Nolan N43 Trilogy helmet

Update July 2010 After a ride of over 4,000 miles, in very hot temperatures and very heavy rain and hail:

This helmet is noisy. If you’re looking for a quiet helmet, this isn’t the one. Around town it may be all right, but earplugs are necessary for any long distance riding. That’s no problem for me since I wear earplugs all the time.

It’s also somewhat hot. Thankfully, the liner is removable for washing. I wear welding caps underneath, rather than the silk liners. The welding cap seams are sewn flat, unlike the bulky silk liner seams, which will cut into your bald head after a couple of hours.

Behind the fairing on my FLHT the water beads up on the visor. It didn’t appear to be a problem at speed, nor during low-speed riding around town. Very heavy rain and hail presented no problems as far as I’m concerned. I was concerned about having the visor fog over at low speed under these conditions, but fogging was minimal at low temperatures in the rain.

Wearing this helmet in the rain presents a multitude of problems. It fogs and beads with water. I don’t recommend it at all in the rain.

The sun visor is a definite bonus during early-morning or late-evening riding, and actually very nice to have all day.

I prefer to have the removable chin bar installed for around-town riding. I actually like that feature a lot.

The Microlock system is by far a much better arrangement than the D-ring, since it allows fastening on or off while wearing gloves.

An added bonus: My Aerostich Darien jacket and pants kept me warm and completely dry in the most vicious thunderstorm cells I have ever encountered while riding. An all-day heavy rain didn’t even test the suit. I bought these years ago, and they continue to perform flawlessly.

Nolan N43 Trilogy, brand-new from Italy, complete with DOT certification for North America.

  • It’s a polycarbonate shell.
  • It looks like a full-face helmet, and in fact it is, but…
  • The chin bar is removable. Thus it can be worn as a 3/4.
  • It has a built-in tinted sun visor with a nose indent. The sun visor can be flipped down or up, or partially in either direction.
  • The main visor has only two positions: down, or full up.
  • It comes with my favorite fastening system – an adjustable quick-release Microlock chin retention strap. The Microlock is easy to use with gloves. I really dislike those D-rings so predominant on North American helmets.
  • The liner is removable and washable. That beats putting the helmet in a dishwasher to clean the liner every year.

Best of all? I sized it according to an old Shoei Synchrotec that I own, and they both match perfectly as a size Large.

Nolan N43 Trilogy

The Nolan N43 Trilogy

A built-in sun visor

The N43 Trilogy has a built-in sun visor, accessible with the flip of the left-side slider. Here it is with the chin bar removed.

With the chin bar installed, I can’t put the helmet on while wearing glasses. With the chin bar removed, I can pull the helmet comfortably past my sunglasses. Fortunately, if I want to install the chin bar after putting on the helmet, its easy enough to do.

If you’ve got a protruding chin, this isn’t the helmet for you if you want to wear it with the chin bar installed.

There’s plenty of lateral visibility out of either side due to the wide cutouts.

With the chin bar attached

The ability to remove the chin bar is a nice feature out on the highway. Believe it or not, I prefer the chin bar for around-town riding. There's just too many left-turners blowing through lights.

The visor is either down or up; there’s no in-between. It does come down the full length to cover my chin. It’s also UV400 protecting according to the documentation.

I wear earplugs. Even so, this helmet has noticeable wind noise, and I sit behind a fairing on my bagger. It doesn’t bother me, but the wind noise could be annoying to others.

For highway riding, I prefer the chin bar removed from the helmet. That removable chin bar is a nice feature, and part of the reason that I bought this helmet.

I like the ability to install the chin bar for around-town riding. There are just too many cagers blowing through lights, and I appreciate the value of a full-face helmet in those situations.


Update #2: Look for Under Armour skull caps and pick a silk cap. You might end up with an elastic ring around your head, so I can’t vouch for the look.

Update #1: I searched around and found some welding caps that I wear under my helmet. They’re made of cotton, cost about the same, and you can buy them anywhere. I turn the peak around and it shades the back of my neck. Added bonus: the welding cap seams are sewn flat, and thus don’t feel like they’re cutting into my head after a couple of hours of wearing one under the helmet.

If you do much long distance riding, the thick seams on the front of the silk or cotton helmet liner will dig into your bald head like a knife after a couple of hundred miles. Unlike welding caps, the silk or cotton liners sold by online motorcycle storesĀ  aren’t stitched with flat seams, thus making such seams too thick to be comfortable over the long haul riding, which is what I do a lot of. On the other hand, if you’re doing short rides around town, you won’t notice a thing.

A baseball stitch would be a great addition to any silk helmet liner. Unfortunately, probably because of cost, you’re not going to see any flat stitching in a helmet liner.

* * *

Helmets are a great invention. The keep your head warm when it’s cold, dry when it’s raining, and sweaty when it’s hot. Thus was invented the silk helmet liner, an accoutrement that makes a rider look like a dork when he puts it on, but quickly turns from a fashion nightmare into an item that makes for a more comfortable helmet. Added bonus: the helmet doesn’t stink up as fast.

If you’re going to get a helmet liner, buy two. That way, you can switch them out on a ride and one dries in the wind while you wear the other. I prefer welding caps, since the seams are sewn flat and won’t cut into your head after a couple of hours.

Helmet sanitation tip

Now that I’m finished with my rant, here’s a tip on helmet sanitation for those of you that don’t have a removable liner: When the old brain-bucket does begin to get ripe–and it will–put it in the dishwasher, without soap, and run it through a wash cycle. Just remember to take the helmet out before the heat cycle comes on. Let it air dry, and voila! Good as new.