HJC IS-Cruiser Review

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Typically speaking, if you want to ride with the wind in your face and the feel of the open road, a half helmet is the best choice. Motorcycle riders of all kinds appreciate the simplicity and versatility of a half helmet, as it’s not as cumbersome or clunky as a full-face model.

The HJC IS-Cruiser is a bit more practical compared to other half helmets, thanks to the attached sun visor. While most of these varieties require goggles to keep your eyes safe from the wind, you can get better protection while maintaining ultimate visibility.

Let’s take a closer look at the IS-Cruiser and why it’s a good choice for riders everywhere.

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HJC Solid IS-Cruiser Half (1/2) Shell Motorcycle Helmet - Matte Black/Large

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HJC Solid IS-Cruiser Half (1/2) Shell Motorcycle Helmet - Matte Black/Large

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HJC Solid IS-Cruiser Half (1/2) Shell Motorcycle Helmet - Matte Black/Large

Ratings

Comfort:

80%
Comfort

Visibility:

85%
Visibility

Ventilation:

80%
Ventilation

Quietness:

75%
Quietness

Specifications

Outer shell material : Lightweight Advanced Polycarbonate Composite Shell

Shell size : X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XX-Large

Liner : Plush and moisture-wicking Nylex interior with removable and washable anti-bacterial liner

Weight : 2.6 lbs

Pinlock : No

Strap System : Nylon strap D-Ring retention system

Safety Ratings

DOT : Yes

ECE : No

SNELL : No

SHARP : Not tested


Shape and materials

As with all half helmets, finding the right fit is relatively easy. Unlike a full-face helmet that could be hard to get your head inside, the IS-Cruiser can plop onto your head right away. Best of all, it comes in six different sizes, so you should have no trouble finding the right one for your melon.

HJC provides a standard oval shape to the IS-Cruiser, so unless you have a really narrow head, it should be pretty comfortable while you ride.

The outer shell for the IS-Cruiser is a lightweight polycarbonate composite. This material is designed to be as impact-resistant as possible without adding too much heft overall. However, because it’s a half-helmet, the weight will never really be an issue. We’ve never seen one of these models be too heavy for comfort, and the IS-Cruiser isn’t about to change history.

Another reason why this helmet fits well is that it utilizes computer-aided design (CAD) technology to create a more uniform shape. This way, you don’t have to worry about imperfections leading to gaps or tight spots anywhere.

When looking at the inside, HJC has installed a Nylex liner, which helps wick away moisture and ensures a snug fit. As with most motorcycle helmet liners, the Nylex is removable and washable, making it even more versatile and hygienic.

One note about the size and shape of the IS-Cruiser - it can create a bit of a mushroom-head look on some people. While that kind of aesthetic choice may not be suitable for everyone, it shouldn’t be a dealbreaker. After all, you’re getting a thicker liner and outer shell, which usually adds comfort and safety.

Things I liked

  • Sleek design
  • Six sizes for easy fitting
  • Built-in visor
  • Drop-down sun screen
  • Goggles optional
  • Snug fit with plush liner
  • Lightweight polycarbonate shell

Things I don’t like

  • Not rated for ECE conditions
  • Half helmet design isn’t as safe as other varieties

Overall comfort

Because the Nylex liner is thicker than other versions, this helmet can feel more snug than usual. The liner can also make sizing a little tricky, as the interior may not be true to fit. However, when it comes to overall comfort, the IS-Cruiser is decent, particularly for a half helmet.

At first, you may assume that a thicker liner means that it will pinch your ears while wearing the helmet. Fortunately, HJC has designed a more comfortable interior shape, so there should be no complaints while wearing it, even if you’re riding for hours on end.

The nylon strap is also well-crafted, so you don’t have to worry about having it cut into your face or leave a mark. Adjusting the strap is also relatively easy, even if you’re using gloves.


Visibility

One of the reasons why riders choose half helmets is that they don’t have to deal with losing peripheral vision, which can be an issue for full-face models. That being said, the IS-Cruiser does come with an integrated sun visor, so there are a few points to consider.

