In 1971 HJC started out making some of the highest quality motorcycle helmets we know today. The HJC CL-16 is one of those helmets and we’ve wanted to review it. Since 1971 they have been named the number one helmet provider that motorcyclists choose in North America by Motorcycle Industry Magazine.
As we said before, HJC’s CL-16 is one of those helmets that’s designed to protect and will give us all of the features we need to make it comfortable and easy to wear. While it may look like a plain helmet at first glance, when you look closer it’s easy to see what makes it such a great helmet. When you get down to it, the simplicity of this helmet is its best feature. There’s no complicated mechanisms or attachments that could fail during a high impact collision. Don’t let its price fool you because while it is cheaper than most helmets it’s certainly not made that way!
Overall Design and Features
Overall the design of this helmet when we look at it is actually not a simple as you might think. First the CL-16’s shape is made to provide maximum protection in any type of crash, high impact or not. Helmets aren’t all shaped this way because it looks good, they’re shaped this way because this design provides the best protection for your head and neck.
In addition to the shape of this helmet you’ll also notice the channels and ridges that create a smooth aerodynamic surface for air to flow across without meeting much resistance. These same channels and ridges are in place to help the helmet disperse and absorb the shock during a collision, that way the helmet won’t crack or fail. After all, that is what a helmet is designed for in the first place!
The years of constructing safe high quality helmets have given this helmet DOT and SNELL safety ratings.
The first thing we see when we look at a motorcycle helmet is the shell. It only makes sense too because it’s the outside structure that makes a helmet what it is and provides the helmet with the ability to protect our heads. This shell is made with a Polycarbonate Composite that has been advanced by HJC’s years of testing and design.
Not only do they know exactly what to use in the construction of a motorcycle helmet shell, but they test them all out in labs and in real life situations to ensure that only the most protective helmets make it to market. Most of the tests HJC performs are to guarantee safety while others are done in wind tunnels to make sure the shell design provides the least air resistance and movement at high speeds.
Usually, the next thing most people see when they look at a helmet is the vents and their positions. The CL-16 has 7 vents built into the shell that allow the stale hot air out while letting the cool fresh air flow in. The difference between this ventilation system and most of the others on various helmets is that it’s specifically designed to push air up and out versus in, down, and out.
The first vent that hits the wind when you ride is located on the mouthpiece of the helmet. This vent allows the air to flow in and up cooling your face but also pushing any stale air up to the second main vent.
Located on the top forehead portion of the helmet the main vent then takes the air pushed up by the mouthpiece and exhausts it. While it’s an exhaust vent it also scoops in cool fresh air from the front pushing it back over the top of your head through the channels in the padding to the rear top vent.
This rear top vent has two functions. First, it exhausts that air from the top front vent after it has become hot from running over your head. Second, it takes the incoming air from the left and right rear side vents and exhausts it after it cools the back of your head and ears. Overall the vents are top of line in cooling your head and they give the helmet that unique up and out ventilation.
HJC CL-16 Face Protection
One of the next things we see when we look at a helmets overall design is the face shield. Now, yes this could be the second thing you see and not the vents but it’s one of the first three things that grab our attention. This face shield provides your face with protection from the dirt and wind on the road and allows you to see the road and any obstacles before they come across your path.
The face shield on the CL-16 is made to be easily swapped with its RapidFire replacement system so you can change out the shield without any tools quickly and easily. The shield itself is also made with scratch and fog resistant material and the helmet itself has an insert to provide additional fog removal support.
While the shield is design to block out 95% of the sun’s harmful UV rays it’s also designed to allow you to wear a non bulky pair of sun or prescription glasses underneath it. Whether you need to swap out the shield because it’s been damaged or because you want to add a shield that provides additional sun protection, HJC has made it very easy to do.
A part of the helmet we don’t notice right off the bat is the padding or liner because, well, it’s not visible until you turn the helmet over and look inside. The padding on the CL-16 is designed with channels to allow all of the airflow going on inside the helmet to have a place to circulate through and keep you cool.
It’s also made with an anti-bacterial fabric, that way any sweat, dirt, or bacteria that get built up inside during your ride don’t infect or irritate that cleanly shaven face. Or, for our women riders out there, (Yup, we recognize women ride too!) the same elements won’t affect those clean pores and amazing complexion.
As with most helmet padding (at least the good ones) it’s fully removable and machine washable. We like this not only because we like clean smelling helmets, but also because that same anti-bacterial fabric can be cleaned and kept ready to provide our faces with excellent protection at any given moment.
Colors and Graphics
While it doesn’t come in every color out there, you still have a decent selection of colors and the graphics make up for that lack of colors. You can find the HJC CL-16 in Black, White, Silver, Wine Berry, and Rubbertone (Matte Black). You can also find different colored graphics so if the colors don’t appeal to your taste or if there’s not a color there you like the graphics have a wider variety of colors.
The graphic you see here is the Hi-Viz Machine. Believe it or not the helmets with graphics are reasonably priced.
We’ve only provided a taste of what’s available when it comes to the graphics for this helmet. Not to mention if you don’t like any of the ones that HJC provides but love the helmet you can always get a plain colored helmet and have a custom color or graphic put on it. This will more than likely increase the cost overall of the helmet but sometimes it’s worth it!
To conclude our HJC CL-16 helmet review we think this helmet is great. It’s priced VERY fairly and you don’t get a lower quality helmet because the price is less expensive. You don’t have to buy a high priced helmet to get the best features and benefits on the market. You can spend an amount that falls within your budget and get a helmet that provides protection, comfort, and features that compare with the helmets that cost a fortune!