Preview of the Nolan N40-5 family of motorcycle helmets (40-5 jet and 40-5 GT crossover)
The Nolan N40 range has always been interesting and unusual. They’re a range of helmets that’s dominated by that massive shield and sun peak, giving the whole family of helmets a distinctly, well, adventure-helmet kind of vibe – but without the off-road ruggedness.
Think of it like the Multistrada of the motorcycle helmet world and you won’t go far wrong – it kinda looks like it should be useful off road but it’s very much designed to stay on tarmac.
Now though, the N40 has been updated and has returned as the N40-5. Like the old N40, it comes in both jet and modular configurations – with the jet targeting your scooter riders and the GT modular more serious riders who probably do a few more miles and usually wear either a full face or conventional modular helmet.
- N40-5 = Jet style open face helmet
- N40-5 GT = modular helmet
- Polycarbonate Shell
- Drop down sun visor
- GT is dual homologated
- Single shell size
- Micrometric fastener
- Fitment sizes XXS – XXL
- Pinlock-ready shield
- Expect to pay $220 (N40-5 Jet) $240 (N40-5 GT)
Best place to buy this Nolan crash helmet?
The N40-5 range are a flexible bunch of helmets. Both models can be used in a variety of configs, which essentially means you can use them with the visor or sun peak on or off; or for the GT with the chin guard removed.
But I think it’s fair to say if you’re after the safer option, then the Nolan N40-5 GT is your best bet, given that it’s got a chin guard to give face protection.
And not just any old chin guard, because while it might look a little puny, it’s allowed the N40-5 GT to become dual-homologated in Europe. Which means, as far as ECE testing is concerned, it still offers a decent amount of protection.
At the time of writing, it’s uncertain whether the N40-5 will be launched in the US (though you can still grab one via our UK website).
But in Europe, it means you can legally ride with the chin guard in place or removed – and that’s not the case with all modulars (check our dual-homologated page for all the modulars you can use with the chin guard up).
The shell on both N40-5s are exactly the same – that’s a polycarbonate shell that’s made in only one shell size (which is a bit disappointing).
That said, Nolan do have an excellent reputation for making some of the safest helmets out there. And while the new N40-5s haven’t been Snell or SHARP tested yet, lots of Nolan polycarbonate helmets have been tested by SHARP. In fact over the years, eleven Nolan polycarb helmets have been put through their paces in the SHARP labs and every one – yep, every single one – has scored four out of five stars.
OK it’s not perfect, but it’s a damn good score nevertheless. And given that consistency, if you were to push me to predict a score should SHARP turn their attentions towards the N40-5, I’ll stick my neck out and say somewhere between three and five sounds about right!
Moving on from the helmet shell, there’s other stuff about the Nolan N40-5 that will help make it a safer helmet.
First off, that massive shield. It’s massive horizontally and it’s massive vertically, giving you, well, massive all-round vision (so you’ve no excuses with the N40-5 – none of your ‘it crept up on me’ excuses are going to cut it any more!).
In fact, the size of the visor, giving great vision all round – including when looking down towards your clocks – is one of the best things about the 40-5 according to owners. Scooter riders or some cruiser riders with clocks in unconventional places said they found the GT a revelation – no more taking their eyes off the road to check the taco because you can just glance down with the Nolan N40-5.
It’s also anti-everything; scratch, fog and UV 400 (the best standard). It’s Pinlock-ready too, so stick one in and it shouldn’t fog up. Yep, I did just hint the shield comes with an antifog treatment as standard, but I also forgot to mention that factory anti-fog treatments are always – ALWAYS – terrible.
Finally, Nolan have made the N40-5 ESS or emergency stop signal-ready. That is their stop light system that you can attach to the rear of some of their helmets to give a bit of extra oomph to your brake lighting. It uses its own in-built accelerometer to detect braking, so works entirely independently of your bike’s circuit. It can also be switched to always-on or flashing, much like you see with cyclists. I’m not sure how many of us will want this or be bothered with yet another thing to charge up – but it’s there if it’s the kind of feature you’ll use.
Of course, if you’re wearing the Jet, then you’re going to get more noise in your helmet than if you’re using the GT version.
But overall, owners seem to reckon their N40-5s are anywhere between average to quiet helmets.
If you use an N40-5 Jet, then you’ll have as much ventilation as you can twist your throttle at. But it’s a different story for the N40-5 GT.
Which is why Nolan have uprated the ventilation from the old N40 with what they call their Air Booster Technology.
That means both helmets have a nice large top vent and a correspondingly huge rear exhaust vent allowing lots of air to circulate around the scalp. For the N40-5 GT modular, there’s also a small chin vent to drive air up onto the rear of the visor to aid defogging and give a bit more ventilation when it’s hot.
They’re both a nice touch – it’s better to have the vents there; and if you don’t to use them, just keep them closed.
Overall, owners reckon the ventilation on the N40-5 is fine. However, if you ride the GT version of the N40-5, then the visor will steam up, especially if it’s raining. And if you find yourself in the rain quite a bit, then expect to end up investing in a Pinlock.
