Dear MOby,

I bought an HJC AC-3 carbon-fiber open-face helmet six years ago. Really like it, but the liner has gotten so hard it is uncomfortable to wear. I have been unsuccessful at locating a replacement liner online. I would consider buying another like helmet, but cannot find that either. Any ideas of a source of either liner or complete helmet? I didn’t have any luck  contacting HJC ‘tech support’.

Bob Toy

Dear Bob,

If you’re in the midwest or someplace where fashion takes a back seat to function, I’d rip out the liner and hit the inside of the shell with a can of Home Depot insulating foam, then put the helmet on while wearing a bald wig until it cures, for a truly custom fit. Kidding!

HJC’s Marketing Coordinator Molly Lang swings into action:

“First of all, we suggest replacing your helmet every five years for safety purposes as the EPS foam and liners will wear over time, and new models will support new safety features. The AC-3 model has been discontinued for 10 years now, so a replacement liner will be hard to find and we do not recommend it.

“HJC has since introduced ¾-helmet models which replaced the AC-3 as technology and features have improved over time. Our current model in that style is the IS-33 II; an open-face 3/4 helmet with optional peak visor or shield [that’s it in the lead photo]. While it is not carbon-fiber, it does have an Advanced Polycarbonate shell for light weight and superior fit; its features and materials have changed for the better over the past 10 years.

I hope this helps, and feel free to contact HJC customer service directly at 562-407-2186 with more questions.”

Hats off (get it?) to HJC for making helmet replacement as painless as possible; the IS-33 carries a suggested price of $139.99 to $154.99. Coincidentally, we just tested a new HJC modular helmet – its IS-MAX II. For a few dollars more than the open-face, it provides greater protection when you want it and all the convenience of an open-face when you don’t. We’re big fans of HJC and modular helmets here at MO.

  • Jon Jones

    2-3 years is about the most I keep a helmet. The quality of even the lower-priced helmets is too good to continue wearing a crusty old one. HJC seems to offer some of the best values out there. Love my Sy-Max lll. I still wear a nice Shoei fullface when riding in a brisk sporting manner. Helmets, like everything, have come so far the last few decades. I remember the weight, discomfort, and noise of my old Bell helmets. Ear plugs, a nice lightweight Schampa balaclava, and a newer helmet is wonderful for those of us who have been around.

    • Jay F

      Oxiclean. Once or twice a riding season I soak my helmet liners and jackets in it for 3 hrs . Rinse, air dry, get it dirty again.

  • allworld

    It is probably worth mentioning to buy from a reputable retailer. I have seen expired helmets at rock bottom prices on the internet, namely FleaBay. Never buy a used helmet.

    • Jon Jones

      Good point. I see nasty old helmets on Craigslist, also.

    • Old MOron

      Case in point:
      MOron Bob Toy says, “I bought an HJC AC-3 carbon-fiber open-face helmet six years ago…”

      HJC Rep Molly Lang says, “The AC-3 model has been discontinued for 10 years now…”

      So someone sold our fellow MOron a helmet that was at least four years old.

  • ‘Mike Smith

    My less than 1 year old Reevu helmet liner is already looking bad. If only Shoei or Arai made a mirrored rear view design, I’d gladly pay a premium for it. I also bought an Arai back in 2012 online from a fairly reputable online store. I later found out why it was on sale. It was manufactured in 2008 according to the serial number. Even so, it’s still in better condition than my Reevu, and far more comfortable.

  • DickRuble

    Oh yeah.. the expiration date of the helmet.. Everything has an expiration date these days.. car seats, helmets, pens, jeans, toilet paper.. the only thing that never expires is the retailers’ BS. They recommend you buy a dozen at once and wear them only once, at the most.

  • Campisi

    I always point the modular and three-quarters crowd towards the Shark Evoline series, since Shark actually submits that helmet to safety certification testing with the chin bar down *and* up. Most modular helmets aren’t safety rated when flipped open.

  • spiff

    Talked to a guy that worked for a national retailer. He knows a guy that worked for a helmet manufacturer. Yes, one of those stories.

    That said, he told me that if you keep your helmet away from gas/petroleum products and fumes, you should be fine. Both filling the tank and storing in the garage, were his concerns. He claimed they did a variety of tests (including time), and these were the only things that deteriorated the helmet’s effectiveness.

    You may call bullshit, but who is spooning it out?

    • Jay F

      Yea but the thing is they same the same 5 yr thing about construction hardhats. Fortunately they have the round date stamp that’s easy to find.

  • Vrooom

    I change helmets every 30-50K or about once a year. You can just sort of sense the quality declining, it gets a bit louder, fits a bit worse/less comfortable, and you know it’s fallen off something during that time, which is tough on the EPS.