HJC i90 Modular Motorcycle Helmet Review: Is It Really Worth Buying?

The HJC i90 motorcycle helmet is the successor of HJC’s IS-Max II. It claims to be a superior modular helmet considering that it is moderately priced.

The HJC i90 promises superior quality and excellent value for your money with a more modern look and multi-functional features.

HJC Helmets is a South Korea-based company that’s been a staple in creating full-face motorcycle helmets for almost 50 years.

HJC i90 at a Glance

The i90 is now the third modular helmet produced by the company after the V90 and C91.

The HJC i90 tops the list of other modular helmets out there, promoting greater visibility and comfort even for long rides.

Honestly, HJC doesn’t disappoint. The company’s mission is to continuously provide high-quality, comfortable, and reasonably priced helmets to motorcyclists worldwide.

To give you a sneak peek, here’s why we consider the modular helmet one-of-a-kind:

Pros:

  • Specialized features giving all-around protection
  • Polycarbonate composite shell for maximum durability
  • Can be configured for full-face or open-face
  • UV protection
  • Reliable chin strap

Cons:

  • Slightly heavier than an average modular helmet
  • Designed for an intermediate oval head shape – other head shapes will need some accessories for a better fit

Things to Consider Before Buying a Modular Motorcycle Helmet

Modular helmets are specifically designed for those who are seeking comfort while ensuring protection. [R]

It is intended for those who want the comfort of an open-faced helmet AND the protection and durability of a full-face helmet.

We recommend you try a modular helmet if you are the type of rider who enjoys taking a quick breather or who wants to strike a short conversation with another rider at a stoplight.

BUT, do remember that modular helmets DO NOT HAVE the same level of protection as full-face helmets. Not to mention that it is also heavier than an average helmet. [R]

A modular helmet is not for you if you prefer wearing lighter helmets or riding your motorcycle at full speed.

As an alternative, you will be safer when using a full-face helmet while driving in the fast lane.

HJC i90 Modular Helmet: An In-Depth Review

Safety Ratings

Of course, one of the main factors of choosing helmets is their ability to protect its user.

Even though relatively new, the helmet has already been approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT) in the United States and the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE).

The HJC i90 meets or exceeds DOT FMVSS 218/ECE 22.05. Before being released to the public, the testing of the helmet included the following:

  • Energy attenuation
  • Penetration resistance
  • Chinstrap structural integrity
  • Labeling requirements for on-road motorcycle helmets

Just some trivia. Did you know that the ECE is the most up-to-date and the most recognized certification worldwide?

It is also more rigorous than the DOT certification because of extra tests such as the abrasion test.

PLUS, the HJC i90 is made of a polycarbonate shell, which is incredibly tough and offers significant impact resistance, given that it’s lightweight.

It is also resistant to chemicals and weathering, unlike other materials that are easily degradable. [R]

Other Tests and Certifications

Another test is the Safety Helmet Assessment and Rating Programme (SHARP). It is a motorcycle rating system established by the government of the United Kingdom. [R]

SHARP tested ECE i90s (European version), and ALL the HJC polycarbonate helmets scored 4 stars out of 5. Come to think of it, that’s an EXCELLENT score.

When it comes to the chin guard, the SHARP assessment noted that the chin bar stayed locked and closed in every single impact. How amazing is that, right?

The dual homologated helmet – the one produced in Europe – passed the chin-bar test with flying colors.

This is important information because the chin bar forms parts of the helmet’s outer shell, protecting the jaw.

Shield: Visibility & Protection

Imagine this scenario: You’re riding your motorcycle in the middle of the road. It’s really humid outside, and suddenly, your shield fogs up, and you can’t do anything about it.

Isn’t that really annoying? I’m sure you have already experienced that horrible situation at least once.

That’s the exact situation that the HJC i90 endeavored to solve.

The internal sun visor of the helmet features excellent sunlight blocking and an anti-fog solution.

HJC Helmets include a Pinlock anti-fog insert when you purchase your own HJC i90, and you can slot this at the back of the helmet’s face shield.

And as if that’s not enough of a win already, the clear polycarbonate face shield offers 99% UV protection too! We’re not even mentioning the sun visor yet!

Whether it’s a rainy, windy, sunny, or cloudy day, the HJC i90 helmet has got your back.

What About Its Sun Visor?

The integrated HJ-V9 sun visor has improved with a wider visor aperture, peripheral vision, and sunlight blocking.

This feature is handy when the sun has harsh glares on a particular day while you’re out riding.

