HJC CL17 motorcycle helmet review.
If you’re looking for a new full face helmet for your motorcycle, there’s a ton of choice out there of course. But… there isn’t a whole lot of Snell tested/certified, low price choice out there.
Which is exactly where the HJC CL-17 helmet comes in.
It’s a low-priced polycarbonate full face and not only is it DOT certified, it’s also Snell 2015 tested/approved too. Which means it should be up there with the big boys (and expensive boys) in providing top quality protection.
That’s fantastic news, but what about the rest of the helmet..? We check out reviews, thoughts, musings and opinions online to find out the low down on HJCs CL-17 crash helmet.
- Full face polycarbonate helmet
- Rounder fit
- DOT certified (not ECE)
- Snell 2015 certified
- Pinlock ready face shield
- Double d-ring fastener
- Available sizes XS-5XL!
- Expect to pay $125-$160
- Marvel designs $40 higher
That’s all great news and means we know it’ll do pretty darned well in protecting us out on the highway.
In fact, because the CL-17 has been out there a few years now, there’s quite a few stories online saying exactly that – how their CL17 saved their lives during an accident. Which is always good to know.
You might find it a bit surprising that a lower price helmet can give such great protection, but as we’ve discussed before, buying an expensive helmet doesn’t necessarily mean buying better protection.
The HJC CL-17 has a multi-density shock absorbing lining, just like top brands like Arai and Shoei do. Plus polycarbonate might make for cheap helmets, but it’s a great material for making a tough and slightly flexible (aka shock absorbing) helmet shell out of.
But that aside, you can undoubtedly rely on a CL-17 to save your head in a survivable accident (which is all a helmet is designed to do afterall!)
*Note 3XL-5XL sizes aren’t Snell certified. No idea why – but I’m guessing it’s because they’re not gonna sell too many at that size so HJC decided to save some money. Like I say, that’s just a guess.
Opinions vary on how noisy the CL-17 is.
We always recommend you wear a decent pair of earphones if you ride a motorcycle anyway of course. And that’s the best way to ride with a quiet helmet.
But it’s always nice to have a helmet that helps you out too.
Despite HJCs best efforts (making a helmet with a smooth, round shell and using low profile vent covers for example), most owners seem to think the HJC is pretty noisy.
As always how loud you perceive a helmet depends on the type of bike you ride as well as how noisy your previous helmets were too. But if you’re after an especially quiet helmet, this ain’t it.
Having said that, it’s about par for the course compared to most helmets out there. As we said, stick in some decent ear plugs and you should be fine.
Ventilation is one area where the HJC CL-17 does well.
That’s no surprise because, unusually for a cheaper helmet, HJC has thrown extra vents in above the face shield to help things out.
Which means there’s a vent in the chin bar, a couple at the brow and another couple of vent holes in the crown of the helmet, so six in all.
They’re mated to four exhaust vents – it’s no good having a ton of inputs if there’s nowhere for the air to exit the helmet. They’re located at each side of the helmet plus a couple under the spoiler at the rear.
But the proof of the pudding’s in the riding. So do they work?
Owners seem to agree the crown vents pull a load of air through the helmet and gives cooling air a direct, unhindered path through the helmet shell and onto your head. And overall they think it’s better than most helmets at keeping your head nice and cool.
The brow vents above the shield are a bit less successful though as most owners say you can’t really feel them.
The chin vents are OK though not amazing. So if you buy a CL and struggle with shield demisting, you might be wise investing in a Pinlock anti-fog insert, because the faceshield comes Pinlock-ready.
All the vent sliders and controls have a decent feel to them and everyone’s mostly happy about how they operate.
So if you’re after a well venting helmet, the HJC CL-17 should fit the bill nicely.
The shield on the CL is nice and wide to give great peripheral vision.
It works on a ratchet which is good. And, happily, it has a ‘cracked open’ position (sometimes called a city riding position) that most of us riders are looking for to give us that bit of extra ventilation when riding slowly but still giving us decent eye protection.
The CL 17 uses HJC’s Rapidfire shield quick release system which is so staggeringly easy to use, even my mom can manage it.
To remove the shield, open it up, pull the tab and pull it off. To replace it, you line it up with the holes and click it back in place. Quick, effective and no manuals involved.
What else? Well, owners say it feels a solid shield with nice movement and there’s an opening tab on the left which is handy (rather than the center).
If you look closely at the pictures, you can also see a switch on the left side of the shield. That’s an optional shield lock which apparently works well.
Finally, the shield is Pinlock antifog ready, though there isn’t a Pinlock included in the box. That’s only gonna bother you if you live somewhere rainy/cold or humid. And if it does, you can get yourself a Pinlock for about $30 or so.
