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AGV Blade Review

AGV Blade Helmet Review
AGV "Blade" Helmet Review
by "Burn" and Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
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AGV Blade Helmet Review

Summary

The AGV Blade is comfortable, relatively lightweight and easy to wear.

It has a different shape than the typical half-helmet or even the "Jet" styled European open-face helmets.

The Blade comes in a variety of colors and graphics and it has an excellent finish and comfortable fit.

The chin strap has a removable rubberized anti-chafe protector that works really well.

The helmet also has folding ear pieces that add to the comfort.

Bottom line? The AGV Blade is a very nice city helmet for wearing on a scooter or for touring.

Background

The AGV Blade has been around for some time but we just never got around to reviewing it for one reason or another.

In fact, we've had this one in the webBikeWorld garage for several months but we've been having so much fun wearing it that the full review just kept getting delayed and delayed and...

The Blade is one of two helmets in the current AGV "City" lineup in the U.S.A. The other "City" helmet is the AGV RP60, a very traditional-looking open face design with the three metal snaps along the brow for a bubble visor. Too '60's for me.

The Blade has a decidedly modern look in the Euro scooter mold. Its most distinguishing feature is the elongated ACD (Artificial Cranial Deformation) look with the pointed rear, like King Tut's noggin. Actually, the slightly exaggerated posterior might help aerodynamics; at least it seems so when riding with the helmet.

AGV Blade Helmet Top View
AGV Blade Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality

The AGV Blade is available in solids and graphics. Solids include white, matte and gloss black and silver, while the graphics include the "FX" version shown here in red. The Blade FX is also available with a gunmetal or blue strip down the side in place of the red strip on our version.

This FX with the red striping is a looker and I'd like to think it's a highly visible color also. The strip breaks up the overall shape a little bit to give it some interest and the red strip or stripe decal is shaded towards the bottom and broken at the top, which gives a sense of movement.

The overall finish on ours is outstanding, especially for an open-face helmet in this price range. The highly polished gloss surface has a nice clearcoat and absolutely no orange peel or dust bits, indicating a high level of QC in the AGV Chinese factory.

The liner, face shield and other parts are also all of very high quality and better, I think, than many other open-face type helmets, which for some strange reason don't seem to be held to the same quality standards as full-face helmets by the manufacturers, at least based on our experience.

The face shield also should get some mention here because it not only operates with a precision feel, it has outstanding optical qualities -- another sometimes hit-or-miss by the manufacturers. Two optional tinted face shields are available for the Blade.

The removable liner is perfectly installed on ours and one other very nice feature is the removable rubberized protector over the chin strap, which adds a lot of comfort and is yet another one of those "Why didn't I think of that?" ideas. AGV could probably sell these or give them away as marketing swag. Wouldn't it be funny to see these with a big, colored AGV logo protecting the chins of riders wearing Arai, Shoei, etc. helmets?

Score: We give the AGV Blade an "Outstanding" rating for excellent overall quality. See the Summary Table at the bottom of the page for a description of our rating system.

AGV Blade Helmet Slide Show
AGV Blade Helmet Front View AGV Blade Helmet Front Quarter View AGV Blade Helmet Side View AGV Blade Helmet Top AGV Blade Helmet Visor Up AGV Blade Helmet Rear View AGV Blade Helmet Rear Label AGV Blade Chin Strap Buckle AGV Blade Chin Strap Padding AGV Blade Liner Close-up
  • AGV Blade Helmet Front View
  • AGV Blade Helmet Front Quarter View
  • AGV Blade Helmet Side View
  • AGV Blade Helmet Top
  • AGV Blade Helmet Visor Up
  • AGV Blade Helmet Rear View
  • AGV Blade Helmet Rear Label
  • AGV Blade Chin Strap Buckle
  • AGV Blade Chin Strap Padding
  • AGV Blade Liner Close-up
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AGV Blade Helmet Fit, Internal Shape and Liner

The AGV Blade has a comfortable internal fit that I'd classify as "Neutral". Open-face helmets don't always fit the way you'd think; in fact, we've found more variation and strange fit types with open-face or Jet helmets than any other type.

This Blade is a size large and it feels about 1/2 size big, so it fits Rick's XL (60.5 cm) round head very nicely also. There's usually a little more "fit leeway" in open-face helmets anyway because the shell can sometimes flex a bit more than a full-face type. But the Blade actually has a pretty stiff-feeling polycarbonate shell, so the slightly generous fit is a result of its Neutral fit-anyone shape and the ear "flaps" on the sides.

