A modular helmet gives you the best of both worlds. For the price of a single helmet, you get an open-faced and a full-faced helmet in one neat package. It’s a cost-effective and cool option for a variety of different styles of riding.
These days, the choice of the modular helmet has never been better. To narrow down the selection and help you find the best modular helmet for your pocket and riding style, we’ve selected eight of the best. They cover a wide range of price points and styles.
So, take a closer look and find the perfect modular helmet for you and your bike…
- 1 Top 8 Best Modular Helmets on the Market in 2021 Reviews
- 1.1 1 Shark Evo ES Yari – Best Chin Bar Mechanism Modular Helmet
- 1.2 2 HJC MAX II Modular Helmet 980-146 – Best Polycarbonate Modular Helmet
- 1.3 3 1Storm Motorcycle Modular Helmet – Best Budget Modular Helmet
- 1.4 4 Nolan N100-5 Solid Helmet – Best Value for the Money Modular Helmet
- 1.5 5 Royal R04 Modular Motorcycle Helmet – Best ABS Modular Helmet
- 1.6 6 ILM Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmet – Best Bluetooth Modular Helmet
- 1.7 7 LS2 Helmets Valiant II Modular Helmet – Best Fitting Modular Helmet
- 1.8 8 Shoei Neotec II Motorcycle Helmet – Best Premium Modular Helmet
- 2 Best Modular Helmet Buying Guide
- 3 Looking for Something Else?
- 4 What is the Best Modular Helmet?
Top 8 Best Modular Helmets on the Market in 2021 Reviews
1 Shark Evo ES Yari – Best Chin Bar Mechanism Modular Helmet
This is a high-quality modular helmet. It comes in a wide range of colors and designs. The helmet we’ve selected has racing graphics. But, if that’s not your thing, there are plenty of other color options to choose from.
Although it’s a modular helmet, it still has DOT certification for a full-face helmet. Additionally, it also gets a perfect five out of five in the SHARP rating system. All in all, you can be assured that this is a tough and safe helmet.
Simple and secure flip-up…
The chin bar can flip up and over top of the helmet with a single-hand motion. As part of this process, the visor automatically lifts up and down. It’s a patented Shark design that we think is super-cool.
Another cool feature is that the chin bar, once flipped up, sits at the rear of the helmet. This is unlike a lot of competitor helmets that position the chin bar high up on the front or top. This makes it much less aerodynamic and looks pretty ugly too.
Full marks to the Shark design team…
It has some impressive noise isolation. Shark has invested heavily in better-routed airflow and improved cheek pads and neck roll. The result is one of the best quiet modular helmets on the market.
Other things we like are the slide down sun-shield that comes with high optical quality and a scratch-resistant coating. The visor is of similar quality and features the same scratch-resistant coating. Plus, it is Pinlock ready.
Finally, it also comes with an easy-fit system for eyeglass wearers. Plus, it’s fully prepared to hook up to a Shark Bluetooth communication system.
- High level of noise suppression.
- Patent chin bar system.
- The visor is Pinlock ready.
- Scratch-resistant coating on visor and sun shield.
- DOT certified.
- 5/5 SHARP rating.
- The sizes run small.
2 HJC MAX II Modular Helmet 980-146 – Best Polycarbonate Modular Helmet
This is a lower to mid-tiered modular helmet. It has a polycarbonate composite outer shell and a polycarbonate flip-up chin guard. It’s fully DOT certified.
This is a reasonably quiet helmet, and it’s also reasonably light. It weighs just under four pounds, which considering the price point and materials used, is a fair weight. However, if either a lightweight or super-quiet helmet is a priority, you’ll need to look elsewhere and, without a doubt, dig deeper in your wallet too.
Flip it in a cinch…
The chin bar is operated by pressing a red button under the chin. It’s easy to use and, more importantly, can be flipped up and over the visor whilst still wearing gloves. Happily, the sun shield is just as easy to use and just as easy to operate.
The face shield is scratch-resistant and Pinlock ready. Unfortunately, the Pinlock insert does not come with the helmet and has to be purchased separately. It’s another fair compromise given the price.
The sun shield is smoke-tinted and can be adjusted in three different positions. Like the visor and chin bar, it’s another well-thought-out and easy-to-use piece of kit. If the sun shield provided is either too light or dark, there are plenty of replacement options available.
To keep you cool…
On the inside, you can rely on an air vent on the top of the helmet to do its job. There’s also a small air vent on the chin bar, but this has a limited cooling effect and is only practically suitable on less hot days. The inside of the helmet is well padded, and thankfully, the inner liner is removable and washable.
