Those of you who know me know really well that I appreciate motorcycle gear that’s loaded with value—especially those with an extremely enticing price tag. HJC is a helmet manufacturer that fits the bill perfectly, thanks to its helmets which look great, offer superior protection, and carry an extremely attractive price tag. A few months ago, I wrote a comprehensive review on HJC’s entry-level helmet, the CS-15, a helmet which I still firmly believe is hands down the best value-for-money helmet in the market.
Now, what if you want a little more than what the humble HJC CS-15 has to offer? Well, you need not look beyond HJC’s catalog of helmets, as the C70 could just be your best bet. Priced at just a hair over the P7,000 mark, on paper, this helmet seems unbeatable. I mean, it looks awesome, it has all the hallmark features of a touring helmet, and it’s made by one of the most reputable helmet makers in the market. What more could you want? Well, luckily, I’ve been spending a lot of time with the C70 lately, and have been using it long enough to finally be able to come up with a comprehensive review. Having said all that, let’s dive right in.
Right out of the box the HJC C70 looks and feels like it's worth way more than what you paid for. It’s very well put together, with the visor mechanism and all the adjustable vents very firmly installed, yet easy to actuate. The visor is firm, with a lock on the center which can be activated by pushing the visor firmly shut. On the inside of the helmet, the EPS foam is thick, pliable, and voluminous, but it’s clear to see that this helmet was built on a budget thanks to its single-material interior lining.
I was impressed to see that the drop-down visor mechanism was secure, and the visor dropped down and retracted back up with minimal effort. Furthermore, the micrometric quick-release buckle makes it extremely convenient for multi-purpose riding. The first time I wore it, I realized that it was much more snug than the CS-15. I opted for size L, but prefer my helmets on the tighter side. Take note of this, as the C70 is still on the tight side for me even after several months of use.
What I like about it
First and foremost, I chose the C70 because I saw it as the perfect combination of sporty, stylish, and practical. Indeed, I was right, as the C70 is all of these things. In terms of styling, its fascia is aggressive like a sportbike helmet, but the ventilation present on the chin, top, and rear of the helmet is much more like that of a sport-touring lid. Furthermore, installing an aftermarket iridium visor just enhanced that look for me. Inside the helmet, the drop-down visor is extremely useful especially on long rides under the sun.
Just like the CS-15, there are tons of aftermarket visors and lenses available for the C70, and you can customize your helmet very easily according to your preferences. As is the case with most HJC lids, the C70 has a very wide field of vision, allowing you to see clearly left and right using your peripheral vision. It’s also surprisingly quiet, as I didn’t even have to wear earplugs on long highway stints on NLEX and SCTEX.
What I don't like about it
Overall, it’s hard to pinpoint what’s not to like about the C70 except for one thing—and it’s a major thing: it doesn’t have any speaker cutouts. So if you’re like me and you ride with a comms system, this could be the helmet’s make it or break it factor. In my case, I cut out my own speaker cut-outs using a hand tool, and ever since haven’t had any issues with this. That said, if you have no experience making your own speaker cutouts, you may want to take it to an expert to have this done.
Another thing worth mentioning about the C70 is its rather heavyweight construction. Tipping the scales at 1,600 grams, it’s the heaviest helmet in my collection by a significant margin. This weight is barely noticable if you’re riding a sport-touring or adventure bike. However, on longer rides aboard a sportbike or aggressive naked bike, you’re bound to feel the strain on your neck and shoulders. Lastly, I also found the toggle switch for the drop-down visor situated in a strange area. Rather than having a switch on the side of the helmet, you need to reach all the way to the top and back, stretching your arm pretty far as you’re riding.
After several months of use
As of this writing, I’ve racked up quite a lot of mileage with the HJC C70—approximately 10,000 kilometers of riding in all weather conditions. Overall, I’m very pleased with how the helmet has managed to stay fresh and looking new. The paint continues to be lustrous, the visor hasn’t loosened at all, and the vents and drop-down mechanism all work perfectly fine. Inside the helmet, the liner has remained taut and snug, despite having been removed and washed several times. Interestingly, it seems HJC used a harder material for the liner of the C70, as it hasn’t broken in as well as I would have liked, i.e., it’s still very snug even after several months of use.
At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a do-it-all helmet that won’t break the bank, the HJC C70 is an excellent choice. Sure, it’s a bit long in the tooth with its lack of speaker cutouts and heavyweight construction. However, you’d be hard pressed to find a helmet at this price point that’s packed with this many features. Just like the rest of HJC’s lineup, the C70 is a helmet that can last you several years if properly taken care of. Maintenance is incredibly easy, with the inner lining very easy to remove, wash, and reinstall. Plus, it’s available in a variety of colorways, so it’ll surely be easy to find the right design to match your bike and riding gear.