HJC’s C80 is a flipfront helmet that can be used as an adventure-style helmet with the peak fitted and as a more traditional full-face helmet with the peak removed.
I like the look of this helmet’s clean uncluttered lines and the variety of colours and graphics. It comes with a material bag, a Pinlock insert and two covers that fit over the visor hinges when the helmet is used without the peak.
The first thing I noticed as I lifted it out of the box was the weight. This weighs in at over 1900g with the peak fitted - heavier than my other full-face helmets and not really in line with HJC’s marketing claim that this is a lightweight helmet.
The real test was whether this made a difference to me when riding the bike, and as far as I was concerned it didn’t in the slightest. I rode a variety of bikes while wearing this helmet and never once did the near-2kg sat on my head feel uncomfortable or make my neck ache from weight alone.
When you open the flip mechanism the peak tilts backwards, so it never touches the visor. Once you close the front of the helmet the peak locks back into position.
When I first used the helmet I noticed the peak vibrating a little at speed and I thought this may become a nuisance. It didn’t, and it wasn’t long before I didn’t notice the vibration at all.
I didn’t find the noise in this helmet to be any different to that of other helmets I use, though I always wear earplugs when riding.
Some helmets I have used generate a lot of wind noise from the peak. I can say with certainty that is not the case with the C80 when riding my BMW R1200GS Adventure because there was no noticeable difference when riding with or without the peak.
The air vents are easy to open and close with a gloved hand. The top vent slides backwards to open and forward to close, the front vent is on a rocker catch with an up and down movement. The vents work well enough and give adequate ventilation.
The visor is pretty good, giving excellent peripheral vision. The Pinlock insert fits nicely into the visor, pretty much filling all the visor so the edges of the Pinlock don’t interfere with vision.
There are opening tabs on both sides of the visor, so it can be opened easily with either hand. The visor has three stages on the opening mechanism and the lowest of these stages opens the visor too much for my liking, I would prefer one of these stages to only just open the visor, keeping the gap small and letting a little air in.
Photography: Joel Blevins
The lining of the helmet is designed so that glasses can be worn comfortably. I had no problem using the safety glasses I wear to protect my eyes when riding with the visor raised.
On some helmets I find the dropdown sun visor doesn’t come low enough. The HJC’s sun visor, though, is pretty good in this area as it only leaves a small area of white light at the bottom edge.
The sun visor operates by a sliding catch on the left side of the helmet, which is easy to use and very unobtrusive to look at.
When the visor is lifted the catch needs a little pressure to lock the visor in the upper position. Taking the sun visor out and putting it back for cleaning or replacement is really easy - pull it down a little and then ease it out of its catches.
The helmet strap is a micro buckle and ratchet strap, which I found a little fiddly to start with, but I soon got used to it. I still prefer D-rings, although I have no reason to complain about the fastening strap on this helmet. The helmet lining is fully washable and easy to remove.
The flip lid catch is in the middle of the chin section and pulls down from beneath the chin skirt. In gloved hands this is far too fiddly, though take off your gloves and it’s easy to locate and operate.
To remove the peak you need to remove two screws, one at either side of the helmet, using a crosshead screwdriver or a coin.
Once the peak is off there are two covers that screw back on to hold the visor in place. To remove the visor you need to remove the peak first, which allows you to reach the mounting points.
I used the helmet with both the peak fitted and with it removed on a more sports-style bike. Both set-ups worked well enough with no noticeable difference in wind noise.
When I first put the helmet on it felt comfortable and supportive with a nice fit around the crown of my head and a snug feeling around the lower face and chin.
Unfortunately, after 50 or 60 miles in the saddle the helmet started to feel uncomfortable around my temples and above and just to the rear of my ears.
After a little over 700 miles of riding in this helmet it has bedded in a little and the discomfort now comes on a little later, after 60 or 70 miles. This means I can’t wear it over long distances.
I ditched my plans to use the C80 on a trip to Scotland as I couldn’t tolerate the distances with a discomfort that quickly became pain.
From what I can see, the padding at either side of the temples is a double thickness material with a seam, which may explain why the helmet hurts my temples.
Fit and comfort of helmets is a very personal thing, and it may be that other riders wouldn’t experience the uncomfortable feeling I get after a few miles riding.
There are a handful of customer reviews for the C80 on Sportsbikeshop at the time of writing and no-one has mentioned a similar feeling. It shows you should, wherever possible, get a good feel for a helmet’s suitability before buying one.
Overall, I liked this helmet’s look as well as the simple operation of the visor and sun shield.
The flipfront catch should be easier to operate with gloves on, and it’s a shame the C80 cannot legally be worn with the chinbar flipped up as this would be a bonus in hot weather and town traffic.
All this being said, it’s unfortunate that the uncomfortable fit for me makes this a helmet I can’t use for longer rides.
Peripheral vision is good and turning your head to carry out a ‘lifesaver’ gives the vision needed to execute a manoeuvre safely.
The ventilation is adequate and the vents are easy to open and close with gloved hands.
Fit & Comfort
This helmet was not comfortable for me after 60 miles or so of riding. Helmet fit is a very personal thing and many other riders may have no issues with the comfort of this helmet.
Everything works as it should, everything feels solid and well made. This helmet comes with a three-year warranty where many of the competitors have a five-year warranty.
This helmet has the features I would expect, and they all work well.