HJC IS 17 Review

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Looking for a helmet with excellent visibility and superior UV protection? HJC has you covered with the IS-17. With superior sun visor coverage and a generous top vent system, this replacement for the popular IS-16 is designed to be a reliable and comfortable helmet for every type of rider and motor sports enthusiast.

There’s a little something for everyone on the IS-17, including a pinlock anti-fog insert, a wind-tunnel tested polycarbonate shell for superior performance, and a wrap around integrated sun visor that lets you ride in any weather without the need to pack your shades. How does it measure up trying to please every type of rider? Let’s take a closer look at the design, features, pros and cons for this budget friendly helmet.

Ratings

Comfort:

95%
Comfort

Visibility:

90%
Visibility

Ventilation:

75%
Ventilation

Quietness:

80%
Quietness

Specifications

Outer shell material : Polycarbonate shell

Shell size : XS – XXL

Liner : EPS liner

Weight : 1.55 kg

Pinlock : Ready

Strap System : Double-D

Safety Ratings

DOT : Yes

ECE : Yes

SNELL : Yes

SHARP : 5-Star Rating


Shape and materials

The shape of the IS-17  is derived from extensive wind tunnel testing to get an optimum aerodynamic airflow over and around the helmet when it’s closed. You can find these helmets in solid colors, the “Intake” pattern and the “Genesis” graphics pattern. Solids colors are black, white, silver and anthracite (a gray color with more black tones). The Popular “Intake” pattern comes in red, purple, silver or blue, and “Genesis” is available in a high visibility orange and black configuration.

 All moving parts like ventilation covers and visors fit and move reliably and precisely. Everything operates like you would expect from a much more expensive helmet than the price point of the HJC IS-17 would imply. The cost to value ratio for this helmet is heavily weighted on the value side without costing a small fortune. If you’re worried about whether you’re getting your money’s worth, don’t be. This helmet offers plenty of bang for minimal bucks. 


Overall comfort

The internal padding and fittings for the IS-17 are choice in every way. The fabric on internal cushions uses HJC’s Supercool technology, wicking away moisture from the skin and sweeps them up and out via the ventilation ports. Cushions are also machine washable and have antimicrobial and antibacterial coatings. As helmets in this trim level and quality go, this is an extremely comfortable fit like the previous IS-16. You can also buy additional custom cushions to get a more precise fit. Some users claim the fit is a bit more snug than the IS-16, but that's probably due in part to the addition of the upgraded internal sun visor.

How is it on long rides? Bikers of every type and preference offer universal praise for the IS-17 as one of the most comfortable lids they’ve ever worn. It even has precision-cut grooves int the lining for prescription eyewear or your favorite sunglasses. You can easily slip your glasses or shades on and off without needing to remove the helmet first. Best of all, the double-D ring chin strap is generously padded and clicks securely and firmly in place.

 It’s doubtful that most riders would find this helmet to be uncomfortable even on extended cruises. Provided you make sure you have a comfortable fit and adjust the cushions and lining to your liking, this may actually be the most comfortable helmet you’ve ever put on, too.


Things I liked

  • High performance hybrid polycarbonate exterior shell
  • Gorgeous finishes and finish durability
  • One of the easiest to use and best quality internal sun visors
  • Innovative Pinlock anti-fog system
  • RapidFire Shield Replacement doesn’t require tools to exchange or replace your face shield
  • UV shielded face shelf with high-durability anti-scratch coating

Things I don’t like

  • Top ventilation has restricted airflow compared to similar models
  • Three-position locking face shield only stays in place reliably in fully closed position
  • Pinlock anti-fog system and chin curtain sold separately

Visibility

Even with the main visor down and the internal sun visor flipped down, the IS-17 offers an unobstructed 180 degree view of the world. Additionally, the outer visor is UV shielded, scratch resistant, and three-position locking mechanism. The external visor is also preconfigured for a Pinlock anti-fog system. The Pinlock recess is on the visor rather than above the chin bar, allowing you to fit the Pinlock anti-fog insert flush against the visor. HJC calls this their Max-Vision Pinlock system, taking its name from its less invasive Pinlock mounting that minimizes fogging and visual obstruction.

The visor slider itself also has a locking mechanism to prevent the external visor from flying open when you’re riding at high speeds. If you’ve got the external visor slightly open without a Pinlock installed, be prepared to play with the locking mechanism a bit though. IIt locks tightly when completely closed, but the incremental settings for a partially open visor don’t hold tight nearly as well as when you have the visor secured with a Pinlock.

Finally, the external visor has a quick release & quick locking system for easy removal and replacement. Called the RapidFire Shield Replacement System, you can exchange the face shield without tools with two clicks on the mounting rings. What’s the cherry to this amazing feature sundae? The internal sun visor. You can quickly and easily drop your sun visor into place even with gloves on should you find yourself riding with the sun in your eyes without sunglasses. In terms of visibility and features, the IS-17 is packed with great features and keeps your field of view clear while you’re riding.


Quietness

There is always a trade-off between ventilation and noise dampening for motorcycle helmets. The better ventilation, the more noise you have to deal with inside your helmet. Some creative engineering helps mitigate this on the IS-17, but the top venting system seems to allow for more wind and road noise compared to other helmets in its product tier.

It’s not irritatingly loud or likely to damage your hearing, but you should be aware that superior ventilation and a cool ride does come with some drawbacks. Some users shared concerns about their ears aching a bit on long rides without earplugs. It’s not terrible, but it definitely isn’t a “cone of silence” situation either.


Ventilation

HJC recently acquired their own wind tunnel for design and prototype testing. This has led to lower profile adjustable vent covers, a slick exterior coating to reduce buffeting noise, and better internal noise dampening. The air intake is top mounted to force cool air down intro the helmet, but some users and product testers have noted the intakes don’t line up correctly with the EPS and internal fabric liners, causing some blockage and loss of cool airflow.

It’s a minor problem and a quick fix, but you definitely want to check for this issue before you purchase and IS-17. Modifying the helmet and adjusting the liners doesn’t require any special tools or skill, but you definitely want to know if it needs that quick fix before you strap it on and go for a ride. The good news is  the chin bar intakes and exhaust vents don’t suffer from the same issues as the top intake, so if you do need to make that minor adjustment to your liners it will be the only modification you need to make.

One final caveat: the IS-17 doesn’t come with a chin curtain, but you can pick one up inexpensively and it’s definitely a must-have accessory if you ride in cooler weather. All in all, with a little tweaking, this helmet provides exceptional ventilation.


Safety

The IS-17 is hands down one of the best rated crash helmets for safety. It’s DOT, ECE, and SNELL 2015 rated for superior protection. Best of all, it has a 5-star (maximum) SHARP rating. In short, you could not find a helmet that offers better protection in a crash than the HJC IS-17

Conclusion

In our opinion, it’s hard to find a better value for the money than the HJC IS-17. It’s got above average quiet levels, superior safety ratings from multiple independent safety rating agencies, tons of adjustable features, and it fits and feels great on long rides with only minor adjustments.

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