The AX-8 Dual EVO is a redesigned version of the 2011 AGV AX-8 Dual helmet.
The new version has high-quality construction and several features not found on other dual-sport helmets.
It's also quieter than average and the peak has a low-lift design that works.
The helmet is also relatively light and uses a carbon fiber, Kevlar and fiberglass shell.
Altogether, the AX-8 Dual Evo is an excellent choice for a dual-sport helmet and it also can be purchased for about 20% less than the Arai XD-4 (review).
The adventure-touring (aka dual-sport) motorcycle boom continues, with many new adventure-touring bikes now available for sale in 2012.
In fact, this segment has nearly saved motorcycling in general and more adventure-touring bikes are sold in the UK and Italy than any other type.
But you don't have to spend big bucks on one of those expensive new 1200cc models to jump on board.
Our Suzuki DR650 blog shows you how; it has been very popular with webBikeWorld readers as the "Budget Adventure Touring" series for low-cost fun. And fun it's been -- I'm totally sold on this bike and its capabilities.
But after you buy your dual-sport bike and experience the thrill of on- and off-road adventures, there's more fun to be had in searching out and installing all of the many goodies available in this segment.
A typical example is the DR650, which has a huge number of available accessories that can turn it into a true off-road-capable touring machine.
Now as long as you're farkling up the bike, you might as well look the part.
There are plenty of adventure-touring inspired riding outfits available, from the el Cheapo Akito Desert jacket and pants outfit (review) to the Klim Badlands Pro jacket and pants (review) (both of which, by the way, are currently listed in the webBikeWorld Garage Sale).
And, of course, a dual-sport helmet is the finishing touch.
I'm still 60/40 on the utility of this helmet type; it seems a bit more limiting than, say, a flip-up or even a full-face helmet or some of the very unique modular dual-homolgated helmets that convert from one form to another, like the Caberg HyperX (review).
But apparently the dual-sport helmet is getting more popular by the day, which prompted AGV to do a quick refresh of last year's AGV AX-8 Dual.
Just for the record, we also reviewed the AGV AX-8 (review) motocross helmet, which was closely related to the original AX-8 Dual and is a not-too-distant cousin to the AX-8 Dual EVO described in this review.
The AX-8 Dual EVO (EVO = Evolution) comes in any color you like, as long as you like white, black or the "Titan Grey" shown here.
I'm not sure why AGV doesn't offer more color choices, but the Titan Grey looks very nice and the finish on this one is excellent.
It also has a thick-feeling clear coat with that sort of "hard plastic coating" feel we've noted before on some European helmets.
It should provide good protection for the silvery-gray metallic paint for the life of the helmet.
The switchgear and fittings are all very nicely done also on the AX-8 Dual EVO; better, in fact, than we've seen on a few previous AGV helmets.
In fact, we have an AGV Grid and an AGV K4 EVO also in the review queue and they also appear to have gone through an overall quality upgrade compared to last year's batch of AGV helmets.
So this is good news.
And, in fact, between the quality of the AX-8 Dual EVO and the feature set, we think it's a viable alternative to what many consider to be the dual-sport helmet class leader, the Arai XD-4 (review).
That the AX-8 Dual EVO has a list price about 30% less than the Arai makes it that much sweeter.
A couple of things to note: the chin and top vent sliders on the AX-8 Dual EVO have a very solid feel, more so than many/most other helmets.
The sliders feel solid and rugged, and that is always a good thing that also lends a helmet a feeling of quality.
Since the wearer will touch and interact with the switchgear and the face shield multiple times on every ride, high quality and attention to design in this area goes a long way towards helping the owner feel satisfied and even pleased with the purchase.
The AX-8 Dual EVO also has a nice chin curtain, something missing (sometimes sorely) from many other dual-sport helmets.
It works well on this helmet, with its extended chin bar that could otherwise direct too much unwanted air up on to the rider's face from the underside of the helmet.
