Words & Photos by | Jun Song |
I just got this helmet the day before I’m writing this blog so I’m not going to call this a ‘review’ since I usually like to spend at least few hundred miles with a new gear before reviewing them. So this is more of a first-impression blog on AGV’s new SportModular carbon fiber helmet. To note, I did go on one 60 mile ride before writing this through, so I did manage to get some riding experience with the helmet.
If you don’t know the helmet brand AGV, a subsidiary of Dainese, then it’s worthwhile getting familiar with them. They are an Italian company with a very solid track record of making legit, high-performance helmets, ranging from Moto GP and supermoto to touring helmets.
For 2018, the Company released its all carbon fiber SportModular helmet. This is world’s first sport-modular helmet that’s 100% carbon fiber (including the chin guard). I think AGV could have done better with the name, since “SportModular” sounds way too generic for an $800 Italian high performance-premium helmet. Their racing helmets are called Pista GP R (Moto GP) and Corsa R, which sound badass and very Italian, but “SportModular”…?
I guess name really doesn’t matter once you get to these specs:
- 100% 3K carbon fiber shell & chin guard
- Same impact protection as Pista GP R (Moto GP racing helmet)
- 190 degrees peripheral and 85 degrees of vertical field of view
- Integrated drop down sun visor
- 3 ventilation points
- Patented reversible crown pad (one side for cold and one for hot)
- Adjustable rear spoiler (yea really, there is one)
Now you have the specs down, let’s break this helmet down.
Full Video Review:
The SuperModular is the hybrid child of AGV’s racing and modular touring helmets, which according to the Company is the world’s first-ever. The racing DNA of this helmet gives it a very slick and streamlined look, unlike a lot of the standard modular helmets in the market today. As such, I think the design of this helmet provides a lot of flexibility on the different types of bikes you can use it on. This may not be a big deal for a lot of people, but I do care about whether my helmet looks good on the bike I ride, and given the very stealthy look of this helmet, it looks great on cafe racers, like my Thruxton and I think it would look great on most upright touring bikes and sport bikes as well.
One thing I’m not a big fan of is the big-colorful AGV log one the forehead of the helmet. Ugh, why do helmet companies do this?!? I’m fine with the small one in the back, but the one in the front just totally kills the overall aesthetic of the helmet design. It looks like an advertising billboard on your helmet. I might have been ok with it if the log was in black and grey to blend in with the carbon fiber color, but nope… Moving on
The helmet comes in 7 different color schemes, and the one I have is the Matt Carbon, which is gorgeous, but I kinda wish I had the Glossy Carbon instead.
SportModular is 100% 3K carbon fiber, including the chin guard. So yes it is very light, and not just for a modular helmet but as a helmet in general. It weights just under 2.9 lbs (1,300g), which is a full pound lighter than most premium helmets.
Even the Shuberth C3 (not carbon fiber) weighs in at 3.53 lbs (1,600g) and Klim carbon fiber TK1200 at 3.37lbs (1,500g).
I’m not used to this weight yet, so it feels very oddly light every time I pick it up, and I can definitely tell how light it is when I’m wearing it on my bike. I’m actually worried about going back to my other helmets and not being able to wear it because it’s too heavy… but I guess that is a good problem as long as I have the SportModular helmet.
I need to be honest. I didn’t understand why all the touring bike riders wore modular helmets and why it was such a big deal, but after an hour and a half with this helmet, I’m 110% sold on the benefits of a modular helmet.
Let me start with the functional benefits of a modular helmets in general (i.e. not an exclusive benefit to the SportModular) . First and foremost, modular helmets have the full protection of a full-faced helmet but can be turned into a 3/4 helmet when you temporarily stop riding, such as stopping to take pictures, filling up gas, going to the bathroom, and etc. Additionally, this 3/4 helmet conversion is amazing if you wear glasses, like me, or sunglasses because it lets you put your helmet on and off without ever having to take your glasses off! As someone who wears glasses, this is an AMAZING benefit!
The helmet has two adjustable inflow ventilations (chin and top) and one outflow ventilations out the back. The adjustable ventilation works extremely well, especially the top one as the air flows in instantly and disperses very evenly all throughout the top of the head.
