Why AGV still can't compete with Arai and Shoei

Dailies, Reviews -

By

GP-Tech_Probs_1.JPGWe love our AGV GP-Tech helmets, but there’s a couple of seriously
annoying flaws keeping them from being fully competitive with first tier
helmets from Arai or Shoei. First are the damn visor
release/retention mechanisms which are the sliding red pieces of plastic
pictured above. See those little springs? Every time you try and remove
or refit a visor, they pop out of their guides, meaning I have to
disassemble the entire mechanism to refit them. Thankfully, the screws
that connect them to the helmet are high quality and they’re seated in
metal bolts, so doing this won’t damage the helmet. It’s a good thing I
carry all these tools, they’re needed with every visor swap. There’s a lot of cheap plastic used in the visor mechanism’s
construction too, which doesn’t bode well for their longevity, I’m going
to see if I can order replacements to have on hand in case of failure. >

GP-Tech_Probs_2.JPGSecond, the shape and location of the visor aperture isn’t really suited to the riding position of most supersport bikes. It’s too low, meaning I have to strain to tilt my head upwards a little more than usual when I’m in a tuck or while hanging off at track lean angles. Still, those red stripes on the upper lining are always visible in your peripheral vision, creating a cool subconscious focussing effect, sort of a built in red mist.

That’s about it. The GP-Tech is AGV’s top of the line race replica intended to compete with the Arai RX7 Corsair V and the Shoei X-Twelve. It feels a little lighter than those helmets and on par with the Shoei if not the Arai’s build quality and the interior is positively luxurious thanks to a sweat-wicking CoolMax liner and well-placed padding. The AGV fogs like a Shoei, yet ventilates like an Arai, but without the excessive wind noise thanks to the integrated vents and teardrop shape. Death Spray’s paint job is holding up well too.  I remember when AGV’s were the exclusive preserve of tracksuit-wearing teenage scooterists in Italy. The brand’s come a long way since then, it’s a shame patchy component quality is still holding it back.

  • http://Leahstunts.com Leah

    I feel like it’s only a matter of time -nice write up!

  • http://www.urbanrider.co.uk Urban Rider

    Fair and correct assessment. It’s worth nothing that they RRP for about 60% of the equivalent top of the range Arai and Shoei helmets.

    For me the S4 is the standout from their range in terms of value for money, specification and design. I have a Ti-Tech which is one down from the GP-Tech and have no complaints other than it’s nowhere near as comfortable as my Arai Condor that I use day to day.

  • yzedf

    OGK FF5 ;)

  • telekom

    I have an Arai Condor which I love. It isn’t top of the range but I tried many helmets before choosing and it was the most comfortable by miles. I had no intention of spending so much on my helmet but I’m glad I did. It also has a wide visor aperture, offering far better peripheral vision than other brands I tried (important). I think it’s interesting that Wes mentions the visor aperture being not quite right in the AGV.

    The only thing I don’t like about the Arai is in fact the visor mechanism. It’s pretty stiff, and the workings under the side pods are fiddly. Any time you have to take the visor off it’s a real struggle to re-fit it. Typically I have to take it off to adjust the pinlock, but you have to wrestle with it so much to re-fit it that by the time you get it back on properly the pinlock is out of position again. That said, I think I made the right choice.

  • Rob

    I wonder if AGV uses different visor mechanisms throughout their lineup. I have a cheap-o AGV K3 and have never had a visor mechanism issue at all. I swap my visor every day from tinted for morning ride to work, then clear to go home from night classes and it has been flawless.
    Ive fitted myself with the CorsairV and GPTech and I much preferred the GPTech in terms of comfort and quietness. I did enjoy the field of view from the Arai though – just too loud. Can’t comment on the XTwelve – need to put my noggin in one of those.

  • GRIP

    Wow…
    I have an AGV GP-Tech and the visor mechanism is no more convoluted then any other helmets that I have owned (almost every top model brand out there). I have taken the visor off several times… no tools needed.

    Visor angle? Red mist you say? Is it possible this helmet simply doesnt fit you? I often heard that some people have an Arai head, Shoei head, etc… maybe thats rubbish.. possibly this thing just doesnt fit you well.

    Ironically my AGV is much noiser then my Shoei X-11.

    Whats my point? Well I would just hate to see people discouraged from buying this product due to your assessment. It would be nice to see a side by side helmet comparison on the site some day.

