Nolan N102 N-Com Flip-Up Helmet - CR Tested

Nolan N102 N-Com Flip-Up Helmet $320
For this issue's GPS guide, testing Nolan's new N102 helmet (which accepts the N-Com communication system) in conjunction with the TomTom Rider was a no-brainer. We tackle the helmet here and the N-Com on page 66.

This latest-generation Nolan seems a tad more refined than the company's earlier lids. The N102's feature set includes a sun shade, one-handed release, removable air dam and five-year warranty. But it was the DOT-approved, polycarbonate shell's fit and finish that impressed me from the get-go. Chin vents snap open positively, and an upper air scoop slides back smoothly- though resulting airflow was just this side of adequate. The helmet shape favored my round face (you can order different cheekpads to tweak the fit), and I found the N102 comfortable on long rides thanks to a plush, moisture-wicking interior.

Opening the chin bar is a onehanded deal-pull a latch at the bottom forward with your thumb and another latch down with your index finger. Sounds complicated, but the system worked well once I got the hang of it. The steel latches felt sturdy and engagement was generally smooth, though I found it occasionally necessary to give the chin bar a yank.

When closed the N102's visor seals against rubber gaskets for a tight fit. The optically superb, Uv-400 shield retracted smoothly and the air dam blocked excess air into the helmet, cutting noise considerably-the N102 is quieter than most modular lids. Considering its large profile this helmet produced surprisingly little external noise, too. The "Nolan Fog Resistant System"-basically a Pinlock shield liner-slots inside to prevent fogging, which it did during my rides in temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees.

The marquee item on the N102 is the "vision Protection System" (vPS), an external sun shield that lifts out of the way. When lowered the vPS covers about half the visor, which was a good fit for my riding position. The vPS tends to be a bug-catcher, but at least it's removable. And when it came time to doff the helmet, Nolan's Microlock Retention System turned out to be a welcome improvement over previousgeneration quick-release buckles. The stepped strap engaged into a locking mechanism easily, even with gloves on.

All these features are weighty, though.A medium N102 (with N-Com) tips the scales at 4.1 pounds. The upside? The N102 is exceedingly well balanced so mass feels negligible, and pound for pound it's an astounding value. Thumbs up all around. -Andrew Cherney

Genuine Innovations Tire Repair And Co2 Inflation Kit $52
One problem with testing a flat-repair kit is that the main component of the test is a flat tire, so it stands to reason that if you don't have one handy, performing the test is kind of difficult. Unfortunately, when it was time to review the Genuine Innovations Tire Repair and Inflation Kit no one in the immediate vicinity was willing to sacrifice a tire just so I could plug it. However, having a wealth of experience in the tire-plugging department as well as the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff, at least where tools are concerned, I can safely say this is a damn good kit.

Why do I say that? Well, for starters it comes with two of the largest CO2 cylinders I've ever seen; at 45 grams apiece these things look like propane tanks and are capable of pumping up a 180/55x17 to 28 psi. All of the tools-you get an air chuck, reaming tool, plug-installing tool and, of course, the plugs and rubber cement/installation lubricant-are industrial-strength and American-made. You even get a handy 5x6-inch padded storage case and, as an extra attraction, a couple of inner-tube patches thrown in along with step-by-step instructions. So based on what's included and the stuff's quality, I'm willing to bet I won't be let down when I have to actually use it.

At $52 it may seem a bit pricey, but given the overall high quality, the convenience of having everything provided and the fact that it can turn a ride-ending event around in less time than it took to write this review, I'd give it a four-star rating. -Mark Zimmerman

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