nolan-n90-3-flip-front-motorcycle-helmet-review

Nolan N90-3 Modular Motorcycle Helmet Review.

Italian helmet maestros, Nolan, have been making the N90 line of helmets for quite a while now. And the Nolan N90-3 is the (suprise surprise) third version of the helmet that originated back in 2010.

Nolan N90-3 modular helmet in classic metal white side view
Classic Metal white Nolan N90-3

It’s their entry-level do-everything modular helmet that evolved from the original N90 into the N91, then became the N90-2 and now we’re onto the N90-3.

And in all that time, the spec’s hardly changed. They’re all thermoplastic modulars. They all come with a Pinlock-ready shield and sun visor. They all had micrometric fasteners, are bluetooth-ready and they’re all more suited to rounder-headed or neutral fitment riders.

And they all look kinda the same. Which does make you question why bother updating it if they all kinda do the same thing?!

Still, as long as the latest version’s a great helmet, then I guess we’ll all be happy.

So, here’s all you can expect from the Nolan N90-3 including feedback from around the web on what owners and riders think of their N90-3s.

Looking to buy a Nolan N90-3?

Please click below to drop onto the Nolan N90-3 helmets pages at Amazon. 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).

Shop for helmets at Amazon

Overall/Summary

Whatever you’re after from your modular helmet, the Nolan N90-3 could well fit the bill – commuting, touring – in fact probably just not sportsbike riding!

Nolan N90-3 Wilco graphic modular helmet front view
Wilco graphic N90-3 showing wide shield and chin/top vvents

It’s a good quality modular with a great dual-visor system with included Pinlock antifog. It’s comfortable, has a decent and easy to use ventilation system, and if you’re looking for a seamless bluetooth install, it offers N-Com bluetooth integration (extra).

The ECE version (not DOT) scored well for safety in the SHARP test too (though the chin bar lock could probably do with an upgrade) and it’s designed to be used with the chin bar up if you like the occasional ride with the wind in your face.

Downsides? No EQRS, and you can see where Nolan has cut corners in the production by using only a single shell for all fitments.

But other than that, the Nolan N90-3 is a great value, comfortable and fuss-free modular that works well that owners seem to be more than happy with.

Safety

(more about helmet safety)

Obviously, when it comes to safety, you need a helmet that has all the basics covered to keep you out of trouble; and the Nolan N90-3 does a decent job here.

It’s been designed with a nice wide shield that comes with a Pinlock antifog insert. Which means you get good all-round vision that shouldn’t fog up when it’s cold or rainy.

Nolan N90-3 modular helmet flat black side view
Pprofile view of the Flat or Matt black N90-3

And when the sun drops low, you can call on its integrated sun visor to keep your vision dazzle-free.

If you like to ride with the chin bar up, you can because the Nolan N90-3’s dual homologated and there’s a lock to keep that bar in the fully raised position while you’re riding.

If you do ride with the chin bar up, you’ll have to rely on the sun visor for eye protection because the chin bar takes the main shield with it.

The whole thing is well secured to your head by using a strap with a micrometric 2 fastener – that’s the one which needs you to raise a small red tab before you pull the lever and unfasten the helmet. If youre not familiar with them, they’re safe and easy to use.

So in general, the Nolan N90-3 has most of what you look out for in a modern helmet in terms of safety features. Ok, there’s no quick release cheek pads which we like to see on all helmets these days – but to (kind of) compensate, there is the option to fit an emergency stop light if that’s your kind of thing.

You only get ESS with Nolan lids so far. It’s a rear brake light with its own accelerometer and battery so it’s fully independent of your motorcycle’s braking system. It’s an extra cost though.

Moving on to what if you have an accident – will the Nolan N90-3 be any good then?


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

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Well, it’s DOT and ECE 22.05 so that means it passes Europe’s mandatory and pretty rigorous safety testing (which is a smidge easier to pass than the newer ECE 22.06 test). But looking at other helmet testing labs… well it hasn’t been Snell tested because it’s a modular, and Snell don’t do modulars for some reason. So let’s look at UK SHARP test data who test ECE versions of helmets (which may or may not be different from the DOT helmets we get).

Back in the day, the old N91 was tested by the helmet testing bods at SHARP where it scored four stars out of five for safety. They also noted the chin bar stayed closed and locked in all the impact tests – something that every one of the six Nolan modulars tested up until 2021 managed too.

That’s a great score. And given the N90-3 builds on all Nolan’s know-how and modular helmet history, surely it’ll be even better, right?

Erm, not really.

Nolan N90-3 classic silver front view
Second red button pushes out – pull down to open chin bar

SHARP has tested the Nolan N90-3 and while it scored the same excellent four star rating of every other Nolan modlar (in fact every single Nolan they’ve ever tested has scored a four star rating – that’s across 15 different helmets!) they slipped up a little with the chin bar.