    Disclaimer: Im in no way affiliated with agv or mc gear sales lol. Im just a guy like you with a totally different experience with this helmet.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Is it possible the helmet doesn’t fit me? Not really, I’ve owned a whole mess o’helmets from all major helmet makers and I know how helmet fit works. In fact, this is one of the best-fitting helmets I’ve had. I think it is an issue with the visor aperture not being shaped optimally and it’s only off by a few degrees.

      Is it a case of being put off buying one? That’s not necessarily the point of any criticism, rather it’s about educating readers to help them make informed decisions.

  • Gbear

    I have to agree with you about the visor release/retention mechanism on the GP-Tech. Although I haven’t had to break out the tools yet. I’ve simply resorted to using a different helmet for night riding when possible (i know that sounds ridiculous) or I just suffer with a dark visor at night if I get caught out. Every time I do change the visor on the GP-Tech I feel like some plastic bit is about to break. Is the Shoei system patented? Wonder why AGV haven’t just copied that same style. It truly is the helmets only short coming in my opinion.

    I also agree with you about the visor aperture. I had the same issue until I sorted out how to position the helmet for a better view. After I put the helmet on I just push the top back of the helmet down. It makes my chin pop out of the chin guard a bit, but it’s worth the trade off of a better view.

  • http://www.so-sos.com Yukio

    I have an S4 and am very happy with it. The visor mechanism is much simplier than what you show on your model. I just wish I had a DSC paint job.

  • eneal

    I have A Ti-Tech and love the fit.Though,everyone ones head is different.I tried on 20 different helmets.Visor mechanism is a weak link.

  • Erik

    I have an S4 and have to agree that AGV’s shield mechanism is definately a step behind Arai (own 4 of them) and Shoei (own 1). I suppose why they all don’t just use the same type of mechanism is much like why cell phones all have different types of battery adapters. If they were universal they would not make any money. A replacement dark shield for a helmet costs anywhere from $50 bucks or more these days. It probably costs them a few bucks to make. If they had universal mounting, everyone else would get that money but them.

    The S4 has decent quality as well but could be better. The forehead vents will open on their own at speed and the paint work is nice but you can tell will not last like an Arai or Shoei.
    The S4 is a nice looking lid with decent quality for the price (bought it on closeout for less than $200). If you want the best, Arai IMO is still #1 as long as it fits you right!

  • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

    I’m feeling pretty good about my black $150 HBC right now. Good fit, finish is fine (it’s just black) and visibility is great.

  • http://muthalovin.com the_doctor

    I still love that Deathspray paintjob.

  • Dan

    I have an old AGV Ti-Tech that I had to retire (but still use occasionally). I bought an RF-1000 to replace it. Both seem to fit me equally well (contact all around head, pressure on cheeks). The AGV is by far a better helmet. The RF fogs like it was designed to stop you seeing and the ventilation is very poor in that it blows in one place on the top of your head. I do think that AGV is a step behind Arai but based on my (limited) experience, I’d put Shoei and AGV on about the same level as the Ti-Tech was the top of the line when I bought it and the RF-1000 was second in line.

    I’m about to make a long cross country trip and I just can’t see myself taking the RF-1000, I’d take the AGV but will probably end up buying a new helmet for the trip.

  • Dan

    I swear the first time I tried to change out the visor on my Arai Corsair, I wanted to kill whoever designed the mechanism. But with some practice and after watching the online tutorial, I can do it in less than 30 seconds now. Nothing beats the Shoei for ease of visor change though. They just got it right the first time.

  • C Mad

    A Shark rsr2 has a great visor and retention system. literally 10 seconds to change… And the visor is 3 mm thick, and has the best anti-fog system around. Wonder why the get no love in these top teir helmet conversations?

    • vic

      i second that .i really like the top end shark lids.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      I’ve never actually tried a Shark helmet, maybe I’ll have to.

  • Vinny

    its a shame, i have an agv helmet and have some complaints about it.

  • Alexandre

    How can anybony even compair Arai and Shoei with AGV and Shark???

    Does anybody know anything about the HUGE SAFETY DIFFERENCE that there is?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      No need to shout. I really don’t think there’s a “huge safety difference” between top range AGV or similar and Arai/Shoei anymore. I wouldn’t wear one if there was.

      • Alexandre

        I wasn´t shouting. Sorry if I made you think this way. I would never be unpolite with somebody I respect so much and follow for a long time.

        I don´t mean to look like I “own the truth”. But I work with helmets and there is a huge differece. The tests and real life confirm that.

