best modular motorcycle helmets

Best Modular Helmets [2020 – 2021 Edition]

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Last updated: June 28, 2020

As of now, we’re about a third of the way through the 2019 riding season. My colleagues and I at webBikeWorld have been rapidly testing some of the newest modulars to come from today’s leading manufacturers. I personally finished testing the SCHUBERTH C4 Pro about a month or so ago, and I’m just now putting the final touches on my NEXX X.VILITUR review.

Somehow, when I took the helm of 3 large motorcycle websites, I also became our go-to modular guy. I won’t lie, it isn’t a curse: I love that I’m known among my peers and colleagues for my love of the flip-up lid. It’s true, too: I love modular helmets and almost always choose a modular over a full face. The benefits are awesome, and today’s modular’s are just too good to ignore.

I put together this list based on my hands-on experience, overall quality of the helmet, and the value it provides. I’m a value-shopper by default, so I lean toward gear that is well-made and well-priced.

 

Entry-Level Modular Helmets
(Priced Under $250)

HJC IS-Max 2

The IS-Max II is an example of why so many people struggle to buy expensive helmets. The IS Max II is the prime example of “considering how good this is… why would I need to spend more? Good questions.

This affordable HJC, which will set you back about $225 on the nose, ticks the right boxes: it’s reasonably comfortable, flows decent air, and handles noise fairly well, too. That said, it is an entry-level helmet… but that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad helmet. This is the helmet you buy when you want to stick to a reasonable budget but don’t want to feel like you made the budget buy.

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • Decent weight for a modular (3.81lbs)
  • Affordable
  • Made by a major brand known for building good gear
  • Made well

Why you shouldn’t buy this helmet:

  • Interior isn’t as upscale as some higher-end options (biggest complaint: it’s kinda scratchy)
  • Airflow is decent, but not exceptional
  • Sun visor mechanism doesn’t convey that sense of “TRUST ME, I WON’T BREAK IN A YEAR” (note: hasn’t broken yet)

Scorpion EXO-GT920

Alright, so you just read my writeup on the IS-Max II and might be thinking: cool, I’ve got my lid. I’m done now.

Hang on there, fellow two-wheeler. This list is just getting going. The IS-Max II is definitely a gem at its price point, but since we’re already at that price, we would be remiss should we ignore this beauty: the Scorpion EXO-GT920. Ohh yes. In many of the same weighs that the IS-Max II is good, so too is this Scorpion.

Scorpion has done an excellent job engineering the hinge mechanism in this helmet. It feels premium throughout its range of motion, and once it’s locked into place (up or down), it stays there. That may not sound like reason enough to praise it, but remember: we’re talking about entry-level modular helmets here. The fact that neither the IS-Max II or EXO-GT920 convey that sense of… “cheapness”, I guess? … is really atypical.

And also why they’re both on this list.

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • Lightweight (3.71lbs, take that HJC)
  • Affordable
  • Made by a major brand known for building good gear
  • Damn good looking helmet
  • Flows a lot of air through the vents
  • One of the quieter modulars around, even when looking beyond the price

Why you shouldn’t buy this helmet:

  • You don’t want a helmet named after a bug?
  • You want something more premium
  • … yea, there aren’t many reasons to list here.

Mid Range Modular Helmets
(Priced $250 – $500)

 

HJC RPHA 90

Okay, remember how earlier I was saying how 3.7 – 3.8lbs isn’t heavy for a modular? Well, it isn’t… but it’s also nowhere near the lightest modular. Now that we’re spending some significant coin, we’re getting to play with fancier toys. In this case, HJC’s RPHA 90 which is both sleeker and lighter than the IS-Max II.

The RPHA 90 comes with a Pinlock visor insert to control fog, and the face shield itself is UV blocking and anti-scratch. Take a rock or two to the face(shield) and you’ll feel great about that quality, trust me. It also has a cool interior, with vents that flow a lot of air and an interior liner channel system that makes sure said air reaches important parts of your head.

All told, if you’ve got somewhere around $500 to spend, putting $430 of it right here isn’t a bad decision.

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • Lightweight @ 3.48lbs
  • Excellent value (included Pinlock, etc.)
  • Made by a major brand known for building good gear
  • Built very well
  • Easy to use with riding gloves on

Why you shouldn’t buy this helmet:

  • You want something SNELL rated
  • You want a helmet with integrated electronics (speakers, mic, etc.)