- Good value.
- Strong Polycarbonate composite shell.
- Easy-to-operate visors and chin bar systems.
- The visor is Pinlock ready.
- DOT certified.
- Dropdown sun shield.
- Pinlock insert is not included.
3 1Storm Motorcycle Modular Helmet – Best Budget Modular Helmet
We’re now very much at an entry price level. For the budget-conscious motorcyclist, this may be the best cheap modular helmet you can buy. They don’t come much more affordable than this.
So, what exactly do you get for not a lot of money?
First, you get a choice of 14 colors that should cover most people’s tastes. The paint job is pretty good and more than acceptable given the price. Unfortunately, what’s less acceptable is that it only comes in four sizes. So you might find it difficult to get a good fit.
It has an outer ABS shell that is reasonably strong, and DOT approved. It features an EPS liner and a removable and washable inner liner. The pads are also removable and washable, so you should be able to keep things nice and fresh inside.
It’s reasonably aerodynamic for a modular helmet. Plus, when the chin bar is in the locked position, it’s a nice join and difficult to see. In this regard, they’ve done a good job.
Venting is also effective…
There are a total of six vents. They’ll keep you cool on a hot day, but it does come at the expense of quite a lot of noise. Sadly, this is one of its weak points.
Other negatives are that the operation of the visors and the chin bar are all a little clunky. They work well enough, but they’re nowhere as smooth as you’ll find on something like the Shark Evo ES Yari. But then again, the cost difference is large, to say the least.
- Low cost.
- ABS outer shell.
- Removable and washable inner liner.
- Good venting.
- Poor selection of sizes.
- Clunky operation of visors and the chin bar system.
4 Nolan N100-5 Solid Helmet – Best Value for the Money Modular Helmet
Next up, in our Best Modular Helmet reviews, we have a mid to high-tier modular helmet. There’s plenty of good quality materials gone into it. This is DOT-approved and also scores an impressive 4/5 on the SHARP rating system.
Great low-profile design…
Despite being a modular helmet, Nolan has done an excellent job in keeping the profile down as low as possible. The result is a smaller, more aerodynamic, and lighter helmet. It weighs just 1.7kg, making it one of the lightest non-carbon shelled modular helmets on the market.
All of these factors contribute to improved comfort, reduced noise, and buffeting. The snug-fitting EPS liner and one-piece cheek pad also play their part. As a result, this is one of the best noise-reducing modular helmets on the market.
Venting is via a vent on the top of the helmet and at the chin bar. The vent on the top of the helmet feeds into Nolan’s AirBooster ventilation system that ensures excellent interior airflow. It’s highly effective, which is more than can be said for the rather lackluster vent at the chin bar.
Two other things we like…
The visor and the sun shield. Both have scratch-resistant coatings. What’s more, the visor also comes with a Pinlock insert to keep fogging at bay. This is something that even more expensive helmets routinely omit. Therefore, this is one of the best scratch resistant modular helmets available.
Finally, the visor is also very wide, which helps to improve peripheral vision. We’re sure you’ll agree that regardless of the kind of riding you do, that’s never a bad thing.
- Scratch-resistant visor.
- An anti-fog Pinlock insert is included.
- Wide visor.
- Dropdown sun shield.
- Ineffective chin bar vent.
5 Royal R04 Modular Motorcycle Helmet – Best ABS Modular Helmet
This is a budget-friendly entry-level helmet. However, despite the low price tag, it’s got plenty of features and is more than strong enough to meet DOT standards and certification.
Good levels of protection…
It has a strong ABS outer shell which is accompanied by a thick high-density EPS liner. The helmet can withstand high-impact collisions, and the liner is capable of protecting the wearer by absorbing much of the impact.
As you’d expect from the materials, this isn’t the lightest or smallest helmet. Despite this, it’s still reasonably aerodynamic and cuts through the air efficiently at speed. You will get wind noise, but for a modular helmet at this price-point, it’s more than acceptable.
Easy enough to use…
The chin bar, the visor, and the sun shield are all relatively easy to operate and move more smoothly than we expected. However, when the chin bar is pulled up, it only reaches above the visor. This means it’s not a great position when riding. It’s more for when eating, drinking, or whenever you need to show your face for security reasons.
The visor is double lens and fog-free. Additionally, it has a good anti-scratch coating, which is also found on the dropdown sun shield. What’s more, both the visor and sun shield can be replaced through either Royal or an aftermarket purchase.
