Off road, on road and anywhere in between: AGV’s AX-9 adventure helmet.

AGV-AX9-featured

AGV AX-9 adventure helmet review.

AGV’s been making AX off-road helmets for over a decade now. The old AX8 was a great – if slightly flawed – helmet (you can read the AX8 review here).

But one of the cool things about AX helmets is their ability to morph from road helmets into full on dirt helmets and back again with just a tiny bit of fiddling to remove the peak, visor and shove on some goggles. And the new AX9 is no different.

It really doesn’t take long to convert, so you can ride to your green lane, then switch to adventure mode and get wet and dirty in no time.

Only, the last model was a smidge of a compromise. The visor system was slightly below-par (it could scratch through a design flaw and the bottom could get in your line of sight) and there wasn’t anywhere to fit your comms unit – all of which was enough to put quite a few buyers off.

The AGV AX-9 promised to improve all these areas and more. Read on for our full review.

AGV-AX-9-different-configurations

  • Full face and adventure helmet
  • Composite fibre and carbon versions
  • 3 Shell sizes
  • Double D-ring fastener
  • Wide Pinlock-ready visor
  • Pinlock included (Eu only)
  • Removable/adjustable peak
  • Composite version – 1.55Kg (3.4lbs)
  • Full carbon version – 1.45Kg (3.2lbs)
  • Sizes XS-XXL
  • Expect to pay around:
    • £300 composite version
    • £400 full carbon version

Best places to buy an AGV AX-9?

Please click below to visit the AGV AX-9 helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from one, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Buy from SportsBikeShop

Safety

(more about helmet safety)

AGV’s no stranger to throwing every safety trick in the book at their helmets.

AGV AX9 antarctica motocross helmet front
AGV AX-9 Antarctica front on

So you’ll probably not be surprised to discover that the ‘standard’ composite version of the AX9 is constructed from some pretty fancy materials.

Namely, a composite of carbon, aramid (i.e. Kevlar) and fibreglass, that’s moulded into three different shell sizes to ensure all fitment sizes are optimally formed.

These three shell sizes correspond to fitment sizes XS-MS, ML-XL and 2XL (note there’s a smaller and a larger medium fitment available) and should mean you get the right helmet form/size/weight and shock absorbing padding to suit your body size. So all good there (read more about shell sizes here if you don’t know what I’m banging on about).

Something else that’s all good is AGV’s reputation for building high quality, safe helmets. At the time of writing, they’re our 3rd safest helmet brand based on their SHARP test scores; and their last 8 tested helmets have scored a staggering 4 or 5 (maximum) stars out of 5!

Obviously, we can’t second guess what the AGV AX-9’s going to score if SHARP were to test it. But AGV has a track record of producing some excellent and safe lids, so we’d expect it to score highly.

AGV AX9 pacific road fluo grey yellow crash helmet rear
From the rear – AX9 Pacific Road in grey/fluo yellow

Of course, all helmets on sale in Europe have to be ECE certified and the AX-9 is no exception (in the US it’s DOT certified) and that should give you some confidence in the protection offered by the AX9 too as it’s a pretty stringent standard for any helmet to pass.

The AX-9 also has a quad density polystyrene shock absorbing inner. Multi-density liners cushion shocks of different speeds and are what all the big brand helmets offer. So again, that’s a good thing to see inside the AX9.

OK, so AGV looks to have got the basic safety spec spot on – as far as we can tell without headbutting things in anger!

And other safety features looks useful too.

They claim a super wide visor to help give great peripheral vision – and say it’s taller than most to to help with forward vision if you’re tucked in a bit.

It’s also a Pinlock ready visor and a Pinlock anti-fog insert is included in the box if you’re buying in Europe too (sorry US but most helmet distributors over there don’t think you need one!). All meaning you’ve no need to ride round with a foggy visor if you buy an AX-9.

AGV AX9 solid white crash helmet side view
Solid gloss white AX-9

It uses a double-d ring fastener to keep it securely fastened to your head. They’re great – just make sure you tighten it up enough each time you go for a ride. If it’s not tight, helmets can come off under impact so tighten it up well.

All in all, things on the safety front look pretty sorted for the AX9. We’ll not know for sure until some testing labs get their hands on them. But looking at the evidence so far, we expect the AGV AX-9 to give you excellent protection.

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

Looking at the layout of the AX-9, you’d be forgiven for expecting it to be a really noisy lid. I mean, with that large air scoop up top, a wide visor and plenty of air vents, I’d have put money on it letting tons of noise inside.

The great news is that AX9 owners seem to rate it as a particularly quiet helmet. Maybe it’s all that super soft and plush interior that muffles the sound – or the fact that AGV got the aero just right so the air slips by and doesn’t create much noise.

