HJC i90 Flip-Up Review: Best Modular Helmet Under $250?


HJC has been designing and manufacturing high-quality protective helmets since the early 1950s and has done a great job on the HJC I-90 for a little over $200.

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HJC’s I-90 flip front helmet is in the most popular and most competitive price bracket of all. You can get this baby for just over $200 or just under £200.

HJC i90 Review

Shell Materials

The I-90 comes with a polycarbonate shell consistent with almost every flip-front helmet and certainly most in this price bracket.

Weight

We weighed this size medium I-90 on our scales, and it came in at 1748 grams, which is exactly what we would expect from a polycarbonate-shelled flip-front helmet like this.

Chin Bar

The I-90s chin bar flips by pushing out the red lever at the base and then just lifting on the final step.

An extra piece of resistance holds that chin bar up and stops it from automatically flipping down in front of your eyes.

It’s been safety tested as an open-face helmet with the chin bar raised and a full-face helmet with that chin bar closed. 

That means that legally you’re allowed to wear this helmet in either configuration, but in HJC’s owner’s manual for this helmet, they strongly recommend that it’s only ever ridden with the chin bar closed. (Always check local laws first)

So it’s quite clear that they don’t want you to ride with the chin bar, but they’ve done their best to make it as safe as possible because they know that people will ride with the chin bar raised.

 If you’re looking for a helmet that can be used as either an open-face or a full-face, and you’re planning to spend any time with it as an open-face, then you’d be better off looking at a convertible or flip-over helmet. 

For example, a helmet like the Shark Evo seriesOpens in a new tab. or the LS2 ValiantOpens in a new tab. series where the configuration is much more suited to use in either open-face or full-face.

Ventilation

Venting on the I-90 comes from a simple, easy-to-operate slide switch at the top front of the helmet. This switch reveals two holes that come down into the helmet’s interior. 

This allows some cooling air through, and then there are channels in the polystyrene liner that allow that air to circulate towards the back of the helmet. 

The warm air can then escape through the vents at the back of the helmet, which are permanently open.

In addition, a chin vent at the base exposes a grille to allow some air to flow onto the inner surface of the visor.

Pinlock Anti-Fogging

That’s not as crucial with this helmet as it can be on other helmets because a Pinlock insert protects the visor.

It’s pinlock 70, which is Pinlock’s most basic grade of insert, but there’s perfectly decent mist protection from that, and it’s also a Max Vision insert.

That means it covers the vast majority of the visible area, so there’s no impedance to your vision.

Visor

It comes with a rapid-fire HJC visor. But, when it comes to the changing mechanism, it certainly lives up to the rapid part of that title.

It’s quick and easy to change the visor on this helmet, but it’s not something you’ll need to do very often. 

It’s probably restricted to installing the Pinlock, and when you clean the inside of the visor because there’s an internal sun visor, it operates from a lever on the side of the helmet.

Image visor lock

The final push gives it that extra click to securely and firmly have that in the raised position, and when it’s lowered, it offers a good amount of protection extending as far as the breath guard inside.

Sun Visor

The sun visor on this helmet isn’t anti-fog coated, which is a shame, but you can’t have everything on a sub $200 helmet, and one of the things they had to give on this was the anti-fog coating on that sun visor.

Interior 

The I-90 has a super cool, moisture-wicking interior. It’s nice and soft inside, very well padded, and the benefit of this is you don’t need to have too thick a liner for this helmet because the i90 comes in three different shell sizes.

Shell Sizes

One shell size covers helmet sizes extra small and small, another is shared between medium and large helmet sizes, and the biggest shell size covers helmet sizes XL and above. 

There’s a benefit for spectacle wearers as well because this helmet is prepared for them.

Thinner sections at the top of the cheek pads leave room around the temple for spectacle arms to comfortably fit inside the helmet. 

Finally, with the interior, the strap fastens with a micrometric buckle fastener, which you would expect from a flip-up helmet.

Bluetooth Intercom

HJC has also thought hard about how an intercom will integrate with this helmet, and this is one of their new smart HJC-compatible helmets.

There’s a section at the nape of the neck (back of the helmet) where you undo the screws, revealing a chamber in which you can sit the battery for one of their smart HJC intercoms. 

That means there’s a much slimmer control unit, which mounts to the left-hand side of the shell, and then there’s room inside for speakers.

There are two intercoms in the smart HJC range, the 10B and the 20B.

The customer reviews we have seen on this helmet suggest that most people are really happy with their purchase. Finally, they’ve got a comfortable, good-value flip front helmet.

In Conclusion

The HJC i90 is a lightweight, aerodynamic helmet with an advanced ventilation system that helps to keep you cool and comfortable while riding. 

Its one-touch open/close locking system lets you easily open and closes the shield, while the ACS Advanced Channeling Ventilation System helps keep the shield clear of water and dirt. 

A chin bar vent system and supercool interior keep you comfortable, and the Rapidfire shield replacement system makes changing the shield simple and fast. 

A built-in LED light, activated by a simple push of the button, is also available. 

The HJC i90 is DOT, and ECE approved (3XL-5XL DOT only), and its Bluetooth-ready design allows you to connect your smartphone to the helmet, so you can stay connected to your friends and family while on the road.

Where To Buy

ModelRevzillaSports Bike Shop
HJC i90 Flip-UpFrom $209Opens in a new tab.From £189Opens in a new tab.

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