        MOST helmet brands (not shouting, only stressing that it´s more than you think) bild their helmet “just” to pass ECE or DOT standards, that are made to attend regular motorcyclists not racers.

        I really want to talk more about this, that´s my job! But I don´t want do demean any brands.

        You have my e-mail. And I would love to pass some my experience, because people have the right to be safer.

        Thank you!!

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Cool, our contact details are under “Information” over on the left.

    • Marc R.

      Educate yourself a little bit ;-) it helps sometimes to have an open mind.

      http://sharp.direct.gov.uk/

      • Alexandre

        Thanks to ask me to educate myself. I hope there is no sarcasm involved.

        I just want people to have the right information to decide for their safety.

        As I said twice, these are all government standards. And Sharp is not different. As I said twice already they are made for regular use and not for professional or racing purpose.

        The problems with SHARP are (to make it simple):

        - It’s even less demanding than ECE, because it works with only one impact in a predicted area of the helmet. (Most of motorcycle crashes have multiples impacts in unpredicted areas).

        - The price counts as a cost/benefit criteria.

        I can make an analogy:

        In a 0 to 15 mph race, what would you choose for it?

        A – Yamaha R6 race prepared: 0.9 sec – US$ 32,000.00

        B – Kasinsky Comet 250: 1.1 sec – US$ 2,900.00

        SHARP would choose B.

        What if race was 0 to 175 mph?

        Get the point?

        Please keep asking!

        The more, the better, let’s keep everybody with the right info.

        Thanks!

        • Marc R.

          Your comments are so wrong it’s not funny. SHARP “less demanding than ECE, because it works with only one impact in a predicted area of the helmet.”

          LMAO!

          what about 32 (thirty-two) impact for SHARP; 6 impacts for ECE. Batch-testing for ECE.

          1 impact area only for SNELL with a repeated double impact (as if…)…

          So where are you printed proof for higher safety level of the Arai and Shoei helmets? And which Arai and Shoei, the ECE ones or the SNELL ones, because those are pretty different.
          As for professional MotoGP racers, 99% of them are using ECE helmets apart from two certain racer who are getting their helmets from Arai USA because that’s where they started. Pedrosa and the other Arai and Shoei guys are not wearing SNELL lids.

          • Alexandre

            Hahaha!

            Now I see that you work with AGV or Shark. Must be it because you keep using this “not demandind at all” Standards to compair helmets!

            Arai and Shoei (fiber glass ones) exceed too much all these Standards. They have their own factory standars.

            But they must pass in the gov. standars anyway so they can be sold in the different markets.

            How can anybody even think that AGV and Shark have the same level of safety?! It`s so amazing to me.

            How powerfull the marketing tool are!

            And how fool some people are too…

            I could write about SHARP impacts and everything, but I really don`t have time to change your mind, there are some things that are simply not worth it.

            • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

              No need for the mudslinging, gentlemen. Keep it civil, please.

            • Marc Ravelomanantsoa

              Arai and Shoei are not the only ones using fiberglass although Shoei has moved to a more modern material, like AGv, like Shark, like Airoh, Fox or Bell and is using a carbon-kevlar-fiber composite actually.

              I am just saying, where is the proof that Arai is superior? Where are the published reports, tests results compared to other helmets? where are the facts? Because in your various comments you didn’t bring any. Just the usual “he said, she said”.

              “Arai and Shoei (fiber glass ones) exceed too much all these Standards. They have their own factory standars.” what does that mean? so you believe 1 brand’s marketing and not the others? Where are those standards? Of course they are going to have higher standards LOL. I’d like to find a brand that would rate itself at or below average, LMAO! How powerful the marketing tools are!

              You are not bringing any link, any facts, just passing on the rumors, the gossips, the word of mouth, the urban legends. You should really look at the modern helmets, things have evolved since :-)

              Regarding government standards, you still do not seem to understand that a SNELL helmet cannot pass ECE2205 and therefore the helmets have a different built.

              And as far as safety relating to $, if their helmets were always the safest and therefore high priced, how come Arai released a $600 lid? So now that, that 1 is as priced as the Euro lids and other Bells, is it less safer than their pre-2010 lids?

              Bring the facts.

  • Kidchampion

    I have a Scorpion, which I think is great quality, for the money (not much).

  • RJ

    Visors? We don’t need no stinking visors!

