Benefits of the modular snowmobile helmet style with the flip-up chin bar are undeniable. They make it easier to take a drink, snap pictures, look at a trail map and socialize with fellow riders. But many of the better modulars incorporate a fighter pilot-type internal face mask to combat fogging, and many of us just won’t put up with confining, slimy masks.
The Nolan N-102 ($304.95) is a very stylish and comfortable premium helmet that is free of internal facial apparatuses. It’s standard with a single lens shield and a fog resistant shield insert, but this set-up did not work very well for me even after removing the chin curtain. However, the optional double lens electric shield ($89.95) eliminated my fogging problems.
The N-102’s unique external sunshade can be flipped down with one hand, pushed up out of the way or removed from the helmet. Since it’s a half shield, it doesn’t handle glare and UV rays reflected off the snow as well as sunglasses, but it is definitely easier to use. And the external location means that it doesn’t fog up like internal shades in other helmets I’ve worn.
Both the shield and the sunshade are unusually complicated, no-tool designs, but they do work well and they don’t have hardware that can fall out. The stainless steel chin bar latches allow one-hand operation. Like many modular helmets, though, I found that I occasionally needed both hands to get the latches to catch when closing up. But the ability to open the front of the helmet for easy conversation, hydration, photography and other needs far outweighed occasional latch reluctance.
Actually, my biggest problem with this really nice helmet is keeping my wife from claiming it as hers. The N-102 is DOT-certified, features a ratchet-type quick release chinstrap and carries a 5-year warranty. The electric shield has a 1-year warranty. A Bluetooth communications module is optional. If you want a high quality modular helmet without an internal facemask, Nolan’s N-102 could be your answer. It’s available through Parts Unlimited dealers.