I have always liked the idea of a modular helmet. For clarification, modular helmets are also known as “flip-up” helmets. As much as the style has intrigued me, I have never actually owned one. Part of the reason is that they are usually a bit ugly. Traditional modular helmets are often overly wide in the face, with closure systems that are a bit unsightly. I think I’d like to have a helmet that allows me to lift the face to pay for gas or talk to a riding buddy. However, I still want a helmet that is safe and attractive.
Recently, I came across an HJC IS-Max helmet that looks remarkably like a modern full-face helmet. The fact that I was holding a helmet that looked good and had the convenience benefits of a modular really piqued my interest. The HJC IS-Max is rich with features. It has effective, modern venting. It also has an interesting (some might say gimmicky) feature of an interior flip down tinted shield in addition to the full clear shield. This way, you can go from day to night riding without stopping to change shields.
Both the mechanism that latches the face, and the actual operation of the lift are substantial feeling and smooth. Another nice benefit of the helmet is that it does not have the extreme weight of some other modulars. The IS-Max is similar in weight to the Shoei Mulitec which is probably the most respected modular helmet on the market. The IS-Max is DOT approved. I have not found a modular that is Snell approved, but that is another story.
In addition to the shell shape that is visually appealing, I find the color schemes attractive. Most modulars are available in only solid colors. Each variation of the IS-Max has an accent stripe down the middle. The “Multi” version has additional accent details. To my eye, all of the variations are subtly attractive and far from gaudy. The basic shell color can be had in wine, anthracite, matte black, gloss black, white, and silver
The IS-Max is reasonably priced in the $230 range. However, the folks at Competition Accessories have these helmets at a deep discount. If you are in the market for a modular, but want one that looks like a modern full-face helmet, the HJC IS-Max is worth a look.
Written by Tim Kessel, Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com