Bell SRT Modular

  • Price: $369
  • Buy it: RevZilla
  • Review: webBikeWorld
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Head shape: intermediate oval
  • Weight: 3.89lbs

The Bell SRT Modular is based upon its brother, the Bell SRT, except adding in the ability to flip up the chin bar. Made of multi-weave fiberglass, the shell is extremely resilient for day to day riding and is backed by dual-density, multi-layer EPS foam.

The helmet has a drop-down interior sun shield, operated by a slider on the left lower cheek side of the helmet. The inner liner is fully removable and washable and has specific slots between the cheek and top liners to allow for glasses to be worn with the helmet.

Ventilation is provided with a single top-mount intake, and dual chin guard intakes, with dual passive exhausts under the helmet spoiler. The visor features a soft lock center lever, which holds the visor down while riding, but also lets you crack the visor open during commutes if you need a little defogging.

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • Affordable at under $400
  • Good value for money
  • Internal sun visor
  • High-end features borrowed from the racing “Bell Star” line

Why you shouldn’t buy this helmet:

  • Heavy-ish at almost 4 lbs
  • Not Pinlock ready
  • Only two shell sizes
  • Airflow could be better

Simpson Mod Bandit

I think the best argument for why the Mod Bandit is an awesome helmet is this one: just look at the damn thing! It is easily one of the most aggressive modulars you will find, and it absolutely pulls all that off. I love it, and so did Jim (a colleague of mine at wBW) when he reviewed it.

Jim states, and I can attest to, that the Mod Bandit is one of the coolest helmets to wear, and I don’t mean “cool” as in “Bart Simpson” cool (that analogy, by the way, is how you can tell that I’m not cool). It flows an incredible, just absolutely huge, amount of air through its massive front and top vents. It’s actually quite amazing the difference between the airflow in the Mod Bandit and that in, say, almost any other modular helmet.

However, it’s not perfect: the helmet is also nosier than you may expect from a premium modular helmet (a byproduct of flowing so much air through its vents). The noise is both acceptable and manageable, but it’s worth noting. If you want radio silence, keep on scrolling.

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • Lightweight (3.73lbs)
  • Made by a major brand known for building good gear
  • Just freaking look at it
  • Excellent airflow

Why you shouldn’t buy this helmet:

  • You have a round oval head
  • You want a helmet with a micromech buckle

NEXX X.VILITUR

  • Price: $499
  • Buy it: RevZilla, Amazon
  • Review: webBikeWorld
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Head shape: intermediate oval (slight round bias)
  • Weight: 3.93lbs

One of the heavier helmets on the list, the X.Vilitur is also new for 2019 and is making quite a splash. I’ve had mine since late April and have gotten plenty of time to get to know it. First, in my opinion, it’s one of the best looking modular helmets you can wear right now. It’s also built well, with solid construction and good feedback from the hinge and vent switches.

While riding, what I love about this helmet is how good the airflow from its two front vents is. Both move good air, and the dual rear exhaust vents do a great job getting rid of it. The result is some wicked helmet hair, but also a cool ride.

This is one of my favorite modulars, and not just because it’s high-tech looking, either.

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • Good value
  • Made by a major brand known for building good gear
  • Built very well
  • Excellent airflow

Why you shouldn’t buy this helmet:

  • Doesn’t come with a Pinlock visor insert (compatible, but has to be bought separately)
  • Nosier than some more premium helmets

High-End Modular Helmets
(Priced $500+)

SCHUBERTH C4 Pro

  • Price: $700
  • Buy it: RevZilla
  • Review: webBikeWorld
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Head shape: intermediate oval (slight round bias)
  • Weight: 3.91lbs

SCHUBERTH introduced a host of updates when they released the updated version of last year’s then-new C4. The C4 Pro has a revised fit (more similar to the C3 Pro now), improved sound deadening, and an enhanced interior. Each improvement moves the needle and makes the C4 Pro the premium modular helmet that it is.

The Pro is quiet – one of the quietest modulars I’ve worn, in fact – and refined. The installation of the accompanying SENA SC1 is hilariously easy, and the quality of the helmet is really second to none. It’s one of the best-made helmets you can find, and that’s to be expected from this German helmet brand known for uncompromising quality.