The peak design is also notable on the AX-8 Dual EVO; it has a large, clear area underneath for air to flow through.
This results in less lift than any other dual-sport helmet we've tried.
More goodness includes a very firm-feeling face shield that seals tight against the eye port gasket and very nice, extra-long chin strap cushioning with a cleverly designed extra length of strap that holds the snap for the other end of the chin strap.
These are much, much better than the surprisingly chintzy chin strap design with its too-short length on the Arai XD4.
Score: We rate the AGV AX-8 Dual EVO with an "Outstanding" rating for excellent paint and a thick clear coat. The composite lightweight shell and very nicely designed other features and solid-feeling switchgear really help also. See the Summary Table at the bottom of the page for a description of our rating system.
The AX-8 Dual EVO has what we classify as a "Slightly Narrow" internal shape, which is more good news for many riders because the "Long Oval" head shape seems to be rapidly disappearing as a choice.
The fit is nearly identical to the AGV AGV AX-8 (review), the motocross/off-road version of last year's AX-8 design.
The internal shape can probably be described as neutral on top, however, with slightly narrow sides.
The size large shown here should fit slightly narrow to neutral head shapes up to 60 cm; AGV lists the size large as fitting a 59-60 cm head and we think that is correct.
Over 60 cm or neutral-to-round head shapes may want to try the XL size.
AGV's commitment to the dual-sport helmet type is indicated by the three shell sizes available for both the AX-8 and AX-8 Dual EVO and also the extended head size range.
The small shell covers XXS to M; the medium shell fits the L and XL sizes; and the largest shell is for the XXL and XXXL size range.
AGV said that the padding in the AX-8 Dual EVO has been improved (made thicker) and the lining materials include "new skin-friendly fabrics which improve the comfort of the fit and reduce rubbing when putting on and or taking off the helmet".
The fabric is indeed comfortable and feels better than other types, especially in warmer weather.
But the padding, while it may be thicker, feels less firm than we'd like.
Also, the helmet has no defined ear pockets, which makes intercom speaker fitment tricky...although it seems to help eyeglass wearers, as our cut-down eyeglass frames fit with no problems, even on round-ish heads.
However, the cheek pads and other padding parts are available separately, so an owner might be able to mix-and-match to get a semi-bespoke fit (sounds like a contradiction in terms, no?!).
The "Dri-Lex" liner in the AX-8 Dual EVO is similar to the liner used in the AX-8 off-road version we reviewed. It is removable and washable and it has excellent moisture wicking properties.
More information on helmet fit can be found in the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page, along with the chart that lists the helmet weights of webBikeWorld reviewed helmets and also by shape on the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet Shapes page.
Score: We give the AX-8 Dual EVO an "Outstanding" rating for shape, comfort and padding with a very nice liner and padding that works well in hot weather.
One of the defining features of a dual-sport helmet is the face shield, of course.
But it's not simply a matter of taking a motocross or off-road helmet and throwing on any old face shield.
The helmet, face shield and peak all have to be designed as a system, because the dual-sport helmet will see a lot more road time than any pure motocross helmet ever will.
We still think there's room for improvement in dual-sport face shield design, generally speaking. For instance, a small first defogging or ventilation position is missing from the face shield on many/most dual-sport helmets and the AX-8 Dual EVO is no exception.
But otherwise, the rotating mechanism on this helmet snaps the 2.12 mm thick face shield open and closed through its three detents, sealing tightly against the eye port gasket.
The gasket is a clever design and it fully surrounds the eye port with a single lip along the top and sides and a double lip along the bottom, so no water enters when it's raining.
AGV said that one of the revisions included new aluminum screws to hold the peak and face shield, but we did not remove the peak or the face shield on this helmet. The helmet can be used with or without the peak or the face shield, although it's not likely it will be used this way by vary many riders.
The visibility is good; above average actually, although the stylish angular design of the helmet somewhat impedes side vision and the large chin bar and breath guard block forward vision slightly compared to some other dual-sport helmets.
