Harley Davidson Modular Helmet With Retractable Sun Shield

Helmet review by Andrew Cherney

    You'd have to be living under a serious-size boulder with your fingers stuffed into your ears to not notice the proliferation of flipup helmets lately. What was once just an eccentric bit of gear found in a touring rider's arsenal has fully spread into the mainstream. Problem is, manufacturers' haste in jumping on the modular bandwagon hasn't always produced stellar results.

    Luckily, Harley has managed to maintain a decent level of quality in their newest flip-up, the cumbersomely named Modular Helmet with Retractable Sun Shield. Like three of the other modulars in H-D's current lineup, this lid is made by HJC for Harley; the difference is this one has a polycarbonate shell, so you'd think it'd be less hefty than its composite cousins. But when we plopped it down on our trusty kitchen scale, it weighed in at 4lbs., 1oz - right in line for most flipups, but actually heavier than our size medium Shoei Multitec, which showed 3lbs, 12 oz. on the scale. Bear in mind that the Shoei has a beefier metal latching mechanism along with a fiberglass composite shell, making the comparison all the more surprising. The saving grace is that the MHRSS (easier to call it that) doesn't feel any heavier on your head; at least its mass is well-balanced (though we wish Harley wouldn't list its weight as 3lbs on the website). But no matter how you feel about the merits of polycarbonate versus composite fiber shells (poly is softer, composite fiber harder), the level of comfort in the MHRSS makes a positive first impression. The fit felt snug and consistent all around, with no hotspots developing after we rode with it for 100 miles. Its shape definitely favors rounder heads, so I was comfortable throughout my ride, with a good view out of the eyeport and easy actuation of the flipup chinbar.

    On the down side (hey, it's a flip-up)- the MHRSS is somewhat noisy, a little clunky, and less than stylish. That round shell shape won't win any fashion contests, though in basic black it's a good compromise. The polycarbonate shell claims to feature "an Advanced Channeling Ventilation System...to help flush out heat" but we didn't feel much flushing of any kind going on during our ride. In fact, we often found ourselves cracking the visor to let in more breezes, since the two small airholes poked in the forehead were so ineffective at cooling.

    On a more positive note, the integrated tinted sun visor could be deployed quickly and easily, with just the push of a switch. The regular external face shield sports an effective anti-fog coating and features optically correct design, UV protection, and anti-scratch coating so the view was always clear. Naturally, you can pop it off quickly, thanks to a tool-free removal system. Inside, a removeable, antibacterial liner seemed to achieve its stated purpose of wicking away moisture effectively.

    All in all, the DOT-rated MHRSS is fine piece of kit for light touring duty with most of the bells and whistles you'll likely require. Its $325 asking price is probably fair, though there's more plastic here than we expected.We also feel it's a tad heavier than it needs to be.