Gear Review: The AGV Pista GP R Helmet

This is the most extreme helmet you should buy this season.

AGV

The AGV Pista GP R may well be the most aggressive motorcycle helmet you can find right now. It looks like an alien's head and is designed to protect the head of a rider who is traveling speeds only a lunatic would want to reach. AGV is the longtime helmet maker for Valentino Rossi, and you'll see a lot of details plucked from Vale's cap: A 5 millimeter shield, a pinlock 120 lens, and massive vents on the front that act as big ol' ram-air intakes to keep your hotheaded head cool. 

Also, it's made from carbon fiber—lots and lots of carbon fiber. All told, the AGV Pista GP R—complete with the built-in hydration system—weighs a gossamer 3.2 pounds.

So what makes this track-ready lid so cool? Everything. On the back of the Pista GP R, there's an increased stability spoiler system that AGV calls the "Bi-Planoa" wing, which takes an already minimal z-coefficient even lower, breaking up any laminar flow that might cause the helmet to fly off your head (with your head in it) at max velocity. And while reducing that that vacuum behind your head is a good thing, I've found that once you get up to speed, it tends to tug your head back when you try and turn it to look behind you.

Is this too much helmet for a casual ride around town? Probably. This is a technology lifted straight from Moto GP racing, and was tweaked by Vale Rossi himself. See those big air scoops up front? Right off Rossi's helmet. The hydration system is nifty if you're deep into a track day, and it links to a Camel-Bak system. AGV even sends you a reusable nozzle. 

One of the things I really love about this helmet, aside from its lovely intermediate oval shape and weight, is that, after a reasonable break-in period, it's cheek pads and neckroll are really comfortable. And considering this is a track-oriented helmet, and taking into account the amount of ventilation in the shell, it's actually really quiet.

It's also extra safe, having been certified by DOT and ECE, but most significantly it scored a remarkable 5 stars in its SHARP helmet safety test. That score makes it one of the safest helmets on the road.

Price? At $1,600, it ain't cheap. But if you're a serious track rider, it's well worth it.