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Old 06-07-2008, 07:19 AM   #1
tagesk OP
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Thumbs down Nolan N-103: Awful - don't buy




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.
  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.



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

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]
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tagesk screwed with this post 06-07-2008 at 07:27 AM
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Old 06-07-2008, 10:19 AM   #2
Boondox
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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..?)
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Old 06-07-2008, 04:00 PM   #3
tagesk OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boondox
.... 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.
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.



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?

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Old 06-07-2008, 04:43 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 06-17-2008, 01:06 AM   #5
tagesk OP
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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]
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Old 08-29-2008, 12:29 PM   #6
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Cry Flower pot

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]
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Old 08-29-2008, 01:30 PM   #7
Exevious
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meh... a decent ottaman woulda run you as much anyway...

This one makes a statement. apparently on several levels...
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:59 PM   #8
JimVonBaden
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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
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Old 02-11-2009, 12:00 AM   #9
tagesk OP
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Thumb

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimVonBaden
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
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]
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Old 02-11-2009, 04:03 AM   #10
Boondox
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimVonBaden
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
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
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Old 02-11-2009, 09:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tagesk
... becuase it is made in Italy...
Snort.

That's your problem!
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:03 AM   #12
Kebo Biru
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i'm agree with u Tagesk, this type is too noise...* wondering try Nolan N90
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Old 09-14-2011, 08:36 AM   #13
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Nolan 104 due in the start of 2012 suppose to address the 103 short comings?????

http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/nolan-n104-helmet-solid
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:49 AM   #14
MikeMike
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I bought an end of the line Nolan N-103 to replace my absolute crap Caberg. Huge difference in quality, price, fit, noise, operation, etc...
I compared the N-103 to an N-104 catalog shot and the first differences are the shape of the back of the helmet, the venting system, and the operation lever for the internal sun visor.
The N-103 beats the Caberg hands down in my opinion. First, the Caberg liner is thin and delicate and doesn't hold up well to washings (I live in a very warm and humid tropical environment), Caberg customer service is non-existent and they don't answer their phones, nor even emails when sent to the factory, the Caberg internal sun visor lever broke on my second outing and I ended up having to glue it back together as Caberg would not honor the warranty nor even bother to have a rep exam the helmet.
Was my experience with my Caberg a one off? No, there are 5 other owners here who suffered the same defect with the sun visor lever, all but one have switched to Nolans and the last guy can't get a replacement visor for his Caberg.
Locally, the Cabergs are priced $100 US more expensive than the Nolan N-103. A Schuberth is over $300 US more expensive than a Nolan N-103.
Expensive, no warranty support, lack of factory to customer service, expensive, parts non-existent, I wonder if BMW secretly owns Caberg? They have similar business models.
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Old 03-23-2012, 10:23 AM   #15
manfromthestix
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I have a Nolan N-102 flip-front helmet that I never had any mechanical or fit issues with, but it was so much heavier and noisier than my solid full-face helmets that I just quit wearing it and the almost $500 helmet now lives in a box in my garage. The additional weight and less aerodynamic nature was much more noticeable on my 1150GS than on a bike with fairings and bigger windscreen.

Man, I don't know who you've been dealing with for BMW parts but I've never had an issue with availability for any bikes I've ever owned, even 15+ years old. A friend has a 25 y.o. Beemer and can get anything he wants for it, all OEM. I can't speak to the factory service issue, though. I've heard lots of negative about that but have no personal experience. I was aware of the cost before I bought, and I am very pleased with all my BMWs, best bikes I've ever owned. YMMV, of course.

Speaking of service, I ordered a new helmet from Competition Accessories yesterday morning and as I was sitting here reading this post the FedEx man showed up with it! That was about 26 HOURS from when I pushed the "order" button . Phenomenal service! I've ordered tires from them before and it's typically taken two days for them to land in my driveway.

Doug
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