The Nolan N100-5 flip-up. The perfect modular helmet?
The N100-5 is Nolan’s top of the range flip-up/modular helmet, designed to be all things to all riders. And the list of features is pretty impressive. It’s P/J dual homologated (meaning it’s been designed so you can ride it with the chin bar up) and it has Nolan’s patented chin bar raising mechanism that pulls the chin bar closer to the helmet to improve aero when it’s up.
It’s got a nice wide and tall main shield that even comes with a Pinlock antifog insert already installed out of the box (that’s a first as far as we’re aware).
There’s also a drop down sun visor that has its own ‘staged’ drop down, so it’ll happily sit at one of four positions before being auto-retracted at the touch of a button.
And it’s got a microlock 2 fastener, ESS brake light capacity as well as being ready to accept Nolan’s N-com communicators, with pockets and spaces for easy integration.
And as if that wasn’t enough, it comes from Italian maker Nolan who are known for producing some of the safest modular helmets in the whole world ever.
Don’t know about you but, on paper at least, that’s a mouthwatering prospect. So we set about finding out what owners and riders who’ve bought an N100-5 think of it and find out if it’s worth spending your money on one…
- Polycarbonate modular helmet
- Dual Homologated for open/full face riding
- Micrometric fastener
- Wide/tall face shield
- Drop down sun visor
- Available in ECE and DOT versions
- Pinlock Antifog pre-installed
- ESS system ready
- Integrates with N-com bluetooth kit
- Sizes XXS-XXXL
- Expect to pay $410-$460
Best place to buy this Nolan crash helmet?
Nolan has an excellent reputation for helmet safety – especially for its modular helmets.
It hasn’t been independently Snell or SHARP tested yet, but as you probably know, we analyze SHARP’s helmet testing data to assess helmet safety, and looking back over all their tested helmets, Nolan has scored four out of a maximum five stars for every single tested helmet.
That’s not only a great score but it’s staggeringly consistent across the years.
Of course, when you’re looking at flip-front helmet safety, you obviously want that chin bar to stay firmly closed during an impact. Nolan is one of the very few helmet makers who have a perfect 100% record so far for their chin guards staying locked and closed during testing.
Which all means that, while the N100-5 hasn’t yet been independently safety tested, we’d totally expect it to score a very decent 4 star SHARP safety rating for safety along with a 100% on the chin guard.
One of the reasons their chin guards stay closed is that they use solid metal clasps along with a two-finger opener that means you’ve gotta use both a finger and thumb to open the chin bar so it can’t be accidentally opened – and it’s the same setup on the N100-5.
The helmet’s dual homologated in Europe too. That means it’s been designed so you can ride with the chin bar fully opened if you like – and there’s a lock on there to keep it locked open.
Obviously, having great vision is kinda key to not hitting things on a motorcycle. The N100-5 has a wide/tall shield combo for good all-round vision. Plus it comes with a Pinlock anti-fog insert pre-installed – which is a nice touch because most manufacturers leave you to fiddle/curse/struggle to fit it on your own.
There’s also a micrometric 2 fastener to keep the helmet on your head plus the Nolan N100-5 comes ESS-ready. That’s the ability to add your own brake light to the back of the helmet for added visibility.
Wow – that’s a lot of safety shizz on the N100-5 and we expect it’ll give you great protection should the worst happen.
If you’ve read any of our helmet reviews before, you’ll know that helmet noise is the most difficult thing to accurately review.
That’s because how noisy your helmet is is a perception thing and dependent on loads of stuff from how great/knackered your hearing is to how loud/quiet your last helmet was to how fast you ride etc. etc.
And while not absolutely everyone who rides with a Nolan N100-5 reckons their helmet is the quietest ever, there are enough owners who say it’s really quiet for us to add it to our Quietest Helmets pages.
In fact we found roughly 70% of owners rated it as a really quiet helmet, which is a great score – especially for a modular helmet.
Why for a modular? Because flip-up helmets are generally noisier than regular full face helmets, mostly because of the space needed for that flip-up chin bar mechanism. But it seems some of the aero work done by Nolan to produce a smoother helmet shell that’s more compact and with fewer protrusions has really paid dividends on the N100-5.
But a word of warning if you buy one; I suggest you don’t buy one expecting it to be mega quiet. No, buy one hoping it’ll be maybe a bit quieter than your existing helmet – then, hopefully, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Just managing your expectations here (another important factor in helmet noise perception!)
