Nolan N70-2 X review

A nice off-road-style helmet that offers a lot but isn’t perfect

Nolan N70-2 X motorcycle helmet

by Jim Blackstock |

Adventure helmets are a bit of an odd beast and have several seemingly mutually exclusive requirements. They are intended for bikes that can be used on-road as well as off so they need to offer more road-based features than say a motocross or enduro helmet which you might wear if you were riding solely or mainly off-road.

So they need to offer loads of airflow to the rider’s face for strenuous off-road riding but at the same time, prevent it from becoming too much on the road. They adopt a peak to keep sunlight and muck away from the rider’s face but this can get caught by turbulence or windblast on fast roads.

They need to be light so they are comfortable when riding off-road but then, they don’t want to be too noisy when used on fast roads. A tricky set of requirements...

The N70-2 X from Nolan seeks to satisfy several of these in one go. Seemingly based on the more road-biased N70-2 GT, it appears to be fundamentally the road helmet with an off-road peak grafted on. The peak can easily be removed with no tools so that on roads, such as on the way to or from off-road escapades, the peak can be removed to reduce the drag on the rider’s head and noise, which can become tiring – that’s one tick.

Ventilation is not bad, when in road mode. The chin vent is reasonable but the three individually-switched vents on top of the head are more effective though arguably, you could do with a bit more on the inside of the visor – I certainly could anyway.

However, the ace up to N70-2 X’s sleeve (as it were) is that the entire chin-bar can be removed to increase airflow massively. Of course, this means you must store the chin-bar when worn in an open-face configuration but if you need the airflow when riding off-road, you probably have a box, bag or tool-roll you can lash it to.

Nolan N70-2 X with chin bar removed
©Photo: Bauer Media

A catch on either side of the chin bar removes it completely ins a split second though replacing it is a bit more involved, particularly if you are still wearing it but it is possible. But the result is a trials-style open-face helmet, albeit with a full-face visor still in place. The visor will keep debris out of your eyes but allow loads of airflow to the face.

The visor and the aperture are huge, giving a great view of the road – or the trail – ahead. While you should be looking as far ahead as possible when riding off-road, it is always useful to be able to glance own to see what is immediately in front of you or use your peripheral vision to avoid any impending obstacles.

The visor locks securely and keep water out completely when closed and there are six ratchet positions, including one slightly too far open for low-speed additional ventilation. There are finger-tabs at the front and the side as well.

Nolan N70-2 X chin vent
©Photo: Bauer Media

It has a ratchetted drop-down sun visor; the lever pushes it down and a push on the button pops it away completely again. It is effective but leaves a distinct gap between the bottom and the chin bar and while the lever to drop it is easy to operate, the button to release it can be tricky to find and use, particularly when wearing thick gloves. This can be a real problem if you need to get rid of the visor in a hurry...

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Overall, the fit is nice, with a good, snug impression against the head and holding it securely. However, clearly the shape of the Nolan’s interior doesn’t suit my noggin perfectly, as I can feel it tight across the temples. While this is less than perfect to begin with, after 60 minutes or so, it starts to become painful, and I have to stop or make sure I’m at the end of my ride.

Verdict

They used to say you had a ‘Brand 1’ shaped head or a ‘Brand 2’ shaped head. While I’m not sure if that is true any more, it’s true that not every helmet and manufacturer can cater for every different shape of head.

Nolan N70-2 X microbuckle chin strap
©Photo: Bauer Media

And it seems that my head shape doesn’t work in this Nolan. I’ve tried the next size up in the past and it is too loose, so clearly M is the right size for me. However, my head would appear to be M for most of it but L across the temples.

It is a real shame, as this helmet is great on rides with a duration less than 60 minutes. After that, my head shape becomes the limiting factor and I can go no further. But it your head-shape works with it, then it is a very attractive proposition for road and off-road work.

Pros:

Dual homologated for open or full-face use

Huge visor for great view

Peak removable for road use

Cons:

Sun visor operation tricky

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