Nolan N87 – Review of Nolan’s well-specced polycarbonate full face helmet
The Nolan N87 is Nolan’s top-of-the-range full face polycarbonate helmet aimed at both sportsbike and touring riders. Because it’s polycarbonate, you’d expect it to come in at a lower price point – and you’d be right. But that doesn’t mean you won’t get a load of must-have features for your money.
The N87 comes with a drop-down sun visor, has a wide shield with Pinlock Max Vision insert (included in the box but double-check with your retailer first) and is designed to fit both Nolan’s N-com Bluetooth communication system and their novel rear stop light system (ESS).
It’s not the cheapest polycarbonate full face around (for some great alternatives that come in at the same or lower price than the Nolan, click down to our recommended alternatives at the bottom of the page) but with Nolan’s legendary levels of safety and a load of bang for your bucks, could this make the N87 one of the best value street helmets on the market?
Let’s take a look at what’s on offer…
- Polycarbonate full face helmet
- ECE & DOT certified
- SHARP 4 star safety tested
- Not yet Snell tested
- Sizes XXS-XXXL
- Wide shield
- 3.1lbs (1.42Kg) – slightly lighter than average
- Comes with Pinlock anti-fog in the box
- Expect to pay around $259-299
Looking to buy a Nolan?We recommend you visit Revzilla (PA) - they're a recommended store for outstanding service and free delivery to 48 states. Please click the link to drop onto their Nolan helmets pages where you'll find their full Nolan range and latest deals.
The Nolan N87 is both DOT and ECE 22.05 certified – and though it hasn’t yet been Snell tested, it has been SHARP tested where it scored four out of a maximum five stars. That’s great going and bang in-line with every one of Nolan’s helmets tested so far which have all scored 4 out of 5 stars when tested by SHARP.
It’s worth noting that the N87 is only made in two helmet shell sizes though – some more expensive helmets are made in four separate helmet shell sizes – and that could potentially slightly compromise helmet safety as well as how the helmet looks when you’re wearing it (read here for more details).
However, the fact that it has a wide shield with Pinlock antifog insert as standard (see below) are safety features it’s always good to see in any helmet.
The N87 is also the first helmet we’ve seen that can fit a brake light into the rear of the helmet – though that’s an optional extra. The light’s designed to automatically show under heavy breaking and can also be used as a flashing fog light.
I guess having an extra brake light (or flashing rear light like lots of cyclists do) might well be a useful safety feature as long as it works as it’s supposed to. As soon as we hear from riders who’ve used one, we’ll let you know how well it works.
The N87 has what Nolan call Air Booster Technology. What that actually means are that it has a chin vent and double forehead vents!
The chin vent is a single large slider that pulls down and lets air ventilate the rear of the shield.
There are two separate forehead/crown vents that are operated by independent switches. These let air into the helmet which is then channeled through internal ventilation grooves set inside the polystyrene lining, ventilating the head and then exiting via a couple of rear exhaust vents built into the rear spoiler.
Word is that all the sliders are nice and easy to find/use – even in gloves – and that the vents pull in a decent amount of air.
The shield is designed to be wide and high for extra peripheral vision and forward vision when in a sportier tuck. That’s verified by lots of owners who say it’s nice and wide and gives a good field of vision.
It’s also Pinlock-ready and comes with a Pinlock Max Vision in the box. Pinlocks are well worth having if you ride in conditions where your shield suffers from fogging, so including a Pinlock in the box is great and worth $30+ alone.
The Max Vision that comes with the N87 is a larger version of the Pinlock that should mean the edges of the Pinlock don’t get in your line of sight – something the standard (smaller) versions used to suffer from.
Nolan have also revised their shield mount system. Not only does it have an easy to use quick removal system for the shield, but it’s now slightly spring loaded, pulling the shield inwards towards the seal to keep it more air and water tight.
There’s a built in sun visor operated by a switch on the left hand side of the helmet, just behind the main shield pivot.
Unusually, the sun visor on the N87 works on a ratchet, allowing for a few intermediate visor positions as well as the fully up and fully down positions.
