For years HJC had been known as a budget helmet company that put out good helmets at a price affordable for most motorcycle riders. With the introduction of the RPHA (pronounced are-fuh) line five years ago, HJC began offering premium helmets at an attractive price.The latest HJC RPHA is the new HJC RPHA 90, replacing the RPHA Max modular, and it lives up to the reputation established by the RPHA 11 Pro and RPHA 70 ST.
A hallmark of the HJC RPHA helmets has been how quiet they are. Despite being a modular—a style of helmet that is notoriously noisy—the HJC RPHA 90 is exceptionally quiet.You can tell how much it deadens outside sounds as soon as you slip it on, and that perception is enhanced as you ride.Donning the helmet reveals a plush interior. While the fit of any helmet is fully personal, the HJC RPHA 90 has the fit of other HJC helmets. It works perfectly for me, just as Arai helmets do. As always, we recommend that you have a helmet fitted by a professional at a shop; a helmet is a piece of safety equipment that can save your life, so do it right.The HJC RPHA 90 will be used primarily by touring riders—a prime market for modulars. That means riders who brave all sorts of weather and will have gloves of varying thickness. The RPHA 90 is designed with that in mind, so the release latches for the faceshield and chinbar are of a good size and easily manipulated with winter gloves on.Additionally, there is an effective internal sunshield that is moved into position with a soft-feel slider on the side of the helmet. It also is glove-friendly. Unlike the chin bar, which can click into the down position quite loudly if you’re not careful, the sunshield is silent at all times. Optically, the faceshield and sunshield are nearly perfect, but not quite so in spots—it’s something you notice briefly when you do detect it, and then it seems to go away.One reason the HJC RPHA 90 is so quiet is the minimal venting. There is one large vent near the top of your head, with an exit vent close by, plus a vent in the chin bar—all can be opened and closed while riding.This doesn’t provide for a large amount of air through the helmet, though it’s new and we haven’t had a chance to ride it in summer heat. It certainly isn’t overly cool on chilly days with the vents open. For a bit of extra airflow, the face shield can be used with it cracked slightly open.Hitting the scales at three pounds, 9.2 ounces in a medium shell—the RPHA 90 weighs about the same as the Schuberth C3 modular. The HJC RPHA 90 is about four ounces heavier than the RPHA Max it replaces, which is more noticeable when holding the two helmets than when wearing them.With a complex internal faceshield deployment mechanism on the top of the RPHA Max—rather than on the lower rim of the RPHA 90—the RPHA Max is not as well-balanced as the RPHA 90 on your head. Add in the much plusher and quieter interior of the RPHA 90, plus the more easily and effectively operated latches for the faceshield and chin bar, and there is absolutely no doubt that the RPHA 90 is a significant upgrade over the RPHA Max.On its own, the HJC RPHA 90 is a premium modular helmet that effectively addresses the needs of a touring rider, while also being a practical choice for urban riders who like the advantages of a pivoting chin bar.
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!