On the N90-3 it scored 90%, meaning – if my maths are correct – that the chin bar became unlocked (not necessarily opened) in 3 out of 32 of those impact tests.

While not ideal, that’s actually a reasonably OK score for a modular. In fact if you look back at modulars tested by SHARP over the last few years, it’s bang on the 90% average score scored across all helmet brands.

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

OK, helmet noise is very subjective. Hearing loss, riding speed, faired or unfaired… there’s a long list of factors that can change your perception of noise.

Nolan N90-3 Wilco modular helmet rear view
Rear view of the Wilco N90-3

Having said that, Nolan hasn’t made any particular claims for aero or noise supression with the N90-3. Sure there’s a reasonably thick liner in there and it comes with a chin curtain which are usually helpful in stopping noise getting into a helmet from below.

But, in general, modulars do tend to be pretty noisy beasts compared to full face helmets – and that’s how it seems to pan out with the N90-3.

Overall, owners broadly seem to think it’s about average for a modular – so in general you’ll probably find it’s a bit noisy but not too bad. And you’ll need to stick in some decent ear plugs while riding to make it more tolerable… but then you probably do that anyway. In which case you should find the N90-3 just fine.

Ventilation

(more about helmet ventilation)

The one thing that’s changed over the years with N90 helmets is that the ventilation inlets have moved from being double vents top and bottom, to single vents.

Single vents are easier to operate on the move; and I guess they’re easier and cheaper to fabricate too.

Nolan N90-3 modular helmet classic slate grey side view
Slate Grey N90-3

For the Nolan N90-3, there’s a large single chin bar vent that’s opened/closed with a large rocker panel. With the crown vent, it’s a large sliding panel that lets air into the helmet where it circulates around air channels in the EPS liner, exiting out of a large single exhaust at the rear of the helmet.

These vents are super easy to find and use on the go and in winter gloves and, according to owners’ opinions we found, they work pretty well. If your helmet’s in the wind, you can feel air getting into the helmet and the chin bar vent works OK at keeping your face cool and helping defog the shield.

Shield

(more about shields)

Like most modern faceshields from serious manufacturers, Nolan has worked to give the N90-3 a wider field of view – which owners say gives the helmet great all round visibility.

And it should come with a Pinlock ready visor and a Pinlock insert in the box, which is always nice to see.

The visor itself works on a ratchet and it’s a quick-change shield for easy cleaning or swapping.


A couple of useful links…

Got a medium oval shaped head?
Sportsbike Helmet Reviews


The opening tab is in the centre of the shield, so that’s good for easy opening with either hand, and there’s a cracked open position to help get air into the helmet while still staying protected from the elements.

Overall then, the visor on the N90-4 is fully featured and does its job well.

Sun Visor

(more about sun visors)

Same goes for the sun visor.

It’s operated by a staged slider on the left hand side of the helmet – staged because there are four different positions you can drop the slider to with the first being down an inch and the fourth being fully down.

That sun visor (or VPS as Nolan calls it) also doubles as the main shield if you’re riding with the chin bar in Jet position. And it gives maximum UV 400 protection, which is always nice to know if you’re cruising around in the sun for days on end.

Chin Guard

(more about chin guards)

The chin bar on the Nolan N90-3 is raised using Nolan’s dual action opening system which needs two buttons to open it. It can still be operated with one hand once you get the hang of it, and it’s there to prevent accidental opening if you do have a spill.

To open the chin bar, you have to push a button up underneath the chin bar which then pushes out the button on the front of the bar which you can then push down to undo the latch and raise the chin bar.

It sounds more complicated than it actually is and riders report getting the hang of it reasonably quickly.

Nolan N90-3 Wilco modular helmet open view
Chin bar fully opened. Chin bar is locked up using that small red switch.

You should never raise or drop a chin bar while you ride for obvious reasons, but the system on the N90-3 works well and lets you go from locked and closed to up and fully open with minimal fuss.

And if you want to ride with the chin bar fully up, you can because it’s been designed to be  P/J or dual homologated and you can lock the chin bar in place with a small red switch that’s exposed on the left hand side.

There’s a chin curtain provided in the box that fits onto the bottom of the chin guard and stops air and noise getting into the helmet when it’s down.

As mentioned in the safety section, the chin bar on the Nolan N90-3 unlocked a few times during impact testing, which isn’t great. That doesn’t necessarily mean the chin bar actually opened or would’ve exposed a rider to danger, but it does probably show a weakness.

To put it in perspective; firstly, all previously tested Nolan modulars have stayed locked and closed in every single impact test at SHARP – including the Nolan N100-5. Secondly, the score of 90% is bang on average score across all modular helmets tested in the last five years – so actually isn’t all that bad!

