AGV Sportmodular Carbon Helmet Hands-On Review: So Very Good


Me wearing the AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet.

The Breakdown

A close-fitting, well-ventilated, modular design, intermediate oval shaped helmet with an outer shell entirely made out of 3K carbon fiber. Built to “AGV extreme standards” specifications meaning it’s light, doesn’t compromise comfort for performance, aerodynamic, impact resistant, strong. All of this comes together to form the lightest modular helmet on the market because even the chin bar is made of carbon fiber. It may be the most comfortable modular helmet for people with heads shaped like mine, but comes with a hefty price tag of $749 to $799 depending on which trim is chosen.
Overall
Pros
Lightest modular available at a claimed 1295 grams or 2.85 lbs, 3 shell sizes available keeps this helmet compact and close fitting around the head, Same aerodynamic design as the racing Pista GP R helmet, Quiet on the road, ultra comfortable padding, and material, Cool or warm to wear thanks to Ritmo or Shalimar reversible crown liner, Terrific ventilation and equipped with a rear spoiler to smooth out turbulence, Carbon fiber makes it stiffer and stronger than usual Visor comes on or goes off with little effort, Pinlock anti-fog lens included with the helmet Titanium D-rings DOT and ECE 2205 approved helmet
Cons
Expensive, Rain and bug guts can come through the front vent when open, Chin strap is set far back and padding moves off it leading to some chafing at times, Chin bar doesn’t easily latch shut when lowered, Sun lens touches my nose when fully lowered and the mechanism is a bit stiff

About AGV

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet front view.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit how unfamiliar I am with AGV so I did a little research on them. Hopefully, I’m not the only one who will benefit from a brief intro to this Italian manufacturer.

AGV or Amisano Gino Valenza has been around since 1946 making cutting-edge products for the world of motorcycling, primarily helmets centred around racing. In 2007 Dainese purchased AGV and has been adding their respected input as well. Add to that in 2008, 9 times MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi was named the honorary President of AGV because of how much he collaborates with their helmet designers and an impressive picture will form in your mind about what to expect from any AGV helmet.

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First Impressions

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet left side view.

Unlike some other helmets I’ve reviewed, this isn’t the first time I’ve handled the Sportmodular Carbon.

I first noticed the Sportmodular while doing reconnaissance of the other pre-eminent modular helmet specimens a few months ago. The Shoei Neotec II and Schuberth C4 were why I walked into the store, but after spotting the AGV nearby and picking it up for closer inspection I immediately got “butterflies” in my stomach and a strong feeling neither Shoei or Schuberth would be getting my hard earned money with this AGV option available.

I’ve been reaching out to AGV directly ever since, trying to get one to review because I was so impressed. AGV hasn’t responded to my requests to this point.

Revzilla came to my rescue (and we love them for that!) providing a Sportmodular Carbon Gloss model for this hands-on review.

This intermediate oval helmet is form-fitting, compact, strong, incredibly lightweight, packed with well thought out features/design aspects that jump out at you as you handle it. It is undeniably soooo comfortable to wear with no pinch points on my head.

Carbon Fiber Goodness

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet right side view.

This is the first carbon fiber helmet I’ve ever worn, let alone carbon fiber modular helmet. There is other 3K carbon fiber modular helmets on the market but none where the entire outer shell is carbon fiber, including the chin bar.

Super Lightweight

This makes it the lightest modular on the market weighing in at a claimed 2.85 lbs, and when compared to fiberglass, carbon fiber is just as strong but also stiffer. In cases where a degree of flexibility is desirable (like on a helmet) carbon fiber is the ideal choice even over fiberglass.

I measured the helmet’s weight on my own scale and found it was 3 lbs even, but my scale may not be bang on.

Fit and Finish

One Badass Looking Brainbucket

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet rear view.

The black and grey, checkered-design of the carbon fiber encapsulated in the gloss coating are awesome to behold. It creates an illusion of motion even when stationary. I dig that and love the “space age” technical appearance.

One odd thing about the woven pattern of fibers on this particular helmet is what appears to be a flaw on the right side. A sort of wave or wrinkle is very noticeable running 5 inches long. I wasn’t able to capture it in a photo clearly enough to share, unfortunately. I’m not sure whether this would affect the structural integrity or not but it’s noticeable.

The AGV tri-color logos are tastefully found front and rear on the helmet. They are sized appropriately and the red, white and green colors pop nicely against the dark carbon fiber.

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet bottom view.

The inner padding follows suit using two shades of grey with some black. I like the small touch of an Italian flag found embroidered on the chinstrap.