The tint of the sun visor is medium smoked. While it’s not as dark as one’s sunglasses, it’s perfectly capable of making it easier for you to navigate the road on a super sunny day.

Legalities would also suggest that the tint shouldn’t be any darker, as that would also make it hard for a rider to see when the sun’s not out.

Have we mentioned that it can easily tuck away at the push of a button? That’s right! HJC i90 is not only proving to be essential but incredibly convenient too.

A two-way slider on the bottom left-hand edge of the helmet will enable you to drop and raise the sun visor.

PLUS, the slider does not get in the way of your Bluetooth controller – if you have one. Music + eye protection?

Sounds like one of the best deals we’ve ever heard!

Is the Sun Visor Mechanism Effective?

The inner sun visor is extremely effective, but we can’t say the same for the visor mechanism.

The implementation of the internal sun visor COULD HAVE been done better. It is based on a curved cable, which means that if ever it is stuck, you won’t be able to pull the sun visor down.

This can cause quite an inconvenience, especially if you are using your helmet on a sunny day.

The mechanism is not bulky enough, and it is difficult to operate it with gloves. These factors can hassle a rider, especially if they like wearing gloves REGULARLY.

Another downside is that the latch has an opening. This means that it can let wind noise through.

On the brighter side, you can easily remedy it by taping the section using duct tape.

But, we would rather not have this issue, especially in the caliber of the HJC i90.

Chin Guard: Strength & Ease of Use

Did you know that during a motorcycle crash, nearly 35% of the impact goes to the chin? That’s almost double the amount the other impact zones receive. [R]

This is precisely why chin bars are SUPER important parts of modular helmets.

For the HJC i90, the chin bar is easily opened using a single button underneath the middle of the chin bar.

Chin bars are often the weak point for modular helmets. BUT, let us put your worries at ease.

Specifically, SHARP performs chin bar tests on any helmet, and unfortunately, it has yet to perform one on the HJC i90.

BUT, remember that the modular helmet is ECE and DOT approved. Not to mention that its predecessor, the HJC IS-MAX II, remained securely closed 100% in all the tests conducted by SHARP.

Come to think of it, HJC Helmets has been in the game for almost half a decade. We are certain that they are the experts in ensuring their users are safe.

Ventilation/Airflow

Raise your hand if you would like to have a head drenched of sweat after you’ve gone for a ride?

I hope you didn’t raise your hand because, as far as I know, no motorcycle rider wants an unbreathable helmet.

The biggest upgrade of the HJC i90 from its predecessor is an Advanced Channeling Ventilation System (ACS). The main goal of this system is to prevent excessive wind noise.

In total, the HJC i90 flip-up helmet has seven intake vents and two exhaust vents on the rear. The top vent is pushed forward to promote aerodynamics and cut down on the wind noise.

At the back of the helmet, the exhaust vents are thinned out and inline, contributing to the improved aerodynamics of the helmet.

As for its intake vents, it has a single chin vent in the chin bar, taking air inside towards the mouth. Nevertheless, we advise you to secure the Pinlock if you want to minimize the possibility of fogging.

Without a doubt, the HJC i90 fulfills its promise of being a comfortable helmet. It really ensures that there is enough air and balanced aerodynamics inside and outside the helmet.

What’s So Important About the Chin Vent?

Great question! The chin vent of the HJC i90 HELPS prevents the integrated sun visor from fogging up.

HJC added a Velcro chin curtain underneath the chin vent, which is a HUGE win for it helps eliminate wind noise from entering the helmet.

I wish I had discovered the HJC i90 earlier. To be completely honest, it’s really annoying when the wind noise blocks the outside noises.

It sometimes can cause me to not hear important signals from other vehicles on the road.

Not to mention that it can also get dangerous for your hearing. Did you know that if you are riding 1-2 hours at 10mph with wind, that could damage your ear? [R]

That’s why having a chin curtain is SUPER important! It minimizes wind noise and keeps the cold air out of your face. [R]

In the HJC i90, the chin curtain is removable and is quite comfortable. Do you find it too tight or too loose? If this is the case, you can always use cheek pads to adjust.

You have to buy this separately, though. BUT, it’s still worth it since you can ride faster without worrying about the wind noise.

Helmet Noise

Compared to a full-face helmet, a modular helmet is noisier. But, HJC i90 gave their all in ensuring the helmet noise is minimized.

The extra curtain to the bottom of the curtain minimizes the noise from down below.

However, the mechanism from the chin bar and the pockets for the speaker still produce some reverberation around the helmet. But, don’t worry! That is totally normal.

