Everybody clear what a modular motorcycle helmet is?
Modular helmets are the kind which have strong skull protection, but use a visor in front so the rider can see clearly and, with the visor or the faceplate raised, eat and drink without removing the head protector.
Modular helmets come in all shapes, sizes and tech levels.
That being so, how do you choose the best modular motorcycle helmet for you?
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Best Modular Motorcycle Helmet - Comparison Table
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Best Modular Motorcycle Helmet - Reviews
There are a number of things to keep in mind when choosing your modular motorcycle helmet. Safety, for one. Comfort for another. And then, the technology fitting into the helmet, if it helps, how it helps and how easy it is to use.
The ILM Bluetooth Integrated helmet is available in a range of sizes, but be aware that the ILM helmet is a full size smaller than most helmets, to be sure to check the size you actually need before you buy.
Safetywise, you have a strong ABS shell here, designed with a dual visor. So will it keep you safe on the road? Absolutely – it’s up to or beyond DOT standards for a motorcycle helmet, so your head is protected in the event of a slide or crash.
Job 1 – all good.
The visor’s a standard see-through panel rather than an anti-fog solution, though you’re able to change out the standard visor to an anti-fog one if you need it.
For your comfort, there’s an air ventilation system in the ILM and it also uses replaceable microfiber liners, which will both help protect you from wind, weather and chills when travelling at speed, and stop potentially sweaty longer rides from getting too uncomfortable.
The ventilation system’s vents are adjustable, giving you control over the way in which they work.
Now let’s talk technological turkey.
While Job 1 of any motorcycle helmet is to keep the rider safe in the event of accidents, you can more or less assume any popular helmet will do that job. You buy the ILM helmet for its Bluetooth 3.0 tech.
And you get an impressive bundle for your tech-dollar here. One-touch control gives you calling, answering, the ability to reject incoming calls and redial when you’re in a better place. That’s a lot of power and communication control in a helmet.
Naturally though with bluetooth technology, it doesn’t end there. You get access to music, FM radio, and GPS navigation built in too. Plus, if you have a friend with another ILM helmet within 1000 feet of you, the helmet will give you intercom connection, with outside sound dampening through DSP echo cancellation and noise suppression technology.
Even while in heavy traffic, you’re able to clearly hear whatever you want – be it the demands of your GPS, the lyrics of a favorite song, or your buddy up ahead, waning you of construction work for the next 2,000 yards.
The ILM is not by any means the perfect tech-heavy motorcycle helmet – the tech itself is still developing. But in the here and now, the ILM gives you a lot of pleasure and communication options as yet undreamed-of by some other manufacturers, and backs its offering with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.
That package is enough to put it at the top of our list of the best modular motorcycle helmets currently on the market.
The HJC IS-MAX2 (also known as a MAX II), is a helmet that combines solid protective features with a little extra tech to help you in high sun situations.
The IS-MAX2 has the feel of being a ‘convertible’ helmet, because the chin strap opens up and the whole faceplate lifts up to allow you to eat, drink, chat and get some fresh air as needed, all without the hassle of removing the helmet.
It’s relatively lightweight at 3 pounds, 14 ounces, so it has less of an oppressive feeling than some more claustrophobic helmets. But it’s still DOT-approved for safety and its advanced polycarbonate shell has been especially designed for a more comfortable ride.
As part of that comfort-build, it’s been redesigned since its predecessor model, the IS-Max, launched back in 2009. It also brings SuperCool moisture-wicking and antibacterial fabric to the party, and deploys the Advanced Channelling Ventilation System to keep the rider as cool as possible throughout the ride.
It also has an internal sun visor, which means in the event of the sun glare getting too much, you can deploy it at the touch of a button and keep on riding with at least improved, if not strictly perfect, glare-shielding.
Another extremely useful thing about the MAX2 is that it has grooves to allow you to wear prescription glasses while you ride – a particular boon if you wear glasses to be safe on the road and aren’t keen on contacts. Sure, that’s by no means uncommon in modular helmets today, but it’s good to know it’s an option with this solidly designed and significantly upgraded lid.
Available in a range of sizes from XS-5XL, the HJC IS-MAX2 is a solid choice for those who want a modular helmet but are more focused on the riding than their ongoing connectivity with the outside or wider world.
LS2 has a solid reputation in delivering modular helmets, and the Strobe is a competent, comfortable and well-ventilated addition to its range.
DOT-certified for safety, it’s a helmet that comes not only in a range of sizes (XS-XXXL), the faceplate section releases with a button at the front of the chin, allowing for access when chatting or eating, and a vent in the chin as part of the ventilation system helps the Strobe stay comparatively fog-free.
Unlike some other helmets, there’s a noticeable click when the faceplate is locked back into place, so you’re not left worrying about its security when you ride off.
It’s worth talking about the visor on the Strobe, because LS2 has ensured that all its visors are built out of 3D optically correct "A Class" polycarbonate, which combines a strong resistance to impact with maximum clarity and minimal distortion.
The ventilation system – each brand seems to have their own, and LS2’s is called Dynamic Flow-through Ventilation – is an ingenious system of vents and ports that keeps air flowing over the rider’s face to help them keep cool. Again, it’s the chin vent that’s most effective in that, helping make the helmet wearable for longer periods.
A one-button sun shield helps riders cope with sun glare too, and like the MAX2, it’s a helmet you can comfortably wear over your glasses.
