HJC RPHA 91 review: touring modular helmet with integrated bluetooth and adjustable sun visor.

HJC-RPHA 91-featured

HJC RPHA 91 flip front motorcycle helmet review.

Following on from the RPHA 90 modular, the HJC RPHA 91 is HJC’s latest premium modular helmet.

hjc rpha 91 modular motorcycle helmet white chin bar raised
White HJC RPHA 91 with chin bar fully raised and sun visor fully lowered

It’s a composite fiber helmet with most of what you’d expect to find on a modern flip-front sports touring lid – including sun visor, integrated Bluetooth setup, chin bar lock and Pinlock ready main shield.

But it’s also got a few interesting features that nudge things forwards a little in what is a very competitive market. Namely, an adjustable sun visor, dual-control Bluetooth (in the form of HJC’s Smart 50B set – optional) and sliding pivot chin bar – along with HJC designing the RPHA 91 to be particularly quiet which is not usually a strong point with most modular helmets.

Note – if you’re reading outside of North America, the Non-US RPHA91 is a slightly different helmet. Otherwise, if you’re in the US and in the market for a new modular, here’s what you can expect from the DOT HJC RPHA 91.

  • Composite fiber touring modular helmet
  • Adjustable drop down sun visor
  • Pinlock-ready main shield
  • DOT certified only
  • Double-D ring fastener
  • Four shell sizes
  • Supports HJC integrated bluetooth
  • Sizes XS – XXL
  • Expect to pay $550-$650

Looking to buy an HJC RPHA 91?

Please click below to visit the HJC RPHA 91 helmets pages at our recommended store or Amazon. And if you buy from either 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 HJC RPHA 91 is a well designed touring modular helmet.

It has many of the features you’ll be looking for in a modular helmet including sun visor, Pinlock ready main shield, integrated bluetooth and decent ventilation. It’s impossible to say quite how much protection it’ll offer until it’s been independently tested, though the RPHA 91 is of course DOT certified and uses HJC’s latest PIM Evo construction so should be pretty good.

Quite whether it meets HJC’s stated design objectives is debatable. It is reasonably quiet for a modular (which means it’s about average overall), and even though it’s on the heavier side of modular helmets, it’s widely regarded as comfortable, well built and a user friendly touring helmet.

Overall, it’s well worth a look if you’re looking for a new flip-front helmet.

Safety (more about helmet safety)

The actual shell of the RPHA 91 is a complex composite of fiberglass, carbon fiber and aramid – something that HJC likes to call PIM or premium integrated matrix – and in the case of the 91 that’s their latest PIM Evo construction.

hjc rpha 91 modular motorcycle helmet pearl white top view
Top down view showing large crown vent and exhaust

On paper, that sounds fine but it’s only through testing that we can really know how great the protection is. That’s especially true when it comes to a modular helmet where that moving chin bar needs to be really well constructed to give proper full-face helmet levels of protection.

In the US, the RPHA 91 is DOT certified – unfortunately not dual DOT and ECE because HJC often changes the helmet between markets. It also hasn’t been Snell certified at the time of writing.

So there’s not much to go on to suss out whether it’ll offer good protection or not.

If we look at past test data for ECE HJC modulars, we can see the outgoing RPHA 90S (the helmet the 91 is replacing) scored a creditable 4 stars (out of 5) when independently tested by the UK’s SHARP labs. And the last four tested flip-front helmets scored either 3 or 4 stars – with the chin bars staying closed and locked in an average of 90% of impact tests. That’s actually a good average for a modular helmet.

Again, they were tests on ECE certified helmets (not DOT) and whether the RPHA 91 would achieve that sort of score if it was to be tested remains to be seen.

For what it’s worth, in my view and based on past performance (at the time of writing, HJC are currently one of our Top 10 Safest helmet brands), I’d be happy that the RPHA 91 will offer a decent level of protection. And remember, the number one factor when assessing helmet effectiveness is to ensure your helmet is properly comfortable and fits correctly before looking at helmet test data: They’re both vital in allowing any helmet to do its job well.

