HJC CL 17 Review

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Full face helmet fans are in for a real treat with the HJC CL17 motorcycle helmet. Not only does it have a greater variety of finishes and graphics compared to most helmets in its class, but it also offers safety features and ratings normally found only in much more expensive models. What makes the CL17 such a great buy? For starters, it’s one of the least expensive polycarbonate shell helmets on the market that also carries a Snell 2015 safety certification.

That means not only is it a safer motorcycle helmet, but it also uses higher quality materials than most helmets in its price point. Better still, Marvel comics fans can even order a CL17 with their favorite comic book character integrated into the graphics for a small additional cost. I’m sure the skeptics out there are all asking if this helmet actually lives up to hype. I can understand that, as it definitely seems like it might be too good to be true. Let’s check out all the features and specs on the HJC CL17, and you can decide for yourself whether it's the best buy or a real bust.

HJC Solid Mens CL-17 Full Face Motorcycle Helmet - Matte Black/Large

Ratings

Comfort:

90%
Comfort

Visibility:

95%
Visibility

Ventilation:

100%
Ventilation

Quietness:

60%
Quietness

Specifications

Outer shell material : Polycarbonate

Shell size : XS-5XL

Liner : SuperCool removable/washable lining

Weight : 3.9lbs

Pinlock : Ready

Strap System : Double D-Ring

Safety Ratings

DOT : Yes

ECE : No

SNELL : Yes

SHARP : Not tested


Shape and materials

Advanced polycarbonate composite shells are excellent for absorbing impacts without cracking or shattering, and the CL17’s gloss finish exterior holds up well. It’s highly scratch resistant and doesn’t show fingerprints easily, which are both characteristics that can make or break buying decisions for selective riders. Nobody likes having to wipe down their helmet before, during and after every ride to keep it looking nice, and scratches can irritate riders who like all their gear to stay pristine.

Inside the helmet, the foam padding has pre-cut removable pieces and are lined with quick drying washable fabric. It’s actually a simple procedure to rig a Bluetooth audio system or intercom yourself, and the helmet is designed to accommodate such systems from the factory. Some owners have found that larger speakers don’t set well in the helmet, but those riders reported the issue only with larger, more powerful helmet audio systems using larger speaker drivers. The CL17 also comes in multiple sizes for a more comfortable, customized fit. Bottom line, in terms of materials and shape, this helmet does offer the most bang for the buck.


Things I liked

  • High quality materials
  • Snell 2015 safety rating
  • Excellent ventilation system

Things I don’t like

  • Brow vents don’t provide much airflow
  • Noise dampening is poor
  • Pinlock ready, but pinlock mechanism is not included

Overall comfort

Most Western-built motorcycle helmets are designed to fit medium oval head shapes. That’s great for riders with medium oval heads, but the many other riders who don’t wear that head shape can have a tough time finding a helmet that fits well.

The HJC CL17 uses a design template specifically for round head shapes, making it an ideal choice for finding your perfect fit. CL-17 owners with round head shapes swear by their CL-17, and often find their CL-17 fits far better than more expensive full-face or modular helmets. CL-17s are also available in sizes up to 5XL, making them ideal starter helmets for any rider.

As for the interior padding, it’s plush, antimicrobial and fast-wicking material that can easily be removed for a quick trip through the washing machine before being allowed to air dry. HJC calls it SuperCool, and it definitely lives up to its name. It breathes beautifully and complements the ventilation system nicely.


Visibility

The eyeport on the CL-17 is fairly standard with a scratch-resistant ABS shield. You can ride with it “cracked” for extra ventilation while still keeping your eyes protected, and you can ratchet the shield to your preferred position and keep it in place. There’s a quick release for the shield should you want/need to swap it out quickly, and the visor opens and closes smoothly using a left-side release rather than a chin release like mot full face helmets.

That makes it convenient for riders who like to adjust their visor frequently on the go, and simplifies the Bluetooth audio system installation significantly. One caveat: there’s not a sun visor that you can lower into place, but there are excellent glasses grooves that can easily accommodate your favorite shades. All in all, you get a wide field of view with excellent eye protection.


Quietness

With any helmet, you should wear some type of ear protection to keep your hearing from being damaged by loud exhaust and road noise. That being said, the HJC CL-17 isn’t all that quiet despite the low profile, aerodynamic shell and low-profile vent covers.

Noisy is in the ear of the rider, and what bike you ride is a major determining factor, too. All things considered though, I’d recommend wearing earplugs while riding with a CL-17. It’s not the noisiest full-face helmet ever, but it’s definitely louder than similar models in its price-point.


Ventilation

The CL-17 has a fantastic ventilation system. Pricing and round head fit aside, that’s probably it’s strongest selling point of this helmet. Like much more expensive helmets, it has a crown vent to direct masses of cool air directly over the top of your head and vents out the back. You’d be hard-pressed to find a helmet with better airflow for the money.

I will say that the brow vents aren’t nearly as effective as the crown and chin vents, but the superior function of the latter cancels out the former. If you’re worried about fogging, I’d recommend buying and installing a pin-lock on your CL-17. It’s much easier to ride with your visor in the pinlock position if you ride  in colder or more humid climates


Safety

I’ll be honest, it’s rare to find a Snell certified helmet for the price of an HJC CL-17. DOT certification is a must-have, but Snell ratings are highly sought after because they provide a better safety guarantee to buyers. Wearing a full-face helmet already demonstrates you value your safety, so buying a Snell-rated helmet without breaking the bank makes the CL-17 your best and safest option for the money.

Conclusion

From the highly customizable graphics to the safety systems and ventilation, the HJC CL-17 is a premium full face motorcycle helmet without the premium price tag.

The noise management could use some work, and the brow vents are a bit wimpy, but you gain far more than you give up buying this over another budget full face helmet.

If you're looking to start out with a well-made and safe helmet option that won’t cost you a serious chunk of change, get an HJC CL-17. It’s definitely one of the best buys out there.

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