HJC RPHA MAX Modular Helmet Review, Take 2!

John Burns
by John Burns

Still a lot of modular for the moolah

The RPHA MAX Modular that HJC so graciously sent to my passenger Chrissy Rogers for our recent Yamaha Star Venture first ride was such a nice-looking lid when it popped out of the box, I thought it was a new model. I was wrong; T. Roderick tested it five years ago.


The RPHA (Revolutionary Performance Helmet Advantage) MAX was actually HJC’s first premium modular, and by now you’re probably aware of how much we like our modulars at MO. They’re super convenient, especially for people like us who need to stop and swap inanities every 20 minutes whenever we’re out on a group ride.

hjc rpha max modular helmet review take 2

I thought the RPHA MAX was new, I guess, because it seems quite a bit nicer than the HJC IS-MAX II modular I sang the praises of about a year ago, and have been wearing quite a bit ever since. For the money, $230, that thing is hard to beat.

The RPHA MAX beats it handily, though, with a plusher interior, a much better-sealing face shield, and the overall feel of a helmet that sells for twice the money of the IS-MAX II – $464.99 for the Silver Metallic helmet pictured. (It makes you wonder how they can make the IS-MAX II so cheap, and wonder even more how HJC’s CL-MAX II modular is even less expensive than it?) Our benchmark modular helmet remains the Shoei Neotec, which currently retails for $649 to $753.

hjc rpha max modular helmet review take 2, The black deal at the bottom is for the hardwired JM speakers inside
The black deal at the bottom is for the hardwired JM speakers inside.

Even if it’s not quite as nice as the Neotec, this HJC seems damn close for the money. My head was not in the RPHA MAX for two long days in the saddle, but I was well aware of whose appendix would be in the wringer should anything go wrong or anyone experience significant discomfort: The only thing worse than having your own head ache is having your co-pilot’s head ache, especially in the high 90-degree days that were forecast. Ms. Rogers had barely ridden at all and did not own a helmet; measuring her head according to HJC’s online instructions called for an XS, which arrived not long after and fit just right. Would things continue to be so happy on the road?

Well sir, thanks to the cool Dainese gear we reviewed last week, and to this helmet, there were zero complaints from steerage, and everybody concerned had a lovely time. Built-in pockets for stereo speakers made it easy to mount them, and the Star Venture’s sound system kept everybody rocking out and happy. The sun visor lever Tommyguns was worried might break in his initial review does seem a bit flimsy, but it hasn’t broken yet and I don’t think it will. Airflow looks to be pretty good with vents open, the chinbar release lever works great and positively, and makes it easy to fend off claustrophobia and to express oneself verbally whenever one feels the need – quite often, in this case. But mostly only to express what a great time she was having. God save the Queen.

XS – XLL (three shell sizes)
$459.99 – $499.99



Join the conversation
  • SRMark SRMark on Sep 22, 2017

    Nice thing about HJC is that even their less-expensive helmets are very good. I'll soon be in the market for a replacement. I will most-likely opt for the less expensive ones but I will give this one a test fitting.

    • Jon Jones Jon Jones on Sep 22, 2017

      I concur. Love my Sy-Max III, but might aim higher for the next one. The quality just grows with each new generation. Great buckets for the buck.