Say what you will about modular motorcycle helmets, but there’s no denying the convenience and versatility of a lid that’s three-quarters when you want it, but full-faced when you need it. Modular helmets have a loyal following, and it’s easy to see why.
Stopped in traffic on a hot summer day? Flip that lid up and get some airflow while you wait. Got a passenger on the back you’d rather not shout at through a chin bar? Just click ‘er open and chat away. Just rode through a nasty tank slapper and need to stop for a smoke to calm those nerves? Go ahead, leave the helmet on.
With that being said, even the best modular motorcycle helmets toe a fine line: Yes, these lids come in handy for just about anything from touring to dual sport riding, but they often do it at a considerable price.
Typically that’s a literal price, as a good modular lid will often run you north of $500, but more often it’s something else, whether it’s ventilation, weight, or safety. There are some real winners out there though, and in the list below, you’ll find all our favorite exceptions to the rule.
Best Modular Motorcycle Helmets
1. Shoei Neotec 2
If you’ve ever worn one of Shoei’s popular helmets from the RF series (RF-1200, RF-1400), you’ll know that these lids are known for being incredibly quiet out on the road. The Shoei Neotec 2 follows in that tradition, but it’s also much more than a quiet place to put your head.
As far as modular helmets go, this is one of the most comfortable we’ve ever tried. Shoei makes the Neotec 2 in four unique shell sizes, and each gets their latest 3D interior liner system for an impressively plush and custom-feeling fit.
Combined with the Neotec 2’s refined passive ventilation system, the liner wicks and dispels both heat and moisture with the best of them, marking a notable improvement in comfort over the original Neotec.
Aside from fit and comfort, Shoei also introduced several tweaks and refinements to the new lid to justify its premium price. The new model is much more glove-friendly, for example, and sports an enlarged chin bar release button as well as new air vent actuators that are much easier to feel and use with a gloved hand.
We also love that Shoei upgraded the Neotec 2’s chin strap to a micro-rachet system, so you’ll also be able to take it on and off with gloves on when you want to.
On the downside, our main complaint with the Neotec 2 is that although this is easily one of the best modular motorcycle helmets on the market, it’s surprisingly heavy for a premium helmet from a premium brand.
The Neotec 2 weighs in at 4.1 pounds, which is somehow even heavier than the original Neotec. Lucky for us, Shoei also spent a fair amount of time refining the new Neotec in wind tunnel testing, and its new streamlined shape (along with an aerodynamic chin spoiler) helps reduce fatigue for long days in the saddle.
The only other complaint we have here is that Shoei designed the Neotec 2 to integrate specifically with Sena’s SRL com system, which it does quite well, but if you’re more the Cardo type, mounting options can be a little awkward.
- Impressively quiet
- Advanced aerodynamics reduce fatigue on long rides
- Four shell sizes and an ergonomic 3D liner make for a fantastic fit
- Glove-friendly everything
- Sena-specific com design
- Weighs over four pounds
AMAZON | REVZILLA | J&P CYCLES
2. Scorpion EXO-AT950
If you love modular motorcycle helmets but also like to ride off-road, your options are severely limited. Realistically, you’ve got two serious choices, and lucky for you, one of them is made by Scorpion.
As is the case with most Scorpion gear, our favorite part about the AT950 is that it’s a ton of helmet for the money. Typically to get a modular ADV helmet worth wearing you’d have to drop $600 on a Schuberth E1 (your other serious choice), but the AT950 delivers all the essentials without draining your off-road gear slush fund.
For your money, you’re getting an adjustable/removable sun peak, a drop-down sun visor, a reasonably quiet ride, and a respectable amount of ventilation. You’re also getting an outstanding field of vision thanks to the AT950’s wide and tall visor, which is great for visibility on the road or out on the trail.
What’s perhaps most impressive about this modular motorcycle helmet, however, is its weight: Don’t get us wrong, the Scorpion is nothing groundbreaking at just shy of 3.8 pounds, but considering most modular lids weigh in a good 3-4 ounces heavier (and cost a few hundred dollars more), it’s impressive nonetheless.
Surprisingly, there’s not much to complain about here despite the budget-friendly price tag. You won’t be able to close the shield with goggles on, which means you’ll either have to remove it or stick to the drop-down sun visor, but hey, not everyone wants or needs goggles in the first place.
Our only other complaint is that although the ventilation is solid for highway miles, the Scorpion runs a little hot for sweaty off-road work.
- It’s a modular dual sport helmet!
- Sub $300 price
- Massive eyeport delivers great visibility
- Shield doesn’t work with goggles
- Runs a little hot for off-road work
AMAZON | REVZILLA | J&P CYCLES
3. AGV Sportmodular Carbon
Three-point-two pounds. Fifty-one ounces. Nine medium-sized bananas. However you measure it, the AGV Sportmodular is the lightest modular motorcycle helmet on the market.
So how do they do it? Obviously, there’s the full carbon construction, which includes both the shell itself and the entire chin bar assembly, but AGV went all out on weight reduction here.
The visor mechanism, for instance, is the same insanely compact system found on the fantastic new AGV K6 helmet. Heck, even the chinstrap has been lightened by using the same titanium double-D rings found in the $1,500 Pista GP RR.
The Sportmodular isn’t all about lightness though: This is also the best modular motorcycle helmet for sport riding period thanks to a host of trickle-down features from AGV’s racing program.
