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When Nolan suggested we test their hot new N87 helmet, we knew there was no choice but to send the sexiest man in motorcycling to do the job on this hot new lid. But he wasn’t available, so we sent Borrie instead.
I’m so the right bloke to test full-face helmets. The last full-face I actually bought is still lying in a paddock just outside Melbourne where I threw it in a fit of claustrophobic pique.
But because I do occasionally wobble my way around a race-track, I do have a small range of full-face helmets I push onto my bonce because the rules say I have to.
The good folks at Ron Angel Wholesale are the Australian importers of Nolan, and it amuses them to send me their products from time to time.
And like all children I love presents in big boxes.
“I have sent you an N87,” Ron Angel’s Grant Sammut said to me when he called.
“That’s nice,” I replied. “Just what is that?”
“It’s a full-face helmet.”
“Lovely,” I said. “I’ll just put it on the shelf with the other ones then, shall I?”
“Actually,” Grant said, “It would be really good if you wore it a bit. I reckon you might like it.”
“It just so happens I am going to Phillip Island soon to embarrass myself on the 2017 GSX-R1000. I’m thinking that would be a good a place as any to see if it flies off my head, strangles me with the strap, or annoys me so much I shall be forced to throw it into the sea.”
But you know what? I brought it back with me and I really rather liked it.
You get quite a lot of helmet for not all that much money, and since Nolan (which is Italian for ‘Nolan’) makes some of the finest helmets in the world, that’s good news.
One for the Kawasaki nuts, or just people who like green stuff.
The company came into being in 1972, when Lander Nocchi figured he could make helmets better than other people and introduced a polycarbonate material called Lexan he had found in the States into the manufacturing process.
The N87 is a very handsome bit of headgear. It weighs a mere 1.42kg, which is lighter than average, passes all the finest safety tests, ECE and DOT, and scores four out of five stars on the SHARP testing system – which is impressive.
It comes with excellent, easy-to-use-with-gloves venting at the chin and the crown, which was very helpful because I sweat like a wrestler when I’m terrified and arrowing down Gardner Straight at some stupid speed.
Interestingly, it didn’t lift and it didn’t chatter. Nolan recently re-did its visor attachment system, so it’s easy to get off and on, and the visor is also lightly spring-loaded and sits snug against the shell to keep out even more water and air. It’s also Pinlock ready and comes with a Pinlock Max Vision insert in the box as standard.
The visor is wide and high, which allows for excellent peripheral vision as well as when you’ve got your face on the tank riding a sportsbike flat out.
Flip down sun-visors are the Devil’s work. He’s a good man, that Devil.
It also has a flip-down sun-visor (rated at UV400), operated by a switch on the side of the lid, which didn’t sit on my nose, and masked my terrified eyes from onlookers extremely well.
Seriously, I wore it on the track with the sun-visor down behind the clear visor and it didn’t vibrate and it didn’t shit me. So there’s no need to carry a tinted visor wrapped in a rag up your blurter and get on everyone’s tits when you have to pull over at sundown and swap visors.
What I did notice was that when I sat up at the end of the straight and the wind-blast smashed me in the face, I felt some pressure on the left side of my forehead. I’m thinking this is because my skull is shaped a bit funny there, since every helmet I have ever worn grinds on me in that exact place until I wear it in. Or hit it with a hammer.
It’s possible my mother dropped me on that part of my head when I was a baby and there is some strange bone-growth happening. Or it’s the onset of horns. I’m not sure.
Anyway, that was the only issue I had with the N87.
The lining is very plush – almost like pushing your face into an expensive sofa at Harvey Norman. It’s also removable, washable, wicks away sweat, and didn’t smell like a bad girl’s panties even after I had leeched sweat into it all day. It also boasts Nolan’s Adaptive Eyewear System, so it won’t press the arms of your glasses into the side of your skull if you’re a four-eyed bastard like me.
Plush lining is plush
If you’re into communications, then the N87 is ready to be fitted with Nolan N-Com Bluetooth comms – there is space for earphones and a mic and a place to mount the unit.
It fastens with the clever rachet fastening system, which is a breeze to get on and off.
It even comes with a chin-curtain to catch your drool and an astonishing five-year warranty.
Like I said, it’s a whole lot of helmet with great features for not a lot of money.
And mine is not floating in Bass Strait, which is a great result as far as I’m concerned.
The chrome jobbie Boris wore is pretty special when you see it in the flesh
And the other colours are nice too.
Plain – $319
Graphics – $379
Sexy burnished metal finish – $399
WHERE CAN I GET IT FROM?
If you contact the good people at Ron Angel Wholesale, they will let you know who your nearest stockist is.