Italian styling is evident in this helmet without being too flashy or overbearing. Nice job AGV.

Fitment

Once installed on my head this helmet is almost forgotten due to it being so light and comfortable. I don’t even bother taking it off while taking breaks during rides. It’s that good for me.

It doesn’t fit like other modular helmets I’ve worn. The rear portion sits further back on my face with the chin bar locked open instead of having sections on each side reach forward along my jawline closer to the corners of my mouth.

That makes it a bit awkward to put on with the chin bar locked open for me because there’s nothing to grab hold of and pry apart with my fingers, but I’m getting used to setting it on the top of my head canted forward and then pivoting that back of it down into position.

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet visor open bottom view.

I can’t put this helmet on or take it off without the chin bar locked open unlike any other modular I’ve worn. The opening is just too small in diameter to do it. It’s made this way purposely to fit close and tight around the jawline and base of the skull/neck. If you’re claustrophobic that might irritate you, but I love it.

Chinstrap Issues

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet chinstrap with the visor open.

I think the main reason is that usually I hold and pull apart the chinstrap on each side while donning any helmet and the straps on the Sportmodular are set back about an inch further than on most other helmets. This throws off the balance when I lift it up by the straps causing it to flop around in my grip.

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet bottom view with chinstrap.

Having the strap back so far might lead to fitment issues with some face shapes too. My friend tried it on and found that the strap choked him a bit due to the positioning.

The chinstrap on the AGV Sportmodular Carbon is set back further than usual and can irritate the Adam's apple in some people.

Definitely try this one on before buying to gauge whether something specific to your features like a larger Adam’s apple, pronounced jawline or thicker chin/neck might make the AGV uncomfortable for you. That goes without saying for any helmet, but with an extremely close fitting one like this one, it’s especially true.

Tapered Shell Design

The AGV Sportmodular Carbon on my head from the rear.

The lower part of the shell tapers inward noticeably. This is intentional with the goal of preventing collarbone injuries in the event of a crash. Something learned in the world of racing that was incorporated into this helmet design.

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet chinbar raised and locked open.

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Integrated Sun Lens

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet with chinbar raised and sun lens lowered.

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet with chinbar lowered and sun lens lowered.

How close fitting you may be wondering? Really close.

The sun lens on the AGV Sportmodular Carbon helmet shown touching my nose.

When I fully lower the integrated sun lens it touches the tip of my nose! It’s kind of a double-edged sword because having it come down so far means my entire field of view is shaded by the lens (excellent!), but whenever I ride over a bump the lens nibbles lightly on my nose. Not enough to cause pain or leave a mark, but it tickles a bit.

It’s not AGV’s fault because I admit freely to having a rather tall sniffer on me that is crooked thanks to me shooting my mouth off while playing hockey over the years and the ensuing fisticuffs.

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet chinbar raised, sun lens lowered from the left side.

The sliding switch that retracts or extends the sun lens is pretty easy to find and operate with my gloved left hand but the switch drags noticeably at the end of travel to hold the lens in position.

The sliding switch on the helmet for extending or retracting the sun lens.

The tint on the lens is ideal for bright sunlight and distortion free as expected in a premium quality helmet. I like it a lot and compared to other integrated lenses I’ve looked through this is the clearest.

Visor

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet Pinlock visor insert.

The visor is equally pleasant to look through and crystal clear even with the Pinlock installed. I had no fogging issues even when riding in the rain with the helmet, but found if I deliberately exhale in an exaggerated way out of my mouth I can momentarily fog up the visor due to how close it sits to my face. It clears immediately after I stop exhaling.

Annoying Locking Mechanism

The visor has a U-shaped tab hanging down in the middle that locks it to the chin bar unnecessarily. With the visor closed completely flush or just above flush the lock activates.

Why???

The unnecessary locking tab on the AGV Sportmodular Carbon visor.

Luckily there’s only one small screw holding the U-shaped tab to the visor that could be removed to eliminate the locking feature and the need to push a release button to raise the visor each time. The button is hard to push with gloved fingers and the visor stayed put slightly open when it wasn’t locked. The lock is totally unnecessary.

Some other reviewers haven’t cared for the tab used to raise the visor being dead center and prefer a part to push on located on either side instead. I would agree that’s a better way to go, but I have no issue living with the tab in the middle, myself.

Quick Release Visor

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet visor pivot point and quick release system.

This visor comes off and goes on like nothing thanks to the small release levers on the pivoting points for the visor.

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet closeup of the visor quick release mechanism.

It’s very intuitive to see how tugging down on the bottom lever releases the visor from the helmet. Putting it back on is just the same method in reverse. I love it.

