AGV AX-8 Dual x Hammarhead Jack Pine

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On Friday, I shot these pictures of Sean riding a Hammarhead Jack Pine in my riding gear. That’s a little confusing, but it’s about to get worse. The plan was to have Sean write up his impressions in relation to the ridiculously positive review I did a year back. Figured it made sense to get a second opinion. But, due to a print mag being upset that we regularly eat their lunch, we’ve been asked not to write about the bike right now. Instead, I’ll tell you about the second neatest thing in these photos, the AGV AX-8 Dual helmet.

Do not adjust your touchscreen. That is a black visor on my AX-8 despite the fact that they’re not available in North America yet. Our buddies at Urban Rider sent it over and, for $110, they can do the same for you. They’ll even sell you the helmet, if you ask nicely. Remember that HFL subscribers get personal discounts as part of our Urban Rider Lagniappe.

That black visor is the big update since the last time I wrote about the AX-8. It makes the helmet look completely awesome in a Storm Trooper/Master Chief kind of way. It holds the whole thing together much better visually when that peak is off too.

But, I’ve been riding with the peak on most of the time. Below 90mph it doesn’t seem to have a terribly dramatic effect on aerodynamic stability or wind noise. The helmet’s pointy, elongated chin seems to be the deciding factor there. But, turn your head for a lifesaver above that speed, with the peak on, and you will suffer a little wind blast-invoked head jerk.

Aerodynamics were the big concern when I first wrote about the AX-8 last month. At the time, I’d only tried the helmet on one ride on a Yamaha FJR. Now, I’ve worn it for about a month on a Moto Guzzi Stelvio, Norge, Griso, California, Yamaha R1, this Jack Pine and probably a couple others I’m forgetting. Interestingly, it’s absolutely fine on the naked bikes, but the wind blast focussed by windscreens seems capable of affecting it. With that peak off, it’s totally good on the R1 at over 100mph, but 85 on the Stelvio could be a bit of a problem with the screen in its tallest position. No problems of any kind on the Norge.

Specifically, the issue is with wind pressure on the chin piece, so I’m guessing the helmet’s angle of attack to the wind blast is the real deciding factor here. Combine channeled wind off a screen hitting that chin at the wrong angle and you’ve got a problem. But, the helmet doesn’t ever feel like it’s going to get torn off or break your neck, the chin piece just gets pressure put on it, rotating the helmet downwards, resulting in some vertical buffeting. Typically that’s only when looking over your shoulder.

Other than that, I continue to be very impressed with the AX-8. That enormous visor aperture has started to make a lot more sense with the addition of the black visor (during the day, of course). Without it and without the peak, you’re simply too exposed to direct sunlight, there’s no tilting your head to block it out with the edges of the aperture, there’s simply none visible except around that nose piece. On the R1 that I’m riding right now, the extra upwards vision is really helpful. In a racing tuck or while hanging way off, I can see fully ahead without straining my neck all the way back.

Ventilation is also proving to be excellent and very controllable. The two top-side vents deliver the normal amount of fresh air you’d expect from a road helmet, while the center-top makes things positively chilly inside. You can swap the switchable chin vent for the fully-open, metal mesh one off the dedicated off-road AX-8, something I might do as summer heats up. I’ve yet to experience even the slightest sign of fogging.

In addition to making sure the AX-8 is going to work with the wind flow on your bike, you’re going to need be extra careful about fit too. There’s considerably less padding than inside the pillow-like AGV GP-Tech, meaning it’s that much more sensitive to incremental differences in head shape. I’ve had to compress the styrofoam liner a bit around the forehead, which seems to have resolved a minor pressure point I was getting there.

Another potential issue is going to be the plastic screws that hold the peak on. Likely spec’d to facilitate breakaway in a crash, my roommate managed to strip them the first tim he over-enthusiastically grabbed a regular flathead instead of the nickel I asked him to use. AGV includes an extra set with the helmet, but they’re going to strip eventually too. Some sacrificed safety and metal bolts may be in order. Thankfully, the seats are metal, so we can play this game as long as it takes to find a solution without damaging the helmet itself.

That’s about it. This is an incredibly light, distinctive helmet that brings real benefits to vision and ventilation while retaining the safety and refinement of a full-face helmet.

Looks good on the Jack Pine too. When you’re done looking at these pictures, check out our Hammarhead Jack Pine tag page for videos and that review. Oh, and Sean loved it too.

  • Denzel

    Why does HFL care about “…a print mag being upset that we regularly eat their lunch…” ?

    …bike and helmet visually incongruent…but hey…

    • sean (the roommate)

      agreed. this is the reason i keep telling wes we need to get a duke to wear this with..

  • pinkyracer

    so eat their lunch! I still don’t believe it’s Sean. We have photographic evidence of you in your gear standing next to that bike.

    as for the helmet, it’s fugly, but it sure would be nice to be able to see while tucked behind my windscreen at 150mph…

    • Wes Siler

      Sometimes it pays to place nice.

