HJC i90: A good value modular with plenty of features.

hjc-i90-featured

Review of the HJC i90 flip-front motorcycle crash helmet.

The HJC i90 is a modular helmet that replaces HJC’s old IS Max II. That was a well liked mid-priced modular that HJC’s decided to bring up to date with the i90, giving it a more modern look and including many of the features riders are looking for with a flip-front helmet, including making it dual-homologoated and pushing a Pinlock antifog insert in the box.

Here’s some of the main features you’ll find on the HJC i90 followed by a more in-depth look at what it offers:

Looking to buy an HJC i90?

Please click below to visit the HJC helmets pages at our recommended stores - all checked for great online ratings. 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).

Overall/Summary

The HJC i90 is a great value package if you’re looking for a no nonsense modular helmet that’ll work well for general road riding as well as touring on a more sit-up style of motorcycle (i.e. not a sportsbike).

HJC I90 solid gloss white modular helmet side view
Gloss white i90 with chin bar fully raised and sun visor fully down

HJC has a great reputation for making polycarbonate helmets that work well and give good levels of protection (see safety section below). And the i90 has a full range of features most folks will be looking for from a modular, including sun visor, quick release face shield with Pinlock, antibac and wicking liner and wide shield aperture for good peripheral vision – as well as integration ready for bluetooth kits and dual homologation for open face riding.

All of which means, while there are more impressive modular helmets out there (check the bottom of the page for suggested alternatives or visit our modular helmet top 10), the i90 has all the basics covered very well and should prove a trusty companion.

Safety

(more about helmet safety)

HJC has a great reputation for making polycarbonate helmets that offer great levels of protection.

How do we know? While HJC has had a bunch of helmets Snell certified, the i90 hasn’t been (yet!). So we have to turn to the UK’s helmet testing folks at SHARP, where they buy a load of ECE i90s* and put them through their paces in the testing labs.

Over the last few years, they’ve scored an average over 4 stars (out of max 5) for safety across all their tested HJC polycarbonate helmets – which is obviously a really good score.

HJC I90 Hollen black red motorcycle helmet side view
Hollen graphics HJC i90

They haven’t had many tested ‘system’ helmets recently (what SHARP calls a modular helmet) – in fact they’ve only tested the outgoing IS Max II recently – the helmet the i90’s designed to replace.

That scored an excellent 4/5 star rating when it was tested – and SHARP recorded that the chin guard stayed locked and closed in every single impact. That’s a fantastic score because very few flip-front helmets can manage 100%. Only one helmet ever (the now defunct BMW System 5) scored a 5 star rating with 100% chin bar performance.

So, looking at the stats, there’s hope that the i90 will score very well for safety too. Note* all that’s based on the Europe spec i90 and which may differ from the US version. It’s worth mentioning, but how relevant it is to the DOT i90, we’ll let you decide.

Looking at the other specs of the i90, you get the feeling HJC’s design department has done what it can to add lots of safety features in there – aside from the shell’s impact performance.

First up, it’s been designed to be OK to be used either with the chin bar raised or closed – called dual homologated (not all modulars have been).

HJC also says they’ve designed-in a wider view port to give improved peripheral vision.

That’s always useful for safety.

HJC I90 gloss white crash helmet top view
Top view showing front and crown inlet vents.

And of course, a good antifog solution is vital for most of us. So, HJC has included a Pinlock antifog lens in the box so you can ride fog-free in pretty well all conditions. That’s worth $30-$40 alone and well worth having – though check one’s included when you buy as not all stores seem to offer them.

Finally, the i90 is made with 3 different shell sizes. For a lower priced helmet that’s a good number and will help with making for a helmet with an optimal fit – which improves both fit and safety.

Like many flip-up helmets, it’s a bit on the heavier side, weighing in around 3.75lbs (1.7Kg) which isn’t ideal if you do have an off – the lighter the helmet, the less impact force the helmet has to deal with and the more potential there is for damage to your head and neck.

But on the whole, HJC looks to have ticked most of the safety boxes we look for with the i90.

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

Modular helmets are usually noisier than regular full face helmets. But you can see HJC’s done some work to improve that with the i90.

The internals as pretty plush and they’ve added a nifty extra curtain/flap to the bottom of the neck roll to help with cutting out wind and noise from the bottom – alongside the usual chin curtain.

