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Motorcycle Paradise

Nolan N43 Helmet review

Update 2012.


The N43 is now released in Australia for anyone still thinking of one. Now with a few years of ownership I want to give a long term update. I have criticized the helmet in my comments below but I always end up back using it again. The reason is the vision is the best. After using it regular full face helmets feel very closed in. In fact you need to move your head about a lot to obtain the same vision you have standard with the N43.


Yes it is more noisy than a closed in helmet but that's the compromise, want a great venting helmet then it will not be a quiet. Always wear ear plugs and it will be no problem, Don't ignore and like every mature rider that ignored discover you then have permanent hearing damage cause it crept up on you.


I do find I get a pressure point effect with it occasionally. This is not the only helmet to do that but still no denying the liner is not as plush as a Shark of Arai and not as comfortable a design. I find wearing a summer Buff on my head eliminates this without making it hot in summer and also makes the helmet better in winter. 


The internal sun screen does not come down as far as I would like but you can force it down a bit more. Factor in the cost of a tinted main visor as the unlimited additional lower vision means lots more road and instrument glare. I have their light smoke visor and the combo with internal screen covers shady winter roads to blazing late afternoon summer sun.


Final verdict is not perfect but if I was purchasing another helmet it would likely be one of these again.

Original post below:


As you may have spotted in my last post I purchased one of the new Nolan N43 helmets recently.

I first ordered one from a eBay retailer in Italy. This is where Nolan are based and the helmets seem much cheaper from Italian retailers. Unfortunately the seller tried to increase the shipping from 20 euros to 120 euros after the sale. Eventually I got the sale cancelled and decided to purchase from Germany where the helmets were slightly more expensive but the retailers seemed much more professional and had no problems with shipping.

I ordered the white with black splash graphics, which is more expensive than plain colours however makes a difference to the look of the helmet and appealed to me enough to option the graphics. I wanted a white helmet specifically as every safety study I read says that the number one thing you can do to increase visibility on the road to approaching vehicles is wear a white helmet.


To the helmet itself. The finish is very good, it has a feel of above average quality to it. The liner is quite comfortable, it is not up to the plush level of a Shark or Arai however it is well above the budget liners. A slightly less dense weave in my experience translates to less perspiration in summer than the super plush liners which I find to overly warm on humid days.


Now to that unique design. the helmet has a smaller than normal chin bar area. This is made of a super strong material to let the helmet pass the strength tests for a full face yet offer forward vision comparable to a open face helmet. The amount of forward vision you have is incredible and whilst the gains are in your lower viewing area I was delighted with the result.


The chin bar can be detached to convert to a full Jet style helmet. In use I found the chin bar to be so low in my line of vision that I could barely focus on it so for me it felt like a Jet helmet but offered the normal full face protection with the bar in place and I could see little difference with the bar removed however some people no doubt will find this option appealing and it's amazing what Nolan have achieved to make this work.


The helmet has these massive vents on the top as well as a series of venting at the rear. Without a doubt it disperses heat from inside like no other helmet I have ever tried. I was wondering if such large vents would make much noise however that was not the case and noise was not as much as expected

The helmet has wind noise similar to other good vented helmets on the market however less than noisy helmets like KBC. It doesn't get excessive lower helmet wind noise but is more than the quietest helmets. By this I mean the wind noise that full face helmets generate at the area between their bottom edge and rider's neck at highway speeds.

Now to a couple of things that didn't work as well as I had imagined.

The internal tinted secondary visor can be operated by a slide control on the side of the helmet. This is easy to use however the tinted screen doesn't come down as far as I want it to leaving the lower edge of the tinted visor a tiny bit too high for my eyes. I am hoping there is some way of adjusting this internally as it has some tinted screen in reserve. Related to this then is the fact that you now have this extra lower forward vision however the tinted visor only shields straight ahead vision from glare. So you are exposed to more glare from the road and dash that was obscured previously from your line of sight. The great thing about this sort of system however is in the rain forest or mountain roads where it is impossible to make out the road condition clearly with a tinted visor I could slide it up and see clearly the condition of the road. This would be doubly valuable on winter mornings when with a tinted visor you often cannot make out the still damp sections of road hidden in the shadows.

Back to that new lower vision, something that all Jet helmets must suffer from is you have no breath guard or ability to have the visor slightly open to draw in air as the Jet style visor goes to the front lowest point of the helmets. This was not such a big issue for me in use so far, once moving I always have fully closed my visors anyway after being struck by a bug in the eye years ago that came straight through my slightly open visor. In towns going where the speed was very low I flipped up the full visor leaving the tinted one down and this worked very well, better than flipping up a conventional visor as your eyes are still protected by the tinted one yet your face has extra amount of cooling air upon it.

