Flip-over helmets are popular with riders who want the option to have both an open-face helmet and a full-facer without having to carry a spare lid.
HJC are the latest company to produce a flip-over, and the first to come up with one that meets the new ECE 22.06 safety approval.
The HJC i100 works in a similar way to most others, with a chinbar that can be released and will slide over to nestle at the back of the shell when you want it in open-face mode.
There are some major advantages of a flip-over rather than a traditional flipfront for those who expect to spend more time with the chinbar up.
Having the chinbar on the back is better for weight distribution and it’s also hidden more from the windblast, to save neckstrain. You also retain use of the main visor, which isn’t something that can be said for a regular flip lid.
I’ve been wearing an i100 for 300 miles and have been impressed with the quality and comfort from HJC’s first entry into this style of lid.
As with all flip-up or flip-over helmets, I find more care is needed with choosing a size. They’re inevitably tighter when the chinbar is closed, as the main helmet shell is squeezed together when the chinbar is lowered into place.
This was quite pronounced on the i100 and I had to wear a size large instead of my usual size medium. Not that it’s a problem, just something to bear in mind when trying on - assess it in both open- and full-face configuration.
There are a couple of areas where the i100 differs from other helmets of this genre. Firstly it has a sliding switch to lock the chinbar back when it’s in open-face mode. This is a requirement of the ECE 22.06 standard and the i100’s dual-homologation as both open-and full-face helmet.
The red locking switch isn’t easy to use when riding, and probably isn’t designed to be easy as HJC’s owners’ manual tells us not to operate the chinbar while riding. But people will. And in reality, I feel few riders will bother to lock the chinbar back anyway. On a helmet where it might slip forward and block the rider’s vision then it’s important to lock it. The chances of that happening with a lid like this are tiny.
Another difference is that the i100’s visor returns to the lowered position at the end of a conversion in either direction (chinbar open to closed or vice-versa). On other flip-overs the visor ends up in the raised position, and I found the HJC’s system more convenient.
I found the helmet comfortable to use, despite it being one of the heaviest helmets around. We’ve weighed 89 helmets for our reviews over the last two years and only one of those was heavier. HJC’s description calls the i100 ‘lightweight’, which stretches the definition of that term to new levels of elasticity.
I couldn’t say what it’s like on a long tour, but I wore an LS2 Valiant flip-over helmet on a long trip in 2018 and the weight did cause me issues over distance. It wouldn’t be fair to assume the i100 would do the same, but it is almost 10% heavier than the LS2 so it’s a genuine concern and I’ll be watching the owner reviews to see what the verdict is on that score.
The outer visor offers reasonable vision and is Pinlock-protected against misting, the sun visor offers plenty of depth and is also coated to guard against fog (a personal preference of mine as I seem to suffer more than most when it comes to misted visors).
There’s also the option to limit the travel of the sun visor, thanks to a small wheel adjuster to one side of the eyeport. Set that to maximum travel and the visor will come down by 7mm than if it’s set on its minimum. The owner’s manual has a handy explanation of how to do that.
Venting is very good, with two-stage vents on top and on the chin, where there’s a particularly good flow of air. I wore this helmet in some very hot conditions and didn’t suffer too much for it.
The inner lining is comfortable and there’s the option to buy different thicknesses of cheekpad if the fit doesn’t suit you to a tee.
The lining is an absolute doddle to remove/refit and the strap fastener is a micrometric buckle, as is virtually always the case with a flip helmet.
The i100 is prepared for HJC’s Smart intercoms and one of those will be the easiest way to integrate a communications system.
But the preparations for HJC's system don't make it awkward to fit a universal intercom and I was easily able to fit a Cardo Packtalk Edge system to the helmet.
The dedicated HJC unit’s microphone would mount more neatly than a universal one, but one of those will be fine if you don’t want the HJC kit, which uses Sena technology.
Overall, I think the i100 is an excellent addition to the flip-over category of helmets. It’s well vented, gives good vision, has a comfy lining and the flip-over mechanism works well.
The fact it’s ECE 22.06 means I have extra confidence in its protection levels, too.
Having worn this lid through a British heatwave, I can see the appeal of a flipover lid - and I think HJC have created a worthwhile option for those who want one.