The RPHA 91 has got a double-d ratchet fastener in the US (micrometric in ECE land) and there’s a drop down sun visor inside to cut the glare – that’s always useful to have in a touring helmet.

And if you like to ride in a 3/4 helmet, just like ECE dual homologated helmets, the DOT RPHA 91 has a chin bar lock so you can open up the chin bar and lock it in place so it won’t slam down while you’re riding. All good.


Take a look at our Best Motorcycle Helmet Top 10s to find your next helmet…

top-10-full-face-motorcycle-helmetstop-10-full-face-motorcycle-helmetstop-10-budget-motorcycle-helmetssportsbike-and-track-motorcycle-helmets-top-10top-10-flipup-modular-helmets-featuredtop-10-safest-motorbike-helmetssafest-motorcycle-helmet-brands-top-10


Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

One of the big features of the HJC RPHA 91 is that HJC say they’ve designed it to cut down noise. Modular helmets do have a tendency to be noisy so that’s always gonna be a welcome design goal.

hjc rpha 91 flip up helmet black rear view
Rear view of a solid black RPHA 91 showing generous neck roll and battery pack location

To do it, they say they’ve improved aero, tailored the internals to deadden noise a bit and fitted a thick neck roll to the bottom of the helmet to cut down noise ingress from below.

Perception of helmet noise is often a bit subjective – depending on your hearing, your motorcycle, your speed and a whole heap of other factors. And true to form, opinions on how quiet the outgoing RPHA 90 was were pretty mixed, though it was broadly seen as reasonably quiet for a modular.

And so too is the HJC RPHA 91 – with the owners we’ve come across so far saying it’s pretty quiet for a modular. Whether you agree if you buy a 91 remains to be seen (just don’t expect it to be quiet if you ride a MotoGP replica flat out with your chin bar up most of the time!).

Ventilation

(more about helmet ventilation)

Lots of ventilation is also something HJC reckon they’ve been working on with the RPHA 91. OK, most of the ventilation system – something HJC likes to abbreviate to AVC for Advanced Channeling Ventilation – is fairly standard. So, that means it has a chin bar vent that takes air onto the back of the shield along with a crown vent that takes air through the shell, around channels in the polystyrene liner and out the exhast vent.

The chin vent is a large tipping panel that’s very gloves-friendly and offers a couple of open positions as well as fully closed.


A couple of useful links…

Best helmets for eyeglasses
Top 10 best flip-up motorcycle helmets


With the RPHA 91, they’ve also added extra brow vents above the main visor too. Those take air directly through onto the forehead area and supplement that top crown vent to keep the top of the head cool.

Overall, owners seem to think ventilation on the RPHA91 is anywhere between about average to very good – and we did find a few owners in warmer US states saying it has lots of airflow. And of course, being a flip-front helmet if things get too hot, you’ve always got the option of opening up that chin bar fully.

Face Shield

(more about shields)
hjc rpha 91 flip front helmet fluo green side view
Fluo yellow RPHA 91. Note sun visor slider and left hand bluetooth controller mount in black on the side

The visor on the RPHA 91 is Pinlock-ready, optically correct and quick-release.

Unfortunately, HJC in the US don’t supply a Pinlock in the box like they do with the ECE version of the helmet – that’s an optional extra.

It is a quick change visor though, so for easy cleaning or to swap the shield out, you simply open it up, pull a tab either side and it’ll pull right off.

To open the visor when riding, the opening tab is on the left hand side so that’s good (though it’d be even better if there was an opening tab either side) and the visor opens with a few detents to let you choose how far it opens. That’s fine, though what’s not so great is that a few owners reported that the detents aren’t very strong so once you get up to highway speeds, it can have a tendency to slam closed.

Sun Visor

(more about sun visors)

The sun visor has everything you’ll look for with a sun visor and is pretty innovative. First up, it’s reasonably dark smoked and it’s operated by a slider on the bottom left hand edge of the helmet. It’s also anti-fog coated which is good to see.

