Monday, November 28, 2011

Nolan N43 Trilogy Helmet

The Nolan open face helmet is advertised as a six-in-one all purpose helmet. I drank the cool aid and bought one at the Triumph dealer in Miami, picking it up on my drive back from North Carolina.

Nolan has a long history of making good quality helmets and they are proud to be still in business still in Italy as the packaging, in patriotic red white and green announced.

The helmet cost me the manufacturer's retail price of $299 and I was glad to buy it at the Triumph dealership even though the Internet will sell it for less. I needed to hold it, wear it and test it in my hands before buying. Besides I like supporting a brick and mortar dealership where I get my motorcycle parts.

The instruction manual in three languages is about the size of a pocket bible and equally dense with precise instructions.

It even explains how not to remove the helmet from a rider with injuries.

Oh, and did I mention the helmet was made by unionized Italian workers in Italy on the 150th anniversary of Italian Unification? Viva Garibaldi! Evviva Mazzini!

After singing a verse of the Inno di Mameli the Italian National anthem, to myself I decided to actually check out Scipio's helmet (Italy girds itself with the helmet of the Roman general Scipio in the heroic first stanza of the slightly absurd national anthem). The nub of the multi-function operation is this big knurled knob, one on each side.

Twist it half way and it pops out allowing the user to install either the visor or the windshield but not both at once (one demerit). Behind the knob you can see the slider that operates the internal sun shield about which more below.

The other removable part is the chin strap which clicks into place making the open face helmet as secure and protective as a full face helmet according to the literature, and to accomplish this it simply clicks into two slots in the front of the helmet.

One has to acknowledge the fears of those who argue that only full face helmets offer proper protection to a rider but on the pragmatic side, where I prefer to live and ride, the ability to take out the chin bar and drop it in a saddlebag makes this helmet ideal as an around town or relaxed riding helmet. Besides, by unclipping one end I can pull the helmet on or off without taking off my glasses.

Without the chin bar you have a nice open face helmet, with sun visor or face shield, your choice.

Ventilation is provided on top of the helmet a feature I have generally found to be fairly useless in warm Florida summers, but the Nolan face shield also comes with two small buttons that increase air flow on the inside of the face shield to decrease fogging. Very nice.

One other feature I like is the built in sun shield that pops up and down by pressing a knob on the outside of the helmet. Riding into the sun the sun shield offered a nice relaxing polarized view of the world. Some comments by users on the Internet want the sun shield to be a little longer to get closer to the nose(second demerit) but I found it to be just fine when deployed and easy to pop out of the way with one click of the button on the left side of the helmet (using the non-throttle hand to move it).

The other brilliant innovation that has finally crossed the Atlantic is the sensible secure and easy to use chin strap. Adjustable for length the strap is secured by an adjustable plastic slider operated with one finger. No more D rings! Hallelujah! My buddy Giovanni has been using these things for years in Italy. I no longer have to envy him.

In use the helmet is comfortable, of course, not very noisy and I trustingly seems to cut out a lot of the high pitched engine noises from my air cooled Bonneville. Wearing the Nolan I hear the low rumble of the exhaust much more than I hear the clatter of valves and cam chain. Odd but true. It's lighter than the flip up full face helmets that are great for people who wear glasses but are heavy and noisy and are awkward to wear in the open position.

This is a very nice comfortable and supremely useful helmet.

I am glad I spent the money with my wife's encouragement. It comes in colors far more interesting than the matt black I chose. If you think a black helmet is hotter than a white helmet ask yourself what the insulation is doing inside the helmet. If you think high visibility is important think again. A driver texting won't see you wearing a set of Christmas tree lights and you will be expecting them to see you. I wear black which hides the dirt, is traditional and gives me no false sense of security that I am visible. I believe in active safety and pay attention when I ride, which is daily. I'm glad to have the Nolan to look after my noggin.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

Cedric Satterfield said...

Great post. Thanks! I just got one of these the other day (the older model, like yours) and your post help decide. The buttons on the face shield are for pinlock, though, not air flow, but they could probably be used that way if you removed them. Interesting thought.