The visor is tool-free quick release, which is great if you like to swap your shield out and the helmet also has a drop down tinted visor, which can be dropped using a discreetly placed lever on the left side of the helmet. I initially had some difficulty locating the lever with my hand while riding, but it quickly became easy after few tries. I was wearing my sunglasses during my ride and it was nice to have the option of adding additional tint on demand.
Reversible Crown Pad
Crown pads are generally removable in most helmets, which is great for washing and cleaning. SportModular’s crown pad is not only removable but also reversible with a very specific functional purpose. I’m not sure how this works, but one side of the pad is the cooler side, with the other being the warmer side. So depending on the weather you’re riding in, you can change the padding to suit your needs. I not able to confirm if this works or not, but I’ll make sure to test it out and keep you posted.
SAFETY & AERODYNAMIC
The helmet’s impact results are as follow: G = -43% HIC = -53% tested at 8.5 m/s.
Now I have no idea what those numbers imply, but AGV says the SportModular has same level of impact protection as their Pista GP R helmet, which is their $1800 MotoGP helmet. Now I think that’s impressive.
In regards to the helmet’s aerodynamics, I’m very impressed. This helmet has an adjustable integrated rear spoiler… Yes, this helmet has a three level adjustable rear spoiler like you see it in a very expensive sports car. This is supposedly to provide stability, quietness, and riding comfort by reducing downward pressure to your head. I have no idea how fast I need to go to benefit from this spoiler and I don’t really expect to use it, but nevertheless a very very cool feature to have.
The spoiler isn’t what impressed me, but rather how well the helmet channeled air resistance when I turned my head while going highway speed of 80mph (128kmh). With all my other helmets, I get a very gentle whiplash when I turn my head and look over my shoulder while moving at highway speed (to look at blindspots for lane switches). I’m guessing this is because the helmet’s aerodynamic is better on the front than one the side, creating extra wind resistance when turning your head left or right. But with the SportModular, I barely felt any additional resistance when turning my head and the whole head-roll felt very smooth. This was the case for tilting my head up and down as well.
Let me just start by saying, ouch… This is NOT a cheap helmet as it starts at $750, going up to $850 for the colored ones. It’s very expensive if you only look at the dollar amount, so you need to consider all the aforementioned factors when evaluating the value of this helmet.
One thing that I always say on all my reviews is that value can be very subjective, because $800 for anything may be a lot of money for one person and nothing for somebody else (it’s A LOT for me). However; when I try to look at this from an average consumer perspective, I think there are plenty of factors to make this helmet a good value. Especially if you’re looking for a helmet that does it all (except for using it on a track days due to its modular chin guard) then this will be the only helmet you’ll need and buy for a very very long time.
One biggest downside of this price point is that almost every helmet available on the market becomes a competing option for you since there aren’t that many +$800 helmets.
FIT & COMFORT
There are three shell sizes, which includes sizes ranging from XS to XXXL. I have the shell size 2 in medium. All my current helmets are medium, which in the past have alway been tight around my halo of the head when trying it for the first time. This tightness usually goes away after I break them in. The SportModular was surprisingly comfortable at first try and I did not feel any tightness around my halo. It almost felt a little too loose on my forehead but not enough to go a size down; however the helmet did feel tight around my jaws.
One thing I noticed while going on my 60 mile ride was that my ears felt very comfortable. Because I wear glasses, I usually feel a bit of discomfort with my other helmets as the arms of the glasses press agains my ears but I didn’t feel any of that.
In regards to high speed noise, I thought it was pretty normal (not impressed nor disappointed). It was a bit hard for me to tell because there was a lot of crosswind when I used the helmet. There were parts of the ride that felt pretty loud, which I’m attributing it to the strong crosswind, and other parts were pretty fine and nothing special.
Taking my very limited experience with this helmet into consideration, I’m extremely impressed with it. Maybe it’s because I’ve never tried on such a premium, high-technical modular helmet, but I still think this helmet is going to be very hard to beat. I have the luxury of not having to pay for this helmet and I’m not sure if I can afford an $800 helmet on my own regardless of how good this is, but this helmet would be on very top of my list if I was looking for one
Disclosure: This is NOT a paid advertisement and nobody has paid me to publish this gear review. The Company did send me the helmet for free as part of their press release; however I have no obligation to use or even review this bag.