I currently use an HJC i90 helmet for both commuting and long-distance trips. I decided to write a full review of its various features, why I chose it, and what I like about it and what I don’t.
HJC helmets provide some of the best value for the money on the current market, the i90 being no exception. It has the features and quality construction of more expensive, popular brands like Arai and Shoei at a much lower price.
That isn’t to say it’s one of those cheap budget helmets you can find for under 100 bucks, but it’s easier on your bank account than the name brands. Specifically, it sits in the mid-range, just over $200 depending on your chosen color and size.
Safety and Protection
The i90 meets DOT requirements in the US and ECE requirements in the EU, so it’s safe. It has yet to be tested for a SNELL rating, but most HJC helmets meet those requirements, so the i90 likely meets that level of safety as well.
An important consideration, the helmet has been tested with the modular chin bar up and down, meaning it still provides a high level of protection even if you’re wearing it like an open-face helmet.
Obviously, it’s a lot safer with the chin bar down, at least for the lower part of your face, but if you want to open it up to cool off, that’s an option.
The i90 is so safe because of the polycarbonate composite shell over the foam liner. This absorbs and dissipates impacts, even on hard concrete or asphalt, so the shock doesn’t reach your head.
I even had a mild accident in my i90 and whacked my head on the hardtop. The helmet absorbed the impact so well, though, that I didn’t even notice my head had hit the ground until I saw the scratches afterward.
The i90 is also safe when it comes to your vision. The size of the face shield is about standard, so while it doesn’t provide an extra wide or tall field of vision, it certainly allows you to see your surroundings.
Similarly, I’ve found that the face shield doesn’t fog too quickly. This is due mainly to the ventilation system, which I’ll get into later. Plus, you can insert a Pinlock lens, though it’s sold separately.
Here the i90 shines. Most features are as good or better than the standard, with some standout features.
The i90’s interior lining is soft. More importantly, it doesn’t itch on long rides, even if it’s warm outside.
Thanks to antibacterial moisture-wicking fabric, which HJC called “SuperCool.” It’s quick-drying, so you don’t get the itchy sweat buildup.
As a bonus, it cuts down on that helmet odor that can get unbearable in the summer in other helmets.
I also appreciated how fast the cheek pads broke in. It only took about one ride for them to conform to my face’s shape.
I will say that they lose their squishiness quickly, but it helps that they’re removable along with the crown of the lining. Washing them also cuts down on odor and helps keep them springy.
I’m generally a fan of the ventilation on the i90. It keeps my head cool in warm weather, yet I don’t notice any extra wind on my face.
There’s a closable intake vent on the forehead with exhaust vents in the rear, especially good if you have long or thick hair. There’s also another closable vent on the chin bar that effectively reduces face-shield fogging.
The i90 isn’t super lightweight. It’s rated as 3.79 pounds which isn’t especially heavy, but you can find lighter.
For me, it’s never been an issue, though. I once wore my i90 for seven hours, only taking it off briefly for lunch. I never felt weighed down or like it was straining my neck. However, if this is a problem you have a lot, keep it in mind.
Sizing and Fit
The i90 fits me great, but I have the matching head shape: intermediate oval. Most people have this head shape, a head that’s slightly longer than it is wide from ear to ear. However, this might not be the best choice if you have one of the other two head shapes, round oval or long oval.
If you need clarification about your head shape, read our article on motorcycle helmet fit.
As for sizing, the i90 runs a bit large. I’m 6’3″, and people regularly point out that I have a big head. Nonetheless, I fit easily into an XL.
Meanwhile, HJC makes the i90 as big as 5XL, so it’s a great choice if you have a large noggin. In fact, we ranked it as the best motorcycle helmet for big heads.
Users rate the i90 slightly quieter than the average in their reviews. Personally, I don’t think it’s particularly quiet; that is probably my biggest complaint about the model. The wind tends to enter under the bottom of the helmet, and the ventilation flow rattles around a bit.
The noise isn’t severe, and it’s only an issue when you get up over 55 mph on the highway, so it’s excellent for commuting.
My ears have never started hurting, but it can drown out the speakers at high speeds if you have the Bluetooth communication system, which I’ll get into next.
Check out our article reviewing quiet motorcycle helmets if this is important to you.
Bluetooth and Communication
I use my i90 with the SMART HJC 10B, and it’s also compatible with the 20B, which allows for more riders and longer distances. The 10B is enough for me since I mainly use it to connect to my phone and listen to music and GPS directions.
The SMART HJC devices are adapted Sena communication systems and are easy to install in the i90 without discomfort. I don’t even notice mine.
I only have two complaints about my 10B system, both about the control unit. First, it’s hard to use with gloves on. The separation between the buttons is hard to feel, and I sometimes need to push the right button and hang up phone calls, turn off music, etc. Second, the clip is flimsy and can break if you’re not careful.
That said, I’m overall quite satisfied with the 10B system. I was most impressed by the battery, which lasted me on that seven-hour cross-country trip.
It’s rated for 10 hours, though that’s more for music, GPS, and the occasional phone call. It’ll last a lot less if you constantly communicate with other riders.
I also loved how easy it was to pair. I’ve had my share of frustrations with Bluetooth devices, but the 10B connected smoothly the first time and connected immediately every time I turned it on since.
The i90 has a pretty general style. It looks good but is not especially unique. It isn’t going to make you stand out, but it also shows you’re a serious rider with good taste.
I like that there are five color options, though only one is really colorful: red. Otherwise, you can do black or matte black, my personal choice, as well as white and gray.
I currently wear an HJC i90 for a reason. It has the safety and comfort of a high-end helmet at less than half the price. It’s a perfect choice for those with larger heads and those who want a stylish, minimalistic helmet compatible with a Bluetooth communication system.