Whatever it is, several owners said that not only is it a particularly quiet adventure helmet – but in road mode it’s quieter than their street helmet too. Great job AGV.

Ventilation

(more about helmet ventilation)

There’s a single central chin vent plus a couple of forehead vents in the AX-9.

It sounds like a fairly conventional layout. But AGV did bandy around figures of up to 3x better airflow than the old helmet so, on paper at least, it sounded like AGV wanted to make a real effort to make the AX9 a mega airy helmet.

Looking at the chin vent alone, we can see that it’s really configurable, allowing you to adjust it several ways to maximise ventilation if there’s not enough.

Out of the box, there’s a slider to open/close the chin vent. That’s all standard fayre. But behind that front panel is a removable/washable filter which will come in handy if you do lots of off-roading.

To access the filter, you can push in the bottom snapper and that front panel comes off so you can get to it for cleaning – or you can remove it completely if you want to get more air through.

And if you want to get even more air, you can also leave the whole filter assembly off entirely.

If you decide to ride like that, there’s an internal closing mechanism that you can access behind the chin bar so you can still block it off if things get too breezy (or rainy). Nice touch.

AGV’s routed the chin ventilation so it diverts up behind the visor to help with demisting as well as routing onto the face to help with cooling.

AGV AX9 solid gloss black crash helmet rear
Rear view of the solid gloss black AX9

Onto the top vents… they’re closable via a couple of sliders and they route air through the helmet shell and into the helmet as you’d expect.

There weren’t any problems with the head vents on the old helmet but looking at rider feedback, it seems AGV has really delivered with the AX9.

There’s plenty of owners around waxing lyrical about how great the ventilation is. Not only do the vents let plenty of air through, but there’s lots of space in the padding to let air through to your head too.

And if it’s a particularly hot day and things are getting warm, remove that front vent cover and the air floods in.

And of course, if you ever find things get too hot despite these loads of venting options, you can always pull off the visor and shove on some goggles. That should cool things down even more.

As always, if having a helmet that vents really well is important to you – you might want to check out our Best Venting Helmets pages.

Visor

(more about visors)

I’ll not bang on about some of the problems with the old AX8 because most of you won’t have experience of the old helmet (and you can read about it in our old AGV AX8 review if you’re interested).

Suffice to say it looks like AGV’s moved things on a notch with the AX9.

AGV AX9 pacific road yellow crash helmet front
Front view of the AX-9 Pacific Road showing that massive visor aperture

The visor is Pinlock ready and comes with a Pinlock anti-fog insert in the box (hurrah).

It’s not a quick change visor either, I guess because most quick release systems need you to fully open the visor first before pulling it off; and if you do that on the AX9 there’s a massive sun peak in the way, so it just won’t work.

But it is a wide and tall visor for good all round vision. AGV claims 190º horizontal and 110° vertical which sounds decent to me.

And we found loads of owners saying how huge the visor is and that it gives excellent all-round vision.

Usefully, it’s also got two opening tabs left/right too which just makes things that bit easier – left hand opening when you’re on the move, right hand opening when you’re stopped and pulling in the clutch for example.

Obviously, the AX9 can be configured several different ways so you can do some serious off roading in it should the mood take you.

AGV expects most riders to use their AX9s predominantly on the road, but if you do decide to whip off the visor and stick some goggles in, just don’t expect it to take as many types of goggles as a true motocross lid because, even though it’s a large visor, it can be a bit too small for some of the larger goggles out there.

AGV AX9 full carbon motorcycle helmet side view
Full Carbon fibre AX9 showing new larger sun peak

There are a couple of other areas where there’s a bit of a compromise going on too.

Some owners say the visor doesn’t open quite far enough because the peak gets in the way, and it can be a fiddle to remove the visor because it’s not toolless.

But on the other hand it seals well and has a ‘cracked open’ or city position which many riders look for to let a bit of extra ventilation in while keeping the visor down.

Overall then, it’s perhaps not surprising that with such a versatile helmet with multiple uses that things aren’t going to be perfect. But the visor on the AX9 has been well thought out, is pretty well implemented and, crucially, is seen as a great system by the vast majority of owners.

Peak

Compared to the old AX-8 peak, the AX-9’s is a bit bigger to give better shading, plus it’s been slightly redesigned because the old one was prone to a bit of vibrating and catching the wind on the move.

AGV reckons the new peak has better aerodynamic performance and it’s a bit more polished to hide bolts and screws. It’s also adjustable so you can tailor the angle to maximise protection for your preferred riding position.

And most AX-9 owners are loving AGV’s work. Sure, it can catch some wind when you’re barrelling along (though it’s actually pretty good in most circumstances) but the length of the peak is really handy for offering lots of shade.

And if you do find it’s too long for your needs, AGV does sell a smaller replacement peak.

It can be a bit fiddly when you want to take it off – and you need to keep the bolts and rubber inserts safe as they could get lost.