You’ll find a single chin vent covered by a sliding panel on the chin bar of the N100-5. That’s obv there to deliver air to your mouth and the back of the face shield.
Way up top on the crown of the helmet is another vent panel to bring ventilation to the rest of the head.
On helmets with sun visors, you’ll find top vents set way back on top of the shell because when the sun visor’s retracted, it takes up the space where you’d ideally place the vent.
Both vent sliders are low profile – in their closed positions at least – helping with the aero and overall noise suppression of the helmet.
When you open the top vent, the whole panel pops back/up a little to reveal quite a sizeable vent on the top. It’s what Nolan calls its Air Booster Technology. And it’s a vent that pretty well all owners say is great – letting in tons of air to get circulated around the channels inside the helmet and keep you cool.
It’s much better than the chin bar vent which, by all accounts, is reasonably pointless. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean your shield fogs up quickly because of course the N100-5 not only comes with a Pinlock anti fog insert in the box but it’s pre-installed onto the back of the shield.
And, as always with a modular, if you really need a bit more ventilation into your chin/face area, you can either crack open the shield a little to let a nice breeze in – or even open up the front entirely and ride in open-face mode.
The face shield on the Nolan N100-5 is wide and tall for improved vision and it’s a ratchet shield with 5 positions, including a ‘cracked open’ city riding position. Yay.
It’s opened by a single central opening tab and comes pre-fitted with a Pinlock Max Vision anti-fog insert. That’s the first time we’ve seen one already installed and saves you the hassle of fitting it yourself which can be tricky if you’ve never used one before.
But if you want to know how to fit a Pinlock, here’s a video I produced a while back showing you how.
The ‘Max Vision’ part of the Pinlock means it’s a full-shield coverage insert, so you won’t get the edges of the Pinlock in your line of sight.
A couple of links you might find useful…
The sun visor on the N100-5 is pretty unusual too.
The slider to operate it is on the bottom left edge of the helmet – which is pretty commonplace and a decent place to locate it. What’s not so common is that it’s a four position sun visor with noticeable ‘steps’ in the slider movement to let you drop the sun visor down in stages.
In its lowest position, it’ll cover most of your vision and it’s spring loaded so all you need to do to retract the sun visor is press a button in front of the slider and it’ll spring back out of the way.
The sun visor’s anti-fog coated too, as well as being anti-scratch – so all good here.
The chin guard on any modular helmet is a really important feature – and some helmet manufacturers are better at making them than others.
Looking at the stats, Nolan are one of the best.
To open up the chin bar requires a pinch movement of finger and thumb to unlock it – that’s a good safety feature and stops it being accidentally unlocked during an accident. It’s also pretty easy to do.
And whereas some chin bars from well known makers have been shown to be less than bomb-proof during safety testing, no Nolan modular helmet so far has ever come unlocked during SHARP impact testing – which is a fantastic result.
As mentioned in the safety section above, that’s not to say the Nolan N100-5 won’t buck that trend, because it hasn’t yet been independently safety tested. But we’d probably put money on it scoring well for safety (i.e not coming unlocked and open when you don’t want it to).
Once opened, there’s a cunning hinge on the N100-5 that opens up the chin bar then pulls it backwards towards the helmet, so it sticks slightly less into the airflow than many other modulars.
And if you decide to ride with the chin bar raised – you should be fine with the N100-5 because it’s been designed to be ridden with the bar up or down, and there’s a P/J locking switch to let you lock the chin bar open so there’s no chance of it accidentally dropping down while you’re riding.
OK, if you do intend to ride along in a modular helmet with the chin bar raised, you might want to consider a helmet where the chin bar rotates right to the back of the helmet (like the Roof Desmo, LS2 Valiant or Shark Evo One 2). But other than that, the Nolan N100-5’s got everything covered.
Comfort and Sizing
The inside of the the N100-5 has what Nolan calls it’s Clima Comfort interior. That’s an antibacterial and moisture wicking comfort lining that includes lots of perforations to allow circulating air to reach your scalp.
The inside is fully removable and washable – including cheek pads – and though you can fit glasses inside the N100-5, there aren’t any dedicated glasses grooves in there so if your glasses’ stems are thick, you might have a problem.
Unusually, the neck roll at the bottom of the helmet is actually adjustable. There’s a drawstring running around the bottom of the helmet with a couple of toggles on it – so you can tighten up the helmet to reduce the amount of noise and draft getting up inside the helmet.
