Best Bluetooth & Modular Motorcycle Helmet: HJC CL-Max 2 Solid
Wearing a motorcycle helmet is the most important safety precaution riders take before they get on their bikes.
The chance of a fatality in a motorbike accident falls to 37% when wearing a helmet. Plus, you are also 67% less likely to be otherwise facially injured while you are wearing a proper biking helmet for protection.
Think twice before picking up that cheap motorcycle helmet for sale at a motor show. It’s best to accept that this life-saving piece of head protection needs to be of the highest manufacturing and testing standards. This does not mean that you have to invest in the most expensive full-face helmet you can find on the market. Often mid-range brands have excellent test performance records and are very long-lasting (though no helmet lasts forever and should be regularly changed).
While you may never get into a collision, your crash helmet will suffer from everyday wear and tear. As your hard hat is continuously exposed to the rain and grit on the road, the finish will start to deteriorate over time.
As well as longevity, the style of motorbike helmet you choose is crucial:
● Do you need a bucket helmet for your daily commute?
● Do you need a touring or off-road helmet that will be comfortable enough to wear for prolonged periods?
A full-face helmet will offer you more protection around the head. However, if your needs veer more towards short, slow distance travel, you may be able to get away with just a half or three-quarter helmet model.
Comfort and fit are continuously improving in the head protective gear industry. New foams and lightweight materials are created and tested rigorously to bring bikers the very best in crash helmet technology...
Our Rating: 5 stars
The shape and design of motorcyle helmets has changed dramatically over time. Once upon a time, motorcycle lids were barely worn at all, except amongst those in the military. Attention to design detailing, comfort, and safety standards were an afterthought for many manufacturers.
However, as various DOT laws came into play around the world, bikers started caring more about what went into making these essential biker safety items (that are now compulsory to wear in most states).
You can buy headgear that performs well in different riding scenarios. For example, you can buy a standard half, three-quarter, or even a full-face helmet.
Modular helmets also feature a hinged visor you can flip up, as well as being treated with UV-resistant coverings. Crucial hidden safety features, like glare-protection, have saved countless lives. Features like these are vital for giving riders a clear view of the road ahead of them.
DOT-approved is the minimum safety standard you should be looking at when judging which helmet to buy. However, this is just the USA’s testing standard for safety headgear; it is not the ultimate in safety verification methods. Europe and the rest of the world also have tests for roadworthiness, and they set the bar for acceptability higher in comparison. Look out for Snell, ECE, and Sharp quality-standardized products. In many cases, toppers that are made elsewhere in the world may perform better on specific stress tests than leading premium brands.
When defining what makes the best crash bucket for you, you may also be looking for features that provide you with an overlooked side benefit, something like Bluetooth connectivity.
If you need to pick up a phone call while you are traveling, Bluetooth helmets could be a game-changing luxury for you.
Also, FYI, the Bluetooth device is attached to the shell’s outer casing. Therefore, concern for microwave interference shouldn’t be an issue for those who, likely, also own a cell phone.
The fit is the most critical factor when purchasing the correct headgear. If it is too large, it will slide around and could slip off entirely in a road collision. Secondly, if your head protector is too big for your head, air and road noise will start to interfere with your on-the-road enjoyment. You are looking to encase your bonnet in the perfect pressure-controlled conditions that should keep you safe even if the worst happens.
A well-fitting lid should ideally remain fixed in position when you move your head. You should not be able to slide even one finger through the gap between your visor and forehead.
Here are some more characteristics of what makes a good modular helmet to buy:
Humans have slight variations in their head shapes across the world. Intermediate oval is the most common head shape in North America and is characterized by being more extended front to back when compared with the side to side head measurement.
Elongated oval shapes have a noticeably narrower side to side measurement than front to back measurement. Finally, a rounded oval is more close to being evenly proportioned front to back and side to side in length.
Get a sewing tape and mark the circumference of your head at the widest point. This area lies roughly about one inch above the tops of your ears. Once you have measured the widest point of your head accurately (take several tests and take the biggest number), you can then buy a lid from a reputable seller. Start discussing the best design and safety features you can get for your budget and specific requirements.
