Nolan’s N80-8; full face polycarb all-rounder helmet.


The Nolan N80-8 is the successor to the Nolan N87 – a well liked, well specced polycarb all rounder full face helmet that was pretty much the staple of the Nolan range.

And while the N80-8 has a similar look and vibe, it’s actually a substantially redesigned lid.

nolan n80-8 50th mandrake white black red helmet front view
Nolan N80-8 in Mandrake graphics

It’s still got a polycarbonate shell though, and it’s got pretty well all the same features as the N87 – which is a good thing. And it’s still on the market at a competive price point: under the $300 mark – or maybe a smidge over if you go for graphics rather than solid.

If you’re after a good value all-rounder then, and aren’t put off by the fact it’s a plastic helmet rather than fiber or carbon (which you shouldn’t be because the outgoing N87 scored an excellent 4/5 stars for safety when SHARP tested an ECE version), then read on as we pick apart the N80-8 to see what it offers.

  • All rounder full face helmet
  • Polycarbonate shell
  • DOT certified (US helmet)
  • EQRS
  • ESS (optional)
  • Sun shield
  • Pinlock included
  • 2 shell sizes
  • Fitment sizes XXS-XXXL
  • 3.3lbs (1.5Kg): about avg for a full face
  • Expect to pay $270-$340

Looking to buy a Nolan N80-8?

Please click below to visit the Nolan N80-8 helmets pages at one of our our recommended stores and 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).

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(more about helmet safety)

OK, we love it when a helmet’s been SHARP tested because it makes sussing out whether it’s really protective very easy.

Unfortunately, the Nolan N80-8 hasn’t been SHARPed yet; though the old N87 – that had a similar spec – scored a thoroughly decent four stars out of five.

nolan n80-8 flat matt black motorcycle helmet rear view
Flat black version of the N80-8

The N80-8 on the US market is DOT certified – latest ECE 22.06 certified if you buy in Europe. Having said that, we contacted Nolan USA and they confirmed they’re the same helmet.

And of course, the Nolan brand has always had a great history of making some of the most protective helmets you can buy.

They’ve never actually made it to the top of our ‘best protecting helmet brands‘ list but, at the time of writing, they’re at a very respectable mid-table and none of their tested helmets has ever scored less than four stars out of five when SHARP’s tested it – which is obviously an amazing achievement!

Testing and certification aside, the N80-8 has a raft of features that you’d look out for when trying to buy a well protecting helmet.

It’s a polycarbonate shelled helmet that’s available in two shell sizes. That number ain’t particularly great as it means it’ll probably not be overly-well optimized for your head. Generally, you’d prefer a helmet to be made in 3 or more sizes for a better optimized fit.

The smallest of the N80-8 shells fits head sizes XXS-M and the largest, sizes L-XXXL, meaning Nolan has to either pad-out or under-pad most helmets a little to make them work for different sized heads – and that probably ain’t ideal for looks, fitment or protection.

You might notice the word ‘Lexan’ on the side of the N80-8?

nolan n80-8 staple black yellow crash helmet side view
This one’s the Staple graphic Nolan N80-8. Notice sun shield slider, nicely placed along the bottom edge

Nolan – and a few other helmet makers – shout a bit about it being Lexan polycarbonate, in relation to either the shell or shield. But what is it?

Well, Lexan is simply a trade name for the polycarbonate made by Sabic, a state-owned Saudi chemical company. So I’m not entirely sure why they shout about it!

As far as my research shows, it’s a pretty standard material with no special characteristics over and above regular non-branded polycarbonates, so maybe it’s just the helmet makers trying to make it look better than it actually is by slapping the name on the helmet and their marketing materials? If anyone out there knows better, then please put it in the comments and we’ll share it with the world.

What the Nolan N80-8 does have in terms of safety-related equipment is: quick release cheek pads (EQRS), a wide shield fitted with a Pinlock antifog (Pinlock incuded in the price), a sun visor, metal micrometric 2 fastener and the option to fit an emergency stop light (ESS) on the back of the helmet.

All those things are good for safety as well as making for a more user-friendly helmet.

Given Nolan’s track record, we’d very much expect the Nolan N80-8 to score 4 stars for safety were SHARP to test it, so we’d expect it to give overrall very good levels of protection.


(more about helmet ventilation)

Like the old N87, the Nolan N80-8 has Nolan’s AirBooster technology. I wouldn’t get too excited though as it’s just a fairly regular type of ventilation system with a fancy name.

