HJC Rpha Max Modular Helmet

When I first started riding I wore a half helmet. I was committed to wearing a helmet, but I liked the wind in my face and wasn't really crazy about what I thought would be the restrictive nature of a full-face or modular helmet. Then it happened.

Over the years the elements started taking their toll. I could put up with the cold, the stinging rain, and the occasional sunburn, but one tour (despite always having lip-balm with sunscreen in my jacket pocket), I burned my lips enough that I had to wear a handkerchief over my face for the rest of the tour.

I knew that full-face and modular helmets were much safer than the half helmet I'd been wearing, but it was my sunburned lips that convinced me I needed to keep my face covered—so I made the switch. I replaced the visor with a tinted visor and eventually got used to wearing a modular helmet.

When it came time to look for a new helmet this year I spent a lot of time reading reviews, trying helmets on, and shopping for the one I wanted. My previous modular helmet had been an HJC so when I started reading about HJC's Rpha Max, I decided to try it out. 

That was the lid my friend Kelly had been wearing for a while and his helmet size was the same as mine, so I tried it on to see if I liked it. It was obvious I needed to size up one size.

The helmet generally fits a little more snug than my previous helmet which took a little getting used to, but now I prefer the fit. By snug, I mean it fits a little closer to my face. It's pretty light for a modular helmet and is actually quite comfortable. As I did before, I swapped out the clear visor it comes with for a dark tinted visor after a couple of months, which I like better.

Overall, I'm very happy with the helmet, but here are the things I like and a thing or two I don't like about it:

What I like

  • It's very comfortable and fairly well ventilated (it was my lid for all of the last summer)
  • The lining is washable and comes out of the shell easily
  • There are cavities for my Sena SMH-10 bluetooth communicator
  • It not only comes pinlock ready, it came with a pinlock (which I installed immediately)
  • I think it looks good

What I don't like

  • It's not as quiet as I was hoping for (I know that's a problem for modular helmets, but I was hoping for a little quieter—it is quieter than my previous helmet)
  • I can't use the included chin shield (which would make it a bit quieter, but I wouldn't be able to use my Sena)
  • The flip-down internal sunshades could be darker
  • I have the gloss black helmet which scratches pretty easy (so I'm very careful with where I put it when I'm not wearing it)

None of the things I don't like are deal breakers for me. I read one review that claimed the visor doesn't seal very well in the rain and water gets in, but I've been in the rain several times and have never had that problem. I think it's a great high-end modular helmet at a better price point than the Shoei Neotec or the Shuberth C4 helmets that I was also looking at. All three helmets are built with high-tech materials and safety in mind, are very light, and (in my opinion) set the standard for modular helmets. The Shuberth is supposed to be the quietest modular helmet on the planet, but for the $hundreds of dollars I saved with the Rpha Max, I think I got the best bang for the buck. After six or eight months and thousands of miles I have no buyer's remorse. I'd buy this helmet again.

NOTE: If you're not familiar with it, the pinlock clicks on the inside of your visor and is something I'd never had before, but is really a nice feature. Riding all year, riding in rain, and riding in the cold, visors tend to fog up. I'm not sure exactly how the thing works (it might be voodoo), but  basically it's porous and absorbs the moister in the air or from your breath so your visor doesn't fog. I don't think I'll ever buy another helmet without that feature.