Nolan N-103: Awful - don't buy

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by tagesk, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

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    [​IMG]


    Because of it's good reputation, becuase it is made in Italy, and becuase I it has Bluetooth support I bought a Nolan 103. If was so nice to wear!

    It turned out to be a serious mistake!

    The helmet is awfully noisy. Below are the modifications I have had to do to keep it from ending directly as a 200 euro flower pot.

    If you look carefully at the image above you will notice the following:
    1. To the right (fron of the helmet) you will see a black rubber sealing. It keeps the noise out.
      However: It does not extand beyond (behind) the main opening. The black vertical strip you see has been added by me to stop noise from coming in. I glued in a 1cm thick pice of foam. Yes you read correctly: There is a 1 cm gap just there.
    2. If you look carefully you will see that the "glass" does not seal well. I guess it is for this reason Nolan has added the rubber sealing. But, alas, as the sealing doesn't extend backwards, awful amounts of noise enteres here. In the image below, you can see silicone to seal better.
    3. The "silver" screws nicely rotates as you open the helmet. But becuase if this, they don't seal well. When I ride, if I put my finger on one of them, I can hear the difference. :puke1
    4. The "glass" can be removed quickly by pressing on the big black button. Nice. But for this reason it doesn't seal well, and noise enters.
    [​IMG]


    On the second image you can see the minimum modifications you have to do to the helmet to use it beyond walking speed. This is ugly, to say the least :puke1

    Furthermore, if you inspect the helmet you will find that the opening in which the sun-shield slides, is a full cm too long; a lot of noise enteres here. You will also notice that below you chin, where the helmet closes, there is no rubber sealing, and a lot of noise enteres.

    I would strongly advice against buying a Nolan helmet without trying it first. Trying while riding, that is!

    Edit: After riding with my (UGLY) modifications, it is still not as quiet as my 8 years old BMW System helmet. How can a new helmet be worse than an old one? Stay away!

    [TaSK]
    #1
  2. Boondox

    Boondox Travels With Barley

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    Your views just go to reinforce my belief that fitting helmets (and boots) is a uniquely personal and very subjective thing.

    I've had a Nolan N103 for a week now and after putting 490 miles on it...I absolutely love it! It is MUCH quieter than any other modular helmet I've tried, the visibility is great, the optics are excellent, all the moving parts do so smoothly and quietly, and the pinlock system means foggy visors are a thing of the past! For my head I find it to be one of the most comfortable helmets ever. (Right up there with the Shoei Multitec but the chinbar rubs me on that helmet.)

    I have experienced zero turbulence even behind big rigs or with my head turned to the side to check approaching cages. Ditto at speeds up to 120mph, which is the fastest I've gone while wearing the N103 so far.

    The only improvement I'd like to see is a bit more effective venting. Aside from that, I'd rate it one of the best helmets on the market today.

    (Maybe the Italians export only the good units, and keep the seconds for domestic sales..?) :evil
    #2
  3. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

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    This is absolutely true!

    But, my old BMW System hemlet has no openings, no buttons, nothing where the noise can get in. When I stand on the pegs to make sure I'm not influenced by turbulence, the Nolan is much more noisy.

    [​IMG]

    I've looked more carefully at the hemlet, and found something that doesn't seem to be right. If you look at the image above, if I lift the strap, I can see right out to the outer shell. Can this be right? No wonder there is noise! Can you, please, check if your is the same?

    [TaSK]
    #3
  4. Boondox

    Boondox Travels With Barley

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    If I remove the cheek pad and lift up a bit of what looks like foam insulation, I can see the outer shell.

    Funny how different our perceptions of noise are. One of the helmets I tested was a Schuberth Concept C2, reportedly one of the quietest modulars ever made. But on my bike it was incredibly noisy, as if the exhaust pipe had been routed up inside the helmet next to my ear!

    I didn't have a chance to check out the BMW System V helmet, as none were available locally while I was shopping. I tried the HJC CL-Max and SyMax II, the Shoei Multitec, the Nolan N102. The Nolan fit best, though I disliked the external sunshield. That's why I bought the N103.

    While testing various helmets I made some changes to my bike (2007 Triumph Tiger 1050) that had a dramatic effect on perceived noise. When I installed my OE handguards the helmet noise got much louder. But when I installed SW Motech mirror extenders the noise and buffeting dropped significantly. So when it comes to helmet noise I think the helmet itself is only part of the equation.
    #4
  5. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

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    I contacted Nolan, and they promptly replied that I should return the helmet and they'll check it out.

