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Reviews

HJC i70 helmet review

Can HJC's new i70 live up to the IS-17 it replaces? Our reviewer puts it through its paces to find out
Price from: £124.99 RRP £169.99 View full details

Customer rating:

4.7 (72)

Review Conditions
Motorcycle: Yamaha FZ-1 Fazer
Seasons Ridden: Spring, summer

HJC have high hopes for the i70, which arrived in 2019 to replace the uber-popular IS-17 in the competitive mid-priced helmet battleground.

It’s a plastic-shelled all-rounder that’s equipped with similar features to its predecessor, the IS-17, with an internal sun visor, Pinlock anti-mist insert, removable comfort liner and a D-ring strap fastener.

After covering over a thousand miles on the road in one, the i70 has shown itself to be a decent helmet that does a good, solid job – but it’s far from perfect.

It’s also more expensive than the IS-17, giving up the £150 battle and going instead for the £180-£200 market, which is another competitive fight in its own right.

For a start, HJC’s ‘lightweight’ tag is a little off-beam as our review helmet in size large weighs in at 1670g, which isn’t far off the weight of many flipfront helmets. It’s not just theoretical weight either, as I noticed the extra bulk while riding in the i70.

It’s not a heavyweight monster like some helmets, but it’s about 200g above the threshold where I consider a lid can be described as light. And if 200g doesn’t sound like much, consider that’s almost 20% of the helmet’s weight.

I needed to wear the i70 in size large, even though I’ve tested plenty of other HJC helmets and always worn a medium. No problem, but something to bear in mind if you also have a regular HJC size.

There have also been build quality issues, with the lacquer on the matt finish peeling away in several places above the visor lip. They’re unsightly and frustrating, but the returns team at HJC’s UK importer assure us that such issues would be covered within the helmet’s warranty.

Those concerns out of the way, on to the good stuff with the new HJC. It’s comfortable, well-equipped and was relatively quiet for rides on my Yamaha FZ-1 Fazer.

The Pinlock insert does a good job of protecting against visor fogging and the dropdown sun visor has good coverage and isn’t overly prone to misting, even though it doesn’t appear to have an anti-fog coating.

It’s easy to change the visor, the centrally located lifting and locking tab is easy to use and effective, and the operating switch for the dropdown sun visor is on the base of the lid, which is the best location for it.

Venting is effective enough without excelling – a twin-entry chin vent scoops through enough cooling air, while two openings at the top do a reasonable job.

There’s plenty of room around the ears for intercom speakers and the lining has remained firm and in good condition after 1000 miles of testing. The D-ring strap fastener is reassuring and it’s easy to clip the loose end up and out of the way.

Overall, the i70 is a reasonable helmet that is effective enough and gives good service, but it doesn’t stand out in terms of either quality or value for money like the old IS-17 did.

Vision

The Pinlock MaxVision visor works well and the central tab to lock it closed or hold it open works well. Peripheral vision is fine, and the internal sun visor offers decent coverage while being easy to operate with the side-mounted slide switch.

Ventilation

Airflow with the vents open is adequate without really excelling. The chin vent is the most effective, with the top two intakes doing a basic job.

Fit & Comfort

This is where the weight plays its part, causing mild neck strain on longer journeys and reducing the score. The lining is plush enough without being luxurious.

Build quality

It loses marks for the flaking paint above the visor, although the UK importer assures us this would be covered under the warranty.

Features

No quarrels here. If it had a fibre shell and emergency-release cheekpads it would have a full set.