HJC C91 modular motorcycle helmet review.

HJC-C91-featured

Modern looking, good value modular from HJC: the HJC C91.

The C91 is HJC’s follow-on helmet from the old C90. That was a solid all-rounder modular helmet that gave a good level of performance coupled with a decent low price point. The ECE version was also SHARP 4 star safety rated, which meant you could trust it in a spill.

hjc c91 gloss white helmet side view chin bar up
Gloss white C91 showing full extent of the raised chin bar and sun shield drop

While the HJC C91 hasn’t been Snell or SHARP tested (yet) it follows on very much in the same mould as the old helmet. That means it’s designed to be a good value all rounder modular helmet. Not too showy, not made from exotic composites, but a helmet that offers 90% of what you need for not very much money.

It has had a good redesign though to brush up its looks, and the shell’s got a few more rakish angles than the more rounded outgoing helmet.

But does it offer pretty well the same features and the same value for money. Which is no bad thing. So, after scouring news and reviews around the web, here’s what we discovered about what owners think of their HJC C91s…

Looking to buy an HJC C91?

Please click below to visit the HJC C91 helmets pages at our recommended stores – all checked for great online ratings. And if you buy from any store, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Shop for helmets at Amazon

Overall/Summary

The C91 is designed to be a good value all-rounder modular helmet. And that’s exactly what HJC has delivered.

hjc c91 taly black fluo helmet side view
Hi Viz streaks on the HJC C91 Taly

It’s made of polycarbonate to keep the costs down, but it’s got all the main features many riders are looking for in their modular helmet.

That means a comfortable interior (once it’s bedded in – see comfort section below), decent venting, simple fastener together with a Pinlock shield and sun shield. Oh, and most modular riders will want to fit a bluetooth headset; and because it’s made to integrate with HJC’s own headset, you shouldn’t have a problem fitting your own into the C91 too.

Don’t expect it to be the lightest or quietest helmet around (modulars tend to be heavier and fairly noisy). But as a modern-looking, workhorse modular helmet that will take most of what you throw at it (whether daily riding or holiday touring), the C91 does the job nicely.

Safety

(more about helmet safety)

There’s two factors to consider with the modular helmet: the shell and the chin bar.

The C91’s been DOT certified in the US (ECE 22.05 certified in Europe) so you know it’s been made to give decent protection. But over and above those mandatory helmet standards, what do we know?

The helmet the C91’s been designed to replace – the C90 – scored a decent 4/5 stars when SHARP tested the ECE version. However, HJC have told us that DOT versions tend to be different helmets though, so that’s not a massive amount of use overall.

However, we do know that HJC chin bars tend to do well when tested – again, on ECE helmets at least.

HJC C91 titanium modular motorcycle helmet side view
One of the plain models – this one’s the C91 in titanium

There’s only been a couple of modular helmets tested in recent years so we can use those to maybe give us an idea of how secure those chin bars are.

The first is the old IS Max 2 that scored 100%.

That means the chin bar stayed locked on 100% of tested helmets.

Second is the outgoing C90 that scored 87%.

So that’s a very decent hit rate (87% is actually a decent score if you look across all tested modular helmets – though of course we all want to see 100%!)

So, while we don’t know exactly how well the C91 will perform, looking at HJC’s track record, we’d expect it to do well.

In addition to the stats, the C91 also has a Pinlock-ready shield (though no Pinlock in the box – we’d recommend getting one to keep things fog free) and it’s got an integral drop down sun visor that’s anti-fog coated.

It’s all secured on your head using a nice and simple to use double-d ring fastener.

So, as far as protection’s concerned, it looks to us like the HJC C91 should do the business.

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

OK, if you’re after a really quiet helmet, you’re probably best looking elsewhere.

Not that owners think the C91 is a particularly noisy helmet – reviews are mixed and very dependent on the sort of riding you do.

The thing is, modulars are usually that bit noisier than full face helmets, so if you want a quieter lid, you should probably go for one of them. But if you do want a modular and you’re tempted by the HJC C91, then don’t be put off. It’s about average for a modular and of course, stick in a good pair of ear plugs when you’re riding (as you always should) and you’ll probably be fine.