A couple of owners said the sun visor on the N87 is nice and dark – which isn’t always the case – and drops down just the right amount so doesn’t perch on the top of your nose. Though I guess this depends on the size of your schnoz.
Apart from that, the only other thing to note is that it’s a fully UV400 visor, offering maximum UV protection. I suspect most sun visors are UV proof, but surprisingly, makers don’t always shout about it so it can be difficult to know for sure.
Comfort & Internals
The Nolan N87 is available in a wide range of sizes from XXS-XXXL.
It features a new, fully removable and washable lining that’s made from ClimaCool material that’s moisture wicking and breathable. Owners say it feels really plush and comfortable.
It also features Nolan’s Adaptive Eyewear System – in simple terms meaning it shouldn’t press the stems of your glasses into your head if you’re a glasses wearer.
Nolan claim the N87 in size medium should weigh in around 3.lLbs (1.42Kg) which makes it slightly lighter than the average full face helmet which is always going to make a helmet that bit easier to wear for longer periods.
Looks & Graphics
There’s plenty of graphics to choose from so click through to our recommended retailers below to see the latest colors and designs.
First off, there’s plain gloss black & white and a matt black. There’s also the Martz range which are near plain colors except for a couple of stripes and come in red, silver, yellow, black and white. There’s also the classy looking Fulgor and Rapid designs which you’ll find on this page.
To find the latest deals on the N87 – and see the latest graphics – please click below.
Best places to buy a Nolan crash helmet?We recommend visiting Revzilla - they're based in Philadelphia and offer outstanding service (at the time of writing 4.9/5 on Shopper Approved) including 30 day refunds and free shipping on orders over $39.99 to 48 states.
They're recommended for quality of service and price - and if you buy from them, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you - a massive THANKS! (it's how we finance the site).
Nolan N87 Video
Here’s Nolan’s N87 video giving a 3 minute look around the helmet.
Other stuff – fasteners, build quality, audio, chin curtain, warranty
The N87 comes with a micrometric 2 fastener. They’re nice and easy to use and, as long as they’re tightened correctly, should keep the helmet in place during an accident.
Lots of owners say that the Nolan N87 is really well built – including really durable parts that stand up well to a bit of a rough life and a nice finish to the paint.
It’s Nolan’s N-Com Bluetooth communicator ready – with space for earphones and mic as well as a place to mount the unit.
Finally, the N87 comes with a chin curtain in the box and is supported by Nolan’s 5 year warranty, something that not all manufacturers offer.
The Nolan N87 looks to be a quality package at a competitive price. It has a wide shield with quick release system and Pinlock in the box to stop any fogging – and a UV400 drop down sun visor. It’s pretty light weight for a polycarbonate full face and is bluetooth communicator ready.
It was safety tested by SHARP in 2016 and scored an impressive 4 stars (out of 5) which means it should give very good protection indeed.
At this price, the N87 slips out of our budget helmet category – but even so, with its extensive list of features – including the not-seen-before emergency stop light system (optional extra) – the Nolan N87 offers excellent value for money and heaps of performance and is well worth a look if you’re in the market for a great all-rounder full face helmet.
Crash Helmet Buying GuidesFor (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.
Alternatives to the Nolan N87
Even though the Nolan N87 has some great features at a really keen price, it’s not alone. There’s a lot of great helmets available if you’re looking to spend around the $170 mark.
There’s the SHARP four star rated Shark S700 with integral sun visor and great finishing.
Or there’s the Lazer Bayamo – that’s another SHARP 4 star rated helmet with a five year guarantee, integral sun visor and is comfortable with good ventilation for even less than the N87.
For about the same price as the Nolan, there’s another Italian lid, the AGV K3 SV – SHARP 4 star rated with sun visor and Pinlock in the box.
And finally, there’s the Scorpion EXO-R410 – that comes with an optically-correct shield, SHARP 4 star rating and Scorpion’s Air Pump tight fit system to tailor the fit.
All these are excellent choices and offer SHARP tested levels of safety. Alternatively, you can check out our budget helmets section or read our top ten full face crash helmets section to see which we’ve rated as best overall.