Nolan X-Lite X-551 Dual Sport Helmet Review:

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by LoneStar, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

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    Just returned from Mexico trip and it's been great - upwards of 90 mph for hours with visor/peak attached and slips through the wind perfectly. Now that the foam has fully broken in, it's slightly looser. Still not enough to warrant having gone down a size - just an observation

    I went online to look at buying a second for a spare and sheesh the price has gone up! Base model is $450-ish and top paint job is $622

    Yikes - glad I snagged one early :deal
    #41
  2. RomaDakota

    RomaDakota Illuminatus!

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    Someone asked me earlier about off road riding with this helmet. It is rather warm. I do raise the shield which is OK if going really slow, but at speed the eyes tear.
    I have not found a set of goggles that work with the helmet.
    I did tape a quarter to the bottom of the visor and paint the bottom flat black.
    I still really like the helmet.
    #42
  3. Dagwood_55

    Dagwood_55 Long timer

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    Where can you order one from, if not avail in the US??
    #43
  4. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    Mine arrived this afternoon, I took it out on a ~200 mile ride tonight.

    My first impressions:

    Its MUCH lighter than the N103 its replacing. To be expected, of course, the articulating chinbar adds a lot of weight to the helmet. And even though Nolan did a good job at distributing that weight, its absence is still felt.

    Its a lot quieter than the N103, with my windscreen in the same position I'd been using it in all winter, I'm riding 10-15mph faster to get the same level of noise I'd had with the 103.

    Crosswinds and dirty air have a much greater effect than they do with the 103. I got used to it quickly, but the first time a gust caught my head and I swerved across the lane, I was a bit surprised.

    The chin curtain definitely reduces the amount of air moving through the helmet, I was much more comfortable on the return trip with the curtain in than I was heading out without it. The temperature had dropped ~10 degrees during dinner, as well.


    I bought mine from FC-Moto. Its a medium, the same size as my N-104. Its mostly comfortable, there are two mild pressure points on my forehead, I suspect those will break in and go away. I placed the order last Friday, by Saturday it was at the airport to go through customs and get loaded on a plane to NY. This past Saturday, it landed in NY and cleared customs. The helmet was delivered to my Eastern Ct address this afternoon. There were no import duties or unexpected fees.
    #44
  5. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

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    Twilight glad to hear your comments. If you've not ridden with a visor/peak I'm sure it's noticeable initially.

    Updates on your feelings and thoughts about it over time would be good to hear since so few folks have them here.


    Roma Dakota has more experience with them and I don't use goggles so its good to hear his take

    I just returned from a trip to Mexico "LoneStar: The Run to Real De Catorce" and we did hours of sustained 90 mph on the cuotas. I doubt it was designed to run at 90 with the visor but I had no issues of uplift or twist thankfully. The only thing that happened was when a wind gust in a mountain pass hit me head on at that speed, the visor slid down to its lowest position.
    #45
  6. gwfer

    gwfer n00b

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    I got this lid about 2 weeks ago, having read this thread from start to finish, I can agree with just about everything stated thus far, including the comments abouts fcmoto. Suffice to say I am very happy with the helmet and indebted to your reviews & subsequent comments.

    I do have one bit of info to add that I feel duty bound to pass on to you, as u have given your time so freely in providing such useful information to me.

    3 nights ago I was coming home from work when a twat headed car driver turned across my path without warning, I caught the front corner of his car with my knee and launched off the bike landing, as much as I can remember, on my right shoulder, giving my head a bit of a knock in the process. I was doing approx 55kph (or 30mph in your money) at time of impact, so could've been a lot worse & all things considered both myself and the bike escaped pretty well.

    The interesting thing is that I took the internal liner of the helmet out yesterday to check for damage and discovered that the internal polystyrene structure is completely broken right across the width of the helmet behind the cavity for the internal sun visor.

    I have mixed emotions, on one hand I feel like I dodged a bullet, did I take a bigger hit than I realized, and this thing saved my life? Or, are these helmets compromised by the internal sun visor, and had I or any of you taken a big hit it just won't cut it when the chips are down.

    In the short period I had this helmet I was really enjoying it, I had planned to buy another one when twat head's insurance pays out, but now I am unsure. Perhaps this sheds some light on why Nolan xlite haven't got this model DOT approved?

    Food for thought for us all. I welcome your comments

    Keep adventuring.
    #46
  7. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

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    Wow gwfr glad you didn't get hurt badly! :eek1
    Any chance you've got pics of the cracked liner? - would be good to see if you do.

    It sounds like the helmet did it's job, since they are designed as one-shot devices. It's very interesting that it sheared where the internal visor is - mine isn't at hand so I can't look at it, but is there a recess for it? If so and it sheared along that line it would make sense... but we need pics man!