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

Nolan N90-3’s are available in fitment sizes XS-XXL, with all fitments sharing a single helmet shell – which is actually pretty rare these days (not in a good way!).

Nolan N90-3 driller modular side view
Driller graphic in red

What’s also pretty rare is that the internal fitment is more suitable for rounder heads rather than the usual medium oval – what’s sometimes called a more neutral fitment. That’s handy because we’ve only identified one other neutral fitting modular so far (the Simpson Mod Bandit) so now you’ve a choice – wooop!

Inside the Nolan N90-3, you’ll find a similar liner to those Nolan has used for years – their Clima Comfort liner. That’s a moisture wicking, fully removeable and washable liner that are long lasting and that lots of owners say are nice and comfortable.

Looks & Graphics

The Nolan N90-3 hasn’t changed much over the years but it’s still a nice and compact looking helmet with a good range of plains and tons of graphics available.

Plains come as Classics – that’s a pair of different whites, a gloss and matt black, and a gloss or mat grey. They also come as Specials which have slightly different panel colors for highlights and are available in matt/gloss black, gloss white or gloss silver.

You’ll find the latest graphics (and deals) by clicking our store link below but at the time of writing, there were Comeback, Laneway, Reflector, Voyager, Wilco and Driller graphics available.

Looking to buy a Nolan N90-3?

Please click below to drop onto the Nolan N90-3 helmets pages at Amazon. 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).

Shop for helmets at Amazon

Nolan N90-3 Video

Here’s a 5m look around a Driller graphic N90-3.

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

Bluetooth Headset

The Nolan N90-3, like lots of Nolan helmets, has been designed to fit Nolan’s N-Com bluetooth kit. So that means it features the usual removeable panel on the side to take the controller and panel at the back to take the battery.

According to Nolan, the N90-3 can accept any of the following N-Com systems:

  • B902L R series
  • B902 R series
  • B602 R series
  • B101 R series
  • MCSIII R series

If you’re looking to fit your own bluetooth instead, there’s speaker pockets cut into the EPS liner and plenty of room for a boom mic. We heard from one owner who managed to fit their Sena kit OK though you might have to fiddle around with the controller mounting as there’s not much space available when the chin bar’s raised.

Nolan N90-3 special modular helmet silver side view
Metallic silver N90-3

Weight

The N90-3 should be fine on the weight front. On the scales, it weighs around 3.75lbs (1.65Kg -1.7Kg) which is about average weight for a modular. And while that might be a bit hefty for something like a full face, we found a few N90-3 owners who described their helmets as feeling light weight, which is the important factor.

Build Quality/Warranty

Nolan has been in the helmet game for a long while now, so they know how to build a good helmet. And while the N90-3 is Nolan’s entry level modular, that’s actually quite pricey compared to some other brands’ helmets.

The reason for that is that their build quality and QA are a step up from some brands’ and that goes for the N90-3 which several owners said is well made helmet – especially for an entry-level model – with great paint and materials.

All Nolan helmets come with a two year warranty, extended to 5 years if you register on the Nolan website.

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 N90-3?

Nolan N100-5 consistency fuschia kiss motorcycle helmet side view
Nolan N100-5

There’s some great modular helmets around (see our Top 10 Best Modular Helmets List to find them) but here’s some hand-picked lids that we recommend you take a look at…

First up is Nolan’s slightly more expensive N100-5: that’s a SHARP 4 Star rated helmet (this time with a 100% chin bar) with all the same features as the N90-3 but it’s that bit quieter too.

The LS2 Valiant is another polycarb helmet, this one’s longer oval fitment and comes with an optically correct visor. The ECE version was also SHARP 4 star safety rated and there’s a drop down sun visor as well.

The HJC RPHA90 is slightly more pricey than the N90-3 but it’s a SHARP 4 star composite fiber shelled helmet with a Pinlock and sun visor. It’s pretty lightweight and well rated by owners too.

Finally, if you like riding in open face mode, Shark’s Evo One 2 lets you push the chin bar to the back for a real jet helmet experience. It comes with a Pinlock and it was tested by SHARP in the UK and given a 4 star rating.

Looking to buy a Nolan N90-3?

Please click below to drop onto the Nolan N90-3 helmets pages at Amazon. 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).

Shop for helmets at Amazon

Star Ratings

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Safety
Comfort
Noise
Features
Value
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nolan-n90-3-flip-front-motorcycle-helmet-reviewWhile at this price it might be stretching the term entry level for some, the Nolan N90-3 is a great modular. It's suitable for anything from commuting to touring holidays because it's very comfortable with adequate ventilation. That shield systems great though - wide and with a Pinlock pre-installed and backed by a sun visor. It's designed to be ridden with the chin bar raised and the ECE version scored an excellent 4 star SHARP safety rating. Overall though, owners love it - they say it's comfy, great value and is well finished. Overall then, a great buy and well worth the money.

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