But there’s still the issue of speaker pockets and the chin bar mechanism that provide space for noise to reverberate around a bit. So at this stage, don’t expect the i90 to be particularly quiet.

Like most helmets though, it should be fine if you put a good pair of ear plugs when you ride – which you should do every time.

Ventilation

(more about helmet ventilation)

The HJC i90 has a single chin vent in the chin bar that takes air inside towards the mouth and up onto the back of the shield for demisting. But don’t expect it to demist the shield on its own in wet, cold or humid weather because it won’t; you’ll need to fit the included Pinlock if you want to minimize fogging.

The chin vent is covered with a nice large slider panel that’s easy to find and use in gloves.

HJC I90 white modular crash helmet rear view
Pair of exhaust vents on the rear

Up top, there’s a single crown vent. Again, the slider is pretty easy to find and use in gloves and allows air to enter the helmet where it can circulate through generous venting channels that cover all the crown of the head.

The whole system is an evolutionary improvement on the old IS Max II. That older system was widely praised so we’d hope the i90’s at least as good.

If a great venting helmet’s what you’re after though, you might want to check out our best venting helmets section.

Shield

(more about shields)

The face shield on the HJC i90 works on a ratchet, has wider peripheral vision than the outgoing model (HJC quotes 11% wider) and uses HJCs RapidFire quick change system for quick and easy swaps.

A quick change shield is important on a helmet, not least for letting you easily whip off your shield to give it a good clean after a ride. And HJC’s RapidFire system is a decent system, once you get the hang of it.


A couple of useful links…

All our modular helmet reviews
Snell certified helmets


HJC has put a couple of opening tabs on the bottom of the shield – one left, one right – which is great to see and makes it much easier to open your shield when stationery and holding in the clutch for example.

HJC I90 Hollen motorcycle helmet rear view
Rear view of a Hollen graphics i90 – this one in red/white/blue

Like all face shields, it’s made of clear polycarbonate so offers excellent UV protection.

HJC advertises 99% protection which is a particularly good level. Couple that with the additional protection offered by the sun visor too and that’s gonna be almost 100%.

And of course, HJC includes a Pinlock antifog insert in the box (double-check with retailer before you buy) which you can slot onto the back of the Pinlock-ready shield to give excellent anti-fog protection for most circumstances (cold rain or humidity included).

All in all, the i90 should offer all you need for high quality forward vision in 99% of circumstances.

Sun Visor

(more about sun visors)

Sun visors can be really handy to have in any helmet. When the sun’s low in the sky and dazzling, you can quickly drop down the sun visor and ride in comfort.

They’re not usually as dark as your sunglasses, but that’s partly a legal thing so it doesn’t interfere with your vision too much. But they’ll cut out most of the glare when you need them to and they’ll tuck away out of sight at the push of a button – or slide of a slider.

HJC I90 semi flat blue crash helmet side view
Note sun visor slider is on the bottom edge – right where you’ll want to clamp your comms unit.

In the case of the HJC i90, there’s a two-way slider on the bottom left hand edge of the helmet that drops and raises the sun visor.

That’s one of the best places to have it to make it easy to find, but it can get in the way of bluetooth units – so note if you use a clamp type unit, you might struggle to fit it.

The sun visor on the i90 can be dropped or retracted to any position using the slider – not just fully up or down. It comes down nice and low so should cut out most glare without too much of a ‘bright stripe’ at the bottom.

Chin Guard

(more about chin guards)

The chin bar is opened using a single button underneath the middle of the chin bar. Grab the chin bar, push the single button up with your thumb and the chin guard raises easily until it clicks in place, fully open.

hjc-i90-helmet-in-matt-black-chin-bar-raised
Full extent the chin bar raises on the i90

Note – never do this while riding, for obvious reasons. It can be tempting but it’s a bad habit that’s caused more than one rider to lose control.

Because the HJC i90’s dual homologated, you can push up the chin bar and you’re legally OK to ride in Europe with the bar raised – same as with any dual homologated helmet (or P/J as they’re sometimes called). Obviously, that’s not a legal thing in the US but it’s nice to know its been designed for use that way.

Chin bars can be a weak point with modular helmets – and they can come unlocked in an impact. Again, SHARP UK’s independent testing that tracks whether a chin bar has become unlocked during testing is particularly useful here.

