My wife’s current helmet was born nine years ago this October and is a few years older than industry recommended replacement. She has liked the fit of her HJC IS-33 open face helmet, but always complained on long rides of not enough airflow over the top of her head. The IS-33 does not have a top vent, so I set about to find her another helmet but with more airflow. I am a full face/ modular rider and looked forward to the opportunity for her to get to know the HJC FG-Jet.
I thought the sizing of the old IS-33 and new FG-Jet would be the same, but it is not. HJC calls the FG-Jet’s shape Intermediate Oval. She wore a small in the IS-33, and when she tried on the small FG-Jet, she ran into a couple of issues.
At the cheek area, where you pull outward on the chin strap and double-D rings to spread the shell, it doesn’t spread. The Kevlar and fiberglass matrix shell material shows its strength. She couldn’t flex it out at all, and I couldn’t either. She winced as she forced it over her head and cheeks. It was literally painfully obvious she would need the next size up.
The HJC FG-Jet has a drop-down internal sunshield that has three positions and a one-touch retract button that is easily manipulated with a gloved hand. The manual that comes with the FG-Jet says the three positions are there to “adapt to riding positions from aggressive sport bike to touring.” I think that is a nice way of saying you can adjust for your nose size because the lowest position hits my nose, but not hers.
The easily removable, clear, UV-protected external shield has six detented positions from full down to full up/almost horizontal. Integral to the very top of the helmet is an air scoop with a toggle to open and close. Two other upper air scoops have variable closure thumb wheels. Both the top and side airflow controls are easy to manipulate with a gloved hand. There is a lot more air venting in this FG-Jet than her old IS-33.
I checked the HJC website and learned that they use three outer-shell sizes for this helmet—XS/S, M/L, and XL/XXL—and use different thicknesses of interior padding for precise sizing. I got her a Medium, and it fit just right. It’s a reminder to always have a helmet professionally fitted, rather than measuring and hoping—it can save time in the short run, and can be safer in the long run. The helmet fits me too, so I can share my experience with it.
I mounted our Bluetooth communications device into it. Taking out the pads and liner to string the speakers and mount the mic was easy and straightforward. There are deep pockets that keep the speakers comfortably away from your ears. Everything snapped back into position solidly.
HJC calls its interior material SilverCool. It is an antibacterial, moisture-wicking, odor-free fabric that is fully removable and washable. HJC recommends machine washing, but air drying. On a hot day, if I don’t have speakers mounted in my helmet, I pour water into the padding, which soaks it up like a sponge. Let the excess water drain out through the rear vents; the result is a wonderful evaporative cooling on my head for the next 30 minutes or so.
Speaking of evaporative cooling, if it is really hot—like Mojave Desert hot—at each gas stop buy a 10-pound bag of ice and either stick it down your jacket front or have your passenger put it on their lap. The evaporation feeling is sensational, and will usually last gas stop to gas stop.
I hopped on my 2007 Yamaha Venture, with its 11-inch shorty windshield, to see how this HJC FG-Jet feels while riding. Putting to the freeway with the faceshield in the down position, I didn’t notice any air movement difference from what I was accustomed to with a full-face helmet. Also, the clear shield does not distort my view in any direction.
The temperature was a perfect 68 degrees, so I was easily able to feel the airflow channeling through the three vents. I opened each side vent individually with the steplessly adjustable roller and could feel each vent’s airflow specifically. The top vent has an open/close rocker switch, and the freeway air really flowed strongly. This top vent will be a welcome relief for my wife, as that was her only complaint about her previous helmet.
When a helmet fits me, I don’t feel it or notice it at all. This HJC FG-Jet was a perfect fit, and there were no tight spots anywhere. Just snug, as it should be. When I moved my attention to helmet buffeting, I did notice some, but not much.
The Yamaha Venture’s windshield deflects the freeway air to hit my helmet about halfway between my eyes and the top of the helmet. I tried crossing my left arm over my chest to stop any upward air, and there was no change in the minimal buffeting. I shrunk myself down, like a turtle retracting its head. With no freeway air hitting it at all, the little buffet that was there disappeared. The buffeting I experienced on my bike was very minimal and not at all distracting or tiring to me on a long ride.
Buffeting is a function of many factors, such as your height, the motorcycle’s ergonomics, and your windshield (or lack thereof). Even the air flowing up your chest and hitting the helmet from below and, of course, helmet design makes a difference. It’s a purely individual experience, though a well-designed helmet is less likely to produce problematic buffeting.
HJC is a long-established helmet-only manufacturer committed to the industry. My personal experience with HJC helmets is very positive, having good fit, durability, and a three-year warranty. I must say [knock on wood] that I have never crash-tested one, and it is my fervent desire to never do that.
With all the experience HJC has in the industry, I am always confident in my safety and my wife’s safety in an HJC helmet. The fiberglass-composite medium FG-Jet weighs the same as her small IS-33 polycarbonate at 3.27 pounds, so it is a superior helmet with no weight penalty. Priced from $170, I consider the HJC FG-Jet a well-priced, comfortable, and well-designed open face helmet.
HJC FG-Jet Motorcycle Helmet Fast Facts
- Sizes: XS-2XL
- Colors: Black; Matte Black; Silver; White; Hi-Viz Yellow
- HJC FG-Jet Price: From $170 MSRP ($175 for 2XL)