HJC may not have the instant name recognition of other manufacturers of motorcycle helmets, like Shoei or Arai, but the brand has garnered a loyal following after releasing several solid helmets at affordable prices. One such helmet was the [mageProductLink sku="pid28" title=""]HJC Sy-Max II[/mageProductLink], which quickly became one of the company's best-selling products. Shortly after the Sy-Max II was introduced, HJC announced that it would be releasing the updated [mageProductLink sku="035-578-601" title=""]HJC Sy-Max III[/mageProductLink].
Whenever a company releases an updated project, they always run the risk of losing what made the original model popular in the first place. Fortunately, that's not the case with the Sy-Max III - instead, it improves on what was already an incredibly well-made helmet.
The Sy-Max III is a flip-up helmet, so right off the bat riders have to be comfortable with this style of motorcycle helmet before they buy. The overall build of the helmet is quite solid and a dramatic improvement over the original Sy-Max, although not quite so different from the Sy-Max II.
In fact, the Sy-Max III came out just a few short months after the Sy-Max II debuted, and the second iteration of the helmet was already selling well. That might prompt some motorcycle riders to scratch their head and wonder why the third version of the helmet was out so quickly. One possible reason is that the Sy-Max II had a highly-publicized issue with its helmet latch that brought the company some negative press. The new Sy-Max III has an improved helmet latch system that makes flipping the chin bar up easy and safe.
With the mechanical issues out of the way, the top thing on most riders' minds will simply be how the helmet feels. The Sy-Max III really pulls out all the stops when it comes to comfort, with an incredibly plush interior lining that makes riding with a helmet on enjoyable. Comparing this to the original Sy-Max, it's easy to see that HJC has invested time and money in getting the lining of their new helmet right. Both the lining and cheekpads are removable, and thinner and thicker versions are available for those who want to customize the helmet to fit their head exactly.
While the Sy-Max III is improved in just about all areas, the ventilation does leave something to be desired. Air flow is pretty good in the upper half of the helmet, but the chin vents don't let a ton of oxygen through when the rider is traveling. This can be alleviated somewhat by the fact that the rider can flip the chin bar up, but this isn't something that riders will want to be doing constantly.
Still, the Sy-Max III is a very quiet helmet, especially for a flip-up model. These helmets tend to be noisier because there are openings in the shell to allow the helmet to flip up, and air can get in through these cracks and cause noise. Yet the Sy-Max III does an excellent job of insulating the rider from the noise of the outside world, making it easy to ride for hours at a time with no annoying whistling or buzzing noises.
From a visibility standpoint, the Sy-Max III excels as well. The eye port is one of the largest around, offering an unparalleled view of the road. The face shield is also easy to use, so riders that want no hassle in being able to flip up their helmet or their shield will likely fall in love with the Sy-Max III quickly.
Overall, the Sy-Max III is one of the very best flip helmets on the market, and if the history of the Sy-Max helmet is any indication, HJC will only keep getting better as time goes on.