In this article we will dive into the world of one piece touring suits and GoldWings. That’s right, modular helmets.
Just kidding. Modulars have come a long way in the last few years and I will show you just how much. Let’s check out what makes the best modular helmet.
In a hurry and just wanna know the winner?
Also in this review
Modular helmets are versatile pieces of gear that offer riders the ability to configure their helmets in an open or full face set up.
Why would you want this? Because! Picture this. It’s a super hot day. You just got off the highway and you are in slow stop and go traffic on city streets. You flip up your chin bar. Ahhhh let that air hit your face for a bit. So nice. Mind you, you can’t ride too fast with some modular helmets in the open position but we’ll get to that later.
To me this is the biggest advantage of modulars. Fresh air when needed.
Another advantage is being able to converse with others in a more normal, human fashion. You know, like when that cop pulls you over. You likely won’t need to take off your helmet at the roadside. Just flip up the chin bar and he’s good to go writing you that ticket.
Conversing with buddies, ordering coffees can all be done more easily without needing to remove your helmet. Another bonus is if you wear glasses. Now you can take off your helmet without having to remove them first by flipping up the chin bar.
There will be a couple of things you will want to look for when deciding what modular helmet to choose. Let’s break it down.
Check out my article on the safest motorcycle here. I give a bit more of an in depth breakdown on what makes a helmet safe than I’m able to get into here. But for a quick rundown, you need a modular helmet with at least a DOT sticker on it. There is also SNELL and ECE for Europe.
You can also go over to the SHARP website and have a look at how any helmet rates in their studies. It’s Euro focused but still a great source of info.
Sizing your helmet properly is an important step that many tend to not pay enough detailed attention to. Maybe the helmet is marked down in price a ton or there is only one left of the color you like. These are some reasons people pick an ill fitting helmet and hope for the best.
Be aware that with some (not all) modular helmets, the chin flip up mechanism creates a weak link to overall safety and many do not rate as high in the safety scale as its full face counterparts.
Every helmet offers something different. In reviewing what makes the best modular helmet an important aspect is its features.
Like I’ve said, modulars have come a long way over the last few years.
Now you have ADV or adventure riding modulars. There are some that make it possible to ride open faced at high speed. This wasn’t possible before with the chin bar resting at the top of the forehead.
Some will even suit the sportbike crowd.
You can have them pre set up for Bluetooth communication systems.
You also have the standard considerations like ventilation, pin locks, noise, weight ect.
We will have a look at all of these things in this review along with price ranges and pick the best.
Okay, enough jabbering. Let’s start picking these transformable lids apart and see what’s what.
Best Overall Modular Helmet
Shoei needs no introduction here. They only make quality helmets. The Neotec falls in line with that. Since the original Neotec was introduced, it’s been a best seller in the modular market.
First off, I love the looks of this helmet
It has a kind of understated aggressiveness to it (if that makes sense).
The one thing I don’t like is the bright orange flip up actuation button. Not sure why they didn’t integrate the design better.
Fit is an intermediate oval with four shell sizes. That means it should fit most riders out there. It is DOT rated. No SNELL or ECE here but it does get 4 out of 5 stars in SHARP testing. The lack of a SNELL rating in the USA is common throughout the modular helmet market.
It has a composite shell.
Features include a drop down sun visor and the ability to integrate a Sena SRL Bluetooth system seamlessly into the helmet. No com unit sticking off the side of your lid messing with its airflow.
If you are looking for the lightest modular on the market, well this isn’t it. To me that’s fine. It makes up for it in other ways like safety and comfort.
Speaking of comfort, the liner is plush. It’s a nice place to be for long hours on the bike. Ventilation is quite good with a large chin opening and a large single slider opening up top. Venting is through a large port in the rear.
This is not an inexpensive helmet. Regardless of that, It’s not over the top. It’s a quality helmet. The combination of composite shell, a comfortable interior, its quietness and its features such as a pin lock, integrated Bluetooth and aerodynamics make it a winner here.
Best Premium Modular Helmet
German made. Need I say more? From dishwashers to cars, German manufacturing seems to be top notch and the C4 Pro is no exception. This is an uber premium helmet. For those who expect only the best no matter the cost, this modular helmet is for you.
The first thing you’ll notice when looking at the C4 Pro is how streamline, clean and seamless the design is. It’s a very understated design. What you get for this is a very aerodynamic helmet and also a very quiet helmet. There just isn’t a lot for the wind to interfere with in the design.