Ventilation

(more about helmet ventilation)

There’s a single top vent operated by a small slider on the top of the helmet and a single chin bar vent, operated with a large slider panel.

hjc c91 taly black grey helmet rear view
Rear view of the black/red C91 Taly

The top vent takes air through the helmet shell where air can circulate the head using the venting channels formed into the internal polystyrene liner.

It’s what HJC calls its ACS or advanced channeling ventilation system but it’s a fairly commonplace setup on helmets these days.

The chin bar vent takes air toward the mouth as well as pushing air onto the back of the shield through some particularly large vents at the bottom of the shield. That single open/close panel is very easy to find and use in gloves which is always good to see.

Overall, it’s a reasonably standard config, but we came across several owners who reckoned the system works well – letting through plenty of air even on the warmest days. But bear in mind that the chin vents alone won’t be enough to keep the shield fog-free when it’s rainy/cold/humid so we’d suggest buying and fitting a Pinlock to help the ventilation out.

Shield

(more about shields)

As mentioned, the main clear shield on the HJC C91 is Pinlock-ready, though the helmet doesn’t come with a Pinlock in the box. So expect to have to dish out another $30 or so for a Pinlock as they’re well worth it unless you’re a summer only rider.

HJC C91 white pearl modular motorcycle helmet side view
Pearl white C91

The shield works on a ratchet and has its opening tab on the left. The tab’s not too far over to the left though so you shouldn’t have too much of a problem reaching around with your right hand when you need to.

The shield will also give you plenty of UV protection – HJC claims all their shields give 99% UVA and UVB protection which is nice to know (mind you, most other polycarbonate shields should give a similar sort of figure).


A couple of useful links…

All our modular helmet reviews
Helmets that come in Hi Viz colors


Sun Visor

(more about sun visors)
hjc c91 taly black grey helmet top view
Sun visor slider’s located right on top of the helmet

HJC helmets tend not to have auto-return springs in their sun visors as they did in recent years, mainly because the springs quickly tired and stopped working.

So the sun visor in the C91 is manually operated in both directions, this time using a slider on the very top of the helmet.

A couple of owners commented that the top of the helmet isn’t a great position for your sun shield slider, but you do get used to it over time – it just feels a bit odd at first. But having the slider there rather than on the left hand side does mean it won’t get in the way of a bluetooth controller unit if you’re planning to add one.

Other than that, the sun visor is what you’d expect – it’s medium tinted and drops down reasonably low. It’s antifog coated too, which is good to see.

Chin Guard

(more about chin guards)

As mentioned in the safety section, based on HJC’s recent safety test performance, we’d expect the chin bar to perform well and give decent protection during an accident.

To get an idea of how well it might perform, we can check out past performance test data from ECE HJC modulars tested by the UK’s SHARP labs. Looking at test data from five different HJC modulars over the last seven years’ testing, HJC modular chin bars scored an average of 92%. That means they stayed locked and closed 92% of the time across over 150 impact tests – which is actually a very decent score overall – though yeah, we’d like to see that score much closer to 100%!

HJC C91 matte black modular motorcycle helmet side view
Chin bar raises pretty high but it’s not dual-homologated as far as we know.

The chin bar is opened using a single button under the chin bar and raises to around a 45 degree angle.

It’s not dual-homologated though. Even though it’s not a DOT requirement, dual homologated helmets have been designed and manufactured to offer better protection while riding with that chin bar open. So you might want to check out our P/J dual homologated modular helmets section to find modulars that are.

Other than that, it’s easy to operate and slides up nice and high out of the field of vision.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

The HJC C91 is designed to accommodate medium-oval headshapes, so should fit the majority of heads in the US. But note, we came across quite a few owners saying that it sizes on the small side, so if you’re between sizes, you’re definitely best ordering a size larger.

In my experience, HJC helmets often feel on the tighter side when you first wear them too (especially the cheek pads) though they do tend to give a little over the first few days of riding. And we found several other owners saying that’s the case with the C91 so be prepared, they do need to bed in over a few rides.

HJC C91 fluorescent green modular motorcycle helmet side view
If you’re looking for Hi Viz… you’ve found it! Fluo green C91

Inside the HJC C91 you’ll find HJC’s SuperCool lining which is a nice soft material that’s moisture wicking and anti-bacterial.

There’s a pair of speaker pockets in there too and there’s also some glasses grooves which, according to owners, work well if you’re a glasses wearer.