If you need some reassurance, check out reviews of brands online. Some of the leading manufacturers post videos of their products undergoing safety testing.
It has never been easier to see for yourself how well a bran dhelmet protects wearers in a road collision. In many cases, you can also look up the individual product’s scores on their safety test. Cross-examine one brand against another and make the right choice from there.
There are thousands of different models on the market, all with their own unique designs, materials, and specifications. However, modular lids are characterized by their flip-up mechanism. These give you the best of both worlds when it comes to covering and uncovering your face. They are the optimal choice for many riding scenarios.
For instance, if you are a test instructor, you will need your face unobscured, so that you can observe and call out instructions to your students.
On the other hand, you may regularly travel on roads and motorways on your hog.
In which case you need a noise-canceling headset that will protect all of your cranial features from potentially harmful accidents. In this case, the full-face protection offered by a modular would make it an essential purchase.
Once you have decided that a solid modular helmet is what you’re looking for, you’re ready to delve into the optional extras that make these models perfect for you. Let’s take a look at some of the styles and characteristics of this type of headpiece.
As mentioned previously, the flip mechanism on the mouthpiece differentiates modulars from the rest of the motorbike lid family. These are a top choice amongst emergency services workers because they look a lot less intimidating than a full-face headpiece.
If a police officer needs to pull over a driver, a simple button press can release the front of his headgear and allow him to speak to people unobscured. In most cases, the flipped over position is not supposed to be used for riding, as the center of gravity changes and the heaviness to the back of the head will not feel comfortable while riding. Further, in testing scenarios, the chin piece will move in the wind in many cases.
Many modular brands will also include a flip down sun visor function — this can offer immediate protection from sun glare. However, some riders like to pay close attention to the buttons and activation mechanisms on their modulars. In some cases, the latch release can be too cumbersome to activate with biker gloves on.
All high-quality lids will also include UV-protection in their visors and inner flip down visors.
UV-resistant coatings protect long-distance riders from sun damage and eye fatigue.
If you are an adventure rider, you can still get a modular design that will accommodate your more specific needs. Most notably, some modulars are full enough at the front to allow the user to wear goggles. These will, of course, be on the premium end of the price range, say at least $900. However, they are an excellent choice for long distance or adventure riders.
The more niche modulars will also carry a peak at the top. These are a favorite amongst dirt bike riders because they offer a little more versatility.
Not every modular helmet has to have a fitted chin bar — some can be added as a clip on modification feature. This design allows you to switch from the full-face modular style to a three-quarter helmet in seconds.
This can be a great feature for hobby bikers; however, the loose chin-strap adaptation makes these types of headgear a riskier choice for consumers. If you sustain impact to your face during a collision, this type of chin strap could easily fall off, or otherwise not protect you as well as a full-face design will.
The likelihood that grit and dust will enter the mouthpiece is also increased if the chin strap is removable.
There are many Bluetooth Motorcycle helmets on the market. Bluetooth compatibility can be a welcome addition for competition riders, and those who need to liaise with people while on the road regularly.
You can also find designs that include built-in speakers and a mic, allowing you to speak, listen to music — whatever you need to keep you occupied as well as safe while you’re out and about.
Bear in mind that with this type of headgear; you can hear more road noise than you would when wearing a full-face model. This is simply because the lid is comprised of two pieces: air and noise can seep in through the hinged gap at the chin. For this reason, many motorcyclists also like to wear earplugs or headphones on a ride.
The HJC CL-Max II may look like a basic modular helmet, but you get a lot of quality for your money, making it our top choice. It comes in a wide range of sizes, everything from XS to 5XL. It is sold widely all over the world because it is a comfortable and nice basic flip model. It's ideal for those who are beginning to look at the flexibility modulars offer to riders.
● Concerning its visibility and eye shield functionality, the MAX II performs slightly better than average. The horizontal visual field is good, and the vertical visibility also isn’t bad. Some modulars have a very high sitting mouthpiece that somewhat blinkers your visual field, so bear this in mind when purchasing any helmet of this type.
