Nolan N90 – showing wear and tear after four riding seasons

Chin piece of Nolan N90 showing 3 of the 5 paint chips, after 4 riding seasons. This is the fourth Nolan helmet we've owned and the first to exhibit this level of susceptibility to chipping

Chin piece of Nolan N90 showing 3 of the 5 paint chips, after 4 riding seasons. This is the fourth Nolan helmet we’ve owned and the first to exhibit this level of susceptibility to chipping.  Chips have been outlined with a black marker

It’s time to replace my tried-and-true Nolan N90 flip-up helmet.  After four riding seasons and an estimated 60,000 plus kilometres of use, it’s served me very well, but it’s starting to show signs of wear and tear.

I’m a big time Nolan ‘fan.’  This is the fourth Nolan I’ve owned (along with the N100, N102 – both of which have been retired – and the current N41 open face helmet I continue to use.)

For some reason, the N90’s exterior finish has begun deteriorating.  As you can see on the photographs, a major piece of paint has chipped off the chinpiece just below the press-to-release button, a chip at the right front lower edge and another chip below the right side chin vent.

Lift the flip-up section and both corners of the trailing edge of the chinpiece are chipped.  That totals 5 chips on the flip-up front piece.

At the back of the N90, the helmet has two paint chips at the 12 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions relative to the DOT sticker.

Nolan N90 paint chips at back of helmet. Chips outlined with black marker

Nolan N90 paint chips at back of helmet. Chips outlined with black marker

None of my previous Nolan helmets have ever shown this level of susceptibility to chipping.  It’s weird, because I’m always super careful when it comes to handling my helmet.  I never place them on the ground, I’ve never dropped one – I normally handle helmets with kid gloves.

Choices for a replacement helmet

I’ve got one of those difficult to fit ’round oval’ heads.  (For an excellent discussion on the various shapes of heads and motorcycle helmet internal shapes, go to WebBikeWorld.)  In all the helmets I’ve tried, the Nolan N90 (and it’s predecessor variants) fit me perfectly.

Paint chip detail. Chip outlined with black marker

Paint chip detail. Chip outlined with black marker

The trouble I find with most helmets is my cheeks are too ‘broad’ (some would say ‘fat’) and it’s impossible to spread the ‘wings’ of modular helmets to squeeze past my cheekbones.  Then, if I can get the helmet over my head, they squeeze the arms of my eyeglasses so much they bend the eyeglasses frame, thereby distorting my view because the lens isn’t sitting in correct relation to my eyes.

Choice 1 – Nolan N91 flip-up

So my first choice is the new version of my N90, the Nolan N91, which has a street price of $360.00 Can.

Choice 2 – Arai RX-Q full face

At the 2016 Edmonton Motorcycle Show, I was talking to Arai helmet rep Steve Dick, who was a Canadian Superbike racer and former champion in the 1980s and 1990s.  Dick measured me up and recommended an Arai RX-Q in size Large.  (I wear a Medium Nolan.)  I was surprised to find the helmet slip over my fat face, but as usual, couldn’t slip the arms of my eyeglasses into the helmet.  “Tilt the chin of the helmet upwards, then try again”, he advised.  With the helmet tilted up, I could indeed fit my eyeglass arms into the helmet.  Fantastic.  Problem is, I’ve been using a flip-up helmet for some 15 years now, and I’d miss the convenience.  BUT, the Arai RX-Q is VERY appealing.  Street price for the Arai RX-Q is a pricey $630.00 Can.

Choice 3 – Schuberth C3 Pro flip-up

The Big Daddy of touring helmets is the Schuberth C3 Pro.  I’ve owned a Schuberth C2 and quite liked it, but swore (after owning it a few years) I’d never buy another ‘super expensive’ helmet again.  But what’s the price of comfort on a 1,000 kilometre day?  The Schuberth C3 Pro fits me (size Large) and the build quality is undeniable.  BUT the C3 Pro’s street price is jaw-dropping $1,000.00 Can.

For the price of the Schuberth C3 Pro, I could buy a new Nolan N91 AND the Arai RX-Q.

Currently, my local Arai dealer says the RX-Q is on back order, so they have none for me to try.  Right now, I’m leaning towards the Arai, but we’ll see.

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Dave Graham says:

    I’m quite happy with my C3. No specific need for the C3 Pro, since the big difference appears to be the internal antenna. Since I don’t listen to the radio and normally ride alone, no need for it. I have my C2 as backup, but haven’t used it in a couple of years.
    I bought the C3 just before the C3 pro came out, so I’m waiting on the next iteration before changing helmets.

    • ty says:

      Dave:
      I’m still undecided. I’ve been wavering between the Arai RX-Q (which still hasn’t arrived at my dealer for me to try against my current Nolan N90.) I’m thinking although the RX-Q would undoubtedly be a superb ‘premium’ helmet, I’d miss the convenience of the flip-up feature. I’ll need to test fit the Schuberth C3 Pro again as well. Tim

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