The overall noise of the helmet falls around the average. However, compared to other flip-up ones, the HJC i90 could be considered a quiet helmet.

Overall Design: Comfort, Aesthetics, and Fit

Given that it is made of a polycarbonate shell, the inside of the HJC i90 helmet is still comfortable.

The helmet features the HJC SuperCool lining – a very comfortable liner that is not only capable of moisture-wicking but also has antibacterial properties.

If it’s your first time encountering the word, moisture-wicking is when the fabric quickly moves the sweat to the fabric’s outer surface and dries it out so the sweat does not saturate the fabric. [R]

PLUS, the antibacterial properties of the silvered fabrics are uncommon for mid-range helmets. I’m telling you, these features are such a steal!

Planning to wear your eyeglasses during the ride? No need to worry! Aside from the sun visor, the HJC i90 also has grooves at the top of the cheek pads where you can easily slide your glasses while riding.

Will It Be Comfortable to Wear When It’s Brand New?

Most helmets require some time for the break-in. The cheek pads of the i90 would also be very tight when you first get it, which is completely normal for all helmets from HJC.

Don’t worry! Most testimonies say that the HJC i90 modular helmet broke in nicely within a week or two. After that, it remains comfortable throughout your trip.

Speaking of comfort, the fit matters too!

The ideal fit of the i90 is a medium oval head shape – which is the most common among the US population.

If you find it too loose, you can always put additional cheek pads on the sides, as long as you can still adjust the helmet comfortably.

It’s also worth noting that HJC sells replacement cheek pads if yours are already worn out. This is the perfect chance to tailor-fit your cheek pads if you find the fit a little loose or too tight.

Can I Customize My Own HJC i90 Modular Helmet?

ABSOLUTELY!

The helmet’s sizing ranges from XS (54-55cm) to 5XL (68-69cm). You also have three options to choose from for your face shield and visor. You can opt for one of the following:

  • HJ-33 Pinlock Ready Shield
  • HJ-33 RST Mirrored Pinlock Ready Face Shield
  • HJ-V9 Sun Visor

You can see the full list of sizing and specifications here. The HJC i90 also comes in six different colors, namely:

  • Stone grey
  • Silver
  • Semi-flat black
  • Black
  • White
  • Wineberry

 

Are There Other Looks of HJC i90 Available?

The modern-looking flip-front also comes in three different graphic options: Hollen, Davan, and Aventa.

Don’t worry! These amazing looks are also protected by anti-scratch properties on HJC’s polycarbonate helmets.

Miscellaneous Features: Audio, Warranty, Weight

With its partnership with Sena, the company created the HJC Smart System. The specially tailored  HJC 20B and 10B Bluetooth communication system has an aerodynamic design.

PLUS, it significantly bumps up the aesthetic look of the smart HJC i90. If you’re looking for a helmet with an integrated  Bluetooth system, you’ve found exactly what you’re looking for.

The system’s main body will fit perfectly at the back of the helmet, and there is also an allowance for channels for the wiring and speaker pockets. Honestly, what more could we ask for?

Planning to Use Third-Party Sound Sets?

Not a problem! The wiring channels will make installing any type of audio system easier, and the speaker pockets will ensure that you won’t be bothered while you’re riding.

One possible downside of the HJC i90 is that it is slightly heavier than other modular helmets. BUT, it doesn’t stray too far from the average weight of other helmets either.

At 3.75lbs (1.7kg), it’s not going to cause any problems to the user. The 0.02 difference from the average weight of 1.68kg is NOT really that significant.

Lastly, the warranty for the HJC i90 is three years. Remember to keep your receipts when you purchase so the manufacturer can immediately service you under warranty.

Value for Money: Is the i90 Worth the Price?

Depending on where you are in the United States and which retail stores you buy from, expect to pay around $190 – $250.

The suggested retail price (SRP) of HJC ranges from $209.99 to $214.99. That is considered the mid-range price for modular helmets, but with HJC i90, you’ll get beyond the price.

Here are the reasons why you’ll get what you pay for and more when you choose HJC i90:

  • The antibacterial properties of silvered fabrics in the internal lining of the i90 are usually only seen on higher-end helmets, but the HJC i90 did not spare this luxury.
  • The mechanism of the top vent of the i90 is well thought of, enabling the helmet to promote a balanced airflow and minimize wind noise.
  • Fully removable and washable cheek pads allow the user to adjust the helmet according to one’s own comfort.
  • Dual homologation paired + Amazing Bluetooth system = Phenomenal long rides

Here’s What Owners of HJC i90 Are Saying…

As your fellow riders, we know that the quality of a helmet can make or break your experience with your motorcycle.

