, anyway.
Are there any down sides? Yes, most definitely. It did not become apparent until I did my first tour wearing the Nolan that the visor opening is considerably smaller than that on the HJC. This is most notable along the top edge where it sits on the forehead. A spirited dive down the Oxley had me misjudging corners through lack of the ability to look forward far enough and a very sore neck from trying to look up and forwards by the time I got to the bottom.
This same small aperture also impacts upon visibilty in climbing uphill corners and almost caused me to put the helmet on ebay and try something different.
However, I have persevered and, whether through familiarity or better fitness, I now find that I can judge the corners better and I’m pulling up at the end of a ride and my neck isn’t sore. I should add that, if you were riding a bike with a more “upright” riding position than my VFR, this probably wouldn’t be anywhere near as critical an issue.
I’ve also found that the hemlet allows me to listen to my .mp3 player at a lower volume than that which I have been used to so I guess that that means that my gut feeling about it being quieter is correct.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with my Nolan. Of course I’d love an Arai FSR, but, at $799 that plainly isn’t going to happen either.
On a scale of 1-10, I’d give it an 8 1/2. Recommended.
Oh, yeah, and mine is shiny black like this one, to match BBII.