Looks & Graphics

The HJC C91 is, at the time of writing, available in a range of plain, solid colors and just a couple of graphic option.

Solids are the usual pearl gloss white and matt/gloss black, and there’s a titanium, mid nardo grey, and fluorescent green (above). Both the Taly and Tero graphics come in red, blue, fluo, grey, orange and purple (fuschia) variants.

To find any more graphice or to find the latest deals at stores we believe you can trust to supply genuine helmets and excellent service, please click the links below.

Best places to buy an HJC C91?

Please click below to visit the HJC C91 helmets pages at our recommended stores – all checked for great online ratings. And if you buy from any store, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Shop for helmets at Amazon

Other stuff – fasteners, bluetooth, glasses, build quality, warranty

DOT (US) HJC C91 helmets come with a d-ring fastener – they’re old school and basic but  very safe as long as they’re tightened correctly (like any fastener). ECE versions of the C91 come with a micrometric fastener.

HJC C91 matte black modular motorcycle helmet top view
Top view of the matt black C91

If you’re looking to fit a bluetooth headset, you should be good with the C91. Because it’s designed to accommodate HJC’s own Sena-developed bluetooth kit (the 10B or 20B) it should mean it’ll work with most third party kits you want to use too.

If you are after an integrated solution, HJC’s kit has a battery pack that’ll slot into a dedicated slot at the back of the helmet (between the shell and liner) and the set will give you up to 1.6Km range (20B) between bikes.

If you wear glasses while riding, the HJC C91 has a glasses groove inside, and several owners reckon they work well (and the sun shield should clear them too unless they’re particularly large).

Onto build quality – several owners say it’s a well built helmet with no real issues. That comment often comes with the caveat that it’s well built for the price and offers great value for money – just don’t expect hand built or premium helmet levels of quality.

C91s come with a decent 3 year warranty from date of purchase.

Crash Helmet Buying Guides

For (hopefully!) other useful information to help you when buying your next helmet, check our various guides - or have a look at our top helmet lists where we've got the top 10 rated helmets overall and best budget/safest/full face/flip-up/sportsbike/track helmets.

Good Alternatives to the HJC C91?

For some great alternative modular helmets, you can check out our modular helmet reviews section or our top 10 modular helmets section.

agv-sport-modular-hi-viz-motorbike-helmet
AGV Sport Modular

If you’re looking for a helmet that’s more upmarket and designed to work on a more lean-forward motorcycle, then there’s the AGV SportModular. Light weight with a carbon fiber shell, it comes with most of the bells and whistles you’d expect on a premium modular.

shark-evo-one-2-slasher-anthracite-motorcycle-helmet-side-view
Shark Evo-One 2

If you like the idea of a dual homologated modular helmet where the chin bar flips round to the back of the lid, then Shark’s Evo One 2 might well fit the bill. It’s midway priced between the C91 and AGV and comes with a Pinlock.

AGV Numo Evo ST Portland helmet front view
AGV Compact ST

A cheaper AGV is their Numo Evo ST. It’s highly rateded with sun visor, micrometric fastener and Pinlock in the box. Great value helmet the Numo Evo ST.

scorpion exo at950 neocon hi viz adventure helmet side view
Scorpion Exo AT950

So too is the Scorpion Exo-AT950. It’s a super versatile modular that’ll work on or off-road, has a removable peak, a really big shield aperture and is all day comfortable.

Looking to buy an HJC C91?

Please click below to visit the HJC C91 helmets pages at our recommended stores – all checked for great online ratings. And if you buy from any store, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Shop for helmets at Amazon

Star Ratings

2 COMMENTS

  1. I was disappointed that you did not test how quiet it was at high speed, other than mentioning in the beginning that modulars don’t tend to be on the quiet side.

    One of the first things I look at in a helmet, after comfort and fit, is how quiet it is at highway speeds, and how much air leakage there is.

    • Thanks for the comment Dan. Where there’s enough information from owners about how quiet the helmet is, we will of course include it. But where we’ve not managed to find enough information to formulate a good view, then we have to omit the info. If quietness is particularly important to you, i’d suggest you go for a full face as they’re almost always the quietest option. Otherwise, i’d head over to our smartish filters page – click the ‘flip up’ and ‘quietest’ boxes and see what pops up as they’ll be the quietest modulars we’ve found. Happy Helmet Hunting!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here