While comfort is entirely subjective, lots of users of varying sizes and levels of helmet-based crankiness find the Strobe a comfortable fit even for longer rides. The lining is fully removable, though you’ll want to do it delicately and take your time, as a number of small pins in the lining can make for fiddly removal.
Noise reduction in the Strobe is not by any means total, but it’s certainly good enough to make it a reliable, go-to helmet without giving you the clench of regret or the cringe against noise that some less thought-through helmets can bring.
Bottom line, the LS2 Strobe is an attractive helmet, well designed and built, which gains points for its faceplate lift, its ventilation system and the consistently positive experience it delivers to riders across the range.
Beautiful things, they say, come in small packages. That might be the motto of the TORC T27B1 – roughly 20% smaller than many standard helmets, it delivers a similar level of protection without the bulk.
As with all our helmets so far, the T27B1 is DOT-certified for safety, and once that’s assured, any comparison of helmets becomes a thing of ease, comfort, access and technology.
In terms of the comfort, the T27B1 has an impressive set of intake vents, with Venturi venting to give you cool air through the rear exhaust.
As with some other helmets, there’s a one-button release, though unlike some of those others, this helmet puts the button at the bottom and to the rear, which some might find extra-fiddly with gloves on.
Bringing the T27B1 into contention with some of the higher-placed helmets on our list though, bluetooth is delivered as standard in the T27B1. Yes, it’s bluetooth 2.0, rather than the 3.0 of the list-leading ILM helmet, but still, it delivers one-touch send and receive of calls, streaming music and GPS navigation, so who’s about to quibble with that?
Timewise, the T27B1 is behind the ILM too – here you get six hours of talk and 100 hours, compared to 8 hours and 110 of standby on the ILM, but it’s still enough to get you pretty far between recharges. As with the list-leader, there’s also anti-noise tech deployed here – a microphone cancels out some of the road noise, so you can both hear and be heard while riding, without sounding like a frog lost in a wind tunnel.
And with the bluetooth comes an intercom feature, connecting you with fellow TORC-wearers up to 1500 feet away.
It would be a mistake to write the TORC T27B1 off as a ‘little engine that could’ in the shadow of the list-leading ILM helmet. For plenty of riders, the T27B1 will deliver everything they need – safety, comfort, and ongoing connectivity over the space of long rides. It might well be the helmet you didn’t know you needed, so it’s worth at least a second look.
Here’s the thing about the Shoei Neotec II.
Many riders will say it should be at the top of our list.
Lots and lots of riders, from novices to those with years of riding experience behind them, love the Neotec II. It seems to speak to the heart and soul of motorcycle riders.
So why is it barely hanging on to the bottom of our list?
Well, firstly, the Neotec II doesn’t ‘barely’ do anything. It sits proudly on our list, daring you and us to find anything better. That it’s as far down as it is it just a matter of blending significant factors that should make you press the ‘buy’ button, from Bluetooth to ventilation to price-point and more.
That said, we’re with the majority of riders. We love the Neotec II…erm…too.
Oval-shaped to fit most riders who could want it and aerodynamic like a bullet, you can get the Neotec II with a SENA SRL pre-integrated, so it can compete on the bluetooth communications front too.
The thing about the Neotec II is that you keep asking questions, and it has at least 99% of the answers. Integrated sun visor? Check. Chin-bar latching mechanism? Yep. Superior ventilation system. Yes, that’s here too, along with a Pinlock visor, an extremely comfortable inner liner, and noise isolation cheekpads…All that and more comes as standard with the Neotec II.
It’s a helmet that combines a lot of the factors you’d include if money were no object and you were building the perfect modular motorcycle helmet from scratch.
It’s constructed on a 5-ply matrix, comes in four different sizes, and cut down the sense of head wobble that comes with some other helmets.
While some of the other helmets are better on some points, overall there’s no going wrong with a Neotec II. Any of the helmets on our list will work well for you. The Neotec II has lots of fans, and there’s every chance you’ll become one of their number the moment you slip it on.
Best Modular Motorcycle Helmet - Buyers Guide
When buying a modular motorcycle helmet, make sure to consider a couple of points before you buy.
Keep Cool And Carry On
One of the worst sensations in the world is an overheated motorcycle helmet. Unable to wipe away sweat inside the helmet, you have to suffer till you can pull over, breathe, give yourself a wipe-down and carry on.
Never be caught without a high quality ventilation system in your motorcycle helmet. Be prepared to pay for that function above almost anything else, barring safety.
Can You Hear Me Now?
One of the pleasures and reassurances of 21st century motorcycle riding is that you don’t need to be disconnected for however long your journey is.
If you want to be able to safely take, make and reject calls along the way, if a GPS navigation system would help you get where you’re going, or if you need some music along your journey, pay the extra and get a helmet with bluetooth.
Equally importantly, if those things would just distract you from the road and the journey, go bluetooth-free, save yourself some money, and ride on.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why makes a modular helmet special?
More or less, it’s all about the visor – a modular motorcycle helmet is the halfway stage between full helmets and open-face helmets, in that you can press a button and talk, eat, and take some breaths in a modular helmet, without removing the helmet altogether
What should I look for in a modular motorcycle helmet?
Above and beyond everything else, DOT-certification for safety – you want it to protect your head if you have an accident. After that, whatever most appeals to you.
Shatterproof visors are a good investment. Ventilation systems help you stay more comfortable for longer. And communication options can transform your passive ride into an active, connected experience.