So to sum up then. If I can get the internal tinted visor slightly lower then I really will be very happy with this unique helmet. Even if this is not possible I do not know if I can revert back to my conventional full face after experiencing the extra forward vision this helmet offers as well as safety when on heavily shaded roads.

35 comments

  1. It looks great IC. I definitely will be picking one up, and most probably in the same colour, a good choice. I was tossing up between the N43 and the competing Zeus version but the extra forward vision and ventilation seems to have tipped the balance Nolan's way.

    Could you give the name of the eBay seller you bought it off? Always nice to do business with someone you know is legit.

    Thanks for the review.
    John

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  2. I'd also like to know... this helmet is just what I want. How did you go with working out the right size?

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  3. Hey Guys, sorry for the delay to reply, my work is trying to put me into an early grave. I purchased from Motorrad. (http://stores.shop.ebay.com.au/motorrad-total__W0QQ_armrsZ1)
    Now as mentioned you can buy cheaper elsewhere on ebay however I know these guys are a reputable big operation. They double boxed my helmet for me and overall were good to deal with. I am still sorting out the madness of the Italian cancelled sale.

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  4. About the sizing, two things you can do, there is a sizing chart on Nolan web and the helmets on Motorrad have size in cm. Use a soft tape measure to check the circumference of your head. Also if you are not sure your size go to the shop and try on some Nolans if in any doubt. I take a medium in anything except a Shark helmet and the Nolan medium is true to size.

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  5. Used it again today 31 degree humid heat and very good ventilation. Still have an issue with some glare from road at lower vision. Overall still think it is good helmet.

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  6. Hi these Helmets must be jinxed! Based on WebBikeWorld and your review I knew it was what I wanted. I ordered one from Motorrad. I was tracking it daily as it was taking so long, it finally arrived in Brisbane 1 month later and was turned around by AustPost within 1 hour of arriving - "returned to sender". The offical line is they could not read the address. So I am about to go through months of drama to get either my money or the helmet. Might get one by next summer! Cliff, Brisbane. Love your blog and all the great local rides I must explore.

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  7. What a bummer Cliff. :(
    Aus Post - GRRR I have an ongoing problem with not getting a card left in my letter box when a parcel arrives. Have been complaining for about 4 years so far.

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  8. Ps can move the inner tinted visor down slightly more by hand which sets it where I want it to be for my eyes and I generally leave it down during the middle of day so don't need to further adjust.

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  9. Make sure it fit you .........The visor and cooling system is fantastic though medium size give me ear ache down to the neck after 3 days of test wear ...Previous cheap helmet Mhr i bought at $80 is really comfortable compare to Norlan .... Simply love this helmet hope the ache will subsides ....

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  10. Yes good advice - I tried on a few Nolans at a shop including the earlier model n42 and checked their shape and style worked for me.

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  11. 4 months later I have an N43 Air!!!!
    As above, my first attempt (motorrad-total)was a mess. It was returned to sender by Oz Post and after a long delay paypal refunded all my money. I ordered again, from UK this time - I though here we go again when the volcano erupted as i ordered it. While that ash was going on, DHL sent it on a detour. It spent a week circling Europe, UK-Belgium-Germany-UK before it finally left for Australia. At last - I am not disappointed, it has been worth the wait. Cliff Brisbane.

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  12. Hey Cliff, hope you enjoy the helmet after all that!

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  13. Awesome is what it is. All the long weekends have meant I have put in some good clicks on it. It is better than anything else, but not without the few quirks that you have noted. The increased visibility and cooling make up for it. Again thank you for your review and keep up the good work on detailing your travels. You have inspired me to test out some of your routes. Cliff

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  14. I did a follow up to this review comparing back to my Shark RSR helmet after a few months of use (posted 2/5/2010) and there is no going back once used to the extra vision.

    You can pull the inner visor down further by hand with seemingly no ill effect, of course it reverts to regular position once retracted.

    Apply some anti-fog cleaner to the jet visor inside to reduce fogging in winter - available at motorcycle shops.

    There is more wind noise than a quiet helmet like the Shark, the more venting the more noise from my experience but nothing like noisy helmets such as KBC's.

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  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  16. Hi guys,

    I bought one of these from the UK and it arrived yesterday. I would have bought a Nolan here in Aus, but I particularly wanted the Hi-Visibility (Fluro) Yellow colour - yeah go ahead and laugh at me! :)

    I have to say that I am loving the extra visibility. I can turn my head comfortably and see well past the centre of the tail of my bike. I do think it is a *little* on the noisy side. I have ridden with mostly Arai full face before. And recently I've just been riding with a dodgy old HJC that came with my bike. I just pottered up the road today at 60~70 km/h and I heard a lot of wind noise around the top and back. I did not detect much lower noise. But with the visor down, I felt external noise (from my bike etc.) was much lower.

