My wife has never, ever, commented on the appearance of any helmet I have donned, until she saw the HJC F70 Carbon Eston in the red-accented MC1 color. Unboxing had gone from opening the shipping cardboard box to opening the HJC box, taking it out of the protective storage bag, and putting the F70 Carbon on my head. I hadn’t even looked at the helmet, but she immediately exclaimed in an uncharacteristically animated tone, “That is a good-looking helmet!”
As I explored the extra goodies inside the box, I saw an owner’s manual, chin curtain, and an extra-tall breath deflector with its own installation instructions.
The removable chin curtain, which closes most of the distance between the front of the helmet to your neck, keeps the cold out on cold mornings. It is held in place with hook-and-loop fastening. I found that giving the edges a firm squeeze did a good job of keeping it in place when putting the helmet on.
Taking a look around the helmet, the front has two air inlets, but I didn’t notice one of them because it looked like just a cool aerodynamic feature. The one I saw is a horizontal rocker, and the one I missed is a vertical slide below it. Using a flashlight, I was able to see that they both feed into the same 3.5-inch outlet vent that pushes outside air directly up the inside face of the shield.
Why read instructions when you can spend that time riding, right? It was 89 degrees and still plenty of daylight left when the helmet arrived, so I suited up and went for a ride. I wanted to get a first impression—just a short ride before dinner. It is easier to judge airflow when temps are either cold or hot, and the next day was going to be a moderate 70 degrees.
I hopped on the freeway on my Yamaha Venture, closed the shield, and opened the upper front vent. I could immediately feel the airflow around my face from opening the upper front rocker. At 89 degrees, my face and scalp had really warmed up with the shield open and riding 25 and 35 mph to the freeway. I was unaware, at the time, that I was missing out on a much more significant amount of front airflow, not having noticed the front vertical slide vent. It was only after reading the owner’s manual that I discovered the second front vent.
I reached up with my left, summer gloved hand, and, with friction pressure, slid each of the two top vents toward the rear to open. Between the airflow through the deep and wide crown channels that HJC calls Advanced Channeling Ventilation System and the two upper vents, I definitely felt the air movement through my hair. Any heat built up on my way to the freeway was quickly dispatched out the five exhaust ports.
Comfort aside, the HJC F70 Carbon felt light on my neck, even though it weighs within ounces of my modular helmets. I tried to figure out why it felt so light, and I believe it is due to the balance of the carbon-fiber-shelled helmet. The interior has a new generation of moisture-wicking and quick-drying materials that HJC states are superior to previous HJC helmets.
Established in the fast lane with cruise control on, I set about getting acquainted with this handsome helmet. I closed all the vents and noticed immediately how little outside sound I was hearing. The HJC F70 Carbon is much quieter than the modular helmets I am accustomed to. I opened the front rocker vent, and I could actually hear a soft flutter sound of the 65 mph air flooding in. I opened and closed the vent several times to confirm that the helmet was so quiet that I could even hear air channeling in. Opening the top two vents didn’t change the sound level at all. The five rear vents are always open to exhaust air.
Checking my mirrors to make sure no one was close enough to freak out, I muscled myself to an almost standing position to get my head fully into the clean airflow. I noticed no buffeting, looking straight ahead and turning to each side. The F70 Carbon didn’t grab any wind as I simulated left and right head checks.
Turning my eyes full lock left and right, I could not see the edges of the eyeport. There is nothing, up, down, left, or right that blocks your vision with the shorter breath guard installed. I did install the taller breath guard, and I didn’t feel it blocked any of my downward visibility.
The F70 Carbon has an inner drop-down sunshield that is scratch-resistant and anti-fog. It is deployed by a slide switch adjacent to your left jaw that can easily be actuated by a gloved hand. I rode into the sun quite a lot on my rides, and it did a good job of eliminating glare. Unfortunately, when the sun was directly in front of me, I had to use my left hand as a visor for the sunshield.
The clear faceshield is rated at 95 percent UV-A & B blocking and has open/close glove-friendly tabs on either side of the center. This is a convenient feature for raising or lowering the faceshield with either hand. The clear shield is Pinlock-ready, so you can install HJC’s HJ-32 Pinlock anti-fog insert if needed ($40 option).
Changing faceshields requires a Phillips screwdriver and is easy to accomplish, but keep track of the pieces. The shield has 12 opening detents in the ratchet mechanism, but only full up and full down are deep enough to hold the faceshield in place against any wind force.
There is a click to seal latch in the front center, and you know it is locked in place when you hear the click. It secures the shield fully locked and sealed against its gasket, only when closed with a firm downward motion. HJC offers 10 shield tint options ranging in price from $40 to $55.
Keep in mind that it is important to have professional assistance when fitting a helmet, as even the same manufacturer can change helmet shapes and padding thicknesses between models. I wear a Medium in HJC modular and a Large in the F70 Carbon. The shell shape is intermediate oval.
I have been riding with modular helmets for about 15 years. I am accustomed to their sound levels and how they feel in hot weather, cold weather, freeway cruising, and city traffic. The HJC F70 Carbon non-modular full-face helmet surprised me with how quiet it is, how light it feels on my head, its aerodynamics, overall comfort, internal airflow, awesome styling, and a three-year warranty for less than $475.
HJC F70 Carbon Fast Facts
- Sizes: SX-2XL
- Weight: 3 pounds, 7 ounces (size L)
- Certifications: DOT/ECE
- Colors: Carbon; Easton MC1 (red accents); Easton MC5 (gray accents)
HJC F70 Prices: From $430 MSRP ($470 for tested Eston graphic)