Keeps you dry…
Finally, the inner liner is made up of three parts that are all effective at wicking away moisture. These can be removed and are machine washable. That should keep things odor-free on the inside.
- Fog-free double lens visor.
- Anti-scratch visor and sun shield.
- Removable and washable liner.
- Noticeable wind noise.
- The Chin bar does not flip to the rear of the helmet.
6 ILM Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmet – Best Bluetooth Modular Helmet
If you’re looking for a modular helmet with a higher than normal safety rating that also has Bluetooth and an intercom system, but that still doesn’t break the bank, then look no further. The ILM Bluetooth modular helmet could be exactly what you’re looking for.
It has an ABS outer shell together with an EPS liner. This is not only DOT-approved, but it’s also ECE certified. It’s a strong and feature-packed helmet that still manages to creep in under two kilograms. This means it is one of the safest modular helmets out there.
Music on the move…
Unusually for a helmet costing so little, you get a fully integrated Bluetooth communication system. The controller is beautifully fused on the left-hand side of the helmet just below your ear. It’s easy to use but is also very unobtrusive and difficult to see unless your look hard.
The controller allows you to play music, change tracks and listen to GPS navigation. Even better, the built-in speakers and the noise-canceling microphone make and receive calls with ease.
Communicate without any hassles…
For those of you with riding buddies, you can use Bluetooth to communicate with each other. The intercom will also work between ILM 953 and ILM 903 helmets.
You can simultaneously pair with three other riders and communicate with two riders at the same time. Plus, the range is a more than sufficient 500m. As a result, it is one of the best intercom-enabled modular helmets currently available.
Battery life on full charge gives you 110 hours of standby time, 12 hours of talk time, and eight hours of intercom use. This is more than enough for the vast majority of rides. When you’re not using Bluetooth, it will automatically switch off to save the battery.
- Good safety rating.
- Bluetooth integrated system.
- Long battery life.
- Noise-canceling microphone.
- Older 3.0 Bluetooth technology.
7 LS2 Helmets Valiant II Modular Helmet – Best Fitting Modular Helmet
LS2 has a great range of sizes running from XS to XXXL. It also gives you a stack of different colors to choose from. Plus, regardless of what you pick, you can be confident of an excellent and detailed finish.
It has a Kinetic Polymer Alloy outer shell which is proprietary material. The mix of high-end polymer and aramid fibers helps to provide a helmet with high energy dispersal properties. Furthermore, this is one of the best impact resistance modular helmets around. Happily, all of this is achieved in a lightweight package.
The chin bar can be flipped right to the back of the helmet, which is a design feature we like to see. Just as importantly, it’s easy to operate with one hand and has a beautifully smooth action.
Quiet and comfy…
Noise levels are low as the helmet has been redesigned to be more enclosing with the addition of more material on the cheek pads and lining. The more streamlined and lower profile shape also helps to keep noise to a minimum.
The visor is Pinlock ready, although no insert is included. Unlike the previous model, the visor can be quickly removed without the need for a special tool. One feature worth pointing out is that the visor tab is on the top rather than the bottom. This is, so it doesn’t interfere when pulling the chin bar to the rear. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s not a deal-breaker.
Easy to take care of…
Finally, the inner liner is easy to remove, has anti-bacterial properties, and is machine washable. Making this one of the best easy to clean modular helmets you can buy.
- Wide choice of colors and sizes.
- Good noise suppression.
- Chin bar can flip through 180 degrees.
- Improved internal airflow.
- Low profile and streamlined shape.
- Position of visor tab.
- Sizes run small.
8 Shoei Neotec II Motorcycle Helmet – Best Premium Modular Helmet
We saved the best modular helmet and undoubtedly the most expensive for last. If you want one of the best sports touring modular helmets with a flip-up chin bar, and have deep pockets, they don’t get much better than this.
The ultimate in protection…
The outer shell is made from Shoei’s advanced fiberglass matrix compound. This is fused with a dual-density EPS liner. The result is a helmet that is DOT and ECE approved.
Additionally, it also scores 4/5 on the SHARP rating system. That’s all very good, but we have to level the criticism that for a helmet at this kind of price, we’d expect a perfect SHARP score.
The chin bar only stays locked on impact 70% of the time. That’s pretty good, but some helmets score a perfect mark by this metric. It’s even worse when you consider that the older Neotech scored 93%. Again, at the price, it puts a question mark over a potential purchase.
When riding, you can do so legally with the chin bar either up or down. If you choose to wear it up, it will be perfectly satisfactory, with little wind noise or buffeting, with speeds up to 50mph.
