HJC Sy-Max II | Moto Helmet Review

No More Blowing Kisses

As a full-face motorcycle helmet wearer, I'm used to chastely blowing my husband a kiss from under my helmet as I head off to work in the morning. But, that was before I started wearing HJC's Sy-Max II. The Sy-Max II features a single-button chin bar/faceshield release that allows me quickly pop up the front of the helmet, even after I've slipped my gloves on.

Not only does this make it easy to get a real goodbye kiss, this convenient feature is immensely useful. At short stops, such as fill-ups at gas stations, I don't always want to pull off my helmet, even though communication through it is difficult and can be intimidating to some people. If I need to go inside to pay, or purchase a drink, flip up the helmet and show off a friendly face.

Another favorite feature of the HJC Sy-Max II is the integrated interior sun visor. I usually ride with a clear visor, squeezing sunglasses inside my helmet for the morning commute into the sun, and pocketing them for the ride home in the dark. The smoke-tinted visor can easily be moved into place by sliding a gloved hand across the top of the helmet, from back to front. Should my ride take me through a tunnel, or down a dark alley, I simply push the release button on the top of the helmet and the visor snaps up.

The Sy-Max II has a comfortable fit for my head, and though well-padded with removable crown and cheek pads, there is more personal space between the visor and my face than other helmets. Peripheral vision is excellent, as is the clarity of the visor, though with no anti-fog feature, I have to crack my visor at stops in chillier weather. Two air vents, at the chin and forehead, channel air when flipped open. As one would expect, the HJC Sy-Max II is noisier, chillier, heavier, and less-sturdy than an equivalent one-piece full-face helmet, but to enjoy the flip-up feature and integrated dark interior visor, this is a trade-off that many will find acceptable.

Location photography by Jonathan Beck


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