Rear exhausts and top vent button visible on this Nolan N80-8 Starscream

Essentially, air enters the helmet through that large crown vent, circulates around the head through channels in the polystyrene EPS liner before exiting via the pair of exhaust vents at the top and bottom rear of the helmet.

Nolan has put some decent sized holes and a mesh panel in the comfort liner though, which is important to let the air get through to your head.

That top vent can be closed off if it gets too chilly too, using a small but pretty glove-friendly slider on the top. Likewise, the chin bar vent can be opened or closed, this time that whole central panel slides up or down (making it very easy to use in gloves) and takes air into the chin area and rear of the shield to help with demisting.

It’s all a tried and tested system of venting that you’ll find on most helmets these days and, if it’s anything like the system on the N87, should be well up to the job. Couple it with the (included) Pinlock on the back of your shield too and fogging should be kept well under control.


(more about shields)

The main shield on the N80-8 is designed to be nice and wide for good peripheral vision. There’s a single opening tab at the centre/bottom, which is good because it means you can open the shield with either hand, and it’s a quick release shield for easy removal when you want to swap it out or clean it.

A couple of useful links…

All our mid price helmets
Pinlock-ready helmets

It should come with a Pinlock anti-fog insert in the box too – but double check when buying as Nolan say it’s ‘sector dependent’ which I’m guessing means depending on the country. In the US it should be in the box.

nolan n80-8 classic slate grey motorbike helmet side view
Shield’s wide, quick-change and comes with a Pinlock. All good there then.

Nolan’s Pinlock pins are slightly adjustable for tension by adjusting the actual pins on the shield, so if you’ve ever had a problem fitting one before (personally, I haven’t) it might be of interest as you can fit the Pinlock and then tighten it in-situ.

Sun Visor (more about sun visors)

There’s a handy drop-down sun shield fitted to the Nolan N80-8. It’s operated by a slider on the bottom left of the helmet and it’s spring loaded too. Spring loading means you can slide the sun visor down and when you want to put it back up again, you just press a button and because it’s spring-loading, it’ll auto-retract.

Spring loaded sun visors are great at first but the spring can tire over time, meaning you end up with the bottom edge of the sun visor in your view. It’s not a massive problem if it happens but it’s maybe something to be aware of if you’re thinking about buying one.

Like the main shield, the sun shield’s made of polycarbonate. Again, Nolan’s keen to point out that it’s a Lexan sun shield (and…?) but one useful point to note is that they say it gives UV 400 protection which is the highest you can get.

Of course all polycarbonate shields give pretty thorough UV protection (always over 95%) but not all manufacturers test it and advertise the exact levels of protection theirs offer so cheers for that Nolan – always good to know.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

The Nolan N80-8 has Nolan’s Clima Comfort liner which is a fairly standard sort of liner but now is eco friendlier, made from 100% recovered fibers ‘sourced from the post consumer recovery of nylon’. Consider the planet saved 🙂

nolan n80-8 50th anniversary motorcycle helmet top view
Top view of the 50th Anniversary graphic Nolan N80-8 (front is bottom of the picture)

Still, every little helps and I’m sure it’s something we’re gonna see more of in the future.

Clima Comfort liners also have a panel of mesh and ventilation holes to let air get to your head more easily.

Nolan internals are usually well thought out and comfortable places to put your melon. For the N80-8, that means you’ve got a fully removable and washable lining, this time with reversable cheek pads.

The reversable part means, if you wear glasses, you can pull the cheek pads out, pull off the cover, remove a strip of padding, shove them back in the reverse way round and you’ve got glasses grooves in there to make fitting and wearing your glasses more comfortable.

Those cheek pads are also EQRS or emergency quick release compatible, so you can tug on the tabs at the bottom of the helmet and they should slide out, helping paramedics and the like get your helmet off more easily.

Hopefully you’ll never need them but you might as well have them in your helmet these days as there’s really no downside.

There’s also a slight bit of adjustability to the fitment of the liner – something Nolan call LPC or liner positioning control – where you can adjust a plastic strip to tighten the liner up a bit if you find the fitments not right. It’s not strictly there to make the helmet tighter or looser on the head but to adjust the way the helmet sits when it’s on. So, if you find the top of the shield too low, for example, you could tighten up the LPC to raise it up a bit.

It’s a handy system and gives that little bit more control that some riders might find useful.