When it comes to noise suppression, Shoei has done a great job of improving the latest model over the outgoing helmet. When it comes to wind noise, this is one of the quietest modular helmets we’ve reviewed.
Similarly, this is one of the best venting modular helmets available. It’s another significant step-up from the previous model. The Neotec II gives tons of venting mainly due to the large crown vent and well-designed channeling that culminates with exhausted air passing through the rear twin extractor.
The visor and sun shield continue the excellence…
These are both of the highest optical quality. They both have a strong anti-scratch coating, and the main visor is Pinlock ready. As you’d expect, at this kind of price, a Pinlock Evo shield is included.
It’s just as well that it comes with an effective Pinlock anti-fog system. Because there’s no cracked position for riding at low speeds to prevent misting. We don’t get this omission, quite frankly. That’s going straight into the moans and niggles section.
- High-quality construction.
- 4/5 SHARP score.
- Excellent venting system.
- Pinlock Evo inserts included.
- Chin bar stays locked only 70% of the time on impact.
- No cracked position for the visor.
Best Modular Helmet Buying Guide
All the helmets in our review have DOT approval. Additionally, some of the helmets, like the ILM Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmet, are also ECE certified. ECE is a more modern testing method and is recognized as being a higher standard of certification than DOT. If all things are equal, it’s best to have a helmet with both certifications.
So, what about the SHARP rating?
SHARP combines test data with real-life data. It could be considered as a supplement to both DOT and ECE certification. SHARP focuses less on passing a test of penetrative strength and more on real-life crash situations.
A maximum score of 5/5 on the SHARP rating scale is considered excellent. However, even 4/5 as scored by the Shoei Neotec II and the Nolan N100-5 are impressive results.
Chin Bar Mechanism
A modular helmet needs to have a chin bar system that can be easily retracted and put back into position. This should ideally be achieved using only one hand and with minimum fuss.
Whilst most can be moved with a single gloved hand; some are a little clunky to use. You must look to modular helmets like the HJC MAX II Modular Helmet 980-146 and the Shark Evo ES Yari for the best and smoothest mechanisms.
Another thing to take into account…
Can the chin bar, once flipped up, be fully retracted 180 degrees onto the back of the helmet? It’s the best position for the chin bar when not in the locked position. This is because it creates less drag and prevents the helmet from feeling top-heavy. The Shark Evo ES Yari and the LS2 Helmets Valiant II Modular Helmet both have this ability.
A modular helmet gives you the option of riding with the chin bar up on hotter days which will substantially improve venting and cooling. However, doing so will significantly increase noise as well as reduce aerodynamics. It’s also a lot less desirable to ride around with the chin bar flipped in poor or rainy weather.
Therefore, even with a modular helmet, good ventilation is essential. The best for venting on our list is the Shoei Neotec II. The crown vent and rear exhaust are large. Plus, the channeling inside of the helmet is well thought out and effective.
There’s no doubt the best quality modular helmet will never be as quiet as a standard full-face helmet. However, modern modular helmets are significantly quieter than ones from previous generations.
The overall profile of flip-up helmets has become smaller, the linings more enclosing, and the joins are now made to even finer tolerances. It is sometimes possible to find a quiet modular helmet at an entry-level price point. But, generally speaking, you have to select a mid-tier helmet like the Nolan N100-5 before you get good levels of noise suppression.
For excellent levels of noise suppression, you’ll need to dust off your credit cards and put your hands deep into your pockets for something like the Shoei Neotec II.
Any face shield should first have excellent optical quality before anything else. After this, it needs to have a strong anti-scratch coating. Plus, it should have an anti-fog coating or a Pinlock insert.
We favor a helmet being Pinlock ready and preferably having a Pinlock insert included. However, we recognize less expensive helmets are likely not to have an insert include to keep down costs.
We also expect even a modular helmet to have a cracked option to reduce fogging when riding at low speeds. Plus, the shields should be simple to swap without the need for tools. The Nolan N100-5 has the best face shield of the eight helmets, in our opinion.
Looking for Something Else?
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What is the Best Modular Helmet?
So, there you have it. We’re sure that you were already convinced of the benefits of a modular helmet before reading this review. However, we hope you’ve now found the best helmet for you, your bike, and your riding style.
We would be happy to take home any of the helmets on our list and take them out with us on a ride. But, if we had to select just one, it would be the…
We like this helmet because it’s not only lightweight, but it’s also one of the quietest in its class. Additionally, it’s got an excellent scratch-resistant visor, and a Pinlock insert is included, which you don’t often see. What’s not to like?
Until next time, happy trails.