Comfort and Sizing
Like most HJCs, get the right size of CL-17 for your head and you should find it’s all day comfortable.
That is, as long as you’re a round-headed sort of person, because the CL-17 is one of those rare helmets that’s designed for rounder rather than ovaler (?!) heads.
Most Western helmets are made for medium oval head shapes, because that’s the sort of head shape most Westerners have.
But that still leaves heaps of people with rounder heads un-helmeted. So HJC has made the CL17 work for you guys.
If you are a round head shape, measure your head (follow our fitting guide) then buy the right size helmet because word is that the CL sizes true.
And if you do buy one, owners say it’s a really comfortable helmet with a plush interior lining.
It’s nothing especially fancy. Yup, it’s a removable/washable lining and yep, it uses a moisture wicking and antimicrobial fabric in the comfort liner (HJC calls it SuperCool) but that’s par for the course with most helmets these days.
But HJC do seem particularly skilled at combining everything very well to make a really comfortable helmet at an entry level price.
Some more great news – especially if you’ve got a rounder head that’s over sized. That’s because you can buy the HJC CL-17 in sizes XS to a whopping XXXXXL! Woa. That’s music to someone’s ears right there.
All of which means the budget CL is going to be some folks’ go-to helmet for years to come. And why not, it’s quality, comfy and cheap. Happy days.
Looks & Graphics
It’s a jack of all trades helmet, designed to work for as many riders as possible, so it’s never going to be the most outrageous or eye-catching lid.
But that’s fine because lots of us don’t want a helmet like that.
But if you do want to jazz it up a bit, there are some pretty out-there designs around.
You know you can always find your plain/solid blacks and whites etc. But there’s masses of other designs out there for the CL17 too – from subtle girly designs to ones with more skulls than an Outlaw’s bicep.
We’ve liberally scattered a few colorways around these pages, but they seem to be never ending. So please feel free to click the links through to our recommended partner stores below (all scoring massively well with independent buyer reviews) and see the latest deals and designs.
HJC CL-17 Video
Here’s a good 10m look around the CL17 from sportbiketrackgear.
Other stuff – fasteners, audio, glasses,weight, build quality, warranty
The CL17 comes with a solid Double-D ring fastener. Read here for more information on D-rings.
If you’re looking to fit a bluetooth headset into your next helmet, you might struggle a bit with the CL. It’s fine for mounting the set as the bottom strip is relatively thin so should take a clamp mount (if not there’s plenty of space for a sticky mount). But the speakers pockets aren’t too generous so if your speakers are thick, you might well find they push into the sizes of your head.
What won’t push into your head are your glasses, because there’s glasses grooves inside the helmet lining which is good to see (why don’t all helmets have them?!?).
It’s not the lightest helmet, but then it’s a budget polycarbonate helmet so you probably wouldn’t expect it to be, right? It weighs around 3.9lbs (1.75kg) which is a bit heavier than the average polycarb full face.
We all like our helmets to be built well, but you expect corners to be cut on most budget helmets. Well, it might not quite match up to some more expensive helmets, but owners say they’re surprised how well their CL17s are built – especially at this price. So all’s good there.
And, finally, HJC backs this quality up with a decent 3 year warranty; which is way above many other makers at the cheaper end of the market.
The HJC CL-17 is not just any old budget polycarbonate full face helmet.
That’s because not many others have been tried and tested for as long as the CL17, and not many are so well liked by so many owners.
Positives are that the CL-17 doesn’t cost much, it’s comfortable, well vented, has great build quality (for the price) and has that all important Snell rating on it that proves it’ll give great protection.
Not only that, but it’s an easy helmet to live with and does most of the stuff you want your multi-purpose motorcycle helmet to do.
OK, it lacks some bells and whistles and is a bit no-frills. But if you’re after a great value all-rounder that has been tested so you know it’ll look after you, then grab yourself a CL.
There are some alternatives out there (see alternatives section below) but if you’re after a budget Snell helmet that’s designed for round shaped heads, then it’s in a class of one!
Overall then, it’s a great helmet, well thought out and offering excellent protection. It’s well worth a look.
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 CL-17?
We’re gonna assume you’re not looking to fork out on the latest premium Arai or Shoei here. So here’s our picks at the lower end of the price range.
If your pockets are a bit deeper, you should take a look at the Shoei RF-SR too. Snell certified again, it’s a slight step up in quality – but then it’s quite a bit more money. It’s got EQRS too as well as a Pinlock anti-fog in the box.
More HJC crash helmet reviews/info?
Visit our HJC pages to quickly browse all our HJC helmet reviews including the HJC i70, CL-17, RPHA 70/11/ST full face helmets and the Sy-Max, RPHA 90 and IS-Max modular/flip ups.