AGV Pista GP and Pista GP-R crash helmet review

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AGV Pista GP-R review – the best top-of-the-range full face sportsbike  helmet?

The AGV Pista GP is AGV‘s no-holds-barred, top-dog track helmet – aimed at those of us who want the best and most exclusive sportsbike helmet around.

It was designed in cahoots with assorted MotoGP riders, including Valentino Rossi, to be the ultimate track helmet – taking all their demanding needs and crystallising them into the perfect racing helmet. And like anything that’s designed to be the best of the best, it’s got a suitably astronomical price tag to go with it!

But if you want the best sportsbike or racing crash helmet on the market, then you probably need to look no further than the Pista GP – or the revised GP-R version (with updated rear ‘Biplano’ spoiler and hydration system).

Having said that, you’ll find a few very worthy alternatives towards the bottom of the page.  But if the AGV Pista GP is good enough for Vale for the last few seasons, then I’d say it’s probably good enough for the rest of us!?

  • Top-of-the-range sportsbike helmet
  • Carbon fibre full face helmet
  • As used by Valentino Rossi
  • SHARP 5 star safety rated
  • 4 shell sizes
  • Pista GP-R has updated rear spoiler and hydration system
  • ECE 22-05 and DOT certified
  • Large, class 1 optical visor
  • Pinlock and tear-off ready

    valentino rossi agv pistagp helmet
    A happy Vale with his fully-liveried Pista GP
  • 1.3Kg (2.9lbs) – that’s light
  • Double-D ring fastener
  • Expect to pay £799-£1100

Safety

It’s probably safe to say that, because the Pista GP has been tasked with protecting the hallowed head of Valentino Rossi, AGV have put extra effort into making sure the Pista GP offers fantastic levels of protection.

So, it’s not surprising then that as well as being DOT and ECE certified (which of course even £30 helmets legally on sale across the US and Europe have to be) the AGV Pista GP scored amazingly well in its SHARP helmet safety test.

In fact, it scored a maximum 5 stars meaning – as you’d expect – the Pista GP is going to protect you just as well as pretty well any helmet on the market today. That’ll be combo of the strength and energy absorption of the carbon fibre shell (that’s manufactured in four shell sizes) and 5 density expanded polystyrene shock absorbing lining – both doing their jobs supremely well.

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The Pista GP-R carbon version comes in unadorned matt or gloss

So, in terms of outright safety if you hit the deck, it’s probably going to perform as well as pretty much any helmet on the market today (see here for other 5 star safety rated helmets).

Of course, that’s only part of the safety picture though, because a good helmet can help you avoid an accident in the first place. How?

Well, the Pista GP has a huge field of vision. That’s really important for the track of course – but it’s probably just as important on the road too, helping you spot vehicles entering your blind spot and giving you excellent vision up front, even if you’re in a tuck and going for it.

The visor’s also Pinlock-ready (with a Pinlock in the box) again helping make sure your visor’s fog-free and your vision isn’t impared. It also has a visor lock which is useful in keeping the visor closed and locked in an accident, preventing rocks and grit getting in your face.

The fit can be tailored in lots of ways too (see more below) – a comfortable helmet lets you concentrate on the riding and not in fidgeting with your helmet.

Overall then, the AGV Pista GP covers pretty well everything you could want from a race helmet in terms of safety, with the only glaring omission we can think of being a lack of EQRS or an emergency cheek pad removal system.

agv-pista-gp-r-gran-premio-side-view
So does the Pista GP-R Granpremio – this one’s gloss finished. Note the massive rear spoiler, designed to break off in impact but giving loads of helmet stability

Looking to buy an AGV?

We recommend either SportsBikeShop (UK) and GetGeared (UK) for outstanding service and great prices, or FC-Moto (Ger) for a great range and some competitive prices (in €uros). Please see here for more info on these retailers or click the links to go straight to their AGV helmet pages where you'll find the latest helmet designs and deals.

Helmet Noise

Like many track-focused helmets, the Pista GP is a bit of a noisy blighter.

But then, keeping things quiet wasn’t really on AGVs radar when they were designing the helmet. Racers wear ear plugs to keep their hearing intact and don’t overly rely on the helmet to keep things quiet.

Helmet designers also tend to focus more on making a massively protective helmet that’s light weight, with good venting and has all the other stuff that’s important to a racer. Plus, making a helmet that suppresses noise well can mean adding more padding – and that makes for a heavier helmet.

What the Pista GP does well though is streamlining; and that can have an impact on reducing noise by cutting the sound made by wind turbulence as it rushes over the helmet shell.

But overall, don’t expect the Pista GP to be quiet, cos it ain’t. In fact, while there are comments from owners saying they thought it was quiet – most reckon it’s noisy as f***.

