Weather in the Hill Country around Austin, Texas can be unpredictable, so when a random 62°F day forecast popped up on my radar, it was a perfect opportunity to test my new J34 ABS dual-sport helmet from Just1 Racing, a company predominately known for their excellent motocross helmets and sponsorship of numerous racers around the world.
One of my favorite features of the J34 is how it looks. While styling is generally unimportant, there’s no reason you can’t be safe and ride in style, and the J34 helps you do just that. Its aggressive lines resemble helmets worn by world-class enduro racers. It looks sharp, generating lots of compliments over the short time I’ve had it. As wine is to food, a helmet is to a motorcycle and, aesthetically, the J34 and my test bike, a 2019 SWM SM500R Supermoto, are a perfect pairing.
The helmet slides on with ease and provides a firm grip on my cheekbones. I’ve found the fit of the J34 helmet to be consistent with most other manufacturers. It’s built for an intermediate oval head shape (the most common in North America). The J34 comes with a double D-ring retention system, a standard feature for helmets at this price point. While a ratchet or quick-release system would be more convenient, a double D-ring system is arguably safer.
I found it a little odd that the front chin vent didn’t have an exterior open/close switch. The top vents are fairly easy to modulate on the fly, but I’d recommend setting these before you ride, especially if you prefer the peak in the lower position. Speaking of the peak, it adjusts with a Phillips screwdriver (the plastic adjusting screws can’t be turned with your fingers). Goggles also work perfectly with the J34 and you can even shut the front visor over them if you need more wind protection, or if you’re getting ready for a splash. Unfortunately, the visor isn’t Pinlock-ready.
I noticed the helmet allows moderate wind noise, but provides great ventilation in return. As the single-cylinder SWM built RPMs and speed increased, my head started to feel pressure as the visor caught the wind turbulence from vehicles ahead of me. Because of this, the J34 is not a helmet I’d recommend for long-distance touring unless you’ve got wind protection on your bike.
After a few miles I entered downtown Austin. The sounds of construction boomed all around; however, the foam padding suppresses the harsh tones. The wide, removable windscreen gave me great peripheral vision while weaving through city streets, and the slide-released, tinted sunscreen provided enough wind protection for my eyes at low speeds.
Departing from the bitumen roadway I ventured into the Texas Hill Country to enjoy backroad twisties. The helmet truly shined in technical riding situations where its lightweight design allowed me to quickly avoid tree overhangs and branches without a strain on my neck.
For a cost-effective helmet, the emergency removal straps are a huge bonus. This is an uncommon feature for helmets at this price point, but standard for “premium” options. EMTs and paramedics are trained to look for emergency tabs in the event of an accident. These tabs separate the lining from the shell so the helmet can be removed without applying unnecessary pressure on the neck. I don’t think I need to stress how important this is, but it’s a feature you should look for on any helmet you buy.
The helmet is designed for the enduro crowd but performed great in urban and undeveloped areas during my testing. The only pitfalls are inherent to the enduro style of helmet, as the visor catches wind and the wind noise at speed. Other than that, the J34 remains true to the brand name and may be “Just1” helmet you need.
PROS:• Great peripheral vision
• Well ventilated helmet—a must in Texas
• The design is incredibly appealing to the eye in any color
• Lightweight design with top level safety
CONS:• Wind buffeting at highway speeds due to visor
• Glasses had some issues fitting comfortably