And the end result is that pretty well every owner said their Nolan N100-5 is a really comfortable helmet to live with and is great for long-distance trips.
Looks & Graphics
There’s a stack of different graphics available for the Nolan N100-5 – but only a few names to remember.
If you’re after a solid plain helmet – they’re always a bit cheaper than helmets with fancy graphics – and they’re mostly called either Classic or Special by Nolan. They come in all the usual blacks/whites/gloss/matts you’d expect plus there’s a few different greys and silvers.
Nolan also do a variant on these flat colors – the Fade where it’s essentially a plain color that fades to a darker color – pretty classy those.
Finally there’s the Lumiere and the Consistency designs – you’ll find a few of these up and down the page but they’re available in stacks of other colors too.
To see these and more, as well as find any deals that are on at the retailers we recommended for giving great service as well as good prices, please click through to our recommended retailers using the links below. Nice one!
Best place to buy this Nolan crash helmet?
Please click below to visit the Nolan helmets pages at our recommended stores. 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).
Click above to drop onto their Nolan helmets pages or *quick view store T&Cs here.
Nolan N100-5 Video
Here’s one of the official Nolan videos for the N100-5. The choice was either this Nolan US video or the European one with Marco Melandri in it, so..!
Other stuff – fasteners, audio, weight, build quality, warranty
The Nolan N100-5 uses a micrometric 2 fastener. That’s a micrometric ratchet fastener with a 2 action opener to stop accidental opening of the strap. So that’s both convenient to use and safe as houses.
It’s designed to accommodate Nolan’s N-Com bluetooth communicator with a built-in pocket to fit the bluetooth controller, battery and mic/speakers. That’s great if you’re going to buy one of their intercom kits (either a B901L R series – B601 R series – ESS – MCS III R series) but less good if you’ve a different 3rd party bluetooth to fit. You will find space for speakers and a mic in there, but placing the controller itself might be a bit fiddly; like one Sena 10s owner found. It fit but was really awkward to get in there.
As for weight – the Nolan N100-5 weighs around 3.8lbs (1.7Kg) which is about average for a modular and should be OK. In fact a couple of owners said it feels pretty light when you’re wearing it.
Great build quality is a recurring comment among owners with lots of people commenting about the overall high quality feel, fit, finish and materials.
And finally, to underline Nolan’s commitment to quality, the N100-5 comes with a fabulous 5 year warranty.
The Nolan N100-5 is a high quality, well featured and well liked helmet by people who’ve bought one.
It scores really highly in just about every respect and is a well designed and excellently made helmet. In fact, at the time of writing, it’s soared to the top of our top 10 best modular helmets list.
It’s got a great shield mechanism too with pre-installed Pinlock anti-fog, and it’s got a great sun visor with innovative multi-stage drop down. It’s quiet too according to owners – that’s rare for a modular helmet – and it’s designed to integrate with Nolan’s N-com communicators as well as their ESS brake light module.
And it’s also dual-homologated so you can ride with the chin bar up and locked should the mood take you.
The only fly in the ointment is that it’s not been independently safety tested by Snell or SHARP yet so we’re not 100% sure how well it’ll do – though we’re taking a guess at ‘very well’ simply because of Nolan’s amazingly consistent track record for producing safe modular lids.
All in all, the Nolan N100-5 is a hugely well designed and hugely impressive modular helmet and should really be somewhere near the top of your shortlist if you’re looking to buy a new flip-up motorcycle helmet.
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 helmets.
Good Alternatives to the Nolan N100-5?
First up, take a look at the Shark Evo One 2. That’s a SHARP 4 star safety rated (chin guard scored 100%) that has a chin guard that’ll flip over to the back of the helmet to give a real open faced helmet look and feel.
If your pockets are deep enough, how about the AGV Sport Modular? It’s a carbon fibre modular designed to work with sportsbikes. It comes with optically correct shield with Pinlock and is very light weight for a modular.
Or if you’re on a tight budget, there’s the HJC IS Max II – sun visor, SHARP 4 star safety rated and available in a massive range of sizes.
Other Modular Helmets
If you're after a new modular/flip-up helmet, they've never been more popular and there's a ton of choice out there. You can find our latest top 10 modular helmets list here or check out all our modular helmet reviews here. You can also visit our smart filters page where you can click the flip-up/modular check box then choose a few other features to find the best flip-up helmet for you.