  • shinigami3

    Wes,

    A few more reason to add to your list-

    1. Certain AGV models will make your head bounce around like a pachinko ball in the airstream

    2. Besides the visor and mechanism, what parts are replaceable in or on an AGV? Liner? Cheek pads? Good luck finding them if they exist.

    3. Only two shell sizes to cover all the head sizes in most of their models- and a couple of models have ONE shell size.

    There’s a reason why people ar willing top spend more on an Arai, and it isn’t neccessarily their (lack of) slick advertising. It’s certainly NOT because of Dani Pendeh…Pedrosa’s endorsement either.

  • erik

    I have a Arai Corsair V and had a good deal on a AGV GPTech so I gave it a try but some the major problems like some you stated.

    The biggest for me are the top of the helmet comes down way to far, cuts off vision when your heads down.

    Visor does not have good closer, when you shut it you can see the other side does not seal all the way, so light peeks in. Need 2 hands to shut visor?

    Shell size, I have a Large but XL is the same, pads feel good but the extra soft stuff that allows alot of movement. Arai is the best, but the deff. the worst graphics ever.

  • shinigami

    That’s why only one of my 5 Arais (2 C4′s, a Q2, a CV and a Japan spec RX7RR5)is in a graphic scheme- Edwards red. That one sucks less ;)

    The others are solids. They never look dated. They match my bikes. And they cost less too.

  • Steve516

    If the visor pops out in a crash it’s not protecting you either.

    And my Shoei and Arai helmets don’t fog up – I use the pinlock system or the anti fog coated rain shields. I used to use fogcity, but the pinlock system works better though more expensive.

  • http://www.dainese.com DaineseDan

    To Alexandre: The GpTech passes not only DOT and SNELL, but also BSI and ECE2205 standards. Can’t really ask for anything more than that, and is much more than other makes, including the perenial darling Arai.

    • Alexandre

      Still “just” a Standard. There are many cross helmets made in china that pass ECE2205, DOT, Snell. These are all standards for regular use. I should say again that this regulations are made for general use, not for race use.

      The only really strict standard is FIA8860 for F1.

      If you think that 270 G-force in ONLY 2 impacts is acceptable. Arai and Shoei does not.

      They spend more money in the product reather than in sponsorship.

      I wish more companies in the world were like them!

      And remember that there is always a way to compair them in a lab and numbers never lie.

      Thanks man!

      • Marc R

        How can you prove, by printed, certified, 3rd party, that Arai and Shoei’s impact test results is superior?

        One thing where you are very wrong: ECE is not a “standard” it is a compulsory certification in order to be legally allowed to sell in the EU.
        One thing you need to learn is that Arai and Shoei too, like all helmet brands HAVE TO get the ECE certification to be allowed to sell in the EU.
        Result: the Arai and Shoei lids sold in Europe are different than those you buy in the US. They are not as heavy and not concentrating as much on the shell who we know is a small part of the head protection.

        Arai and Shoei spend less money on sponsorship….. :-) I love urban legends… do we need to list the Arai and Shoei sponsored riders ;-)

        SNELL is just that, a standard. A private company (disguised under the “foundation” name). SNELL is a great marketing tool for companies like Arai and Shoei who bet on the US market and know that the little $0.45 per sticker per helmet cost is worth the investment.

  • Marc Ravelomanantsoa
  • Alexandre

    Ok Marc.

    Let’s do this:

    You wear AGV and help to pay Valentino’s 2.8 million euro per year sponsorship (Included in the price of the helmet) .

    And I wear Arai (Only 3% of all pros in the best categories – F1, Moto GP, Moto2, 125cc, A1 GP, GP2, WTCC, Superbike, AMA Superbike, Isle of Man, fastest motorcycle ever, etc – that wear Arai helmets are sponsored). They choose Arai, not the money.

    You are happy with your BSI helmet.

    And I happy with mine.

    We are all happy!

    Deal?

    • Marc R.

      Happy, no worries. Just facts again, looking at their website, AGV current helmets are all ECE, not BSI.

      Again you state things as facts! Where do you have the proof that some Top 10 riders in FIM series are not paid by Arai?

      anyway,I agree, you keep your urban legends belief and I’ll continue wearing whatever I have, be it the AGV, the Bell, the Thor or the Fox I have in my garage.

  • C Mad

    I think @ this point the only responsable thing to do is to have a “Hell for Leather Helmet test”. Bring you favorite lid, we’ll all headbutt each other, last man standing owns the GREATEST HELMET EVER!