Tag Archives: nolan helmets

Are modular helmets safe in a crash?

A Brisbane rider has sworn off modular helmets after his chin bar flipped up in a low-speed roundabout crash, causing facial injuries.

Mark Taylor says he swears he always confirms the chin bar on his Nolan N104 modular helmet clicks into place.

However, he says it opened on impact when a driver failed to give way to him on a roundabout.

“When I chose a modular helmet I went with Nolan as in the British test it was the only one that didn’t open on impact. Mine did,” he says.

“If it had stayed closed then I would have had no facial injuries at all.”

The damaged helmet still closes and locks, but Mark believes the force of the impact distorted or damaged the lock causing it to open.

Modular helmets

Mark Taylor - Are modular helmets safe in a crash?Nolan N104

Obviously modular, or system or flip-up helmets are not as safe as full-face helmets otherwise they would be used in racing.

The reputable UK SHARP helmet safety ratings system to which Mark refers shows modular helmets with similar ratings as full face helmets, although less than half received the full five stars.

The table below shows the percentages of helmets that scored various star levels from 102 modular helmets and 366 full-face helmets tested.

Helmet type 1 star 2 stars 3 stars 4 stars 5 stars
Modular 3.9% 9.8% 33% 42% 5.8%
Full face 4.9% 9.8% 28% 43% 13.6%

However, the SHARP system has been criticised for rating helmets high despite many failing the chin bar lock retention test.

It also fails to distinguish between partial and full unlocking in the one-hit crash testing procedure.

It’s a flawed testing procedure as, in real-world crashes, your head could hit the ground several times, providing more opportunity to open the locking mechanism.

The SHARP system also shows little correlation between cost and safety.

There is no dispute about the convenience of modular helmets. You can take photos, get plenty of air while riding in city traffic, talk to mates and even fill your fuel tank without having to take off your helmet. (Note that there are few helmets where the chin bar locks in the up position and legally permits the rider to ride with the helmet in this position.)

However, modular helmets have inherent design issues that reduce their safety levels.

Instead of the crash-resistant integrity of a full shell, they have two parts held together by a hinge and clasp mechanism that uses a combination of plastic, fibreglass and flimsy metal.

Mark’s Nolan helmet is one of five of the brand’s modular models tested by SHARP with all rating four stars.

Mark’s lesson

Mark Taylor - Are modular helmets safe in a crash?Mark in happier times with his BMW

After buying a top-line modular helmet, Mark says that when his insurance replaces the helmet he will opt for a full face.

Mark has been riding since 1969 and this was his first crash with another vehicle which simply failed to give right of way and merged on to the roundabout straight in his BMW R 1200 GSA.

“I sounded the airhorns which also makes the driving lights strobe,” he says.

“It had no effect on her. All the time she looked straight ahead. Not once did she look to her right.

“The police report says she claims to have not seen me.”

The woman has been charged with “enter roundabout when not safe to do so”.

Mark says he is lucky most of his gear protected him from serious injury.

Mark Taylor - Are modular helmets safe in a crash?

“My big decision now is do I get back on and ride or walk away,” he says.

“I thought this decision would be hard to make but I reckon I will be back on two wheels soon, but will have another think about motorbikes at 70 which is three years away.”

I would like to know what other older riders think about this.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Nolan deal to include active noise cancelling

Nolan helmets may soon have active noise-cancelling systems after signing a deal with Norwegian tech startup DAAL.

DAAL issued a media release saying their innovation would “give motorcyclists the chance to ride their bikes at highway speeds without the discomfort of tiring and potentially damaging wind noise”.

They say wind noise in a helmet can exceed 110dB that can cause tinnitus (ringing in the ears) over time. Click here for more information.

“This system also enables the rider to listen to music or talk to fellow riders in a quieter environment than today,” they say.DAAL Active noise-cancelling system for helmets

“By use of so-called active noise cancellation (ANC), the DAAL team has developed a technology that significantly reduces wind noise for the rider, without interfering with important traffic sounds like sirens and horns.

“For us, it is all about providing riders the freedom to get out there and enjoy the ride, without worrying about their hearing.”

Active noise cancelling

DAAL Active noise-cancelling system for helmets
Speakers, microphone and battery pack.

Sena was the first to introduce a helmet with an integrated electronic noise-cancelling intercom system.

However, DAAL founder and CEO Dag Axel Aarset says their system is different to other active noise-cancelling systems.

“Unlike generic noise cancellation headphones, our system is developed specifically to perform in the harsh and demanding noise environment inside a motorcycle helmet – and actually performs well for wind noise,” he says.

I have tried several active noise-cancelling earphones and agree that they can’t cope with loud wind buffeting. 

Active noise-cancelling systems generate a reverse sound wave of the background noise and play it through the speakers to cancel out the unwanted, harmful noise.

It requires a microphone next to your ear as well as speakers. There is also a power pack in the back of the helmet. However, they say their system weighs the same as other intercoms.

Daal Nolan noise cancelling helmet
DAAL tech being tested in a Nolan helmet

Tested and verified

Their prototype has been tested and verified for speeds up to 140km/h. The product is expected to be available in the market in 2020.

While the system is separate to an intercom, we imagine Nolan will integrate it with their N-Com Bluetooth intercom.

DAAL marketing manager David Schecroun says they “cannot go into the specifics of the project goals at this point”.

“We want our system to be compatible with both helmets and communication systems in the future,” he says.

Daal Nolan noise cancelling helmet
DAAL tech in testing

“The collaboration between DAAL and Nolan is a joint effort to make our technology as effective as possible within the constraints of the Nolan helmet, but we can and intend to work with other helmet manufacturers to make sure our technology can fit into more than one line of helmets. 

“Our long-term goal is to reach as many helmets as possible, probably through an aftermarket solution that may include some sort of communication features. 

“Today our focus is on the mutual benefits of collaborating with innovative first movers such as Nolan, where we can offer a competitive edge before ANC becomes the norm for motorcyclists, while at the same time we can see a clearer way towards the total market.”

They aim to launch their product globally in mid-2020.

DAAL was established in 2016 in Trondheim, the technology capital of Norway.

Italian helmet maker the Nolan Group was recently bought by French motorcycle company 2Ride Holding, makers of Shark helmets, Bering and Segura motorcycle clothing and Bagster bike luggage.

Damaging noise

Meanwhile, if you have issues with ringing in the ears after a long ride, we suggest you wear earplugs to reduce harmful wind noise

Alpine MotoSafe earplugs make riders safer sound
BUY Alpine MotoSafe earplugs now in our online shop

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com