Unfortunately SHARP hasn’t tested the i90 yet so we can only look at historic data to give us an idea of how safe HJC chin bars are.

Years ago, they were pretty poor with some helmets scoring as low as 40%. Unfortunately, there’s only one recently tested HJC modular helmet to look at and that’s the HJC IS Max II. The good news is it scored a fantastic 100% score for the chin bar, meaning the chin bar stayed locked through the entire test.

So we can only hope the i90 – the IS Max 2’s replacement – will score just as well.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

The i90’s designed to fit the most common head shape which is medium oval – so if you’ve a particularly round or long head you may struggle (buy and try from one of our recommended stores who all offer no quibble returns – and some will pay for postage both ways).

HJC I90 fluo hi viz green crash helmet side view
If you’re looking to be seen, grab yourself a hi viz fluo i90.

The internal comfort lining is removable and washable – all held in place by plastic snaps.

It’s got an HJC SuperCool lining – in the i90’s case that’s a very plush and comfortable liner that’s moisture wicking and has antibacterial properties courtesy of micro silver filaments in the fabric.

Silvered fabrics are usually only seen on higher end helmets so that’s a pretty good feature to find inside the mid-priced i90.

It’s also got a glasses groove so you can easily slide your glasses or shades on and they won’t dig in while riding.

Underneath, there’s the usual neck roll and chin curtain, designed for comfort and to reduce wind and noise getting inside the helmet. And HJC has added an extra flap to the neck roll for an even tighter fit.

Looks & Graphics

The i90 is a modern looking flip-front with plenty of flow lines across the shell to help direct and manage the wind, courtesy of HJCs wind tunnel design process.

HJC I90 davan crash helmet side view
This one shows the Davan graphic i90

If you’re interested in buying an i90, they’re available in plain gloss white, silver, wineberry (red), and hi viz green/yellow along with matt black and blue.

Graphics options are just the Hollen and Davan – though they’re bound to release new ones regularly so please click through to the HJC pages at our recommended online stores below to see what’s new (we only recommend stores with high online review scores).

Best place to buy an HJC i90?

Please click below to visit the HJC helmets pages at our recommended stores - all checked for great online ratings. 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).


 

HJC i90 Video

Click the video below to hear a guy from Chaparral give you a decent 10m look around a silver i90.

Other stuff – audio, weight, warranty

The i90 generally comes with a double-d ring fastener in most places though they do make one with a micrometric strap too so double check before you buy.

It’s been designed to integrate HJC’s own bluetooth kit (made by Sena) called the Smart HJC Bluetooth. So, if you’re looking for a helmet with an integrated bluetooth solution, the i90 should suit because it means the main body (incl battery) of the kit will push nicely into its purpose-built recess at the back of the helmet and there’s channels for the wiring and tailor-made speaker pockets in there too.

HJC I90 davan crash helmet top view
Another i90 Davan – this time in matt black and fluo yellow

For the rest of us with 3rd party sets, it should mean that most will work in there too plus those handy wiring channels will make installation easier. Just note, if you’re thinking of using a clamp mount, the sun visor slider’s where you’d usually put it so you’ll either have to mount it further back (not ideal) or use a sticky mount.

Like most modular helmets, the i90 isn’t the lightest helmet you’ll ever see. But at 3.75lbs (1.7Kg) it’s certainly not heavy enough to cause any problems when riding and it’s actually just a smidge over the average weight for a flip-up helmet (1.68Kg).

Finally, the HJC i90 comes with a 3 year warranty.

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 HJC i90?

Shark’s Evo One 2 is a highly rated flip-front helmet that’s more expensive than the i90 but it’s lighter too and features a chin bar that flips right round the helmet for better open face helmet appeal, if that floats your boat.

HJC I90 davan matt black crash helmet side view
Solid matt black i90

If you don’t mind spending a bit more and/or you ride a sportier bike, AGV has the Sport Modular which is a carbon fiber flip-up helmet designed for more lean-forward riding. It’s a fair bit lighter than the others too and comes with a class one optically correct face shield.

Finally, the Shoei Neotech is a really well built fiberglass modular. SHARP 4 star, great ventilation and it’s all day comfy, despite weighing more than the i90. It’s not cheap though.

Looking to buy an HJC i90?

Please click below to visit the HJC helmets pages at our recommended stores - all checked for great online ratings. 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).

 

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.

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