      It’s definitely Sean. He was wearing his dorky stuff and I wanted nice pictures.

      Plus, I’d never be caught dead in jeans with a star on their ass.

      • pj134

        You wouldn’t want to interfere with it its slender curves.

        You will never outrun Wes’ ass jokes no matter how hard you try.

      • Richard

        How is it paying off to play nice? Just curious, since I think most of us can agree that the current crop of motomags in the US are pretty much worthless. Hence our subscriptions here. I guess the better question would be, how is it benefiting us for you to play nice?

        • Devin

          Well, since Triumph didn’t invite HFL to its last press demo thingy, maybe a friendly word from somebody already on their good side will help grease some wheels for HFL. We can only hope.

        • Wes Siler

          Greater access in the future. You’ll see the fruits of it in a week or so.

    • stephan

      is this the birth of the HFL starred-ass stig??

      • Sean Smith

        I’ve been riding fast with a star on my ass long before I was writing for HFL ;)

        • sean (the roommate)

          this is why i make fun of you..

          • Sean Smith

            To the tune of “This is why I’m hot”

            • sean (the roommate)


  • Von Scotch

    Tell the magazine to go and play with the busses. Magazines: 4 weeks waiting then an hours’ reading. If they can’t keep up with this new interweb thing, then boo hoo, greet, whinge and sook.

  • stickfigure

    Hmmm. Expensive lid. For $250 you can ship an Airoh S4 from the UK, and after almost 50k hard miles with one, my next helmet is probably going to be another of the same. The euro-style chin strap clip is The Bomb.

    That said, I’d still love to read an honest shootout of dualsport helmets. How does this compare to the Hornet?

    • Denzel

      The Shoei deserves a little love. The ECE 22.05 version weighs 1430g compared the AX-8′s 1400 (Shoei Snell- still only 1560g). I had one a few years back. It was great around town, very comfortable…and, while very decent aerodynamically at freeway speeds, can’t compete with a peakless helmet.

  • stempere

    I really looks better with that black visor, i’ll be looking for french availability to go try it on, the difference in padding with the gp-tech might be a blessing as far as i’m concerned…

    I love the Jack Pine a bit more everytime i see it but i just noticed, no pillion foot rest?

    • stempere

      Nevermind, just answerd my own question by looking at older posts where it has already been discused.

  • Emmet

    a lot of those photos seemed like duplicates. but they all make me want that bike so bad!

  • Johndo

    How quiet is the helmet?

    • sean (the roommate)

      not very.

  • aristurtle

    That helmet looks better every time I see it.

  • Thom

    Let me guess . Its the magazine a certain fellow here was foolishly let go from , as well as the one who’s subscription I dropped recently to subscribe to HFL because ;

    1) The magazine was getting sloppy , too full of ads as well as morphing into the mode of ” Everything we test is wonderful ” mode

    2) More and more it was being ‘dumbed down ‘ to the level of a Dyslexic Hummingbird , with shorter and shorter articles

    3) The subscription copy continually arrived 1 – 2 weeks after the bookstores received theirs

    And they’ve got the NERVE to complain because you guys are doing a better job and stealing folks such as myself away from their Magazine ?

    HorseShit I say !

  • Ben Incarnate

    Damn shame about the AGV “helmet exchange” promotion. My local dealer, the only AGV retailer in the area, isn’t participating. They directed me to AGV, where they say to shoot them an e-mail. Two weeks, no response.

    That aside: do you feel like compressing the styrofoam at all is a safety compromise? It seems like it would be.

    • the_doctor

      I ordered mine from AGV. I got no response either, then I sent another 2, and got a speedy reply. I suggest trying again, and again.

      • Ben Incarnate

        Yikes. That’s when I get into a stubborn principle conflict. They’re a business. A customer interested in spending money is reaching out to them though their defined communication channel. That I should have to keep reaching out until they listen is absurd. What happens if I ever need any sort of warranty claim?

        I hate principles. They’re obnoxious.

        • the_doctor

          Indeed, and I felt it was absurd that I would have to send so many, but, my email does look somewhat spamy, so that is why I chose to follow up. I am not saying that’s what happened, but one possibility.

          • Ben Incarnate

            I sent another two emails and boom. Two replies like that. Strange, but ah well. Mark one up for ignoring principles!

        • evilbahumut

          Despite what you think, only a small amount of companies are used to email as a viable means of communication with consumers. Even less are using new media and responding within a timely fashion.

          • Ben Incarnate


            “To participate to the promotion through, please send a picture of your old helmet you want to trade in to…”

            That “…” is not followed by a phone number or anything else. There’s no excuse for slow/no response when a company specifically directs you to email them. That’s a minimal expectation.

