AGV X101 1970s retro Dakar inspired motorcycle helmet review

Review of AGV’s basic but cool Dakar inspired Retro MX helmet: the AGV X101.

As you might have noticed, there’s quite a move towards retro helmets going on. AGV were towards the vanguard with their Ago-inspired X3000 retro racing lid which gave proper levels of performance as well as really looking the part.

AGV X101 mono white retro motocross helmet front view
Front view of the mono white X101

And now, they’ve gone all Paris-Dakar on us with the latest of their Legends range of helmets.

Like the X3000, the X101 is thoroughly retro but designed to offer decent protection. And just like the original 70’s helmets, it’s still very much a basic no-nonsense helmet with its old style d-ring fastener, no speaker pockets – and no visor even (but then it is a crosser helmet).

So, if all that back to basics appeals, here’s the lowdown on AGV’s X101.

  • Retro Paris-Dakar inspired motocross helmet
  • Fibreglass Shell
  • No visor – goggles required
  • ECE and DOT (US) versions available
  • Double D ring fastener
  • Medium oval fitment
  • Around 1.3Kg (2.9lbs)
  • Sizes XS-XXL
  • Expect to pay £250-£290

Best places to buy an AGV X101?

Please click below to visit the AGV X101 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


Looking at the AGV X101 you probably know exactly what you’re gonna get. There’s no hidden bells and whistles with this retro lid, just a good quality, back to basics, Dakar motocross inspired retro lid.

AGV X101 dust dakar retro motocross helmet side view
Dust graphic X101. Standard ‘off road’ peak can be swapped with shorty peak or other 3 stud peaks.

Which, if you’re thinking of buying one, probably means you’ve already thought about all the downsides: there’s no visor so you’ll have to stick in some goggles; it’s windy and noisy, there’s no speaker pockets and no fancy stuff like EQRS or integrated comms.

And if that doesn’t put you off, then you should probably go for it. Because the AGV X101 is properly authentic and it does all the basics right. It’s comfortable, well built, has a useful peak, fits pretty well all goggles and owners rate it highly.

That’s your lot. And as long as you’re prepared for getting rain in your face and not looking upwards above 85 (unless you fancy a walk to retrieve your peak from the road) you and your X101 should live (and ride) happily ever after.


 (more about helmet safety)

Potentially, one of the great things about buying a modern retro helmet is that you can have all the kudos of an old style helmet but one that’s made with modern tech, so you’ll know it’ll stand up to a proper hammering and give all the protection of a modern lid. Potentially.

AGV X101 mono matt black retro motorcycle helmet rear
Matt black AGV X101. Smooth and round without any nasty vents cluttering things up!

The problem with the AGV X101 is that it’s tricky to work out quite how protective it’s going to be.

Of course, it’s ECE certified so it’ll offer at least a regulated minimum level of protection, but beyond that, there’s not much to go on. That’s because when a helmet hasn’t been independently safety tested (the X101 hasn’t) we usually look back through SHARP testing data to find out how similar helmets have faired.

AGV’s opted to make the shell of the X101 out of good old fibreglass. Using fibreglass on its own is pretty retro these days as mid-priced helmets and up are usually a bit more of a complex composite adding materials like aramid and carbon into the mix.

SHARP don’t often get to test pure fibreglass AGVs very often, so direct comparisons aren’t that straightforward. But having said that, whenever a fibreglass AGV helmet has been SHARP tested in the past, it’s always scored either four or five stars.

And actually, the same goes for every AGV helmet tested ever (bar one very old one which scored 3). Which of course is an AMAZING performance!

AGV X101 multi dakar retro motocross helmet
Dakar 87 graphic looks like it’ll be one of the most popular.

So while we can’t be 100% sure, we’d expect the AGV X101 to give a similar excellent level of protection – we’d guess at around a SHARP four star rating if they were to test it.

That’s even despite the X101 being a very basic helmet in terms of features. There’s no visor, no quick release interior (EQRS), nowhere to push speakers inside and only an old style double-d ring fastener (though these are as safe as they come).

But should the worst happen and you hit the deck while riding, we’d expect the AGV 101 to do the business and give you decent impact protection.

And whenever SHARP gets around to testing it – which hopefully they will – we’ll add the test results to this page straight away.

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

Except for in the chin bar, there aren’t any vents in the actual shell of the X101. Few vents usually equates to few places for air and noise to get in which should help keeping a helmet nice and quiet.

