Thanks to a wind-tunnel developed exterior, the HJC RPHA Max modular helmet is visually compact and, when the well-integrated face section is closed, it is easy to mistake the Max for a good-looking full-face helmet.
Picking it up maintains the impression, as the lightweight Max tiptoes on to the scales at just 3 pounds, 5.4 ounces (amazingly, the same as HJC’s RPS-10 race helmet); it is the lightest modular helmet we have yet tested. Credit goes to HJC’s carefully layered matrix shell composition, made up of carbon fiber, aramid, and fiberglass.
The interior of the RPHA Max is ultra-plush, and as immediately comfortable as some of the highest-end helmets. The Cool4ever lining is fully removable, washable, and has enhanced moisture-wicking properties. When you do sweat, there is a special antibacterial ginkgo extract that helps fight odor buildup in the lining. The Max also has variable front air intake vents that flow air quite well through the fixed-open rear vents.
The visor uses HJC’s center clip closing mechanism and there is a great wind seal once the visor is clipped down, making the Max one of the quietest helmets available. The interior sun visor flips down inside the helmet via a center slider towards the back; the mechanism is sprung, so retracting it is effortless. Both the sun visor and Pinlock-compatible faceshield are optically perfect, something not every helmet maker gets quite right.
Of course, the appeal of a modular helmet is the flip-up design; certainly, in an accident it is the weak point and can’t be expected to give the same level of protection a full-face model offers. The Max’s mouth guard hinges up via a central button under the chin bar, and a detent holds it flipped up as necessary; in the closed position the seal is excellent, helping to keep things quiet.
HJC’s new mid-priced RPHA line is targeted at riders who are reluctant to spend the money on a premier helmet, yet want a helmet that approaches that standard of design and manufacture.
The HJC RPHA Max is definitely a better helmet in every aspect than its $460 price point would suggest. It is high quality, comfortable to wear, and its light weight and quiet interior put it at the top of the growing modular class. For additional information, visit HJC’s website.