Those flaps are vinyl-covered soft liner padding and they really make the Blade fit the way it does -- comfortable and easy to wear. The flaps also protect the rider's face from the chin strap and buckle and this, in combination with the rubberized chin strap protector, make the Blade one of (if not the most) comfortable open-face helmets ever.

And that's why it's taken us so long to review it -- the Blade is just so comfortable, so easy to wear and looks good and has unlimited visibility that it's become a real favorite around here. Especially when riding the new BMW C 650 GT scooter (blog).

The Blade is available in sizes XS to XL and, surprisingly, there are two shell sizes to cover that head size range. This size large is listed as a 59-60 and that's about right, although a 60.5 is an easy squeeze. The "Neutral" internal fit works for anyone from a "Slight Narrow" to a "Slight Round" or even "Round", so very few people should have trouble finding a good, comfortable and safe fit.

One thing to note: there are no ear pockets in the Blade, so fitting an intercom may be a bit of a bother. Also, the shell shape has a curvature along the bottom, below the ear, where the flaps are located, which may make it difficult to fit an intercom mount. We didn't try; it can probably be done and we've seen worse.

webBikeWorld Internal Shape Estimator: AGV Blade
Narrow Med. Narrow Slight Narrow Neutral Slight Round Med. Round Round
Helmet Shape
Helmet Shape
Helmet Internal Shape Examples (see more Motorcycle Helmet Shapes)
Arai
Profile
Scorpion
EXO-700 Neon
KBC
Tarmac
AGV
Stealth
Arai
RX-Q
Bell
Arrow
Arai
Quantum II

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: I'll give the AGV Blade an "Outstanding" rating for shape, comfort and padding with a very nice removable liner and padding.

AGV Blade Helmet Liner
The AGV Blade liner is comfortable and removable.
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AGV Blade Face Shield, Eye Port and Outward Visibility

The Blade has nearly unlimited visibility of course, as do most open-face helmets. This is one of the main advantages and, coming from a full-face helmet it will literally open up a huge window in front of you to see things in a completely different light -- again quite literally.

I can just barely see slivers of the side of the helmet shell on either side and a bit of the shell that sticks out above my brow, but otherwise the sight lines are virtually infinite. This is a definite safety advantage and a bonus for beginning riders also, as it feels much less confining than a full-face helmet.

Of course, the downside is the absence of any meaningful chin protection but, from Huckleberry Finn: "...you pays your money and you takes your choice" (see "You Pays Yer Money").

Not that scooter riders should have any less protection than sportbike riders, but the Blade is a perfect complement to the modern scooter, with European styling and outstanding visibility for the urban jungle.

The face shield also has outstanding optical qualities, so it's like riding without a face shield at all. It rotates up through five detents which are quite unnecessary; all shut and full open are the only two positions needed in reality.

webBikeWorld Eye Port Visibility Estimator: AGV Blade
Visibility Poor Below Average Average Above Average Outstanding
Top to Bottom
Side to Side

Score:  The AGV Blade visibility is outstanding and virtually unlimited, as expected with this style of helmet.

AGV Blade Helmet Top Vent
AGV Blade Helmet Side Vents
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AGV Blade Ventilation and Air Flow

Another paradox of the open-face motorcycle helmet design is the good/bad issue of ventilation. As we've mentioned before when reviewing this type of helmet, on the one hand, you have all the fresh air you'll want...and more.

But on the other hand, you have all the fresh air you'll want...and more. Meaning, there's no control over the air flow, other than visor up or down.

Top venting is another matter and this is the one weak feature of the AGV Blade. The clever and stylish vents use a thin lever to uncover a tiny series of rectangular vent holes but very little air actually flows through and what does gets lost in the confines of the full-coverage internal liner.

But even in 27 C plus (80+ F) weather, it doesn't really make much of a difference because of the open nature of the helmet.

The face shield does provide decent coverage, although without a windscreen you may have to tilt your head down slightly if you want to prevent the air blast from hitting the chin.

webBikeWorld Opinionator: AGV Blade Ventilation
Location Poor Below Average Average Above Average Outstanding
Top/Upper
Chin/Face

Score: I'll rate the ventilation system of the AGV Blade as "Very Good".