  • stephan

    nice photos. if i could have any helmet bike and bike right now i think it would be that one and that one. which pretty much means i love whats happening here.

  • Tommy

    @ Wes

    Love the Jack Pine. I notice that it’s sporting an oil cooler now. Was it over heating without the stock one?

    • Wes Siler

      No, but customers wanted it anyways.

      • Tommy

        Thanks. I think for here in Texas where it is 100 degrees or hotter most of the summer, a cooler would be a good idea.

  • the_doctor

    So, Wes, after such a glowing review a few weeks back, and with the AGV program, I decided to buy the AX-8 Dual.

    It showed up last Thursday, and I was super excited (I had seen one at Miller the weekend before, and tried it on). I opened it up, and tried it on and was thrilled.

    Sadly, when I was looking at it in direct light, I noticed that the peak had a huge crack around the bolts. I debated just sucking it up and keeping the helmet (I destroyed my old helmet to participate in the discount program), but emailed the return address on the invoice. I had to send the whole lid back for a full replacement.

    Hopefully the replacement will be here this week.

    • Ben Incarnate

      Strange that they can’t just replace the peak. I wonder if it’s a matter of production simply not being ramped up or if that will be the standard policy.

      • the_doctor

        I asked specifically if I could just send the peak back, and they said no, that they needed the whole shebang to be able to replace it. I assume it is a quality control factor that they require the whole thing.

    • Wes Siler

      I’ve heard of a few helmets arriving like that. If you continue to have issues, talk to me on email and we’ll help you resolve it. Don’t like the idea of someone listening to our advice and not getting an outstanding product.

      • the_doctor

        So the confusing thing about my helmet purchase was that both Shopatron and G-Force Cycles in Ft. Worth are handling my return. I emailed first to G-Force because the invoice in the box was from them, so that is who I returned the helmet too. I then got an email from Shopatron asking to take a satisfaction survey.

        I filled out the survey, stating that I had not received the helmet because I had to send it back for a full exchange.

        Shopatron emailed me back just a few moments ago saying “I have received word from the fulfillment center, the item had to be procured from AGV directly, this should be shipping no later then Friday.”

        I thought that they would have some in stock (I ordered a black one), but at least I will get a factory-fresh one.

      • UrbanRider

        We had one where pressure had clearly been applied to the visor because one of the plastic screws had popped out.

  • Brammofan

    Is this bike street legal? Where are the turn signals? I see those little yellow lights which appear to be embedded in the frame…do they stick out far enough to pass DMV and DOT requirements?

    • Wes Siler

      Yep, those satisfy the minimum legal requirements, even if you can’t see them at all on the road. James Hammarhead is OCD, nothing on the bike is overlooked. That bolt that holds the plate on is also a light.

      • HammSammich

        Ah Ha! I was just drooling over that Street Magic tail lamp thinking how good it would look on my Bonnie after I trim down the rear fender a bit, but then I started to wonder how I’d go about lighting the license plate as required…now I know! So cool!

      • Brammofan

        The license plate is another matter… “The license plate shall be rigidly mounted on the rear of the vehicle, approximately perpendicular to and between 12 inches and 60 inches above the roadway and must be clearly legible.”
        Obviously, I have a bit of an OCD problem myself. I’m sure you’re right, that James has it covered.

        • Bronson

          Very cool bike, but I’d agree with Brammofan. That bike would never pass inspection in my state of Delaware (which neighbors the manufacturer’s state of Pennsylvania). The DMV tore me a new one last month when I tried to get my converted KTM 525 SMR inspected — plate had to be mounted vertically and illuminated, signals had to be a specific size (in square inches) and distance apart, tail light had to be a specific size (in square inches), reflectors on the sides of the bike front & rear, blah, blah, blah!

          • Brammofan

            This is how OCD I am. I looked at the California regulations, then the Federal regulations, and hit a dead end at the S.A.E. specifications for turn signals (which are incorporated by reference into the federal regs). The SAE documents, I think have the answers, but are only available if you pay to download. If anyone has access, I’m pretty sure it’s SAE J588 that covers this. I’m not so much concerned with the distance above the road, the distance apart, or the ability to view the lights at a certain distance. What I wonder about is the viewable angles. I think J588 says something about being able to view, for instance, the left turn signal from a certain angle on the right side of the bike.
            Shit… the OCD. It’s a curse.

      • stempere

        This is insane, around here, you can get a ticket for having custom mirrors, even if they are bigger and/or better positionned than the original. Baseline is: not factory mounted = ticket.
        I once had to show moto morini’s website on my phone to convince a cop my termignoni exhausts were factory installed to get out of a 45€ ticket (make that 180 if they hadn’t passed the sonometer test).