But compared to just about any full-face design, there is much more visibility and overall we'll rate it better than average in all planes.
The peak has a nice design also, with a large gap to the helmet shell that doesn't appear any different than any other dual-sport helmet, but is designed to allow the maximum amount of unimpeded air flow.
This seems to work, greatly reducing lift and we think the AX-8 Dual EVO has less lift than any other dual-sport helmet we've tried.
Plus, the peak is perfectly located to block the overhead sun; you'd think this would be a no-brainer, but many of the lesser dual-sport designs get it wrong, making the peak a nearly non-functional device.
We also note no vibration or movement of the peak while riding.
Score: The AGV AX-8 Dual EVO has good outward visibility for this type of helmet. We give it an "Excellent" rating overall.
Those sturdy-feeling vent sliders described above cover an array of ports on the AX-8 Dual EVO that provide better than average ventilation.
Opening the chin vent uncovers a large port through the chin bar, which is backed by a foam-type dirt/bug filter that is much appreciated in our late Spring weather, which again introduces the appearance of all manner of gnats, flies, 'Skeeters, bees and assorted winged insects.
The chin curtain underneath is also appreciated for the same reason and it helps to keep unwanted air from flowing up underneath the helmet while helping the chin vent work more effectively.
The helmet has three separate top vents, which, as we mentioned in the Arai XD4 review and others, are probably two too many.
It's better to reach up and work a single vent switch when you're riding, rather than having to fumble for three (or more).
At least the single top vent added to the AX-8 Dual EVO (compared to the AX-8 and AX-8 Dual) is easy to find.
The slider is at the rear of the vent; an unusual position but it works well and it's intuitive. Slide it back to open and push or pull it forward to close the center top vent.
The two slit-style vents on either side are a bit harder to find when wearing gloves and riding.
The left side isn't difficult but it's a reach around to the right side, over and sort of under the peak. The vents are angled but slide open with a click towards the rear of the helmet.
The top venting system of the AX-8 Dual EVO isn't quite as effective as the chin vent, but we rate it as better than average. The angled rear exhaust vents remain open and they seem to help pull some air through the top of the helmet.
Overall, between the solid feel and operation of the vent sliders, the comfortable feeling liner material and the efficiency of the vents, we rate the system as better than average.
In fact, the upper ventilation on the AX-8 Dual EVO is better than the mildly disappointing system on the Arai XD4, in our opinion.
Score: We rate the ventilation system of the AGV AX-8 Dual EVO as "Excellent".
The top vent design of the AX-8 Dual EVO, along with the tight seal of the face shield, both help to keep noise levels relatively low along the top and sides of the helmet.
We do notice some wind noise that is generated from turbulence around the lower rear of the helmet in the area where the cheek pads meet the padding at the back of the helmet.
There's a split line at that location that allows noise to leak in; we recommend that AGV redesign this area to make the padding thicker or overlap to reduce the split line, which should lower noise levels in this area.
Place a hand or finger over that area and the noise level drops quite dramatically.
So overall, the AX-8 Dual EVO isn't as quiet as it could be. There's potential here for the AX-8 Dual EVO to become one of the quietest dual-sport helmets available with what should be a simple redesign of the padding.
The bottom line is that we rate the AX-8 Dual EVO as slightly better than average overall for noise.
Note that our helmet evaluations are a combined effort of several riders over time on different types of motorcycles with and without windscreens.
Evaluators wear correctly fitted, high quality ear plugs (even when evaluating motorcycle intercom systems).
Always protect your hearing when riding a motorcycle. See the wBW Earplug Reviews for more information on choosing and wearing earplugs.
Note also that perceived noise levels will vary, depending on the individual.
Noise can be caused by many factors, including helmet fit, the type of motorcycle and windscreen, wind speed and direction and even the rider's clothing.
For more information on helmet noise, visit the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Noise page.