    I rode two 1.500 km days last week, and the helmet is excellent to wear, and the built-in sun-shield is excellent.

    If there is something wrong with my copy, I will be very happy.

    [TaSK]
    #5
  6. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

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    I got my helmet back, and Nolan says it is OK. So it is probably nothing wrong with it. It's designed that way.

    I have turned mine into a 200 euro foot rest.
    Makes my office look better.

    [TaSK]
    #6
  7. Exevious

    Exevious Goatrider A.F.& A.M.

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    meh... a decent ottaman woulda run you as much anyway...

    This one makes a statement. apparently on several levels...
    #7
  8. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    Task, I am looking into a new moduler and loved my old Nolan, but really want the internal visor.

    Other than noise, how does this one work for you? Also, does it have the ratcheting chin strap like the old Nolans (a favorite feature of mine)?

    Thanks,

    Jim :brow
    #8
  9. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

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    I used the Nolan as a foot-rest for a while. But it sat there, looking awfully nice, and when I one day dropped my old helmet to the ground from a full 2 meters, I removed the dust from the Nolan and started using it.

    I wasn't accustomed to ride with ear plugs, but I have gotten used to it. The Nolan is super comfortable, has the firm ratcheting chin strap so you can tighten it just perfect.

    [TaSK]
    #9
  10. Boondox

    Boondox Travels With Barley

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    Jim,

    I remain delighted with mine. Modulars are noisier than full face, but there are several variables in that equation. Some swear by the Schuberth C2, but I found that the noisiest helmet I'd ever worn with the exhaust noise echoing around my head. The N103 is a dream compared to that. YMMV.

    I wore mine about 2500 miles before the snow and ice forced me to give up riding for the year. Some of those miles were in torrential rain, and nary a leak. Ventilation could be better in hot, humid weather. The chinstrap is the same as the N102. Inner pads are easily removed for cleaning. The chinpiece ratcheting mechanism is uber smooth. The sun visor is notched for your nose so it can come down low enough so there is no annoying line in your field of vision. The visor stays in the open a crack position up to about 60mph.

    I really like this helmet!

    Pete
    #10
  11. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    Thanks guys, I have had a few helmets in the past:

    • Nolan N100 (2)
    • Zues (crap)
    • Scheuberth C1 (great helmet, but loud, heavy, expensive, and weak face shields)
    • Caberg (great helmet, light and comfortable, non-removable liner, can't get face shields)
    I liked the Nolan a lot, and will likely go back to it now that they have the internal visor. I never liked the external one!

    Jim :brow
    #11
  12. Carl.Custer

    Carl.Custer Been here awhile

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    #12
  13. swingset

    swingset Got the knack.

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    Your bitter disappointment in the Nolan helps in small part to explain the "help me find a narrowly specific motorcycle thermometer made precisely to my specifications" thread.

    :D
    #13
  14. francs

    francs Been here awhile

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    N103 is noisy,on mine majority of the noise come from the cheek part (under strap), you ned a good service, Compaco in Slovenija fix that with foam (so italian service can do to, if they wanted to) some noise is still there, but it's much better, also new pading is available (better fitting aroud neck). Only reason that I bought Nolan is service with reputation and 5 year warranty.

    Franc
    #14
  15. torags

    torags Long timer

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    Trips of any length wear plugs, in the end you won't be sorry.

    Yup modular helmets are noisier, but I can take a photo without taking my helmet off. Wearing the plugs works; except for my straight pipe HD. Only being in a different zip code works for that bike.

    Mine is comfortable (N102) but thanks to the original poster I'm going to try some stick on foam...

    Thanks for the tip

    Rags
    #15
  16. freeflow

    freeflow get in or go in

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    :photog :thumb

    "happiness is an intellectual choice."
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  17. MotoErik

    MotoErik like a kid in a candyshop

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    Snort.

    That's your problem!
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  18. RoyB

    RoyB Dartmouth, Massacusetts

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    A lot depends on the bike and the windscreen.............It is impossible to ride my DL650 V Strom with an MRA Vario screen and a BMW Schubert helmet. Terrible buffeting and amazing amount of noise. My Nolan N-102 is perfect on this bike...............I have a 103 on order.

    Shows ta go ya................
    #18
  19. the kaz

    the kaz has become "FERAL"

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    I see a trend happenning :lurk
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  20. rx35285

    rx35285 Adventurer

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    Franc - is the foam to which you refer specifically produced for this problem? Is Compaco a Nolan distributor? Maybe you could post a picture of the foam so others could try to duplicate it. Thanks, Dave.

    #20