Problem is that massive gaping hole you find in the front of motorcross helmets – a hole that won’t be covered by a visor (unless it’s a dual sport helmet). So, whatever work AGV has done to keep things quiet in the shell will always be undone by that hole for your goggles and there’s really not much you can do about it.

AGV X101 mono red motocross helmet front view
Red Mono X101 comes with white peak as standard (black replacement will be extra)

Basically, it’s never gonna be as quiet as a full face (or even a modular which are broadly less quiet than full faces). So as long as you accept that riding in an X101 is going to get a bit loud, then you should be OK with it.

Of the owners we came across, pretty well all said it’s loud – or rather it’s loud but that’s OK. Because you’ll probably go into buying an X101 knowing it’s as much about style as it is performance, and helmet noise is going to be one of the areas you have to compromise.

And of course, always shove in a good pair of plugs to protect your hearing long term (or protect what hearing you’ve got left medium term!). If you do that, you should find the X101 acceptable. Or do that and ride behind a screen and you should be a happy bunny.


(more about helmet ventilation)

Ventilation is a bit of a weird one in the X101.

The chin vents are always open, covered by a bit of metal grid to keep the bigger chunks of road dirt out (and nicely dice up bluebottles before they hit your mouth!). With that and the front opening, you’re always going to have a pretty drafty face.

So what about the rest of your head? Well, there aren’t any other vents in the helmet, which does help give it a nice, clean, and very retro look.

AGV X101 mono white retro motocross helmet
No shell vents but plenty of air (and noise!)

But AGV expects some air to get into the helmet from the front and they’ve put some very optimistic front-back channels into the internal polystyrene liner to help air circulate. There’s mesh in the comfort liner too so should any air get that far, it’s got a chance of cooling your head down (and pushing the air out of exhausts in the neck roll to the rear).

The word is that, despite there being no shell vents, the X101 does let enough air through to keep your head cool in all but the most extreme weather. And of course your face is going to be kept cool whatever the weather throws at you, whether you want it or not!


Just like your typical Dakar helmet from the 70’s (or the 2020’s for that matter!) there’s no visor on the AGV X101 only space for goggles.

Official AGV Legends smoke goggles

The good news is that the space is no compromise, meaning you should be able to get pretty well any pair of full size goggles in there.

You’ll need some goggles that grip though as there’s no rear goggles loop or profiling of the rear of the helmet to keep your goggle strap in place.

Still, riders take the full Dakar course in their stride without either, so your Sunday afternoon jaunt to Minehead shouldn’t pose a problem if you buy the right pair.

A couple of useful links…

Loads of motocross helmet reviews
Even more super cool looking lids


We heard from riders wearing Oakley Airbrakes, Biltwell Moto2s and Barstows without a problem. And of course, AGV also make their own range of Legends goggles to fit their helmets so you can go down that route if you want to be sure when you buy your X101.


That peak apparently works very well on the road. It’s useful for blocking out sun and those grooves/holes cut into it really work at stopping lift and buffeting.

Slightly bizarre shorty yellow Legends peak

The peak’s a traditional style peak stuck to the helmet using 3 poppers which means it’ll take a range of other 3 button peaks if you want to replace the standard ‘off road’ peak that comes with the helmet.

Again, there’s also a range of official AGV replacement peaks including a shorter one (it doesn’t have to be yellow tho!) and various black or white peaks.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

The AGV X101 has been designed to suite medium oval shaped heads – which is most of us (though if your head tends to be a bit longer than average, you can find long-oval helmets here).

It’s available in fitment sizes XS-XXL and, according to several owners, sizing’s about spot on, so follow our fitting guide to measure up and then order the correct size.

AGV X101 mono matt black retro motorcycle helmet side view
Classic matt black AGV X101

The helmet’s made in three shell sizes, which is a good number (here’s why if you’re interested) with the smallest covering fitments XS-S, middle covering M, larger covering L-XXL.

Inside the X101, AGV’s made a good compromise between the old and the new.

Around the viewport and neck roll, you’ll find real leather – what AGV calls Eco Leather because it’s apparently been prepared in a more environmentally friendly way.

But inside is a regular, removable, comfort liner and cheek pads. That liner is moisture wicking and can be washed. AGV also provides you with an extra piece of foam to put at top of the liner to give you a bit of adjustment to how the helmet sits (higher or lower).

And with the average overall weight being around 1.3 Kg (2.9 lbs) give or take and depending on your shell size – according to one or two owners it feels nice and light weight while you’re wearing it.

