In 1945, as Italy began rebuilding after World War II, a young accountant named Gino Amisano started making leather saddles and helmets for bicyclists in the town of Valenza. The fledgling company was called AGV (Amisano Gino Valenza), and Amisano made his first motorcycle helmet in 1947 by shaping leather over a wooden mold, drying it in an oven and applying paint. As leather evolved into fiberglass and the pudding-bowl evolved into the full-face, AGV helmets came to be worn by legendary racers like Giacomo Agostini, Kenny Roberts and Valentino Rossi.
Owned by Italian apparel maker Dainese since 2007, AGV offers a full line of street, off-road and racing helmets. AGV’s AX-8 Dual Evo helmet is aimed at dual-sport and adventure riders who want the best of both worlds. It combines the pointed chinbar and sun-blocking visor of an off-road helmet with the face shield and closeable vents of a street helmet. Meeting DOT and ECE 22.05 standards, the shell is made of a proprietary composite of fiberglass, Kevlar and carbon fiber called SSL (Super Super Light), and the helmet weighs just 3 pounds, 4.5 ounces—lighter than all but one of the full-face helmets in our July 2013 buyer’s guide.
The sculpted shape of the shell slices through the air cleanly, but the helmet is rather noisy. And although the helmet has six intake vents (three on the chinbar, three on top) and four exhaust vents, the openings are small and airflow through the helmet is limited. The chinbar vent, which is lined with a block of large-cell mesh foam that can be removed and cleaned, flows a decent amount of air; removing the chin curtain flows even more.
A clear face shield, treated to resist scratches, limit fogging and block UV rays, is standard; an accessory dark-tinted shield is available for $59.95. The face shield attaches to the helmet with two Phillips-head screws, and I swapped the clear face shield for a tinted one before the BMW F 800 GS Adventure press launch. After three days of riding and opening/closing the shield countless times, the left screw fell out while I was riding down U.S. 395 at 65 mph, requiring an emergency repair with duct tape until I got home. A dab of Loctite on each screw should help prevent them from working loose.
Overall, the AGV AX-8 Dual Evo is very comfortable, with a plush, anti-microbial Dri-Lex liner that’s removable and washable. Thanks to its lightness and interior comfort, wearing it all day is a pleasure—though preferably on mild days and with earplugs. With the face shield up, the eyeport easily accommodates goggles, and interchangeable clips allow the face shield to open in a ratcheted or smooth fashion. The chinstrap secures with a traditional D-ring, and a removable breath guard and soft helmet bag are included.
Three shell sizes cover six helmet sizes, from XS-XXL. MSRP is $399.95 for black, gray or white, and $449.95 for black/white or white/black/red.
For more information:
See your dealer or visit agv.com/us