Everyone needs a motorcycle helmet, but there’s no denying that this can be an expensive proposition when it comes to some of the top-of-the-line models. While these helmets undoubtedly boast a number of features that help justify the price, the fact is that not everyone will be able to spend hundreds of dollars on a motorcycle helmet. Fortunately, there are a number of brands out there that attempt to replicate the quality of the top-tier helmets at a much lower price.
The HJC CL-16 is one such helmet. This isn’t some cheap knock-off brand – HJC claims that they are the largest helmet manufacturer in North America, and given the number of people who choose their helmets, it wouldn’t be surprising. It’s easy to see why as well – the CL-16 is an incredibly well-made helmet that boasts a solid range of features at a great price.
The top priority on just about every rider’s mind when it comes to motorcycle helmets is safety, and the CL-16 delivers in that regard. The helmet meets the Snell safety certification, which is the highest level of safety available in the United States. What’s more is that the helmet delivers this protection while remaining incredibly light. In fact, the CL-16 is actually two grams lighter than its predecessor, the CL-14. Many other companies are actually adding weight to their helmets, saying that they need to in order to meet the Snell standards. But HJC has found a way to make a lighter helmet that is also incredibly safe and protective.
The main area that weight comes into play is the comfort of the helmet. Nobody wants to ride as if they have a bowling ball strapped to their head, and that won’t be the case with the CL-16. The overall fit of the helmet is made for people with slightly round heads, although the helmet is likely to fit a variety of head types. HJC makes helmets all the way from XS up to XXXL, although the XXXL size does not meet the Snell standards, but it does satisfy DOT standards. While some companies use just one shell size and vary the thickness of the pads inside, it appears that HJC makes use of multiple shell types in their helmet designs.
The lining is thick, yet comfortable, and is also completely removable. One area that riders might notice as different from the top-tier helmets is the vinyl around the bottom of the helmet opening. This material is clearly of lesser quality than other helmets on the market, but it won’t be a big deal to many riders.
That does, however, come into play when it comes to noise. The bottom lining doesn’t keep out sound as well as other models, leading to a noisier ride. However, enterprising riders can likely use third-party motorcycle accessories to help keep the noise to a minimum, either by using earplugs or supplementing the lining at the bottom of the helmet with additional padding.
Ventilation is another area where riders will be compromising a bit. The rider will likely feel a good bit of air coming in from underneath the helmet, which should keep things cool in the bottom half. However, the top vents for the helmet are weak and appear to turn at right angles, decreasing the amount of air that gets into the top of the helmet.
Overall, while the HJC CL-16 falls short in a few areas compared to the top-tier models, it offers enough to look very attractive at its low price point.