It’s a light weight helmet. Add that to being stable at high speed and you can see why serious motorcycle tourers opt for the C4 line. The comfort factor continues on the inside. It has a seamless comfort liner that is really velvety and plush for long hours on the road.
Ventilation is very good. It has a complex, multi channel venting system with no exhaust port in the rear. They did this to keep the helmet as quiet as possible.
The field of vision with this thing is wide. This makes it suitable for different riding styles/positions. A drop down visor is built in as well.
Optional is the integrated SC1 communication system. The helmet is pre-wired with speakers and mic. Just add the SC1 system. This is the only gripe owners have had with the helmet. The SC1 does not seem to be up to the standard of other systems on the market. Clarity and range of communication seems to be the biggest gripes users have with this unit.
The C4 Pro really does run neck and neck with Neotec 2 in many ways. I give the slight edge to the Neotec due to its extra two shell sizes over the C4 Pro. The C4 goes with two shell sizes. Despite that, the C4 Pro is a top premium helmet by any measure.
Best For The ADV Crowd
The EXO AT960 is a very interesting helmet. It’s a midrange helmet in terms of price and shell construction (polycarbonate) but offers a lot of versatility. The ADV touring rider out there will find this helmet ticks a lot of boxes.
It has a peak and of course a flip up chin bar. The coolest thing about this helmet is it can be configured a few different ways. You can rock it as an ADV helmet with face shield and peak. You can set it up as a street helmet by removing the peak. You can also make it into a dirt helmet by removing the face shield, keeping the peak on and using goggles. Perfect for the Africa Twin, GS riders out there. The peak does not seem to grab a lot of wind when riding at speed which is a good thing.
It also incorporates a drop down sun visor. Like, what doesn’t this thing have? The face shield and visor are treated with an anti fog, anti scratch coating that seems to work very well.
Ventilation is very good. I find Scorpion usually does this quite well throughout their lineup.
The interior comfort liner does the job. It’s not super premium but it’s adequate at keeping you comfortable by wicking away sweat.
It’s DOT rated of course.
There are several colors and some graphics to choose from. My personal favorite are the Outrigger line of graphics. You’ll definitely find one to match your bike.
There aren’t a whole lot of bells and whistles like integrated Bluetooth and such. It isn’t the quietest or the lightest modular helmet out there but that keeps this helmet affordable for a lot of riders. What you are getting is probably the best bang for the buck in the modular segment.
Best Innovative Modular Helmet
Shark has been an innovator in the modular helmet game for some time. It all started with their Evoline of helmets years ago and has now evolved into its latest offering. The Evo-One 2. This helmet is for those who want the functionality of a modular helmet without the typical module look. The best thing about the Shark Evo-one 2 is that you can wear it with the chin bar up at speed. The innovative design puts the chain bar all the way to the back of the helmet as opposed to the top which can create a sail effect and is not recommended for riding at road speeds. This newest iteration in the Evo line makes going full face to quarter helmet easy. No more messing with the visor to achieve the change like the previous model. Everything is done in one motion. The new pivot mechanism puts the visor into its proper position as the chin bar makes its transition to the front.
Its thermo injected plastic shell comes in two shell sizes. It’s DOT certified, comes with a pin lock in the box and has a drop down sun visor. One really nice feature of the helmet is its bamboo comfort liner. It creates an above average, comfortable fit.
There are a few drawbacks with this design. Some owners feel it is quite loud. Some also complained of inadequate air flow when closed. No doubt the design creates these issues but most were happy that they had a helmet that could serve double duty.
We feel it’s a very cool design and worth a spot on our list.
Whatever your needs are and what your willing to spend will naturally determine what helmet is right for you.
The sheer popularity and almost cult like following of the Shoei Neotec 2 in the modular world is there for a reason.
The helmet is that good and therefore gets the nod for the best in the segment.
There are a lot of hairs to be split between it and the C4 because the C4 is very good too. I think the Schuberth is a bit of an acquired taste in terms of design. That and it’s lack of an exhaust vent pushes the Shoei over the edge just enough for me to make it my recommendation.
These are premium priced helmets and not for everyone. The Scorpion and the Shark are fantastic options as well. Choosing either one of these can be determined by your riding style. The EXO AT960 is great for adventure and the EVO-ONE 2 is great for sport/sport touring riding.
Looking for other helmet options? Try our Best Motorcycle Helmets round up review
Let me know your thoughts in this list in the comments below.
Until then, happy riding and check out our other partner for more great deals