I have handled a good variety of motorcycle helmets since I started riding in the early ’90s. I’m therefore a bit surprised to realize I’d never owned or tested a helmet from AGV. As part of my review process, I always read up on the manufacturer, even if I’m pretty familiar with them, in case there is some interesting fact I can bring to light.
Checking out the story behind AGV had me realizing how little I actually knew about this company. For instance, AGV founded in 1947 and the company made some very notable contributions to the motorcycle helmet world. They were the first put into production the fiberglass shell crash helmet in 1954 and they were the manufacturer of the first full face helmet worn at the Italian Grand Prix in 1969.
The K5 S represents the top end of AGV’s sport/sport-touring helmets with a moderately aggressive shape. The curves downward providing extra coverage up front. This particular example is mostly black with slim, angular graphics that make up the “Magnitude” colorway.
Being designed for sport touring, the K5 S has an internal drop down sun visor and the main visor is “pinned” for pinlock inserts. A clear Pinlock 70 insert is included so one can jump right into the fog-free goodness right out of the box.
I really like Shark helmets. There, I said it. I want to make it clear that I might have some bias towards these lids and I feel that bias is well earned. Shark may not be the most well recognized helmet manufacturer (in the USA, anyway) but they have been around a long time and their products compete well against their peers.
Recently I had the chance to review the Shark “Spartan” helmet for webBikeWorld.com and I leaped at the opportunity to handle a new bucket from Shark. The Spartan is their top helmet for sport touring, touring, and commuting use with a design geared towards upright and mild forward leaning riding positions.
Using a fiberglass shell, the Spartan offers lightweight while including comfort features like a drop down sun visor and a very comfy interior. This is all contained within a shell that shows the excellent paint and clearcoat finish that one should expect at the price point.
ADVRider.com member S21FOLGORE recently posted up a very informative thread on the popular adventure riding discussion board site detailing ways to deal with helmet “Hot Spots”. His post includes very detailed instructions on how to measure one’s head to determine the shape in a more specific way than simply round, oval, intermediate oval, etc.
He also details the issues with hot spots and demonstrates ways to address them. I am fortunate that my head shape fits in the general mold for most motorcycle helmet brands so I personally have not been affected by these issues. For those of you that do find most helmets uncomfortable to wear for more than 45 minutes or so I highly recommend reviewing the thread.
Even if you don’t have issues it is still an interesting read and the illustrations by the author are quite good. Who knows, perhaps you’ll find that your heads shape is different than you thought and you could end up making your current lid that much more comfy.
Scorpion continues to improve their class-leading 400 series helmets with EXO R420 and webBikeWorld recently sent me one for review. The R420 is more than just some new graphics and colors but instead is a rethinking of the 400 series from the inside and out. The internal shape has been changed as well as the lines of the exterior shell.
Solid construction combined with a Snell rating means one is getting good protection for around $150.00 (USD) and it looks good doing it. The EXO-R420 has a lot to live up to with the EXO-400 series helmets offering very good value as well as fit and finish that bests many helmets costing significantly more. My initial impression when handling and examining the helmet out of the box is that the EXO-R420 might very well be a worthy successor.
If there were an official “household” name in motorcycle helmets, HJC would/could likely be that name, especially here in the in the United States. According to HJC, they have been the number one selling motorcycle helmet brand in the States since 1992 and has achieved this by offering a balance of good quality and reasonable price. As such, HJC has not been the most expensive or inexpensive choice around and has excelled at dominating the mid-range market.
My first motorcycle helmet was an HJC full-face model in 1993. I don’t recall much about it except it was black, full-face, and it did the job. I believe it was right around the $100.00 mark which fit well in my meager budget at the time. Since that first helmet I’ve had some other helmets from HJC but haven’t owned one in the past few years. When HJC provided a RPHA 70 ST for review, I jumped at the chance to check it out and see their latest and greatest.
I have to admit when I first received the EZGO helmet carrying strap for review I thought, “Who is asking the question that this device is answering?”. A carrying strap that connects to your micrometric buckle (if so equipped) on your helmet? Seemed like it would be awkward in theory, but what about in practice?
After procuring a helmet with one of these Euro style buckles I spent some time testing out the EZGO. The results were much better than I had expected. Is it perfect? I wouldn’t go that far, but it is more useful than I thought it would be. Of course there are some caveats as well.
Dubbed “The Classic”, this helmet bag doesn’t look or function like your typical lid carry-all. Most helmet bags I’ve seen are pretty simple affairs made from nylon, polyester, or a similar textile. The Classic is made from full grain leather (there is a waxed cotton version too) and uses quality hardware like YKK brass (or gunmetal) zippers as well as heavy duty D-rings. The interior is lined with black twill cotton and an optional hounds-tooth pattern will be available for a bit of extra style on the inside.
The materials aren’t the only thing that set this helmet carrier from the rest. Neo and Sons make use of the empty space within the helmet for additional storage. I often carry my gloves in my helmet when I carry them around but this carrying bag has an integrated storage pocket that protrudes into the open helmet space from underneath.
My review of the Vemar Zephir helmet is posted today over at webBikeWorld.com. The Vemar Zephir has entered the ring to slug it out in the sub-$200.00 helmet space and it packs a wallop! To start with, the feature set is comprehensive with an internal drop-down sun visor, provision for a Pinlock Max-Vision insert, and a unique port for communications devices.
The Zephir also comes out its corner swinging with a comfortable liner and accurate sizing. If that’s not enough, the finish and overall build quality has this helmet punching well above its weight (or price!). All is not perfect but the minuses are definitely minor compared to the pluses. So is the Vemar Zephir a contender for your next helmet purchase?
Rick and “Burn” have just wrapped up their review of the newest addition to Shoei’s helmet lineup, the RF-SR. The new RF-SR is now the lowest priced member of the full-face lineup coming in at $399.00 (MSRP). Despite the low price you still end up with a lid that has the feel and fit that Shoei wearers have come to expect over the years.
While $399.00 might not sound like a budget helmet, it still is quite the bargain for those looking to move into Shoei for the first time. Despite being on the low end of pricing you still get great features like four shell sizes and excellent ventilation that are typical of the brand.
The initial offerings for colors is a bit thin with just solids available in black, grey, white, blue, and “tangerine”. Black and grey offer a matte finish option as well but no Hi-Viz or other bright colors are shown right now. Hopefully more will be on the way later this year.
My latest review for webBikeWorld is posted and this one is pretty sweet. The product being reviewed is a pre-production sample of the new NVx night vision helmet visor from Scotopia Technologies.
The NVx uses some pretty amazing engineering to create a visor that can literally see in the dark. The information on the Scotopia Technologies website is brief and kind of a tease. Of course I’m sure they want to keep their secrets.. well .. secret.
NVx Visor powerd up
Here’s a bit of what Scotopia has to say about their tech “the Compound Eye™ elements matrix and be embedded into a transparent material (ABS, PU, etc) and cover several several square inches”, and it continues “To create a lightweight and low-power display we developed FlexIris™. This system combines near-transparent OLED’s (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) with focus-able microlenses.”
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