Here we compare the very popular Nolan 104 helmet and pitt it against the Bell Vortex which seems to have a cult following itself. If you are currently tossing up about which one of these top performing helmets to buy, we give you the lowdown on why you might choose one over the other. Let’s face it, it is much wiser to buy a helmet with sound knowledge of what it has to offer as opposed to going solely with gut instinct.
So first up, let’s look at the Nolan N104 and why it continues to be an incredibly popular choice in the modular helmet range.
First of all, Nolan the company itself, is a premium manufacturer based in Italy. This company is responsible for some of the smartest developments in the market for modular design.
The Nolan N104 helmet is made with polycarbonate GE Lexan shell. Its build is quite impressive as detailed below. Plus it comes with some premium features for a very reasonable price in the market.
Priced between $279.99 and $399.96, it certainly has a great following because of its advanced features like the sound mitigation system, the drop down sun visor and elliptical chin pivot.
What are its safety features?
This helmet has quite a big eye port that allows top and bottom vision to be unrestricted. Even the peripheral view is unobstructed, and this provides bike riders maximum vision capability when they are on the road.
This internal shield is treated to be scratch resistant and it is also anti-fog in nature. Also, to make sure that the fog cannot cause any vision impairment, the upper shield comes with pin lock insert.
So even if you are riding during cold days, you will never have trouble because this feature will eliminate the fog effects.
How strong and durable is this helmet?
The helmet also comes with a flip up chin bar, which the company calls the dual action chin bar release. Here, you have to squeeze the buttons at the bottom of the helmet to open it. This is meant for extra security and durability.
The facial shield comes with a locking mechanism at the bottom center, and can be operated with the help of either hand. The facial shield when locked down is sealed properly around the gasket, giving the rider plenty of security.
Inside, Nolan N104 helmet has a distinguishable feature called the vision protection system. It is a slider operated drop down internal sun visor. To operate it, all you have to do is move forward and the smokescreen shield will lock down in place.
By pushing the red button at the base of the chin bar, the lid will spring back and retract. This will help you to see properly if you are going through tunnels in the middle of the day, since you can easily retract the shield to see better.
The pivot system of the Nolan N104 helmet is also quite remarkable and sturdy. It is called the elliptical trajectory pivot, where the chin bar does not rotate just on one axis.
The lid first comes up and when you keep rotating up, it will simply slide back. This way the chin bar stays quite close to the top of the helmet. Plus, near the axis, there is a button that you can slide to lock in the chin bar so that it does not close down on you on its own.
Is the Nolan N104 comfortable?
The internal area is quite large, and it accommodates the space necessary for eyeglasses. So any rider who wears eyeglasses will be able to ride without any hassle.
The air booster system in Nolan N104 is an efficient ventilation system. The helmet comes with an air scoop at the top of the shell and a brow vent at the front. There is a slider switch that can be used to open the air vents.
The rear exhaust vents are located at the back. While riding, a vacuum will be created at the back of the head that will draw out all the warm air through the rear vents.
There is also a chin bar vent that can be operated with a separate slider switch. These fancy mechanisms are really helpful in keeping the inside of the helmet cool and comfortable.
While Nolan N104 does have its benefits, the Bell Vortex helmet is not without its merits.
How much does the Bell Vortex helmet cost?
The Bell Vortex helmet is a Snell 2010 certified helmet that is easily available at around $180 if you shop around. Regarding price, it is definitely more affordable than Nolan 1N04, and has a lot of cool features that makes it very desirable.
It is shaped as an intermediate oval and this seems like a good fit for most riders.
What does the Bell Vortex helmet offer?
Made out of polycarbonate shell, it is as sturdy as the Nolan N104. It comes with a nice ventilation system, with a chin vent and brow vent, chimney vents and side vents.
These vents and the ridges inside of the shell help the air to circulate throughout the helmet. The air finally gets sucked out of the back through the extractors called Venturi vents. These vents are not completely open, which makes them safe to wear in the rain.
The face shield is UV protected with an anti-fog coating on the inside. The shield is photochromic and it turns dark the moment the UV ray from the sun hits it.
The chinstraps also use magnets that can help them to stay secure. The Bell Vortex helmet also comes with a speaker that some riders might enjoy. There is a cut out inside the shell where the communicator can fit in. 50 mm cheek pads are inserted inside which help to increase the comfort factor.
Which helmet is better?
While the Bell Vortex helmet does come cheaper with optimum features, in many ways it is not as enhanced as the Nolan N104 helmet. The size of the helmet is small compared to the Nolan N104, which makes it more claustrophobic for some riders.
Also, the face shield is not very effective and cannot be locked in place when pushed up. The shield is much smaller than the size of the face shield found in the Nolan N104.
Overall, while both the helmets have some really cool pros, the Nolan N104 helmet wins hands down as the safest and more comfortable headgear for riders.