Of course, the great thing with the the Nolan N40-5 is if things are really heating up, you can always pull off the chin guard and open the visor.
There’s both that massive clear main shield and a drop down sun visor.
You don’t need me to tell you just how massive that main shield is. It’s massive in both horizontal and vertical planes so you’re going to have pretty amazing vision with either helmet. That’s great for peripheral vision and shoulder-checks as well as forward vision.
In fact, that’s one of the best things owners find about the Nolan N40-5. Comments include that there’s an amazing field of view and that it gives a whole new feeling to riding a motorcycle!
Nolan say that aside from being anti-scratch, it’s anti-fog too (but expect it to be poor because they all are) and it’s UV400 – that’s the most protective of the UV standards. It’s also Pinlock-antifog ready, though unfortunately there’s no Pinlock insert included in the box.
Finally, the main shield is quick-release – useful so you can quickly give your shield a wipe after a ride or if you fancy whipping it off completely to go cruising in your RayBans.
Sun Visor and Peak
An interesting feature about the peak is that it moves with the shield. If you open the shield to the max open position, the peak moves up slightly to accommodate it – presumably to move both shield and peak out of your line of sight. Conversely, close the shield and the peak will drop down to its original position.
In addition to the peak, there’s also a drop down integral sun visor too. It’s difficult to see in the photos, but there’s a small slider to the rear of the left hand visor pivot that drops/raises the sun visor.
The chin guard on the GT version of the N40-5 is both protective and removable. Press down the two buttons on the inside of the chin guard and it unlatches and pulls away.
To make it legally protective in the ECE 22.05 zone (that’s Europe and Oz mostly), Nolan had to get the chin guard tested and approved by the ECE testers, and that means the helmet’s dual-homologated (or P/J homologated if you prefer). And given that it’s just an extra $20 to get the full face protective GT version of the N40-5, I’m guessing this is probably the model most of us will opt for.
While the chin guard is a little different to most of the chin guards you’ll find on conventional modular helmets, Nolan does have a great reputation for making chin guards that do exactly what they should do in an impact – i.e. stay locked and in place to protect us. So far, the chin guards on all five SHARP-tested Nolan modulars have stayed closed and locked 100% of the time during testing.
No other manufacturer who’s had more than one helmet tested by SHARP so far has managed that. Most come unlocked a few times, so very well done Nolan. Note whenever we review a modular helmet that’s been SHARP tested, we add in the locking percentage score.
Comfort & Sizing
Inside both N40-5s is what Nolan calls their Clima Comfort lining. Clima Comfort is used across many Nolan helmets and is a breathable and moisture-wicking material that generally makes for a good, comfortable helmet.
And that’s the case for the N40-5s. As long as you get the sizing right in the first place, we’d expect you to find the N40-5 comfortable hours in the saddle.
Looks & Graphics
At the time of writing, the Nolan N40-5 helmets have only just been launched so the range of designs in pretty limited. Aside from the usual matt and gloss black and solid gloss white, there’s also a solid silver and graphite grey version along with a hi-viz fluo yellow version. If you’re after fancy graphics, you’ll have to make do with the Fade designs which come in cherry red and silver – or click the links below and find our European recommended retailers to see if any other designs have been launched (and check out the latest prices).
Best place to buy this Nolan crash helmet?
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Other stuff – audio, warranty
Both the N40-5 Jet and GT come ready to fit Nolan’s N-com bluetooth communicators. Nolan N-com systems that’ll work with the N40-5 are the B5L, B5, B1.4 and MCSII.
Both helmets come with Nolan’s outstanding 5 year warranty.
Italian maker Nolan has an excellent reputation for building safe helmets that are easy to live with. We’re not sure how well it’ll score if it gets SHARP safety tested, but if you’re after something that’s a bit different and like the idea of that massive visor giving unimpeded vision then you should check out the Nolan N40-5.
But it’s not just a one-trick pony. It’s a comfortable helmet that owners say is well-built too. And the flexibility that it offers – whether you want to ride as an open face or stick on the chin bar when you up the pace (for the GT version), then the Nolan N40-5 offers a range of options like few other helmets.
The Nolan N40 range of helmets had a mass of loyal followers and this N40-5 update looks to be bang on the money for those of us who are already convinced.
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.
Alternatives to the Nolan N40-5?
The first helmet that comes to mind is that other quirky Nolan – the N44. With even more helmet configs than the N40-5, a similarly massive shield and integral sun visor – all for slightly less than the N40-5, that’s gotta be worth a look too.
There’s also the Nolan N104’s which is a SHARP 4 star modular whose chin guard stayed locked and closed 100% of the time during testing – that’s well worth a look.
If you’ve a little more to spend, AGVs Numo Evo is their top of the range flip-front helmet. The UK version was SHARP 4 star safety rated, has great ventilation and has a drop down sun visor too.
Other than these suggested helmets, you can find lots more by checking out our top 10 rated flip-up helmets list.