● The flip sun visor claims to prevent 95% of UV rays as well. This reviewer notes that it also seals very tightly, providing excellent coverage around the eye port. The operation button appears on the chin bar, and it works very smoothly.
● The shield system is straightforward to use. All you have to do is press the lever release on either side of the unit, and the mouthpiece will pop out. The mouthpiece is a perfect size, a seasoned biker would note, for such an inexpensive unit. It also has a moderately firm hold in the flip position, with the shield secured by two sturdy metal clips. However, it’s apparently not designed to be worn flipped while riding. The operation of the mouthpiece is also smooth and does not creak. The quality of the build feels high.
● There are two vents at the top, and these control the airflow to make for a more comfortable ride. However, in this model, you cannot feel the air flow as it hits the top of the head. A breezy sensation would be a nice benefit to have. However, this design cools you down to an acceptable standard. These vents operate independently with two switches that are easy to use. There are also two air vents located at the rear exhaust of the helmet.
● HLC can offer so much at an affordable price because optional add-ons can be purchased separately. In particular, for around $5, you can buy a chin curtain to cover the small inbuilt chin vent. The add-on makes a slight difference to the air filter, so it is worth the small investment.
● Bluetooth connectivity is another fantastic extra you can set up with this great all-round model. There is a recess towards the top that can house a compatible JC Chatterbox XBi-2H Bluetooth intercom device. Bluetooth connectivity can be a huge plus point for those who want high-tech connectivity on a modest budget.
● The EPS liner is not specially molded to hold speakers in the ear pockets. However, you can fit compatible speakers within the existing ear pocket recesses. The EPS liner itself is made of Bioceramic Nylex moisture-wicking material, designed to reduce the build-up of sweat in the padded interior. The fit of the padding feels comfortable, as well as secure. The EPS liner is also treated with antibacterial properties, and you can remove the liner to wash it.
● Regarding security of fit, the padding is a little roomier, as the shape has to account for two wearable options, flipped and unflipped. It will accommodate slightly rounded head shapes very comfortably, but the padded may feel a little more flexible than some riders would prefer.
● The overall quality and finish of the product could be better. Some of the materials and graphics used makes it feel like this product is towards the lower end of the pricing scale. However, ultimately, the key design features, such as the mouthpiece and vents, perform better than average.
For a helmet to be legally sold in most countries, it needs to be safety certified. This vitally important piece of headgear needs to protect your life to the best of its ability, so you should never settle for cheaper, unlabelled models.
The DOT standard is the law across the American states; however, it is not the highest standard in the world for safety testing. You may also want to check out products tested to the Snell Memorial Foundation standard or even the ECE. The ECE, in particular, aligns with safety compliance legislation in over 50 countries. Investing in high-quality materials will pay off in the long run.
But, bear in mind that you will also need to take great care of your headgear once you leave the store. Be extremely careful not to drop your lid onto the ground, as this could cause invisible damage on the inside. You may think that a few light scuffs are not enough to your favorite bonnet, but you may be wrong about that. They are designed to withstand one crash only — make sure that this one crash is not caused by forces other than you riding your motorbike.
Most, if not all, manufacturers recommend that you replace your crashless headgear every five years. If you use your bike very often, dust and grit will eventually start to scuff and affect your bonnet’s performance. The inner lining can also suffer wear and tear from removing and cleaning on a (hopefully) regular basis.
As your topper gets used to the lumps and bumps in your head, the foam lining will also start to deteriorate over time. If your inner lining begins to feel looser, you must replace it as soon as you can.
Your safety is paramount, so the most critical safety tip is to get a great fit.
Read reviews and watch product testing videos online before you buy. You should also go along to a dedicated reseller and get your head measured and fitted for the ideal shape and style for your needs. Whether you are buying a motorbike topper for the first time or fifth, invest in the latest materials and design features that increase your safety and comfort when you’re out on your pride and joy.
The HJC CL-Max II is a superb modestly-priced modular motorcycle helmet that’s also Bluetooth enabled. It comes with all of the features you need for a secure ride, even if the finishing touches, like the graphics and fabrics, could be improved. However, for such a low price you still get the comfort and safety features you’d expect from a mid-high-end helmet.