But that’s about it for complaints. Other than that, owners are finding the peak does its job really well.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

AGV’s never really had any problems with making very comfortable helmets. And AX-9 owners overwhelmingly find theirs to be a really comfortable helmet too, saying the materials used and level of padding is second to none, making all day riding a doddle.

It’s been designed to cater for the most common head shape – which means it’s a medium oval internal shape.

Inside, you’ll find a removable/washable comfort lining using materials with fancy names like Ritmo, Nabuk and Shalimar.

You’ll find more info on these fabrics here – but in essence they’re hyper comfy materials that’ll suck sweat away from your head, kill germs and keep you cool and comfortable.

You’ll also find a glasses groove in the cheek pads to stop the stems of glasses or shades digging in.

AGV AX9 antarctica motocross helmet side
Profile view of the AX-9 Antarctica

And AGV’s moved this new AX into the 21st century by including generous speaker pockets too. Unlike the old AX8 which had no space inside, you now can slap a bluetooth kit onto the AX9, drop your headphones into the speaker pockets and ride in connected-comfort without speaker-induced ear ache.

Finally, you shouldn’t have a problem with weight on the AX-9 either. The composite fibre version weighs around 1.55Kg (3.4lbs) and the full carbon a reasonably light weight 1.45Kg (3.2lbs).

Looks & Graphics

AGV must think that adventure bike riders are a conservative bunch because, while the AX9 is a massively versatile helmet, the form of the helmet is pretty traditional and all the graphics are fairly muted.

At the time of writing, we’ve put examples of all the available designs on this page – but to see any newly released designs and good deals, please click through to our recommended retailers below (all recommended for amazing service and online ratings).

Best places to buy an AGV AX-9 helmet?

Please click below to visit the AGV AX-9 helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from one, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Buy from SportsBikeShop

AGV AX-9 Helmet Video

Here’s a good 10m look around the AX-9 (and comparison to the old AX-8) from Revzilla in the US.

Other stuff – comms, warranty

As mentioned, there’s space inside the AGV AX-9 for a bluetooth headset with generously sized speaker pockets and plenty of space for a microphone. And according to several owners, headsets work particularly well in the AX9 – probably because it’s a nice quiet helmet. We heard of riders fitting Sena SMH10 and Cardo Packtalk slim units without any problem.

All AGVs come with a fairly stingy 2 year warranty, though make sure you register it on AGV’s website and you’ll get an extra year (or an extra 2 or 3 for sports helmets).

Overall/Summary

The AGV AX range of helmets have always been very versatile helmets, meaning you don’t have to buy more than one helmet if you’re after both a road and dirt helmet.

The AX-9 has built on what was great about the old AX8 and been further developed to sort the few problems owners reported on the outgoing helmet.

AGV-AX9-pacific-road-crash-helmet-side-view
Pacific Road graphics, this time in black and white with red piping

Which means the AX-9 is a superb all rounder helmet, capable of giving all day comfort on the road as well as decent performance when you take it onto a trail or green lane.

We’ve marked protection down simply because it hasn’t been independently tested by any one (though we’d expect it to score higher than 3 stars if it is).

But it’s a helmet that’s universally loved by owners. With it’s versatility, wide/tall Pinlock visor, excellent build quality and comfort – not to mention outstanding ventilation and lightness – the AGV AX-9 is a corker of a helmet and well worth considering (along with our recommended alternatives below) if you’re looking to buy a road or adventure bike helmet.

Good Alternatives to the AGV AX-9?

If you’re after a new adventure bike helmet, we recommend you check out these tried and tested helmets.

Arai’s Tour X4 is another premium adventure helmet that’s multi-configurable for on or off road riding. It’s a fibreglass shelled, Snell certified (in the US) helmet with excellent ventilation and comfort, EQRS and a fab 5 year warranty.

Shoei’s Hornet ADV is another Snell tested/approved adventure helmet. It’s a quality fibreglass helmet, also with a 5 year warranty, and comes with an optically correct visor.

If you’re looking for something cheaper, the Caberg Tourmax is a low cost modular dual sport helmet that’s SHARP 5 star rated and costs about half of the others.

Best places to buy an AGV AX-9?

Please click below to visit the AGV AX-9 helmets pages at our recommended stores. And if you buy from one, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Buy from SportsBikeShop

Other Adventure/Dual-Sports helmets?

There are lots of other Adventure/Dual Sports crash helmets out there, so please check out our Adventure motorcycle helmets page to see all our other reviews and previews. Or, if you're looking for the safest tested helmets on the market, you might want to take a look at our safest motorcycle helmets pages where you'll only find helmets that are SHARP four or five star rated - so you'll know you're wearing the best protection out there.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Safety
Comfort
Noise
Features
Value
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