Nolan N-104 review - early impressions.
The N-104 is Italian helmet manufacturer Nolan's flagship modular and the latest in the line from the aging N-102 and more recent N-103 (indeed from N-90 and no doubt before if we are being totally accurate).
This helmet features an internal flip-down sunvisor and is pre-provisioned for Nolan's Bluetooth communications kit which offers Bluetooth for phone, GPS, and MP3 players, Bluetooth connectivity for rider/pillion intercom, and also Bluetooth inter-bike comms claimed to be good for up to 800m in open county. It also has a built-in FM radio.
Cost in Oz is around $480 (list) for the helmet with graphics (about $30 less for plain) [for comparison a Shark Evoline-3 is about $600, a Shoei Multitec for around $750], and around $390 (list) for the Comms kit.
Weighing in at around 1740 grams (3 lbs., 13-1/2 oz.) for a Large size this is a significant reduction on its predecesors however this is still in the mid-range for a modular, fairly close to an HJC Sy-Max III. The weight is very well balanced however and doesn't feel "heavy".
Build feels very high quality, everything moves smoothly and clicks firmly into place. Clear-coat feels hard and slippery just like previous Nolan models.
The eye-port is very wide and the edges are almost invisible except at the very perimiter of peripheral vison when the eye is turned as far as it will go left or right. Visibility is excellent.
The shape is neutral to slightly narrow and has significantly more chin space than the N-102 which was a shorter helmet fore and aft, perhaps a bit "rounder" fit. There are 2 shell sizes (XXS-L and XL-XXXL) to assist in the streamlining.
In Oz the strap secures using double D-rings, in Europe (and the States?) a Microlock ratchet catch is offered.
The helmet is much quieter than the N-102, perhaps due to the absence of the external sunvisor that featured on the N-102.
The visor is easily removed with simple push button catches, no tools what-so-ever. There are 3 detents starting with a gap of about 30-40mm, plus a small tab that holds the visor just cracked open or clips it sealed shut. Visor optic consistency is excellent.
The flip front closes smoothly and has a positive feel to the stainless steel catches.
The neck-roll is removable for "more comfortable summer riding" - the front securing tabs Velcro to the cheek-pads (seen above)
The flip front features a lock slide (red arrow) which holds it in the open position - this allows for P and J configuration homologation however in the up position its a significant sail and I would nor even think of riding at any speed with the front in this position.
The flip front is released by Nolan's patented dual-action chinbar release, the two levers are pinched together to open the front
The internal sun visor is large and covers almost the full visual size of the eyeport. The mechanism is a spring-loaded one and has only 2 positions, I found the down position to be very good with good clearance around the nose while still protecting the full field of view.
The sunvisor controls are simple - slide the black lever (red arrow) forward until it locks to lower the visor, push the red button (yellow arrow) to release the sunvisor, the spring flips it up quickly.
There are 2 generous exhaust vents at the rear,
a front chin vent, plus a brow vent (you can just see it at the top of this pic and more clearly in the first pic in this review),
and a top scoop vent, the control on the top of the helmet has 2 positons, the first opens the top ram-scoop the second also opens the brow vent.
All these vents seem to provide good airflow although the brow vent is noticably noisy when open - this may be an indication of how much quieter this new model is than the earlier N-102.
The removable chin curtain comes standard.
Fogging seems to be fairly well controlled - the helmet comes standard with a clip-in internal anti-fog visor liner (haven't tried this).
The standard cheek-pads seem a little narrow after a short while and apply pressure near the jaw hinge, yet to investigate a solution, different pads are available.