AGV Blade Helmet Face Shield Removal Mechanism
The face shield removal system is very easy to use; move the dial 1/4 turn.
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AGV Blade Sound Levels

Another artifact of the open-face helmet design is noise. There's no getting around it; you're not going to get the same levels of noise control as you do on some/most full-face helmets (although we have definitely reviewed some pretty loud full-face helmets).

The noise levels when wearing the Blade are about as expected, with unavoidable wind noise coming from around the bottom of the face shield. Like most open-face helmets, if you wear the Blade on a bike without a windscreen, it's going to be loud.

Riding behind the windscreen on the BMW scooter is a very pleasant experience however, because the 'screen blocks the air from the bottom of the Blade and the smooth top of the helmet flows the air nicely with little noise.

webBikeWorld Opinionator: AGV Blade Noise Levels
Location Very Quiet Quieter Average Louder Very Loud
Upper
Lower

Note that our helmet evaluations are normally a combined effort of several riders over time, on different types of motorcycles with and without windscreens. Evaluators wear correctly fitted, high quality earplugs (even when evaluating motorcycle intercom systems) and (usually) a helmet liner. It is strongly recommended that hearing protection is used when riding a motorcycle.  See the wBW Earplugs and Hearing Protection page 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 type of clothing that is being worn. For more information on helmet noise, visit the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Noise page.

Score:  I'll give the AGV Blade a "Very Good" rating for average noise control.

wBW Video: AGV Blade Helmet
Helmet Weight

This size L AGV Blade weighs 1333 grams (2 lbs., 15 oz.), which is about in the middle of the pack for the 22 open-face helmets reviewed on webBikeWorld to date.

The availability of two shell sizes across the head size range and the comfortable fit of the Blade, along with the somewhat aerodynamic shape, make this an easy and comfortable helmet to wear with no noticeable buffeting.

Note 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:  I'll give the AGV Blade an "Excellent" rating for its relatively low weight and good balance.

AGV Blade Helmet Cheek Flaps

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Miscellaneous

The AGV Blade has a micro-lock type chin strap, which actually works very nicely on this helmet because the buckle and hardware is outside of the flaps on either side, which provide all the cushioning needed to keep the buckle away from the chin. This is another feature that contributes greatly to the comfort of this helmet.

The Blade also has a metal D-ring on the right-hand side to lock the helmet to a bike or scooter. And don't forget that rubberized cover over the chin strap, a very nice added feature.

The Blade meets DOT standards in the Bahamas, Bahrain, Canada and the U.S.A. NBR in Brazil; AS/NZS in Australia and New Zealand and ECE helmet safety standards when sold in Europe. I can find no information about the warranty on the AGV website, in the owner's manual, on the box or at any of the retailers.

webBikeWorld Overall Opinionator: AGV Blade
Picks...
...and Pans
  • Excellent overall quality.
  • Comfortable liner.
  • Comfy chin strap and protector.
  • Relatively light weight.
  • Excellent face shield operation.

 

  • No ear pockets.
  • Difficult to fit intercom.
  • Weak upper ventilation.
Conclusion

Something about the AGV Blade just makes it comfortable, easy to wear and "user friendly". It's simple an uncomplicated (and doesn't need the internal sun visor it doesn't have).

It works really well on a scooter or touring bike, especially in summer weather. The price is right and the quality is much better than many other low-priced open-faced helmets we've tried.

A pair of good Kevlar-lined jeans, a mesh jacket, a pair of short-gauntlet gloves, boots and the Blade is a recipe for a very pleasant and relaxing summer ride.

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wBW Review: AGV Blade Helmet
Manufacturer: AGV SpA List Price: $129.95 (Solids). $149.95 (Graphics).
Sale: $89.99 for Blade solids (going fast!).
Colors: Solids or graphics. Made In: China
Sizes: XS to XL. Shell Sizes: 2. Star Rating (1-5): Four Star Rated
Review Date: June 2013
Ratings Scale: For reference, our ratings scale is subjective and ranges from Unacceptable to Poor, Neutral, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding.
Note: Item was provided by a retailer, distributor or manufacturer with these Terms and Conditions.

Note: For informational use only. All material and photographs are Copyright © webWorld International, LLC since 2000. All rights reserved. See the webBikeWorld© Site Info page. Product specifications, features and details may change or differ from our descriptions. Always check before purchasing. Read the Terms and Conditions!

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