Modular helmets have to pass the DOT test to be approved for wear. They are still relatively new to the sport, so the full face helmet is still the preferred helmet. Modulars tend to be a little heavier and slightly noisy, but convenient as far as being able to lift the chin bar up. Modulars are getting better, so my best advice is to try one one if you are interested in buying one. Here is a review of a helmet similar to the one I wear.
The truth is, they're safe, but not as safe as a full face helmet. To be honest, I don't really see the point in a modular helmet. If I had to choose, I'd rather own both a full face helmet and an open face helmet instead of a modular helmet. It looks stupid when you've got the front flipped up, and it's not as safe as a full face helmet with the front flipped down.
IMO, Full face is the way to go for safety and looks.
Full face is perfectly fine. I would recommend keeping the "chin" down with "spirited riding", just in case you go down...
They're cool. the reason I don't have one, and a full-face instead, is because a lot 48+ year-olds with beer guts tend to wear them... I'm not in that crowd. And I should probably just wear a full face anyway...
A group of Gixxers rolled up to me the other day at a light and at least 3 that I could see had on flip ups. None looked 48. They looked hard but not 48.. Did I mention they were checking out the Ninja? ;D
We talked about this same topic in my MSF class, since a lot of the guys like modular helmets, and why not? You want to pull over and have a smoke, just stop flip the lid up, light up, and pull away, simple enough right? Well the problem we discussed was the fact that in a hard wreck that latch that holds the flip up part down could come unhooked or break open and expose your face to the full fury of the asphalt/dirt/whatever else you might be sliding on. I don't know what the actual facts are bout the lids, but the instructor did say he had heard of them coming undone in an accident.
Just something to think about, and maybe something to look into before you buy a lid that's not doing all you want it to.
Good articles and stats are out there to see. Get the facts.
Modular Helmets, Are They Safe?
Filed in archive Reviews by Matt on March 28, 2007
Modular Helmets, Are They Safe?
You've no doubt seen one of the newer (~10 years or so) phases in motorcycle helmetslinks; the modular, or flip-face helmet. It looks very much like a normal full-face helmet when it's closed, but the entire front, including the face shield and the chin guard, flip up out of the way. This, I suppose, is so you can eat, drink, smoke or what-ever while you're riding.
They have to be DOT approved for highway use, which they are, but do the pass the SNELL test? As of this writing, I don't know. I haven't been able to find any modular helmets that have been submitted to them for testing.
I did, however, find a comparison done by Motorcycle Cruiser, who stated that the modular helmets for the most part were "acceptable". They did a number of tests that appeared to simulate the SNELL tests. Here's what they had to say:
At the end of the day we had learned that all of these modular motorcycle helmets provide acceptable crash protection, as long as you make sure they will stay on your head by performing a roll-off test before you buy. For the motorcyclists who wants the best protection in this crowd, we suggest looking at the Nolan, Lazer or Shoei.
So if you're thinking about getting one, go check out Motorcycle Cruiser and read the entire write up and decide for yourself. If you're cruising or touring, it might be the right helmet for you. But if you're a sport rider, you may want to think twice.
Here is another thing to consider if your are in a crash or accident. Which is easier for the paramedic to get off of you to administer cpr, oxygen, trach tube, clear possible blocked airway, etc...
Granted under most circumstances a EMT or paramedic will not remove the helmet not unless it is essential to life saving. A accident victim in stable condition will secured to a back board and carried to a hospital ASAP. If a person suffers a cervical injury, ( which usually happens on a face plant) Which is better?
...a quote from the article for those that my be looking for SNELL approved helmets.
"I'm not sure why no Snell approved modular helmet is available yet -- Snell claims that no manufacturers have submitted one for approval. I have in my possession a copy of a test from a helmet testing lab in Europe that demonstrates that a well-designed modular helmet can indeed pass the Snell certification tests.
The European manufacturer decided not to distribute the helmet in the U.S. for several reasons, and no one really cares about Snell approval in Europe, so that's where the story ended. Please don't ask me for the brand of helmet, we've been sworn to secrecy as part of the deal to obtain the test results! That many (or all) flip-up or modular helmets sold in Europe must meet ECE 22.05 certifications also demonstrates that there's nothing apparently wrong with the intrinsic design of this type of helmet."
DOT vs. SNELL