It’s probably no coincidence then that AGV include some ear plugs in the box!

agv-pista-gp-r-gran-project-46-valentio-front-view
Note the top vents have rubber bungs to open/close them so aren’t adjustable as you ride

Ventilation

The Pista GP has a decent number of air vents – a single vent in the chin and three forehead vents.

But it’s unusual in that the three top vents have removable rubber bungs in them. So to get ventilation into the helmet, you need to remove the bungs (and keep them somewhere safe!) before you ride.

The chin vent has a more conventional open/close switch, but it’s this system of bungs that can alarm you if you’re not expecting them. They’re OK if you’re on the track and can pull into the pits but maybe not the best if you’re a road rider?

And many owners do say they find them fiddly.

If you do lose your bungs, all is not lost though. The helmet comes with spares in the box.

And the Pista GP does vent well – around the scalp at least. But quite a few owners reckon the chin vent isn’t up to much and the helmet really needs a Pinlock anti-fog insert in there to keep things fog-free.

Thankfully, there’s one included in the box – so you’re probably just as well fitting it as soon as you get the helmet.

agv-pista-gp-r-gran-project-46-valentio-rear-view
The Pista GP-R has super-swoopy aero to make the whole package as aerodynamic and stable as possible. They’ve done a great job

Aero

Along with safety and vision, helmet aero appears to have been one of the main objectives of the Pista GP designers. After all, reducing drag means improved outright top speed; and keeping buffeting to a minimum will keep a rider fresher for longer and mean their vision’s impared less.

And, according to owners, they’ve done a remarkable job.

A few riders commented that it cuts through the air like no other helmet – and the faster you go the better.

It’s also really stable, even when you look around, with little noticeable buffeting.

To say AGV have made a helmet that’s both amazingly streamlined AND looks really cool is testament to the design work they’ve done behind the scenes.

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This one’s the Iannone replica Pista GP

Visor

Visors are important features of any helmet – but even moreso for a track-rider?

AGV have thrown everything they can think of at the visor on the Pista GP.

It’s ultra-wide and ultra-high to give maximum vision all round.

It’s quick change too, using their XQRS Extra Quick Release System for quick and toolless visor removal. That’s a great system involving pulling down a tab and pushing on the visor to remove. It’s really easy to use and quick to get the hang of.

It’s also a 3.3mm thick, class 1 optically-correct visor for minimal distortion and comes Pinlock Max Vision ready with a Pinlock antifog insert included in the box.

And being a race helmet, it’s also a Race 2 flat visor that’s tear-off ready and with a bunch of tear-offs in the box.

agv-pista-gp-granpremio-matt-rear-view
Rear view of the Pista GP Gran Premio in matt finish

It also has a visor locking mechanism to stop grit and road crap getting in your helmet if you end up on the deck. To engage the lock, you push the visor closed and it auto-locks; although there’s a ‘cracked open and locked’ position to keep things secure but with a bit more ventilation getting behind the visor.

The visor works using friction – so no ratchets here. It stays where it’s put up to a point but a couple of owners say it will slam closed when things get fast.

Comfort and Sizing

Both comfort and sizing are good.

Owners say the sizing is true to the sizing guides though things can feel quite tight when you first try your Pista GP on. But stick with it and it’ll give a little.

They also note that the Pista GP is designed to have its fit customised, so may not be bang-on out of the box like road helmets.

It comes with adjustable cheek pads (with extra cheek pads in the box) and an adjustable crown pad. You’ll probably need to play around with these a little to get the fitting just right.

The interior is made of quality materials – using materials like Shallmar, CoolMax and Lycra to tailor the fit and give anti-microbial and moisture-wicking/cooling properties. AGV have also designed it so it’s seamless in sensitive areas – and of course, it’s all removable and washable.

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If you like carbon weave, the bare ‘Carbons’ are the way to go. This one’s the Carbon in gloss

The Pista GP-R also has an integrated (but removable) hydration system included. That’s essentially a tube that’s carefully routed through the helmet to the rear of the chin guard to allow you to rig it up to a bottle (or presumably a high-end Dainese hump-suit?) so you don’t have to slurp from a bottle like the rest of us.

Might be a useful feature if you’re a proper racer – but probably unnecessary if you’re not (and you might risk looking like a bit of a twat?)

Looks and Graphics

It’s probably fair to say that the mean and aggressive looks of the Pista GP (along with the fact that it’s a race-bred track helmet of course) is one of the main reasons folks lust after the Pista GP.

That menacing shape, combined with the exposed carbon-fibre designs of the non-Rossi inspired graphics, really shows of the quality of the materials of the Pista GP.

There’s both Rossi and Ianonne rep versions for race fans and there’s also plain carbon versions in both gloss and matt laminates as well as the striking Gran Premio available in both gloss or matt carbon finishes but with red highlights.