    I haven't used the flip down visor yet, but what I did find a little irritating today was the little clear plastic clips for the additional clip on "fog-free" visor. I found these to be right on the edge of my peripheral vision and a little distracting. I'll just have to learn to ignore them.

    Just a question though, guys - are any of you concerned about the lack of an AS/NZ1668 sticker? I mean, my argument is that I have researched this thoroughly and I have intentionally chosen this helmet for it's safety features - including the Hi-Vis Yellow colour that is not available here in Australia.

    Cheers,

    Sean

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  17. Hi Sean. I have posted a long term update to this helmet and a few other items. (http://motorcycleparadise.blogspot.com/2010/08/long-term-updates.html)

    I agree it is a little noisy yet for a high air flow helmet it is not as loud as others. The down side of helmets that work in hot summers is the extra noise. I wear ear plugs so it has not been an real issue. The chin bar design that allows extra vision also extra noise IMO.

    I fitted a helmet wind curtain I had been revisiting on the Shark (http://motorcycleparadise.blogspot.com/2010/05/helmet-windjammer.html) and it became quiet as a mouse but the windjammer is not so comfortable to use so it was abandoned.

    Yes the sticker, there are ways to get one on the Nolan pretty easy which I would recommend you do.
    Funny thing is part of the reason I got the helmet was the internal visor after having been hassled a few times by cops for using a tinted visor on the Shark. Never mind they are legal and the oversight that one could just wear sunglasses like car drivers. I learnt the hard way not to assume the police will do the right thing. The Nolan has never raised an eyebrow from them.

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  18. Iron Chef, could you email me too please, since I really like the way you acquired yours and would like to do the same. My e-mail is galaxy4public+mcp at gmail.com (please replace ' at ' with '@'). Thanks!

    Dmitry from Melbourne

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  19. I had eyed off an N43 (via the internet) at the beginning of this year, but the damn lack of a AS1698 sticker stopped me from purchasing. Why doesn't Nolan try to bring them here, you would think that this helmet would sell in our hot climate.

    I realise I am a little late to the party, but your previous has resparked hope for me IronChef - any chance you may share the secret of sticker?

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  20. Long term update. As you know helmets can be slightly oval or more round and people like certain brands often as the internal shape is oval like their head or more round like their head.

    I am thinking the N42 is a slight oval and that I would fit a more round better as after a long day ride I feel it is slightly too tight around my ears.

    This could be down to the style of internal padding which as I mentioned in the review is not as comfy as my Shark however I tend to think it is more the subtle difference in shape that applies a little pressure over the course of a days riding.

    I am retiring my Shark after the spill in Japan so the Nolan will need to last me some time yet.

    GPM best if I email not publish about sticker.

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  21. G'day... I'm really interested in this helmet, but struggle to get around the sticker issue. Other than being pulled over and fined, the biggest concern is if I'm in a crash, I've heard that there will be no insurance, medical or otherwise if I'm found in a helmet that hasn't been approved.
    I was also checking out the new N90 and N103 (i think that's it) which hasn't met the australian standard based on the thinner section where the internal visor retracts. Apparently they are redesigning them for the aussie market. With this helmet having the same or similar internal visor, will they really be able to hook me up with a sticker?
    If possible, I'd love an email explaining the process! (jrossmc@tpg.com.au)
    Many thanks for your great blog... I'm really glad I came across it!

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  22. The cost of compliance for projected low volume selling models stops their import and sale not their design. The helmet has already passed more stringent euro testing than what is done here. The local compliance is merely a clever tax.

    Unfortunately I don't have the solution to making an imported helmet into a compliant helmet.

    Most any of the large Australian motorcycle forums will have threads about people buying helmets overseas or people on tour here with their overseas helmet and I suggest you read what they are doing.

    Previously I have echoed those discussions and their ideas on the sticker however these things are dynamic and information is constantly changing so you do need to seek out the latest.

    You also would need to consult a lawyer about the legal issues. Nothing is black and white and I certainly have read differing opinions on this.

    In summary I would suggest all things I have read on imported helmets involve bending the rules and you may be better looking at other helmets. The new Shark helmet has an internal visor and they also make a modular with jet helmet option with internal visor.

    I am retiring the N43 as it does over a longer day put too much pressure on my ears and will be getting the new Shark.

    Good luck with it!