Score: We'll give the AX-8 Dual EVO a "Very Good" rating for slightly better than average noise control.
The fiberglass, Kevlar and carbon fiber shell on the AX-8 Dual EVO, combined with the 3 shell sizes to make a closer match between head size and shell size, all help to make the helmet very light.
Our AX-8 Dual EVO in size large weighs just 1514 grams (3 lbs., 5-3/8 oz.), which places it among the lightest helmets we have reviewed on webBikeWorld.com.
And the Arai XD4 (review)? It weighs 1642 grams in size large.
The light weight of the AX-8 Dual EVO is appreciated and noticeable when riding and appreciated when riding off-road, where the lower mass helps reduce neck strain.
Note also that all of the helmets reviewed on webBikeWorld have been weighed and the weights are available on the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Weights page, along with a chart that lists the helmets by weight and shape on the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Shapes page.
Score: We'll give the AGV AX-8 Dual EVO an "Outstanding" rating for its low weight and excellent fit and balance.
TThe AX-8 Dual EVO has extra-long and wide and comfortable chin strap padding and an extra small strap that holds the plastic snap to retain the extra length of chin strap from the other side.
The helmet uses the preferred, lightweight and infinitely adjustable double D-ring attachment system.
The three shell sizes span an extended size range from XXS to XXXL.
The small shell fits XXS to M; the medium-sizes shell fits L and XL; and the largest shell fits XXL and XXXL. The helmet is listed as meeting DOT, ECE and AS/NZ safety standards.
Note also that AGV said that the internal padding and aluminum screws for the peak of the AX-8 Dual EVO are interchangeable with those of the AX-8 Dual.
AGV provides a 1 year warranty from date of purchase or 3 years from the manufacture date.
The AGV AX-8 Dual EVO is our current favorite dual-sport helmet, without doubt.
AGV quality seems to have improved and last year's AX-8 Dual has undergone a careful evolution that adds several excellent features, a few of which can't be found on any other dual-sport helmet at any price.
There are two ways of looking at the price of the AX-8 Dual EVO: it is more expensive than a few of the lesser dual-sport helmets...but you're getting more and it's definitely higher quality.
On the other hand, it's about 30% less expensive than the Arai XD4 and we think the AX-8 Dual EVO actually performs better in real-world riding situations.
The conclusion is that the price is reasonable, especially considering the quality and the performance. If you're looking for the optimal solution for cost vs. value, the AX-8 Dual EVO may be the answer.
|wBW Review: AGV AX-8 Dual EVO Helmet|
|Manufacturer: AGV Helmets (Italy).||List Price: $399.95|
|Colors: White, Black and Titan Grey.||Made In: China|
|Sizes: XXS to XXXL. Shell Sizes: Three.||Review Date: May 2012|
Rating Scale is subjective: Unacceptable, Poor, Neutral, Very Good, Excellent, Outstanding.
From "D.L." (January 2014): "I was just reading through some older articles and came across a review of the latest Cardo (Q1/Q3) intercom system that you rated as a "Product of the Year".
In the review you picture a unit installed on an AGV AX-8 Dual Evo, a helmet that I also just purchased.
In the comment section a reader asks how you installed it as he had problems with his AGV due to the lack of ear pockets. I just went through the same thing and I found an easy solution without any surgery.
I have a Sena HMS-10, but I assume the speakers are the same approximate size as the Cardo. I was able to insert the speakers into the cheek pads, into the pad's foam. The solution didn't work perfectly at first.
The speakers pushed on my ears causing pain. I purchased one size larger cheek pads, repeated the install and voilà! They are not 100% in line with my ear canal, but at high volume they operate very well."
From "H.G." (October 2013): "I bought an AGV AX-8 six months ago and I have replace the front shade twice, it just cracked close to the two screws that hold the front shade. The vibration on the front cover is very high.
I think the vibration is the problem on the helmet. It is a great helmet very light and compact."