Check the designs up and down the page – or click the links to our recommended retailers below to see any more recent designs and the latest prices.

Best places to buy an AGV crash helmet?

We've chosen three of the best places to buy from - whether it's an AGV or any other helmet/gear.

If you want piece of mind when you buy, Sportsbikeshop are based in the UK and offer outstanding service (9.8/10 on Trustpilot) including free UK delivery and 365 day refunds. They're competitively priced too and are our recommended retailer for quality of service.

GetGeared is another recommended UK retailer, with free UK delivery, a no-quibble 365 day returns policy and scoring 4.8/5 on eKomi.

FC-Moto widely offers some of the best € prices, has the widest range of helmets and scores a decent (8.7/10 on Trustpilot) - and is based in Germany. Note if you buy from FCMoto you'll have to add shipping charges on top if you're outside Germany.

Please click any picture/link to visit their AGV helmets pages where you can see all the latest graphics and deals. And if you buy from any store, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you - a massive THANKS (it's how we finance the site)!

Click to visit Sportsbikeshop
Click to visit AGV at SportsBikeShop
Click to visit Get Geared
Click to visit AGV helmets at Get Geared
Click for FC Moto
Click for AGV at FC Moto (then use site search as their navigation's a bit pants)

AGV Pista GP Video

Here’s a video featuring a slightly younger-looking Valentino with the promo video for the original Pista GP.

Other Stuff – quality, warranty, communicators

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The Pista GP Soleluna Qatar helmet

At this price, owners obviously expect a lot from their Pista GPs. So it’s surprising there’s one or two reports of dodgy QA because it should be second to none at this price. Most owners say the quality is great, but a couple have reported faults with their helmets so, if you buy one, check it over carefully before accepting it. It’s only covered by AGV’s 2 year warranty too – which is poor (many offer 5 year warranties now).

Finally, if you’re after a helmet that’ll fit your bluetooth communicator, you might need to look elsewhere. While you’ll probably be able to stick it to the outside of the Pista GP, there’s no space for speakers in there so don’t even try.

Overall/Summary

The AGV Pista GP and GP-R are remarkable helmets. But they’re very focused helmets too.

If you’re planning on using it on the road, then you might need to look a bit harder. Those always-open (or closed) vents might be a pain – as might the noise. Having said that, lots of the features that make it so great on the track don’t half make it easier to live with on the road too.

It’s got exceptional aero and with that customisable level of comfort, you should be able to tailor the fit to get things bang on.

If you’ve got deep pockets and you’re after a racing helmet that’s light and with great all-round vision, then the Pista GP is where it’s at. There are alternatives to consider of course (see below), but if the track’s where you do your riding, then the AGV’s a great performer that’s well worth looking at.

Best places to buy an AGV crash helmet?

We've chosen two of the best places to buy from - whether it's an AGV or any other helmet/gear.

If you want piece of mind when you buy, Sportsbikeshop is based in the UK and offers outstanding service (9.8/10 on Trustpilot) including 365 day refunds. They may not be the cheapest but are our recommended retailer for quality of service.

FC-Moto widely offers some of the best prices in Europe, has a great range, scores a decent (8.7/10 on Trustpilot) - and are based in Germany. If you want a good choice and decent prices, we recommend you buy from here.

Please click either picture below to visit the AGV pages at either shop where you can see all the latest colour schemes and prices. And if you buy from either, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you - a massive THANKS (it's how we finance the site)! Read about why you should buy from our recommended retailers.

Click to visit Sportsbikeshop
Click to visit Sportsbikeshop
Click for FC Moto
Click for FC Moto - then use their site search to find the helmet

Alternatives to the AGV-Pista GP-R?

If you like the look of the Pista GP but want to know what the alternatives are, then look no further.

Firstly, there’s the Pista’s cheaper cousin – the AGV Corsa. It looks almost identical to the Pista GP but it’s a composite helmet (so no beautiful carbon weave poking through the paint). It’s still a blinding helmet though. It’s SHARP 5 star – just like the Pista GP – very light and a fraction of the price with a bit more real-world usability.

From the other main rivals there’s the Arai RX-7V – SHARP 4 star tested and a great performing track helmet.

Of course, you need to check out the Shoei X-Spirit III, that’s SHARP 5 star safety rated and Snell 2015 certified for safety, a massive performer and a real looker too.

And there’s Bell’s Pro Star track helmet – its cheaper sibling, the Bell star, was awarded 5 stars by SHARP (so we don’t really doubt the Pro Star would manage it too). That’s made in a massive 5 helmet shell sizes and it’s an awesome lid.

Of the others, there’s the HJC RPHA11, the Schuberth SR2 and the SHARK Race-R Pro. All very worthy helmets that are great track helmets and can be had for lots less than the AGV Pista GP-R.

Star Ratings

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