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Home Expert Reviews HJC i90 Review - A Worthwhile Budget Modular Helmet!

HJC i90 Review – A Worthwhile Budget Modular Helmet!

HJC Helmets is a South Korea-based company that makes some killer full-face motorcycle helmets. What about their modular helmet lineup? Here we have the HJC i90 modular helmet, a decent buy when you consider its sub-$200 price tag. While there are other modular helmets that are better but more expensive, few come close to i90 when it comes to this budget range. Find out what we think about the HJC i90 in our comprehensive, honest review!

HJC i90 Review – Features

HJC i90 Review - Features

In a hurry? Don’t worry; here is a list of all the features and redeeming qualities of the HJC i90 helmet down below:

  • Polycarbonate composite shell
  • Weighs 3 pounds 13 ounces (1,73 kg)
  • Designed for intermediate oval head shape
  • Full-face and open-face configurations
  • Pinlock-ready clear face shield
  • Inner drop-down sun visor with high UV protection
  • Seven intake vents and two exhaust vents on the rear
  • Speaker pockets
  • D-ring chin strap
  • Bluetooth-ready design for the proprietary communicator
  • DOT and ECE-approved (3XL is DOT only)

Without further ado, let’s continue with our HJC i90 motorcycle helmet review!

Construction & Design

The shell of the HJC is made of polycarbonate. Notice the red button on the chin area - this one is the toggle between open-face and full-face configurations.
The shell of the HJC i90 is made of polycarbonate. Notice the red button on the chin area – this one is the toggle between open-face and full-face configurations.

The shell of the HJC i90 is made of a polycarbonate composite, which is a fairly standard material for modular helmets. Don’t expect any surprises from that standpoint.

This shell is marketed to be “designed to be lightweight”, but how lightweight is the i90 modular helmet? The helmet weighs 3 pounds and 13 ounces (around 1,73 kg). It’s relatively light for a modular helmet, as a lot of modular in this price range can get to almost 2 kg of weight.

When it comes to the design, the HJC i90 helmet is designed for an intermediate oval head shape. That means that it has a little longer front to the back section and is slightly narrower down the side of the head. It’s going to work for most riders from the Western market (Europe and the US).

The flip-up configuration of the HJC i90 is a pretty standard affair.
The flip-up configuration of the HJC i90 is a pretty standard affair.

Of course, as this is a modular helmet, you can pull the chin bar up with a press of the button on the middle of the chin section. The chin bar will sit on the front of the helmet and won’t hinder the visibility or whatsoever.

Vision

This is a dual-visor helmet, with a clear face shield and an internal sun visor included. The clear face shield is Pinlock-ready, which is a godsend for fog resistance. Its gasket is pretty lovely and provides decent vision.

Clear Face Shield

The clear face shield of the HJC i90.
Image Source: RevZilla

The clear face shield mechanism is based on the one main pivot point, which is a nice simplification compared to the IS-MAX helmet, which is the predecessor of the i90. If you need to adjust anything, you can easily do so with the streamlined pivot point. It also helps with preventing more wind from getting inside the helmet. Just make sure to apply some Loctite to it so that the retaining clips don’t pop out!

Sun Visor

The sun visor of the HJC i90 is quite compact.

The inner sun visor features excellent sunlight blocking and is coated with anti-fog and anti-scratch solutions. You can toggle the internal sun visor via the side adjuster located on the helmet’s left lower side. With this implementation, we come to some difficulties when it comes to installing a comm device. 

You see, HJC has a partnership with Sena in the form of the HJC Smart System, with its recess located on the back of the helmet. It is designed to be integrated with the helmet, so basically, the sun visor toggle will block out the usual, convenient spot for Bluetooth communicators. 

The sun visor adjuster on the HJC i90 is located on the lower left jawline, which is a much better position than on the top of the helmet.
The sun visor adjuster on the HJC i90 is located on the lower left jawline, which is a much better position than on the top of the helmet.

Nevertheless, the mechanism is quite simple to use and is more streamlined when compared to the IS-MAX helmet (it had this toggle behind the top vent, a major inconvenience). Still, the implementation of the sun visor toggle could’ve been better. 

