Nolan N80-8 Review: Is It A Cut Above Other Budget Helmets?

The Nolan N88 helmet has just arrived to replace Nolan’s very popular N87, which is a lid that’s won loads of awards over the last seven years. 

This one’s a bit higher in specification than the N87, and I’d say it picks up and takes off where the N87 Plus left off.

The N87 Plus was a more premium version of the N87 with a better comfort lining on the inside and a slightly higher price tag. You get both with this N88. You get the better liner, and you get the higher price tag. Anyone who’s had an N87 or an 87 Plus will feel familiar with this helmet. 

It’s a plastic shield sport touring helmet with a drop-down sun visor and a plush interior lining. It’s got a micrometric strap fastener and is prepared for the official Nolan Bluetooth intercom.

It’s also one of the first two plastic-shelled helmets to come onto the market that passed the new, more stringent ECE 2206 safety tests.

Nolan N80-8 Review

Shell Construction

The shell is made from Lexan, a high grade of polycarbonate that Nolan has used to make their helmet shells since they were first founded 50 years ago.


This helmet is not what I’d call a lightweight helmet as such, nor would I call it a heavyweight. The size medium helmet weighs in on our scales at 1597 grams/3.5 lbs. That’s only 12 grams heavier than the N87 Plus when we weighed that one a year ago. 

That shows that meeting that tougher new safety standard doesn’t have to mean substantially heavier helmets than we had before, which is generally good news for everyone.


The ventilation for this helmet comes through both the chin and the crown. The chin vent slides open to uncover an air inlet at the top, letting air come through the chin bar into the eye-port.

On top, there’s a two-stage slider that allows air to come in and move through channels in the EPS impact liner and then escape through exhaust vents at the back of the helmet.

I found the ventilation on this helmet to be fine; it was perfectly acceptable, but I wouldn’t go big on how good it is. It’s just okay.


The visor will be familiar to people who’ve owned an N87 for one reason; it’s the same visor. The visor is also operated by one central lifting and lowering tab. It has five stages from top to bottom, which can be pushed up very slightly to create a small gap that lets through some air while riding.


It’s protected against mist by a Pinlock insert that’s maxed vision and covers most of the visible area.

Nolan doesn’t have pinlock branding on their inserts, but I would say this is a pinlock 70. That’s the middle of the three available grades.

Here are a couple of handy things about this pin lock. Firstly the helmet comes with it already fitted, so that’s one less hassle for you to deal with in your life.

Secondly, if you ever need to adjust the tension of the insert, it’s really easy.

Rotating the adjusters on the outside of the visor moves the concentric pins on the inside, allowing the insert to sit tighter or looser on the inner surface of the visor.

Sun Visor

There’s also an internal sun visor, and Nolan has fitted the VPS operating switch they use on some of their higher-end helmets, so it lowers in four stages.

To lower the sun visor, use the slider switch located on the bottom left of the helmet. To retract the visor, use the red button near the slider to retract it in one step.

As with all Nolan helmets I’ve ever tried, the sun visor is anti-fog coated, which is handy.


The liner for this helmet is fully removable, and the cheek pads have the emergency release function. This makes it easier for a medic to remove the cheek pads while you’re still wearing the lid, making it easier for them to take the helmet off.

If they need to, the top pad has what Nolan called liner positioning control. That means you can make the helmet sit slightly higher on your head if you want it to.

The cheek pads are what Nolan calls eyewear adaptive, so there are partial cuts in the foam at the top of each cheek pad, and you can take away all the foam above that cut, making room for your spectacle arms.


Behind the cheek pads are recesses for intercom speakers; this helmet is set up to use Nolan’s income unit. I tried fitting a Cardo PACKTALK Bold, but I couldn’t fit the 40-millimeter speakers for that in the recesses.

I also had a go with the Cena 20s Evo, and again I couldn’t get the speakers to sit in there properly. There is probably a way to get a universal intercom to work with this helmet, but I think it’ll take a bit of creativity to use anything other than Nolan’s official system.

Strap Fastener

The final important detail with the interior is the strap fastener, a micrometric buckle arrangement. Unfortunately, it has Nolan’s two-stage opening, so you need to rotate the red tab before releasing the buckle.

Reaching its grip on the tooth slider reduces the chances of the buckle coming undone accidentally.


The N88 comes in sizes double extra small up to triple extra large, and that bigger size covers a 65-centimeter head.

There are two shell sizes to cover that range. The helmet size is up to and including medium, sharing the smaller shell, while that bigger shell covers everything from helmet size large and above.

Often that would mean smaller helmet sizes having thick foam to pad them out and bigger helmet sizes having really thin foam to leave room for your head.

This helmet has six different thicknesses of EPS impact liner available, so you’re not just padding out those different sizes with different thicknesses of soft foam because there’s a thicker or thinner eps inside to suit your head size.

Safety Standards

In terms of approvals, this helmet passes the new ECE 2206 standard for use on the road. That makes this the first 2206 helmet we’ve reviewed that costs less than £400, and it’s half of that if you buy a plain color.

Those new tests are stiffer than the current standard, so I think you can have confidence in the protection levels offered by this helmet. If you want to use this one on the track, you can, as it’s ACU gold-approved.

While riding two different bikes, this helmet performed well on both. It was comfortable for my head to shape; the visor gives good vision even when it’s damp outside, especially that sun visor, and it felt secure on my head.

I’ve got a lot of respect for Nolan and how they go about things. So it doesn’t surprise me at all that they’re among the first companies to make a helmet to meet the new standard, and this one is a really good successor to the N87.

In Conclusion

Nolan N80-8 helmet is a new generation helmet from Nolan. With its advanced features and design, Nolan N80-8 is a comfortable, light, and stylish helmet with high performance and safety.

This helmet is equipped with the NERS system, designed to reduce the risk of falling and protect the rider’s head from injury in the event of an accident. 

The helmet also has a pinlock fog-resistant visor, designed to prevent the lens from fogging up during the rainy season.

The visor is easily opened and closed by pulling up or pushing down the helmet’s cover. It also allows the visor to be tilted to the left and right.

The visor’s mechanism is equipped with an automatic retraction function, which makes it easy to open the visor and close it again.

The visor can be tilted manually by adjusting the position of the liner.

In addition, the N80-8 helmet is equipped with the Nolan N-Com and ESS systems, designed to improve safety in an emergency.

Where To Buy

ModelSports Bike Shop
Nolan N80-8From £15Opens in a new tab.5Opens in a new tab.


Keith Mallinson has been a motorcycle enthusiast for the past 20 years. He has owned a variety of bikes during this time, ranging from sport bikes to cruisers. Keith has a passion for all things motorcycle related, including riding, maintaining, and customizing his bikes.In addition to his personal experience with motorcycles, Keith has also kept up to date with industry news and trends. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and insights with others through his motorcycle blog.When he's not out on the open road, Keith can be found tinkering in his garage, planning his next road trip, or spending time with his family.