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  23. Hi! Although I'm going to use it for karting, your review helped me to buy this helmet!
    I bought it in Italy, had to pay 75€ for shipping. Hope it fits better than the cheap helmets I've been using for karting.
    Had a hard time to choose the color, they are all nice (even your white helmet is a killer... and I don't even like white that much!!!). Loved the silver and the red-wine... picked up a black one to keep low profile.

    Thanks!
    Rafael

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  24. If I could get new liner/pads then I would keep the N43 in use , they seem to be replaceable but I am unable to locate so I have purchased a new Shark helmet which is ok but lacks the vision and ventilation of the N43.

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  25. I hope it works for you Rafael. That is a lot of freight. The N43 still offers the best forward vision after a full open face as far as I know.

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  26. My N43 Air goes into early retirement. No ADR sticker and no mercy from the QLD Tinned Pigs meant a unwelcome $300/3 point infringement. They were determined to get me for something and that was all they could find.

    It was a drama getting it here in the first place however it has been a great 18 months. Now what to get that has the visibility and ventilation.. and a sticker.

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  27. I think i am going to buy my wife one of these off of ebay! There are some pretty cheap prices in Europe...

    I think it will work quite well in Perth.
    James

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  28. Hi, IC. I know I am a little late to the party, but could I please also have the link to the 'sticker' site?

    I know from our supplier that they will not import the more good looking N43s, so I would too, rather purchase online if I can. Can't have everyone in WA wearing the same Italian colours, we'd all look like clones. Want to get either a fluoro or white like yours, which looks awesome.

    Love your blog. There's so much natural beauty out there just waiting to be explored. Hope to get to all these places one day. Thanks for posting.

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  29. I see some shops now have the N43, Bike Biz Sydney whom I have purchased from before and had good service have them in stock at a comparable price with cheap shipping so that is worth considering.

    The AS sticker has actually changed. Now it is a plain white sticker. Would be rather easy to take a photo, resize and print your own. But not suggesting anyone does that, just thinking out loud.

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  30. its niche site,thank's for the information

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  31. 2013, I am still using the Nolan... I have underrated how good it is. Yes not perfect, yes liner could be better yet I keep coming back to it for the vision it offers.

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  32. I read with great interest your review of this helmet. Last week, I was shopping for a new helmet and I was very interested in this model, specifically because I must wear eyeglasses while driving.

    At first, I tried several "full-face" models from different manufacturers (Shoei, Arai and, Nolan) and they all have the same problem: no matter what size tried (L and the XL) appropriate to my head size, they are all so tight that it makes it impossible to put them on while wearing my eyeglasses.

    With my eyeglasses removed and the helmet on my head (with the visor "up"), its practically impossible to slide the thin stems of my eyeglasses between my temples and the helmet's padding.

    Then, I tried on the Nolan N-43 Trilogy. With the chin bar removed, the helmet was easy to slide on my head while wearing my eyeglasses. It fit like a glove.

    Unfortunately, when I fully inserted the chin bar into the helmet, the chin bar was so tight against my jaw that I couldn't move it freely. After a few minutes with the helmet on, the chin bar became very uncomfortable due its very stiff padding. This occurred with both sizes of helmets tried: a Large and an X-Large.

    What a disappointment!!! I also question whether the chin bar's rigid padding offers real protection in the event of a frontal impact. Being so stiff and close to the jaw, it would appear to me that it would transfer the full impact energy directly to my jaw instead of absorbing some of it. I'm concerned that I could end up with a broken jaw.

    As a compromise, I bought the Nolan N-43 N-Con model instead. Its identical to the Nolan N-43 Trilogy, but without the chin bar.

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  33. Hi Stephen. Thanks for your interest. The chin part of all helmets have no 'padding'. If you hit something hard enough to dislodge your head inside the upper helmet dome to make your chin hit the bar you might be dead since that sort of impact will create more G force on the brain than a human can survive.
    There is a thin layer of foam inside helmets which is to try slow down the impact speed. It is not comfort padding and unfortunately does not cushion you from the blow much. When your head hits something and stops travelling rather than glances or bounces then even at ultra slow speed wearing a 5 star rated helmet the force transferred is incredible, I know from experience. Sadly helmet design has not really advanced much, all we have is that small bit of foam.
    I am surprised you found a N43 as it is 7 year old and was replaced by the N44 which has new shape a few years ago and recently the N40 came out which seems to be the N43 shell with new sun peak visor and redesign. Anyway glad you found a solution that works for you. I still have my 43 and I replaced the lining and the new liner has slight change which made the helmet perfect comfort wise for me compared to original liner but it is getting old so I will have to replace soon.

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