HJC RPHA sun visor mechanism
Adjustable sun visor positioning on RPHA 91

Something we’re starting to see with helmets fitted with sun visors is the ability to modify the drop. That’s good because common complaints with sun visors are that they either don’t drop down low enough or they interfer with your nose.

To try and get around this on the RPHA 91, HJC has added a level of adjustment. You can pop off the panel on the left above the slider (the one that hides the mouting plate for the comms controller) and under there is a switch that lets you set the drop amount.

So, in the highest setting, the sun visor has a fairly normal operation. But set it in the middle and it’ll drop down a tad more and pushes the sun visor away from the face by 5mm. At its maximum setting, the switch lets you drop the sun visor down slightly further and positions it 10mm away from your face.

So hopefully that’s something that’s useful for riders with larger noses or who just like a bit more space in front of their faces.

Chin Guard

(more about chin guards)

The chin bar on the RPHA 91 is operated by a single central button and features both a new elliptical hinge mechanism as well as updated locking mechanism from the old RPHA 90.

 gloss black chin bar raised
Chin bar fully raised on solid black RPHA91

It’s super easy to use (press the button and the chin bar pulls up into its fully opening position) but unlike the old helmet, you can now lock the chin bar in place. That’s a requirement for ECE 22.06 dual homolgation in Europe and means it’s been designed so you can ride with the chin bar up and locked so there’s no chance of it slamming shut while you’re riding.

That elliptical hinge mechanism pulls the whole chin bar a little further backwards to help improve aero and reduce the amount the chin bar sticks out front.

As to whether that chin bar will give you full-face helmet levels of protection when it’s locked down in place, that’s difficult to say. HJC helmets have a good reputation for making chin bars that stay in place during impact testing of around 90% over the last few years (see Safety section above). But given the RPHA 91 has a different locking mechanism and given it hasn’t actually been lab tested by any of the testing labs, it’s impossible to say quite how it’ll perform.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

Internal fitment of the RPHA 91 is medium oval – so should fit most owners (see here if you’re after a longer oval fitment helmet).

hjc rpha 91 modular motorcycle helmet white rear viewIt has a reasonably basic comfort liner and cheekpads – though they are anti-microbial, moisture wicking and fully removable/washable which is what you’d expect on a more premium price helmet.

There are of course speaker pockets inside the helmet and by default they have a small sound-deadening plug/panel in there that you’ll have to remove that to fit speakers. There’s also a removable neck roll at the bottom of the helmet, again designed to cut wind noise getting into the helmet.

The RPHA 91 is available in sizes XS-XXL and word is that fitment is true to size, so use our measuring guide to find out your head size and order the correct size.

Looks & Graphics

At the time of writing, there’s a large range of plain/solid colors and just a couple of graphic options.

For solids, there’s a black, a white and a mid grey, for mattes there’s a black, grey and blue. Graphics come in Combust (white, fluo yellow or red) and a Rafino (black, red, yellow or blue).

You’ll find examples of most of these up and down the page, but to check these out in more detail and find the latest deals/graphics at our recommended and rated stores, please click the links below.

Looking to buy an HJC RPHA 91?

Please click below to visit the HJC RPHA 91 helmets pages at our recommended store or Amazon. And if you buy from either 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

HJC RPHA 91 Video

Here’s a 6m look around the RPHA 91 at Revzilla.

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

Fasteners

hjc rpha 91 flip front helmet matte black side view
Matte black HJC RPHA 91

In the US, the RPHA comes with a traditional double-d ring fastener. If you’re new to motorcycle helmets, they’re pretty basic but have been around on helmets for like 50+ years and are simple and very secure as long as you fasten them up tightly. In Europe, the RPHA 91 comes with a micrometric fastener.