All in all, inside the helmet’s got more or less everything you’d want to find in a modern full face helmet, so all good here.

Looks & Graphics

nolan n80-8 astute grey red motorbike helmet front view
Astute grey N80-8. In fact most graphics seem to be variants of black or grey with a hint of color.

Most of the graphics that come on the N80-8 are dark with a flash of color. There’s the Ally, the Thunderbolt, Powerglide, Astute and Staple that do this – a few with a touch of hi viz on there, if you’re looking to get noticed a bit.

Slightly more flambouyant are the Mandrake and Starscream graphics. And if you want a plain helmet, called Classic in Nolan’s line-up, you can choose from gloss white, black or grey, or matt black or grey.

As always, you can see any new graphics or colorways that become available by clicking on the links below that’ll take you straight to their Nolan N80-8 pages.

Best places to buy a Nolan N80-8?

Please click below to visit the Nolan N80-8 helmets pages at one of our recommended stores and 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

Nolan N80-8 Video

Here’s Sportsbikeshop UK’s 7m look around the N80-8.

Other stuff – fasteners, bluetooth, warranty

The N80-8 has a metal micrometric 2 fastener. Micrometrics are particularly easy to use (compared to the old double-d rings) and safe as houses. Just make sure you do it up tightly and double check the strap adjustment from time to time as the ratchet bar will only adjust to a certain extent before you have to adjust the strap.

If you’re looking to fit a bluetooth headset, the N80-8 is designed to integrate with a Nolan N-com system (B902L, B902R and B601R systems). Nolan’s bluetooth kits aren’t usually quite as ‘integrated‘ as some other manufacturer’s integrations, but there’s speaker pockets, wiring grooves and fitting packs available for the helmets to make a nice neat job.

Even though the N80-8’s a relatively inexpensive helmet, it’s backed by Nolan’s 5 year manufacturing warranty which is about as good as they get.


The Nolan N80-8 looks to be a fitting successor the the N87, which was one of Nolan’s top selling helmets.

Powerglide graphic N80-8 in profile.

Why? Well, it’s available at a sensible middle of the road price point and it packs a lot of punch for the money.

It’s got a nice, modern design too, though that’s down to opinion. What’s not is the fact that it’s got a useful shield system that’s wider than average for improved peripheral vision and backed with an (included) Pinlock antifog. That in turn is backed by a drop down sun visor which will always come in handy.

It should have decent ventilation with both vents being glove friendly. And it’s all held on the head using a metal micrometric ratchet strap. Dead easy to use and saves us having to fiddle around with d-rings which can be a pain.

OK, it’s a plastic helmet, but Nolan’s reputation for safety is excellent and we reckon it’ll provide very good protection in an accident, based on their history of every helmet so far scoring 4/5 stars when tested by SHARP.

All in all then, you get a lot of helmet for not very much outlay with the Nolan N80-8 and is well worth a look if you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive but fully-featured full face 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/sportsbike/track helmets.

Good Alternatives to the Nolan N80-8?

Here’s a selection of helmets you might want to check out if you’re looking for a mid-priced full face helmet that’ll work well AND provide great protection.

scorpion exo-st1400 carbon side view
Scorpion ST1400

The Scorpion Exo ST1400 is Scorpion’s top flight sports touring helmet. It comes in composite or carbon versions, it’s SHARP 4 star safety rated (ECE helmet) and it’s great value for a great looking, hi-tech lid.

arai profile v bend motorcycle helmet hi viz side view
Arai Profile V

Or how about the Arai Regent X? Yes, it’s more expensive than the Nolan or the Scorpion, but you get that extra hand-built Arai cachet – and it’s a great full face, designed to be easier to get on and off and scoring a Snell certification for safety.


Finally, if you want the brand name but only want to pay similar money to the Nolan, how about the AGV K3 SV (or SVS or whatever they’re calling the latest version!). The K3 has great ventliation, sun shield, and Pinlock in the box. Well worth a look.

Other full face helmets

There are loads of great alternative full face crash helmets. You can check out our Top 10 full-face crash helmets list to see our best rated helmets. And we also recommend you take a look at all our full face crash helmet previews and reviews as well as our safest motorcycle helmets pages where you'll only find helmets that are Snell certified or SHARP four or five star rated - so you'll know you're wearing the best protection out there.

Looking to buy a Nolan N80-8?

Please click below to visit the Nolan N80-8 helmets pages at one of our our recommended stores and 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


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