It is clear that modular helmets are a very common option, especially for city bikers. They make some of the most common tasks that bikers carry out easier and offer greater protection than open face helmets. In the same way, there is no doubt that they offer all the same advantages that we find in full face helmets (safety, weight, noise, etc.).
What is a modular helmet?
Although mainly known as "modular" or "convertible", when we say "flip-up", we are referring to the same type of helmet. It is a helmet that has a folding chin incorporated on the front. In this way, a single helmet has two uses: as a jet, once the lower part is lifted up, and as a full face, when it is returned to the original position.
What advantages do modular helmets offer?
They're helpful in tasks such as paying at a gas station, going to a cash machine, talking on the phone when we stop, or speaking with another person, amongst others. It is clear that the advantages of a modular helmet compared to a full face one are plentiful.
In fact, it is very difficult for those who are used to using a convertible helmet to switch back, especially those who often use their motorcycle around the city and who often feel overwhelmed when they use a full face helmet.
With a simple gesture, we can lift the chin bar and visor upwards, and thus leave our face uncovered to feel more free when carrying out the aforementioned tasks or other tasks, such as putting on and removing the anti-theft feature or simply listening to a voice message.
It also prevents accidents as we don’t have to carry it by hand or leave it somewhere while we run errands. By having it on our head, we have our two hands freer, and we also avoid any unwanted scratching or even the possibility of it falling and rolling on the ground.
How to open and close a modular helmet
With regards to the opening and closing mechanisms, there exist several systems depending on each brand. The most common is for the opening button to be located on the inside of the central part of the chin bar or on the sides. An aspect to take into account is that some models intend to facilitate the activation operation so much that the button is too exposed and can lend itself to unwanted opening due to accidental touching. For this reason, it is preferred to have it hidden on the inside, although not too hidden, so that when we use it with thick winter gloves we can still press it without too many issues.
The same as with full face helmets, there exists a very wide range of flip-up helmets with very varied prices and, logically, with different characteristics. As is normal, more money means greater care in the finishing touches, better quality, and more robustness in the opening and closing mechanism components.
Disadvantages of modular helmets
As is logical, a modular helmet has some disadvantages that we will have to accept. Compared to a full face helmet of the same brand and same price range, it is heavier and noisier. Moreover, as it has a more complicated design, its drag coefficient is worse. Unfortunately, there isn’t a flip-up helmet that doesn't make noise as air seeps through its gaps, but some now have seals that are sufficiently airtight.
Another aspect to take into account is the type of standardization. Many helmets aren't standardized to be able to ride with the chin bar flipped-up. Although the most correct and safe way is to use them in their closed configuration, some allow us to ride with them in their open configuration. To know for sure, we should look at the letters that appear on the obligatory standardization label that is usually sewn to one of the straps or on the inside lining.
Helmets standardized as full face only have the letter “P” for “Protective” and can only be used closed. If they include the letters “P/J” for “Protective/Jet”, they can be used with the chin bar up when riding. Furthermore, these allow the aforementioned chin bar to be removed and used as an open face jet type helmet. It is important to mention that we could be fined if we ride with a helmet without the letter “J” in jet, or open face, mode.
As is the case with full face helmets, it is very important to choose the correct size that adjusts well to our head. The helmet is the most important safety element, but it doesn't help at all if you don't know how to choose the right helmet