        I might have to take a look at visa applications…

  • Sean Smith

    While I was wearing that helmet, I couldn’t help but notice how capable the bike felt. Even for something that’s lacking clearance and suspension travel. I’m not sure if the helmet had anything to do with it, but with just a small twist of the throttle, I could light the tire up and slide it on command. Too bad I can’t do a review.

    • noone1569

      Haha this is hilarious. Yes, The helmet enabled the throttle response. Did the helmet also provide superior braking and comfortable seating position?

  • JonB

    Good stuff Sean & Wes.

  • sean (the roommate)

    i stripped it with the nickel and i was even trying to be careful. The plastic bolt is the asshole, not me.

  • Joe

    Big ups to Urban Rider and the Lagniappe program. They were quick to answer my questions about Draggin’ Jeans and apply the discount. A much better experience than the one I had with another UK shop that I was dealing with at around the same time.

    • UrbanRider

      Thanks Joe, kind of you to say.

  • james

    No mention of lack of ear holes/ports?
    I had a shop in Dallas order one so I could give it a try based on the previous review.
    Super uncomfortable to me and would have been next to impossible to wear with earplugs.
    Just a thought.

    • Wes Siler

      Every helmet is a different shape, that’s why trying on a bunch of them before you buy is so important. My ears fit just fine in this.

    • Ben Incarnate

      Any chance that was MotoLiberty? If so, what size did you have them order? I’d love to have a shot at trying one on.

      • james

        I totally agree about trying on as many as possible, but…i believe it should be noted. Multiple people at the shop commented how strange it fit.

        Yep moto liberty. Medium. Dope shop. Better than most-just moved from L.A. too.

        • Ben Incarnate

          James – I went and tried on “your’ helmet today. It’s definitely a unique fit, but I didn’t find it to be terrible. It caught my ear when I put it on, but a quick adjustment was fine. However, the crown of the helmet is a pretty round shape. Though snug on my face and jaw, I could move it side to side at the top a fairly significant amount. I have a ‘long oval’ head. If I had more of a round head, I’d buy one right now.

          It’s a great looking helmet. If I really needed a helmet, I might foolishly ignore the fitment issue. I can get another two years out of my Arai before the warranty is up, though.

          Odd thing – the top center vent slides back to open, but the only groove on it to give your hand/finger any traction is parallel to the direction of travel instead of perpendicular. Makes it a bit tough to manipulate. That’s nitpicking, though.

  • ike6116

    Im a big believer in HFL. So I won’t tell you how to run your site, though I understand everyone elses’ “fuck the man, eat their lunch!” Sometimes playing ball ain’t the worst thing and I trust your judgement.

    But please, don’t become part of the machine you complained about. NYC Wes bitched about how the Motorcycle industry (specifically publishing) was run by a bunch of dicks in SoCal who all raced motocross together in the 70′s and 80s.

    SoCal Wes is making nice with them and making every other feature about ‘Route XXX in CA.’ We get it, you’re out there and the weather is nice and you can lane split.

    Keep your edge, don’t take any shit, keep HFL, HFL.

    • Wes Siler

      Ha, it’s always been a more subtle approach than strictly “fuck the man.” In this case, we very much are fucking them, just in a long game. You’ll see in a few days.

      And yeah, we need some Ride stories about roads outside of SoCal, I’m just in love with having moved here. Want to make one for us near Boston?

      • ike6116

        Haven’t been riding long enough to tell you what’s good around here, plan on riding the Mohawk Trail soon but again I don’t know shit.

        Your Labrador piece made me want to throw a leg over two wheels more than any bike pics or goofy marketing campaign could though and not because it was the Northeast.

        • Wes Siler

          We’re planning another Labrador-style adventure for this summer. Had to take it easy for a couple months while I moved out here and got my life re-organized. Have a Ural sidecar coming on July 1 too and I’m planning on seeing exactly how much trouble that can get me in.

          • ike6116


          • Mark D

            I just took a trip up to the Kancamagus in the White Mountains. Its a fun ride, actually, when there is nobody there. Plenty of pull offs and places to pass, most drivers/cops seem tolerant of, errr, “adventurous” speeds by motorcycles. Its doable in a day from Boston, too (350 miles, but route 16 in NH is small and pretty fun if you’re on it in the early morning).

            I got a couple Hipstamtic prints from the trip, and could whip up a quick little summary if you guys are interested.

    • Sean Smith

      Actually, the ride stories are all me. If you wanna bitch (it doesn’t sound like you are, but if you wanted to…), it should be about Wes letting a native SoCal resident loose on HFL.

      • Wes Siler

        I’ve been meaning to tell you to find some roads in other parts of the world. Or maybe I’ll do one about somewhere completely random.

        • Matt Wisch

          Need a place to stay in Austria? We have two spare rooms :-)

  • motoguru

    Bummer, it would have been nice to read something by Mr. Smith that wasn’t sportsbike, road, or cop related.