Date reviewed: February 2022 | Tested by: John Milbank | Price: £89.99 | www.oxfordproducts.com
The HJC C10 on review here is the first sub-£100 helmet we’ve tested that’s certified to ECE 22.06. This is a much tougher test standard than ECE 22.05 – which must cease to be used on all helmets made from July 2023 – thanks to more impact points on the helmet, additional higher and lower speed tests, and an ‘oblique’ test, which measures the rotational forces transmitted to the brain in a crash.
Personally, I’d recommend anyone looking to buy a new motorcycle helmet to aim for one that’s certified to ECE 22.06, as it provably has the potential to offer better protection. And with HJC releasing this one at such a great price, it could be an obvious choice for many riders.
I’ve been wearing it on a 2001 Honda VFR800 and a 2019 BMW R1250GS to find out if it’s a decent budget option…
Available in sizes 3XS to 2XL, the new HJC C10 has an ‘advanced polycarbonate composite’ shell with an overall finish that belies its relatively low price point. Starting at £89.99 for plain colours, the ‘Lito MC3H Yellow’ on test here retails at £99.99, along with several other graphics options.
The C10 carries an ACU Gold sticker, meaning it can be worn without question on track days and when racing, though do be aware that no further tests are carried out for this sticker to be awarded (for a fee) by the Auto Cycle Union.
The wide size range is due to the C10 replacing not only the ECE 22.05 certified CS-15, but also the CL-Y, which was designed for younger riders / pillions. Four different shell sizes are used across that size range, meaning the owner of a 3XS won’t have the outer shell of a 2XL perched on their head.
The C10 comes with a three year warranty from the date of purchase, or five years from the date of manufacture, whichever comes first.
Claimed to weigh 1,500g, this medium tips my scales at 1,548g. In my experience so far, ECE 22.06 helmets are tending to be a little heavier than many ECE 22.05 lids; this one is 123g heavier than the HJC CS-15 I reviewed a few years back and only 40g lighter than the composite fibre-shelled Arai Quantic.
But weight really hasn’t been an issue on any motorcycle helmet I’ve tested. Hold a heavier and a lighter one in each hand and you’ll feel the difference, but when riding it’s the aerodynamics that make you aware of a lid. In use, I’ve had no problems at all with the weight – or shape – of the HJC C10.
With one wide and very easy to operate chin vent blowing up onto the back of the visor and up to the brow, and two closed / half-open / fully-open vents on top, ventilation on the HJC C10 is good, with air flowing well to the always-open twin-port exhaust on the rear.
While I no longer have a CS-15 to directly compare, based on my review from 2018, the C10 has improved venting.
The excellent visor mechanism on the HJC also helps with venting, cracking open about a centimetre for extra airflow.
The C10 has a 10mm wider aperture than the CS-15, making for a claimed 5% increase in peripheral vision on either side.
I certainly had no problem with normal riding and shoulder checks, besides the heavy sculpting of the visor at the bottom leading to distortion that caused very small, but occasionally noticeable flashes of dark areas along the bottom edge. This only happens with the visor cracked open, and I soon got used to it, but it did lead me to think that something was happening in the corner of my eye every so often. Certainly not a reason not to buy this lid, and only really comment-worthy as I’ve not seen it before.
There’s no Pinlock supplied with the HJC C10. This isn’t unusual on budget helmets, but it will add about £25 to £30 extra for the HJ-34P Pinlock that fits it.
In cold weather particularly, without the Pinlock you’ll find that fogging will quickly become an issue unless you ride with the visor cracked open. I tend to need to anyway as I wear glasses, and while you could use an anti-fog coating on the visor, the one I tried (FogTech) soaked out too quickly to be useful.
The visor seals very well against the helmet, though a small amount of water managed to find its way in behind the gasket along the top of the aperture where it’s bonded to the shell. This may well be an isolated manufacturing issue with a little glue missing; otherwise, the seal works well.
The visor operates on a smooth 10-position ratchet that feels better quality than some helmets costing a fair bit more. It’s also really easy to remove and refit for cleaning. My only minor grumble is that there’s just a thumb tab on the left for opening – I prefer one on either side or one in the middle for easier operation with the right hand while holding the clutch in with the left.
There’s no drop-down sun-shield fitted, which isn’t a massive surprise in a budget-priced lid.
The HJC C10 has a removable chin skirt and removable cheek pads, but the rest of the lining is fixed in place. It’s easier to clean a well-used lid that has a fully-removable lining, but it can still be washed out with a shower head (and left to dry naturally) if needs be.
The lining’s nothing to get excited about, but it’s soft and comfortable so has no cause for complaint.
The C10 uses a micrometric ratchet-type fastener, which guarantees a secure fit while being easy to use and still offering a degree of latitude to ensure it’s tightened properly.
While not the choice of racers, this is a very effective system that’s also easy to use even with gloves on.
Fit is always going to be very subjective, and if you’re a new rider I’d strongly recommend that you go to a store to have someone help you find the right size; far too many riders are in lids that are simply too big for them.
My usual medium fits me well with this HJC, there being no pressure points and overall it feeling good and snug. In a way it feels like there’s a little more padding than some other helmets, and while this might give a little more over time, it’s not a race helmet that’s likely to be used at 150mph on track.
While all motorcycle helmets from all brands (regardless of their claims) are too noisy to be worn without earplugs at anything over about 40mph, the HJC is impressively quiet, with no unusual whistles or booming.
With speaker recesses in the EPS (expanded polystyrene) inner shell, and a gap between the EPS and outer shell if you choose to use a clip-on comms unit, there should be no issues in fitting most Bluetooth and mesh intercom systems to the HJC C10.
At this price it’s hard to recommend any comparable products as it’s the first budget-priced ECE 22.06 helmet we’ve tested, but by searching on Sportsbikeshop, which allowed me to filter by only helmets that are ECE 22.06 certified, here are some others to consider…
I’m really impressed with the HJC C10 – it’s comfortable, it’s relatively inexpensive, and it’s certified to the provably safer ECE 22.06 standard.
There is a noticeable difference between this and the higher-priced motorcycle helmets we’ve reviewed, but four or five times the difference? That I’m not so sure about.
Yes, you get what you pay for, but for those on a tighter budget, the new HJC C10 makes for a wise buy.