The shield, for instance, comes pinlock-ready, and AGV even includes a pinlock insert in the box. It’s also got a multiposition rear ring atop the rear exhaust port, allowing you to adjust downforce for high-speed pursuits.
Don’t get the impression that this is some uncomfortable, bare-bones race helmet though: AGV built the Sportmodular to be all-year touring-friendly. It’s not quite as coffin-like as the Shoei Neotec above or Schuberth below, but there’s no denying it’s impressively quiet.
We’ll also give the Sportmodular the nod for its reversible comfort liner, which uses a cooling material on one side and an insulating material on the other, allowing riders to reconfigure the helmet for hot or cold weather riding as the seasons change.
There’s not much to pick at with this helmet. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s in the same ballpark as other premium options from Shoei or Schuberth. Yes, it’s even more expensive if you want it in any color other than bare carbon fiber.
Our only other complaint would be that although the Sportmodular is a quiet helmet, it’s slightly outclassed in that regard by helmets like the Shoei Neotec 2 above and Schuberth C5 below, but “featherlight Italian sex appeal” seems like a fair tradeoff.
- Lightest modular helmet on the market
- Excels at high speed riding
- Reversible liner work in hot or cold weather
- It ain’t cheap
- Quiet, but not the quietest
AMAZON | REVZILLA | J&P CYCLES
4. Schuberth C5
You can’t talk modular helmets without talking Schuberth, and the C5 is the latest from the premium German manufacturer. The C5 continues their tradition of making the quietest, most comfortable helmets possible for touring riders, and there’s no denying that the C5 is a huge step up from the outgoing C4.
Two main features set the Schuberth C5 apart from its predecessor. The first is that the shell of this modular motorcycle helmet is made using a unique process that Schuberth calls “direct fiber processing.”
In short, this process allows the entire shell of the C5 to be made from a single precision-cut strand of glass fiber, which minimizes weight without sacrificing strength, and significantly cuts down on the “bulkiness” typically associated with Schuberth lids.
The second big advancement here is that Schuberth has doubled down on their wind tunnel-refined aerodynamics, and the C5 is their most slippery, most aerodynamic helmet to date. Spoilers along the neck roll of the helmet work to reduce turbulent air around your head, as do the integrated diffusers at the top of the face shield.
By cutting down on air turbulence, Schuberth is able to reduce the interior noise levels of the C5 to a claimed 85 decibels, which is important to point out as they’re currently the only manufacturer who actually publishes these specs.
As far as downsides go, the main one is that the C5 is still on the heavier side at just shy of four pounds (3.99, to be exact). To be fair, that weight includes a pre-installed speaker system, microphone, and internal antennae though, so if you’re planning on using a com system, that’s plenty respectable.
Speaking of com systems, our second complaint with the C5 is that although the integrated components are high-quality plug-and-play hardware, they’re specific to the Schuberth Sena SC2 system. We don’t love the SC2 quite as much as the current Cardo Pactalk, but it’s a great system in its own right, so that may be a plus or a minus depending on your preference.
- Exceptionally plush and quiet
- Industry-leading aerodynamics for stability at any speed
- Comes with pre-installed speakers, microphone, and antennae
- Still on the heavier side
- Pre-installed com hardware is Sena SC2 specific
5. HJC i90
If you’re shopping for modular motorcycle helmets on a brain bucket budget, there’s no better option out there than the HJC i90.
In terms of price, you can pick up the i90 all day for right around $200, which is wild considering it outperforms much of the premium competition in more ways than one. For example, the i90 weighs in at a respectable 3.8 pounds, making it lighter than the Shoei Neotec 2 or Schuberth C5, and on par with our other budget-conscious lid, the Scorpion AT950.
This is also a surprisingly safe helmet for the money, and is one of the few modular motorcycle helmets in the American market to carry both a DOT and ECE safety certification.
Truth be told, we’d be sold on the i90 if the perks ended there, but HJC also sprinkled in a commendable list of touring-friendly features that give it even more bang for the buck. You’ll get a cable-actuated drop-down sun visor, a pinlock-ready face shield, a comfort liner with cutouts to accommodate glasses, and a Bluetooth-ready design that’s built to accommodate HJC’s Smart 10B or 20B Bluetooth com units.
Of course, there are a few compromises to be made at this price, but none of them are deal-breakers as far as we’re concerned. The first is the i90’s simple polycarbonate shell, which would normally give us pause were it not for the additional ECE safety certification.
There’s also the issue of fitment: HJC only uses two different shells for the six most popular size options (XS-2XL), which means there’s a lot riding on the non-adjustable cheek pads and comfort liner to fit your head shape.
Still, you just won’t find this much helmet for the money anywhere else, which earns the i90 a well-deserved spot among the best modular motorcycle helmets on the market in our book.
- Great value for the money
- DOT and ECE certified
- Impressively quiet for a budget lid
- Limited to two shell sizes
- Basic polycarbonate shell
AMAZON | REVZILLA | J&P CYCLES
Thanks for checking out this article! I hope you found everything you need to make the best motorcycle helmet choice for you! Interested in other styles of helmets check out my dual sport helmet article.
I’m a digital content creator who has been rippin’ two-wheels across remote lands and building a content creation business in the motorcycle industry since 2014. Fast forward to 2022, I have decided to develop my own website to offer tips and tricks on long distance adventure motorcycling and beyond. Enjoy!