Nolan is one of the most established and well-known helmet manufacturers in the entire world. The roots of the company can be traced back to 1972, when Lander Nocchi (the name Nolan is derived from the first syllables of his name) decided to introduce a radical change in his business. A skillful entrepreneur, he was in the business of manufacturing automobile and motorcycle accessories, but, due to the ever increasing demand for motorcycle helmets, and the growing market, Nocchi decided to expand his enterprise by starting up helmet production. The factory was founded in the Italian town of Mozzo, near Bergamo.
However, Nocchi wasn’t just satisfied with simple helmet production. He wanted to introduce certain innovations and make a more significant impact on the market by separating himself from his competitors, by making helmets lighter and more affordable. Back then, each helmet was made of fiberglass, which meant that a significant amount of work had to be done by hand, requiring expert craftsmanship and patience. But, that also meant that the productions costs were very high, and only a limited number of helmets could be made.
A significant shift in helmet manufacturing came when Nocchi purchased a cutting-edge thermoplastic material from General Electric, called the Lexan 101 polycarbonate, characterized by small weight and immense versatility. Apart from having superior mechanical and chemical properties, the material proved ideal for mass production of motorcycle helmets. Upon acquiring a hydraulic press and a mold from two Italian companies, Nolan began production, and went down in history as the first manufacturer to produce the world’s first polycarbonate full-face helmet, with a designated name of N01.
Over the next five years, the company had to work hard just to keep up with the demands, producing a huge number of helmets, while keeping the costs down. They were largely successful in that, but even more significant is the fact that Nolan managed to pull it off without compromising the quality and the price. In fact, those are the two main reasons that gave them the edge over their opponents. This period was also marked by innovations in helmet production, introduced by Nolan, among which are the JSW ventilation system which takes advantage of the Venturi effect principle, and Microlock retention system.
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Nolan was also the first manufacturer to have its own plant for the production of scratch-resistant visors. Never the ones to turn away from introducing new ideas, Nolan started molding the polystyrene in-house, which allowed for greater control of the quality, as well as independence from external contractors, and lower production costs. However, by the end of 1980s, the company fell on hard times, and was subsequently sold to an entrepreneur who went bankrupt soon afterwards, which meant the company had to be sold through a public auction. But, better days came in 1992, when it was bought back by a group managers, suppliers and distributors.
By handling every single aspect of helmet production in-house, without having to use third-party products, Nolan is able to have full control of the manufacturing process. As a result, they have introduced a new helmet brand, called the Grex, in 1993, which targets the medium-low segment of the market, and X-lite, which was established in 1998, which targets the medium-high segment of the helmet market. Each one of the brands is set up the same way as Nolan. In fact, every factory resembles a scaled down Nolan plant.
Similar to other top helmet manufacturers, Nolan also partakes in motorcycle racing. The extreme conditions which can be only experienced on a racetrack provide the ideal testing ground for innovation and introduction of the latest technology and solutions Nolan has become known for. There is no better test for endurance, reliability and sturdiness of any helmet, and Nolan engineers and technicians gather valuable data which they take back to the company.
Also, collaborating with top riders, the company also gains significant exposure, which is probably the best form of marketing in the motoring world. Some of the names associated with the brand are: the world champion Casey Stoner, Spanish rider Jorge Lorenzo and the Italian rider Marco Melandri, all of which wear Nolan’s high-end helmets in MotoGP competition.
Today, Nolan is distributed in over 70 countries, thanks to its wide network of suppliers and distributors, with countless helmets sold in all segments of the market. Still synonymous with innovations, latest technology and high quality, Nolan continues to lead the way for all other brands and achieve success in the racing world, by collaborating with top riders, and using the experience gathered on the race track as a base for the development of future models.
Nolan Helmets – X802R
The X802R represent the pinnacle of Nolan’s helmet production. This is their flagship model which combines all the years of experience, research and development, along with latest technology and materials. This particular helmet is the very best that Nolan has to offer, crammed full of features and high-end technology, and every part, including the shell, visor, ventilation and liner, is designed to be as good as it can be.
Needless, to say, the X802R sets a benchmark in terms of quality, safety and performance. Nolan’s collaboration with riders such as Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo, Carlos Checa and Marco Melandri, among other, has proved invaluable, because their feedback has helped improve the already advanced design of this racing composite fiber helmet.
The N104 EVO is a new and improved take on the N104 which implements several important updates, such as a ventilation system designed from scratch, with AirBoost technology, which is more effective and allows for greater control regardless of outside conditions. As for the interior, the liner material is available in more colors and the cheeks pads have been redesigned to ensure better comfort. All of these are fully removable and washable.
Nolan has integrated an ultra-wide visor, which gives every rider a better view of its surroundings, which makes for a safer ride. Also, each N104 EVO is fitted with a Pinlock anti-fog inner visor, a VPS sunscreen, Microlock2 retention system, and is fully compatible with Nolan’s very own N-Com communication system.