The C4 Pro comes with speakers and a mic pre-installed, ready for the plug and play SENA SC1. With the helmet and SENA SC1 intercom, the C4 Pro package will run nearly $950. That’s big money, but you get fair value in exchange. There aren’t many helmets better than this one.

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • Lightweight @ 3.91lbs
  • Excellent build quality and overall refinement
  • SCHUBERTH is second to none
  • SENA SC1 integration is among the best of the best
  • Speakers and mic come pre-installed

Why you shouldn’t buy this helmet:

  • Expensive
  • Not exactly exciting to look at, is it?

Klim TK1200 Karbon Architek Modular

The Klim TK1200 Karbon Architek is the 2020 edition of the TK1200 modular, already an excellent helmet. Klim makes their carbon fiber slightly differently than other manufacturers, using pre-impregnated carbon that they mold hot, and then immediately vacuum seal and bake, providing a very light yet extremely strong carbon fiber shell.

Unlike other modulars, the TK1200 Karbon does not feature a drop-down sun visor, instead opting for a transitions style visor. This removes interior weight and allows maximum EPS foam density and distribution. Also featured on the TK1200 Karbon is a breakaway mechanism for the chin guard if a crash should happen with the modular system raised (it is rated to be ridden open or closed).

Ventilation is provided by a chin guard vent with three intakes, and a top intake with two vents, both glove-friendly to operate. Heat is exhausted via minimalistic spoiler at the rear. Interior padding is designed to be very tight at first wear, especially in the cheeks and neck roll, which will break in over time. This is so that the helmet can provide the best noise occlusion a modular can.

Reasons to buy this helmet:

  • Transitions face shield is the ultimate in sun protection and comfort
  • Quick-release buckle
  • Carbon fiber helmets are lightweight and strong

Reasons not to buy this helmet:

  • Only one shell size means small sizes might get the “bobblehead” effect
  • Relatively muted styling

Shoei Neotec II

The Neotec II was the first modular helmet I ever wore that made me think “wow, this is a freakin’ AMAZING lid”. Like the SCHUBERTH C4 Pro, the Neotec II is incredibly well made, with attention meticulously paid to every detail. Creature comforts that you expect on high-end helmets, such as an integrated sun visor, a posh interior liner, and excellent noise management are what the Neotec II is all about.

This helmet is the entire package: you can install the SENA SRL intercom system, which is designed to integrate seamlessly into the helmet. Installation is simple (took me about 10 minutes) and straightforward. Airflow through the vents is excellent, as is general dynamics when wearing it. At just over 4lbs, the Neotec II is the heaviest on this list. However, its excellent balance and fit mask its weight quite effectively.

There is almost nothing that you can take from the Neotec II. It is among the top-tier modular helmets you can buy. The only complaint I have with it is the total price: the Neotec II with SENA SRL will run you around $950. Ouch.

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • Good looking
  • Excellent construction
  • Comfortable and balance
  • Excellent airflow
  • Built very well

Why you shouldn’t buy this helmet:

  • Expensive

AGV Sportmodular Carbon

  • Price: $799
  • Buy it: RevZilla, Amazon
  • Review: webBikeWorld
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Head shape: intermediate oval (slight round bias)
  • Weight: 2.9lbs

Okay, so you’re the type that lusts after exotic sports cars, carbon fiber parts for your bike, and loves to be on the bleeding edge. If that’s you, allow me to introduce you to your new helmet: the AGV Sportmodular Carbon.

As you have already surmised, the material of the day is indeed carbon fiber… and there’s lots of it in use here. This results in an ultra-lightweight modular helmet that rings in under 3lbs. That is the lightest on this list… by a fair margin, no less.

It isn’t without fault: the fit is somewhat tight, it’s louder than the Neotec II and C4 Pro, and you make concessions with respect to chin strap comfort and waterproofing. But then again, you’re also wearing one of the most technologically advanced and lightweight modular helmets on the market. There’s something to be said for sex appeal, too.

Why you should buy this helmet:

  • You dream of carbon fiber
  • You want a light helmet
  • You want something with a close fit
  • You want to have the latest and greatest in both technology and materials

Why you shouldn’t buy this helmet:

  • Issues re: waterproofing
  • Chinbar mechanism, while robust, is not as refined as other options

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