    Can't speak to the reasons Nolan doesn't seek DOT certification (probably financial) but when I researched the DOT vs ECE rating before purchase, I found that ECE rating is actually considered a more up-to-date and somewhat superior rating than DOT. Google ECE vs DOT rating and there are several good articles on the subject. Nolan helmets carry the ECE R22-05 rating which is what made me feel comfortable going with one, as well as their established reputation. A lot of folks are buying the inexpensive off-brand DS helmets here, and though they may be fine, I just preferred an established and well known manufacturer.

    Would be great if you have any pics of the interior and exterior to share with everyone :deal

    And sorry to hear you have twats in NZ too but glad you're ok man :lol3
    #47
  8. gwfer

    gwfer n00b

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    just taken some pics for the insurance claim and am eager to share, but I 'll be damned if it isn't hard to post pics on this site, I looked at this:

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=919

    do we really have to go through all this resizing malarky? tips appreciated

    and now my knee has started throbbing! am sure i will work it out when i have more time, but there is a bottle of red open and a roaring fire going. I therefore assume you can wait til the weekend!

    cheers

    gwfer
    #48
  9. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    Upload your photos to a 2nd party hosting service (your own server, Smugmug, Flikr, Photobucket...) and link to them from there. I prefer Smugmug - its run by the same guy that owns this site, but any of the free services will do.
    #49
  10. pingvin

    pingvin Been here awhile

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    Understand your mixed emotions. Actually the cracking process takes out a lot og energy which is good, less energy for your head to take. But what if hit was even harder, would the polystyrene be to weak? Or is it perfectly tuned so any hit harder than you took would be to much anyway?

    Glad you are ok though!
    #50
  11. pingvin

    pingvin Been here awhile

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    Just finished a 3 day trip in Norway passing several mountains at low temps (close to freezing at times). What I really noticed was that even with all vents closed it's pretty drafty and that was what gives me the headache so not a pressure issue. Solved by pulling buff over my head. (Should add draft always give me head ache, AC is terrible).

    So solved worst problem for me but still not super happy. Suomy have new helmet with similar concept, might give it a try http://www.suomy.com/en/products/mx-tourer.html?layout=ajaxnavigation

    [​IMG]
    #51
  12. cliffy109

    cliffy109 Long timer

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    I actually spoke to a Nolan rep about this. He is not a factory guy but just the retail rep on the East coast. He said Nolan is just gun shy about selling non-flip up helmets in the US. He said they don't think American's will buy a Nolan that is not a flip-up. I told him they should really consider the DS market and he said he would relay that back to Italy but I'm not holding my breath.
    #52
  13. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    A DOT 551? I'll take two, please.
    #53
  14. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

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    Ditto! That's 4 sold so far :lol3
    #54
  15. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

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    If you get one of those new Suomy's keep us posted. Good looking helmets. Maybe you should move to Texas Pingvin - no shortage of hot air here so headaches shouldn't be an issue :lol3

    My only negative is the lack of ventilation and airflow on mine, but again that's based on the usual heat here. I have noticed in cooler temps there is more airflow under the chin and neck area, which I solved with a Buff as well.
    #55
  16. JTT

    JTT Long timer

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    I don't know, seems like it did it's job. I crashed in a high end Arai a few years back. Helmet looked virtually unmarked, but on closer inspection I found the liner had actually rotated in the shell. No cracks but this was one way it absorbed the energy. I'm still here and can remember my name (most days), so figured it served it's purpose.
    #56
  17. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    Interesting.

    The Northeast US is roughly halfway between Norway and Texas in Latitude, and I think the 551 is very near perfect as far as venting goes. Its warm on hot days (but so is every helmet) and its cold on freezing days (again, so is every helmet). I just came back from a trip where I took a ride up the Mt Washington Auto road, it was 87 (30.5c) at the base and 39 (3.8c) at the top. I simply closed the vents and visor as it got cooler and opened them back up when I was heading down.
    #57
  18. wiz.au

    wiz.au Been here awhile

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    #58
  19. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

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    I like that color scheme - how do you like the radio/comm system?
    #59
  20. RomaDakota

    RomaDakota Illuminatus!

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    My comm/radio system when tango uniform after riding in rain for two straight days this summer. I did some troubleshooting prior to my last trip a few weeks back.
    Battery fine. Battery takes and holds change. Connections to module are confirmed. Wires ohm-out. I am guessing the module is fried. I was able to pop off the cover of the module too easily; no way could it be water-resistant.
    Although the module is buried in the helmet, a good total soak probably killed it. Not too happy about the situation.
    #60