  • First, the screen pulls down using external tabs. These tabs make it easier to operate the shield, especially while wearing gloves.
  • Second, the curvature of the screen can lead to a bit of distortion along the edges. If you wear glasses, this distortion can be magnified somewhat, which may lead you to avoid using the shield altogether.
  • Finally, while the screen is designed to help with road glare and sunlight, the tinting is relatively minimal. If you’re out on a particularly bright day, the peak may provide more protection than the shield itself.

Overall, the reason to use the face screen is if you want to ride without wearing goggles. However, it can take some getting used to, so keep that in mind. Otherwise, if you decide not to use the shield, you have complete visibility, as no part of the helmet will interrupt your field of view.


Quietness

Typically speaking, you buy a half helmet because of the appearance and flexibility of the design. These models are never going to offer the same level of quietness as a full-face version since air can get in from all sides. While the snug fit can minimize some of this noise, it’s not noticeable enough to say that the IS-Cruiser is a “quiet” helmet. Again, though, almost all half helmets have this problem, so you’re either on board with it or not.

Realistically, the best way to reduce noise is to wear earplugs or helmet ear muffs while riding. Otherwise, you get used to it after a while.


Ventilation

Fortunately, because your face is mostly exposed, you don’t have to worry about getting enough airflow for the lower half of your head. When talking about the top, however, there are two vents on the IS-Cruiser that allow wind to blow through while riding.

Although the vents look sizeable from the outside, they taper down substantially, leading to a relatively small opening on the inside. It seems that HJC assumes that you’ll get enough ventilation from the half-helmet design to make up for any lack of airflow on top.

Simply put, if you’re riding on a hot day, your hair will get sweaty and matted. You probably won’t notice with the wind in your face (unless you use a protector), but once you arrive at your destination, it’ll become much more apparent.


Safety

Unfortunately, buying a half helmet (IS-Cruiser or otherwise) means that you are sacrificing some safety for aesthetics. According to CDC research, the face and chin areas are the most likely to be impacted in a crash, so when you wear a half helmet, you’re putting yourself at a higher risk of injury.

When it comes to the helmet itself, however, the polycarbonate material is excellent at absorbing impact and protecting your skull. The Nylex liner also takes much of the abuse in a crash, ensuring that your head doesn’t bounce around.

As far as regulatory certifications, the IS-Cruiser is only certified for the US Department of Transportation (DOT). It’s not ECE-approved, nor has it been tested by SNELL or SHARP. European regulations are generally stricter than the US, so many helmets sold here don’t have an ECE certification.

Overall, if you get the IS-Cruiser or any half helmet, you need to understand the risks involved. We always recommend buying a face protector in addition to the helmet, so you don’t have to worry as much about road rash or other facial injuries.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the face screen is designed to be impact-resistant as well. If you pull the shield down while riding and get into a collision, you don’t have to worry about shards of material breaking off and getting lodged anywhere.

Conclusion

When it comes to half helmets, either you love them or not. Many riders prefer a half-helmet design because it’s easier to manage than a full-face model, and it seems a lot more casual. Full-face helmets imply a dedication to riding, while something like the IS-Cruiser seems more appropriate for a leisurely ride into town or down the road.

Compared to other models, this version is okay, but not overwhelmingly great. We like the lightweight yet rugged material, but there are a few caveats to consider.

  • First, the face shield is not as functional as it could be, so you may not wind up using it. Some riders may prefer goggles instead.
  • Second, the shape of the helmet is thicker than others, so if a sleek appearance is a primary concern, you probably won’t appreciate the IS-Cruiser.
  • Finally, the safety ratings on this model are pretty basic, so if you plan to ride frequently or at high-speeds, that may be a concern.

Overall, the IS-Cruiser seems to be designed for city riding and exploration, not necessarily commuting or long-distance travel. If that sounds like what you plan to do, this helmet may be a good choice.

Where to buy this helmet :