Bluetooth Communicators

The RPHA 91 is an integrated blueooth helmet, which means it comes with all the placements, wiring channels, speaker pockets and controller mounts ready to fit the Sena-developed HJC 50B or 21B bluetooth headsets from HJC. The battery pack sits in a compartment at the rear of the neckroll while if you want to fit the 50B set, there’s a removable panel to mount the volume control panel on the left and the functions controller on the right of the helmet. The 21B only has a single controller panel to mount.

SMART-HJC-50B bluetooth
The HJC Smart 50B – note dual mounted volume and controller panels

Inside the helmet, there’s a couple of removable pads to expose the speaker pockets and there are wiring grooves to neatly embed speaker/microphone wiring.

That’s all well and good, but most of us will be wanting to use our own bluetooth sets rather than buying a new HJC one. That’s a little tricky on the RPHA 91 because you can’t install it on the chin bar as that raises, and you can’t really install it where the removable controller panel or the sun visor slider are. So you’re left having to install it way back on the left side of the helmet that makes it a bit awkward to operate on the move – it’s doable (and some RPHA 91 owners have done it) but it’s not ideal.

Of course, you’ll be able to use the existing speaker pockets and wiring channels – it’s just your controller will have to be mounted way back.

Weight

Weight of the RPHA 91 isn’t ideal either. Modular helmets do tend to be a bit more weighty than other helmets of course, mainly due to the chin bar gubbins mechanism. But the average weight of a typical modular is about 3.7lbs (1.67kg) whereas the RPHA 91 weighs just a smidge under 4lbs (1.8Kg). Ok, that’s just a few ounces heavier than average and it probably shouldn’t be a deal breaker – but one or two owners we came across did comment that it does feel a bit weighty.

Glasses

The RPHA 91 has glasses grooves inside so you should be able to fit most glasses inside without a problem. You may need to remove the speaker pocket covers to get the most comfortable fitment but other than that, it should fit all but the largest glasses (which may push against the top of the visor aperture).

HJC RPHA 91 Combust flip helmet side view
Combust graphic RPHA 91

Build Quality/Warranty

A few owners also commented that build quality is good with nice paint and finishing. That’s all backed by a very decent 5 year warranty – that’s just about as long as you’ll find with any helmet brand.

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 RPHA 91?

AGV Tourmodular

There’s a heap of great alternatives to HJC’s RPHA 91 and you can find some of the best by checking out our continually updated Top 10 best rated modular helmets list. Alternatively, here’s a few flip-front helmets we recommend you check out…

First up, the AGV Tourmodular is AGV’s high end touring modular. Made from carbon fiber, it’s ECE 22.06 certified, has a sun visor, comes with a Pinlock and has a super easy micrometric fastener.

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

If you fancy a flip-over helmet where the chin bar rotates to the back of the helmet, Shark’s Evo One 2 is well worth a look. It’s dual ECE and DOT certified, lighter than the RPHA 91 and comes with a Pinlock antifog insert in the box.

Or how about the Nolan N100-5: preinstalled Pinlock, micrometric, SHARP 4 star safety rated, sun visor, large shield aperture, integrated bluetooth setup – it’s even ready to accept an emergency stop light if that floats your boat!

Nolan N100-5HTML quick link to make category page

Looking to buy an HJC RPHA 91?

Please click below to visit the HJC RPHA 91 helmets pages at our recommended store or Amazon. And if you buy from either 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

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Safety
Comfort
Noise
Features
Value
Previous articleAGV Tourmodular: AGV’s Top Touring Motorcycle Helmet: and it’s a good un.
hjc-rpha-91-flip-front-motorcycle-helmet-reviewThe HJC RPHA 91 is a well liked helmet. It's not the lightest or the most fully featured (though it does have a useful adjustable sun visor that we've not seen before) but it does most things well. It has a composite fiber shell, double d ring fastening, Pinlock ready shield and glasses-friendly interior. It's also ready to accept HJC's Smart bluetooth headset with routes for wiring and compartments for battery, speakers and mic. It's a bit on the heavy side but you shouldn't notice it too much on the move - most owners don't. All in all it's an accomplished helmet that should work well on your touring motorcycle.

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