That’s why we made sure that we scoured the Internet to show you some concrete evidence of the quality of the HJC i90.

The HJC i90 owner praised the helmet’s improved ventilation and overall design from the older IS-Max II. The comfort given while using the product was also highlighted.

This owner testified to the great value for money brought by the i90. This owner was thrilled that he got quality features for a reasonable price. Isn’t that what everybody wants?

Road accidents occur, and sometimes, no one is to blame for them. This owner of HJC i90 testifies how the helmet saved his life when he got into an accident while riding.

Of course, there’s no need for you to experience anything life-changing for you to be convinced, but HJC i90 has proven itself reliable during times of distress.

Wouldn’t you want a product that goes above and beyond to give you a quality experience and fulfills everything it advertises?

That’s exactly what got this owner of i90 really happy. According to him, the helmet allowed him to get a lot of upgrades at a reasonable price.

In his own words, “you honestly won’t find a better modular helmet at this price.” Honestly, we agree.

This owner specifically loves the sun visor and how it aids in his long rides. Truly, what’s better than being comfortable during sunny days and experiencing no glares?

Is HJC i90 Not the One for You? Check These Out Instead

#1 Nolan N100-5 Flip up Modular Motorcycle Helmet

The Nolan N100 is different from the HJC i90 because of its wide and tall shield for an all-around vision. PLUS, you can ride with

The Nolan N100 is also ESS-ready, which enables the rider to add a brake light to the back of the helmet.

This is a wonderful addition lacking in the i90, especially for people who love taking out their motorcycles for a ride at night.

It’s not a secret that night driving increases crash risk for all drivers, and adding a backlight for additional visibility can save the life of one rider. [R]

Another unique thing about the N100 is you can let down its sun visor with noticeable steps. This enables the rider to choose depending on their need.

For example, in its lowest position, the sun visor of the N100 will cover most of one’s vision.

You can check out the Nolan N100-5 Flip-up Helmet here.

#2 Schuberth E1 Flip-up Adventure Motorcycle Helmet

The design is what makes this Schuberth helmet stand out.

The goal for the E1 is to have a versatile lid that will enable it to have the use of a full-face, freedom of a modular, and aesthetics of an adventure helmet.

Aside from that, the main difference about this is that it’s made of a fiberglass shell.

BOTH the i90 and the N100 are made with polycarbonate, making the E1 lighter but flexible in its impact absorption.

The E1 also has a drop-down visor, which is a common feature of a fiberglass helmet. Also, this product is envisioned to become a slippery one to minimize buffeting and noise.

Despite having an adjustable sun peak on top of the helmet, the E1’s appeal is that it’s a very quiet helmet – possibly due to its wind tunnel design.

When it comes to comfort, the internal lining of E1 is Oeko-Tex 100 certified, which means that they don’t contain any harmful substances and WILL NOT irritate human skin.

Honestly, this is such a win for people who have sensitive skin conditions – especially on the face – who still want to ride their motorcycles for long periods of time.

#3 Scorpion EXO AT950 Modular Adventure Helmet

The AT950 claims that it’s versatile regardless of what motorcycle you are riding. Couple that with an Everclear anti-fog face shield, and you can go on any adventure you want.

You would expect that with every feature it has, the AT950 would be noisy. It’s considered to be quiet, but it’s not exactly the quietest either. Expect to need a decent set of earplugs.

One big difference from the N100, E1, and i90 is that the AT950 is NOT dual homologated. Scorpion does not recommend that you ride with the chinning bar up.

Like the i90, the AT950 has its own anti-microbial internal lining designed to remove sweat from the head.

Again, this feature is useful for all riders as there would be no need to wipe the sweat while on the road.

The helmet also is heavier than other modular types, weighing about 1.8kg. But, with all the additional pictures, it’s a worthy price to pay.

Wrapping It Up

Now that we have fully assessed the HJC i90, would we recommend this helmet to you?

ABSOLUTELY! These days, it’s getting harder to find a modular helmet that will not only give you high-end features but is also available at a reasonable price.

Thankfully, this particular helmet attains high safety ratings because it ensures comfort and minimal noise while driving. Honestly, we couldn’t wish for anything more.

We hope you learned a thing or two from this review! Interested in experiencing the HJC i90 for yourself?

I have been riding on and off the road for about the last 20 years. Having access to 100's of brands of helmets, gear, and bikes - you could say that I have the dream job of a motorcycle junkie.