HJC has been manufacturing high-quality modular motorcycle helmets for ages. Their most popular helmet in this category, the RPHA Max, is now discontinued and there is a brand new model available on the market. The RPHA 90S is HJC’s latest flagship in the category of premium modular motorcycle helmets and its mission is to compete with other lids such as the Shoei Neotec 2 or Nolan N100-5.
The helmet is available in multiple different versions. The regular RPHA 90 offers basic features such as fiberglass shell, built-in drop-down sun visor and quick-release shield mechanism. Then there is the RPHA 90S, which is a more advanced version and it will give you some extra features such as carbon fiber shell structure and seamless Bluetooth integration. And finally, you can also buy the RPHA 90S Carbon version, which has a beautiful carbon fiber finish.
In this review, I will be focused on the HJC RPHA 90S Carbon version of the helmet with the “Balian” graphics, which tends to be the most desired one among bikers.
HJC RPHA 90S Carbon Balian Helmet Review
Shell Design & Protection
As I mentioned earlier, the outer shell of the HJC RPHA 90S helmet is constructed from carbon fiber. Actually, it is made of a compound called P.I.M. Plus (Premium Integrated Matrix Plus), which is a combination of carbon fiber and carbon glass. It offers tremendous protection and significant weight reduction compared to the regular fiberglass material. On top of that, it looks really cool. I absolutely love the shiny carbon fiber finish and the combination gloss blue and matte black colors.
The HJC RPHA 90S Carbon has an intermediate oval shape, it is available in three different shell sizes and the sizing ranges from XS to 2XL. The helmet is DOT and ECE certified for safety and it weighs around 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg). Modular motorcycle helmets usually weigh around 4 lbs or more, so it is actually one of the lightest helmets in this category.
Being a modular helmet, the HJC RPHA 90S Carbon Balian comes with a very useful feature – a flip-up chin bar. You can simply open the frontal part of the helmet using an easy-to-reach button, and convert it into an open-face helmet. The chin bar, together with the face shield, will stay in the opened position until you decide to close it and convert it back into a full-face helmet. This is a very practical feature and it offers a lot of benefits for touring and long-distance commuting.
Face Shield & Visor
As most other modular helmets, the HJC RPHA 90S Carbon Balian comes equipped with a built-in drop-down sun visor. The internal visor (HJ-V9) comes in a dark smoke tint, it offers UV protection and it also has a scratch-resistant coating. It is removable and can be easily activated by pushing a slider on the side of the helmet.
The external face shield of the HJC RPHA 90S is Pinlock-ready and you will get a free anti-fog lens insert with this helmet. On top of that, the shield offers an innovative feature called RapidFire III shield replacement system, which is a technology designed for easier and faster installation of the face shield. Thanks, to this technology, you will be able to swap the shield within seconds, without any tools.
The RPHA 90S modular motorcycle helmet provides phenomenal peripheral vision and its extra-wide eye port will ensure that you can see all the important stuff going on the road while touring.
Ventilation & Airflow
The HJC RPHA 90S Carbon Balian is a well ventilated motorcycle helmet. Its Advanced Channeling Ventilation system (ACS) will provide full front-to-back airflow and the adjustable air vents will give you the option to maximize the flow of fresh air coming into the helmet.
There is a single intake air vent in the front of the chin bar and an extra intake vent on the top of the helmet. In the back, you will find a passive exhaust vent which will release the hot air out of the interior. All the vents are large enough and easy to reach, so you will be able to adjust the airflow even with your gloves on. This is an important aspect and I am always very happy to see it, especially on a modular helmet.
Interior & Comfort
Comfort is probably the biggest factor when choosing the best modular motorcycle helmet. It needs to fit really well and, at the same time, it has to be comfortable enough for the rider, so he or she can wear it comfortably on multi-day touring trips.
Fortunately, the HJC RPHA 90S Carbon Balian is a super-comfy helmet. It is extremely lightweight, which means no neck pain during those long rides. In fact, with the RPHA 90S Carbon, you can easily forget that you are actually wearing a motorcycle helmet. Its “Multicool” interior liner is capable of wicking moisture and you can remove it for washing whenever it is required. The internal padding is eyewear-friendly, so you can wear any type of glasses with the helmet.
The fit of the HJC RPHA 90S Carbon Balian helmet is true to size, but unfortunately, it can run too narrow for some riders. If your head has a perfectly round-oval shape, you might be out of luck with this helmet.
Thanks to a specifically designed neck roll, the RPHA 90S Carbon helmet is fully compatible with HJC’s SMART Bluetooth communication system (HJC 10B or HJC 20B), which you can buy separately. The device can be seamlessly integrated with the shell to maintain the compact size and aerodynamic stability of the helmet.
If you would prefer to use your own Bluetooth headset, you will have no problems either. The HJC RPHA 90S can be used with the most popular motorcycle intercom devices such as the Sena 30k and Cardo Packtalk Bold. There are built-in speaker cutouts inside the helmet, so you shouldn’t have any issues installing the speakers of your favorite Bluetooth headset.
HJC RPHA 90S Carbon Balian Video Review
Safety Airflow Comfort Noise Value
When I think about the HJC RPHA 90S Carbon helmet, the very first thing that comes to my mind is value. You will get a lot of features for a relatively affordable price tag. A high-quality carbon fiber motorcycle helmet with an integrated sun visor and comfortable interior for a price of around $500. This is, in my opinion, a very good deal. Apart from the slightly narrow fit, there are almost no downsides. Without a doubt, it is a good overall package and a great bang for the buck.
I can recommend the RPHA 90S Carbon to anyone who likes sport-touring and who is looking for a lightweight modular helmet with a carbon fiber finish.
HJC RPHA 90S Helmet
Pros: Lightweight shell design, RapidFire III shield replacement system, Integrated drop-down sun visor, MultiCool Interior, Good value
Cons: A little too narrow