First of all, this mechanism is based on the curved cable, which is flawed and can prove to be a deal-breaker if you are unlucky. You see, this mechanism can get stuck, and you won’t be able to pop down the sun visor. Also, this mechanism is tough to operate with gloves, as it is not bulky enough.

One major downside of the sun visor is that its latch has an opening that can let in the wind noise. If it becomes an annoyance, you can easily duct-tape this section, but we would prefer if this flaw wasn’t here in the first place.

While the visibility you get with the i90 is next to none in this price range, some downsides prevent it from reaching its true potential.

The next aspect of our HJC i90 review that we will go through is the overall comfort of the helmet.

Comfort

HJC i90 has very beefy cheek pads to prevent wind noise.
Image Source: RevZilla

When we go on the inside of the i90 helmet, we can see that the cheek pads are dramatically beefed up. Meaning that they come down around your chin, which is excellent for wind noise reduction, as the cheek pads will fully cover your chin. Because of this, the i90 is quieter than most of the sub-$200 modular motorcycle helmets.

There is a slight issue that most riders run into with these beefed-up cheek pads, though. They can be very tight even after breaking in the helmet a few times. You will feel a snug fit initially, but after some time, the tightness will go away.

If we go further in the interior of the helmet, we can see that the i90 uses the double D-ring fastening mechanism. The additional cheek pads run through the D-ring chin strap to increase the overall comfort, which is an excellent addition. 

HJC i90 features speaker cutouts that are awesome for modern Bluetooth communicators.
Image Source: RevZilla

You can easily pull these contoured cheek pads from the three snap points, which will show the speaker cutouts. One excellent addition to the speaker cutouts are the little areas where the Bluetooth communicator cables can run. It will undoubtedly increase the comfort if you decide to use a Bluetooth communicator set.

HJC i90 features a removable, fully washable inner liner.
Image Source: RevZilla

The inner liner is fully removable, washable, and has anti-bacterial and anti-moisture qualities – a pretty standard deal nowadays. It features a brow mount, which adds to the comfort, as there are no points where the inner liner snaps could push against your forehead. Also, there are no pressure points on the back of it, which will certainly contribute to additional comfort when riding your bike.

This is the HJC ACS ventilation system.
Image Source: HJC Helmets

That’s where we come into the ACS system, which is basically an additional layer of foam at the base of the helmet that has cutouts that let in the air inside the helmet. HJC did a solid job with these intake vents, but that air has nowhere to go in the end, which can contribute to more wind noise, a point that we will touch base on in the next section.

Airflow

Here are the top and chin vents of the HJC i90.
Image Source: HJC Helmets

The biggest change that HJC wanted to do with i90 compared to its predecessor, the IS-MAX helmet, is to cut down on wind noise and streamline it a bit more. After all, the i90 is designed for riders who are more into touring and tackling long distances on their rides. So, did HJC succeed in that? This chapter will give you an answer.

Let’s start with the basics. The i90 flip-up helmet features two intake vents, two exhaust vents, and the ACS system that we mentioned in the previous chapter. So, the top vent is pushed forward to promote aerodynamics and less wind noise.

The rear vent on the HJC i90 helmet.
Image Source: HJC Helmets

When we look at the back of the helmet, we’re gonna see the exhaust vents. They are thinned out and inline, which helps with improving the aerodynamic qualities of the helmet. We wouldn’t mind if there were little extra vents further back on the helmet to help put the air out that got in thanks to the ACS system. Guess HJC went to save a bit of money with that.

Liking the HJC i90 review so far? Check out our picks for the best modular motorcycle helmets of 2021!

The chin vent has a Velcro chin curtain underneath, which is a nice addition. Also, the chin curtain is removable and feels quite comfortable. It is a great addition to eliminating wind noise from entering the helmet. Also, it helps prevent the visor from fogging up, which, combined with Pinlock, is epic.

Sadly, some visor design inconsistencies don’t help with eliminating the wind noise. In the end, if you ride above 60 mph, the wind noise will get very distracting, so make sure to get some earpads for that!

Safety Ratings

The HJC i90 helmet passes the ECE and DOT safety standards. Hence, it is a dual homologated helmet, which we love to see in modular helmets. This one will certainly keep you safe if you fall down from your motorcycle. 

