We are beginning to see more helmets with integrated sun shades, and HJC Helmets has reacted to the onslaught by releasing its latest model of this type—the IS-17. Priced between $180 (plain white or black) and $200 (Intake graphics), the new HJC IS-17 is a helmet marketed to the masses.
For that, you get an Advanced Polycarbonate Composite outer shell on the IS-17, with standard expanded polystyrene foam inside to cushion your head from impacts—we don’t test that, but it is DOT-approved.
Inside there’s a SuperCool Moisture-Wicking Interior (fully removable for cleaning). It’s not an ultra-plush liner, but it is quite comfortable. The helmet slipped on my head easily, and is shaped to avoid hotpots and pressure points. Daylong rides in warm and cool temperatures were no problem, and a decent amount of air flows through the closable vent on the crown of the helmet.
The latest Pinlock-Prepared Faceshield has been reinforced on the IS-17, and gives you a nice, clear, and consistent view ahead. As the name implies, you can add Pinlock accessories to your taste. The clear faceshield is claimed to be offer 98% UV protection (so you don’t need sunscreen) and has an anti-scratch coating. It’s also easily removed and replaced without tools—HJC calls the system RapidFire II.
An interesting feature on the IS-17’s faceshield is that it locks in the lower center. It took a few tries to get used to engaging and disengaging the latch. However, once I got it down, it was easy to do with gloves on, and I like that security. Well done.
Inside, the IS-17 has an improved sun visor—called the One-Touch Integrated Sunshield. While not fully optically correct (though close—some may not even notice), the visor is not overly dark, yet has enough shading to handle the still-powerful late-season summer sun in Southern California.
The big upgrade is the operation of the interior visor. Before, the sun visor was clunky to push into place. Even worse on the previous version, when you pushed the spring-loaded button on top of the helmet to retract it, the sound inside the helmet was not unlike a mousetrap going off in your ear. The IS-17 system is nicely damped, can be easily operated with a gloved hand, and, while not quite silent, not the least bit annoying—kudos to the designer of that feature.
With the One-Touch Integrated Sunshield, the HJC IS-17 isn’t as light as a standard full-face helmet, but the balance is good enough that you’re not likely to notice. Again, this helmet can be worn all day in comfort, thanks to a nice interior, good fit, and the way it sits on the head.
A worthy upgrade to the IS series, the new HJC IS-17 is an excellent choice for riders looking for a moderately priced helmet with the convenience of a built-in sunshield. Five shades of gray (from white to black—the $190 Metallic-Silver version is shown) are available, as well as the Intake graphic, which is available in five different color combinations.
Photography by Kelly Callan