All good here then. Moving on…

Looks & Graphics

While the X101 definitely looks the part, I’m not sure it’s actually based on any specific old time helmet (like the Bell Moto-3 or the AGV X3000) but it’s rather a rendition of the type of helmet found in that era.

AGV X101 multi dakar retro motocross helmet rear
Rear of the Dakar 87. Note all Dakar stages in tiny writing.

Still, that won’t put most of us off because the X101 is a seriously cool looking helmet. Especially in the Dakar 87 graphics which seem to be particularly popular – with all the stage names of the 87 event running round the back of the helmet. Nice touch.

At the time of typing, there’s also plain white, black and red as well as a couple of graphic versions – the Dust and Dakar. If AGV release any more, you should be able to click links to our recommended retailers below and find them straightaway. Happy hunting!

Best places to buy an AGV X101 helmet?

Please click below to visit the AGV X101 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 X101 Video

A 5 minute vid looking round an X101 by some dude who’s spent some quality time with his Dakar 87!

Other stuff – bluetooth headset, glasses, build quality, warranty

If you’re after fitting a bluetooth headset onto your X101, you might struggle. In their wisdom, AGV has decided that if you want a retro helmet you also want that retro communication experience of shouting at your fellow riders, just like they did in the 70s. So they’ve not put any speaker pockets in there.

AGV X101 mono white retro motocross helmet rear view
From the rear, plain gloss white X101

That means it’s in the lap of the Gods whether your kit will fit. It should mount onto the outside OK given there’s plenty of space, but whether your speakers will dig into your head is anybody’s guess.

So, I recommend buying from a retailer who’ll accept no-quibble refunds (like all our recommended retailers but not necessarily if you buy through Amazon) so if it doesn’t fit, there’s nothing lost. Though make sure you don’t damage the helmet trying to fit your bluetooth unit, and keep on all the tags in place otherwise most stores won’t accept the return.

There isn’t much information out there on whether your glasses will fit. There aren’t any specific glasses grooves in there to accommodate the stems though we’ve heard from at least one rider who said they work just fine for him.

If you’re unsure, either follow the buying advice above or check out helmets that work great for glasses wearers.

Build quality on the X101 is universally praised with owners loving the paints, finishing and overall quality feel of the helmet.

Finally, AGV X101 helmets come with a fairly standard 2 year warranty.

Good Alternatives to the AGV X101?

Shoei Ex-Zero retro helmet in gloss hi viz yellow side view
Shoei Ex-Zero

There’s a good range of retro lids that really look the part and perform these days. If it’s the motocross bit you’re interested in, you can also find all our motocross helmet reviews here. Or if retro’s what you’re after, have a glance over our retro helmet reviews.

Otherwise, you might want to have a gander at the Shoei Ex-Zero. I reckon it’s a fantastic looking lid, and it’s got a nice pull down internal visor, it’s nice and light weight and it’s got an EQRS interior.

Bell Moto-3 Stripes

The Bell Moto 3 is the real deal, being derived from Bell’s original Moto 3 from the 70’s. It’s fibreglass too and it’s a mid price helmet, costing about the same as the X101.

shoei glamster off white crash helmet side view
Off White Shoei Glamster

If you don’t necessarily want a motocross helmet, how about the Shoei Glamster? It’s got a reasonably advanced AIM composite shell, a nice large visor with (included) Pinlock antifog insert and it’s a great quality helmet.

The Nexx X.G200 in Super Hunky graphics

Finally – and back to the motocross look – how about the Nexx XG200. Composite fibre, medium oval fitment, well made and loads of funky retro graphics. Good price too.

Want to check out the best looking helmets?

You'll find the coolest, meanest and most retro helmets available on our Coolest helmets pages.

Best places to buy an AGV X101?

Please click below to visit the AGV X101 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

Star Ratings

Previous articleFull review of the Cardo Packtalk Bold (and Black) motorcycle bluetooth headset.
Next articleSena match Cardo by Introducing Quantum – with Harmon Kardon speakers
agv-x101-1970s-retro-dakar-inspired-motorcycle-helmet-reviewOK, it might not have scored a squillion stars in our review, but the AGV X101 is a corker of a helmet. OK it's basic (which is why its score is on the low side) but then you knew that when you first saw it! It's a retro inspired fibreglass motocross helmet that's got bags of kudos and cred. You'll need a decent pair of goggles and not be afraid of a bit of wind and rain in your face. But the word is if you can cope with all that, it's a well built and comfortable helmet. So, if you're feeling the need to channel your inner-Dakar, then the AGV X101 is a quality helmet and well worth the money.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here