What does dual homologation mean? Find out in our dual homologated helmets guide!

Keep in mind that the polycarbonate shell isn’t the best one for safety, but it’s one of the most common materials when it comes to modular motorcycle helmets. Still, there is a robust inner liner that will help with impact absorption.

Note: Sadly, the 3XL variant of the i90 helmet only features the DOT safety certification. That means that it won’t be fully legal to wear in some countries in Europe, mainly those that require ECE safety certification. 

Available Models

You can find the HJC i90 modular helmet in select shell sizes:

  • XS – 54 to 55 cm (21,2″ to 21,7″)
  • – 55 to 56 cm (21,7″ to 22″)
  • – 57 to 58 cm (22,4″ to 22,8″)
  • – 59 to 60 cm (23,2″ to 23,6″)
  • XL – 61 to 62 cm (24″ to 24,4″)
  • 2XL – 62 to 63 cm (24,4″ to 24,8″)
  • 3XL – 64 to 65 cm (25,2″ to 25,6″)

In addition to that, HJC has prepared the i90 helmet in seven different color schemes for riders to harmonize with the rest of their gear:

  • Semi-Flat Black
  • Pearl White
  • Metal Black
  • Stone Grey
  • Semi-Flat Metallic Blue
  • Fluorescent Green
  • N. Grey

Here are the seven different color schemes of the i90 modular helmet you can choose in the gallery below:

As expected from HJC, there are additional three graphic options for those who want to up their stylish game:

  • Aventa
  • Davan
  • Hollen

Here is a gallery showcasing the special models of the HJC i90 modular motorcycle helmet:

Price

This modular budget champion can be found in most stores for only $189/€156/£136. In our opinion, the HJC i90 is absolutely worth this price tag, especially when you consider the updates it has when compared to its predecessor, the HJC IS-MAX. 

While some features hold it back from absolute greatness, for the sub-$200 price tag, there are not so many modular helmets on the same level of quality.

Summing Up

Now that we are at the end of our HJC i90 review, would we recommend this helmet? 

If you are looking for a sub-$200 modular motorcycle helmet, we would definitely recommend it, as its benefits greatly outweigh its cons.

First of all, this is a very comfortable helmet, and once you get used to its beefed cheek pads, it will be very comfy for longer rides. It will fit on most heads, and finding the right size shouldn’t be a problem for you.

It provides awesome visibility, and the addition of the inner sun visor is more than welcome. Of course, both visors are anti-fog and anti-scratch, so that’s a bonus. The sun visor mechanism could use some work, though.

When it comes to ventilation, it is relatively decent but also lets in too much wind noise. As with many modular helmets, you will still need to wear earplugs to tune out the distractions.

When it comes to the design and protection that this helmet offers, it is a huge disappointment that the 3XL variant has only the outdated DOT safety standard, which will make it illegal to wear in some European countries. 

Also, the polycarbonate shell is pretty standard and won’t help much during the crash. Thankfully, the inner lining could greatly help prevent damage to your head if you find yourself in a collision.

Overall, this is a well-made helmet and a recommended buy if you are on a steep budget. HJC delivers yet again, but they can certainly do better, and we hope they will improve on this model further.

Enjoyed our HJC i90 review? We have more for you on the motorcycle helmet reviews section!

HJC i90 Modular Helmet

$189/€156/£136
8.5

Overall Rating

8.5/10

Pros

  • Lots of value for under $200
  • Pinlock-ready face shields
  • Sun visor is nice
  • Well-made helmet
  • Nice airflow

Cons

  • A bit tight fit before you get used to it
  • Lets in lots of wind noise, especially at 60+ mph
  • 3XL variant is not dual homologated
  • Sun visor mechanism can sometimes get stuck

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HJC i90 Modular Helmet

$189/€156/£136
8.5

Overall Rating

8.5/10

Pros

  • Lots of value for under $200
  • Pinlock-ready face shields
  • Sun visor is nice
  • Well-made helmet
  • Nice airflow

Cons

  • A bit tight fit before you get used to it
  • Lets in lots of wind noise, especially at 60+ mph
  • 3XL variant is not dual homologated
  • Sun visor mechanism can sometimes get stuck