I like how compact the whole mechanism is compared to other helmets too. Bravo!

Comfort Liner

The liner padding is the nice stuff with the washable, antimicrobial, fast-drying, moisture-wicking standard expected in any high-end helmet. There’s only one size available with the helmet, but it does come with two different sized chin curtains to choose from in making the helmet fit you properly. The chin curtain is effective at keeping wind and noise out of your facial “living room”.

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet chinbar raised and sun lens retracted.

The bottom of the padding features two colors of microsuede, but on the inside part that changes to a smooth, silky section around where my ears need to slide and not catch while the helmet goes on. It works most of the time when I put the helmet on to avoid having my ears fold up.

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet bottom view with chinstrap.

Plastic snaps hold the padding in place well enough and removal/installation is straightforward. One thing different on this helmet is that the padding is one piece. You can’t remove the left side without bringing the right along for the ride. That may irritate some people, but not me.

BlueTooth Speaker Pockets

There are pockets built into the sides of the helmet on the inside by the straps, specially made to house speakers for BlueTooth systems. They work very well and even have felt glued inside to make easy installation of the speakers that come with a SENA 30K system for example.

It is unfortunate AGV hasn’t partnered with SENA or Cardo to incorporate one of their systems into this lid seamlessly like on a competitor like the Shoei Neotec II for example.

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Competitive pricing

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Ritmo and Shalimar Crown Lining

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet crown comfor liner.

The liner located in the crown area is reversible. One side is a fuzzy microsuede to help keep you warm in colder weather and called Shalimar. The opposite side is the smooth Ritmo that stays cooler for hot weather riding.

Don’t worry about remembering what Ritmo and Shalimar mean since there’s a labeled tag on each side of the liner to remind you what side is for hot weather and vice versa.

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet crown comfort liner from the side.

I didn’t notice a huge difference after flipping the crown liner myself. I found the helmet warm in cool weather and cool in warm weather regardless of which way the liner was installed. Other reviewers who are bald have reported noticing a considerable difference, however, from what I’ve read about it online.

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet crown comfort liner tag showing reversibility instructions.

Wind and Road Noise

Ahh, here’s the big question on everyone’s mind, especially about any modular helmet.

This helmet is basically the modular version of the AGV Pista GP R race track helmet of proven protective and performance quality. Meaning optimized aerodynamic grooves, lines shapes and even an adjustable spoiler for calming turbulence at speeds above 80 mph. In my testing, I didn’t notice any difference while fiddling with the spoiler, to be honest.

As Quiet As Any Other Modular

The padding situated around my ears seal tightly and wearing this helmet makes me feel like I’m wearing earmuff style hearing protection. I’m sure I was speaking too loudly to everyone around me while wearing the helmet as a result. Kind of like an elderly person having a hearing aid issue.

That feature makes the helmet quite quiet at highway speed and for me, it’s equally as quiet as other premier modulars including the Schuberth C4. I would say it’s quieter than the Neotec II as well.

It’s definitely more comfortable than both of those two helmets in my experience because both of them have tight spots and pressure points pressing on my head while the AGV doesn’t.

Ventilation

All I can say is WOW when it comes to airflow in this helmet. AGV prioritizes rider comfort and it shows.

Chinbar Vent

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet chinbar vent open.

When I open the vent on the chin bar the air hits just below my bottom lip and in the fully open position sends in so much air I can develop a cold spot if the mercury is low. It has two positions to choose from.

There’s no buffer other than a large honeycomb of plastic in this vent which explains the massive amount of air coming through, but the downside is that when it rains water comes flying through it equally well unlike other helmets I’ve worn.

Bug guts from exploding insect thorax and abdomen can also enter through it. It could really use a layer of foam to cut this down, but I don’t mind just closing it when it rains to cope.

Other Vents

 

The upper vent flows nearly as much air and no water/bug gore along the top of my head perfectly.

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet top vent open closeup.

The spoiler on the rear has two open positions to modulate exiting hot air from around my head and as I mentioned is intended to help smooth out turbulence. It worked well as an exhaust for me.

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Gloss helmet rear spoiler/vent open fully.

The Stubborn Chinbar

The all carbon fiber chin bar weighs virtually nothing, so there’s little force gained through momentum when you lower it using a standard hand motion. I find being gentle with it often ends in it not actually latching closed and I have to either slap the chin bar inward to lock it or open it up again and slam it shut.

It’s a bit disappointing and perplexing to me having to strongarm such a premium piece of headgear, but not the end of the world.

Final Verdict

I really love the strength, protection, fit, ventilation and weightless qualities of this AGV helmet.

If those are your top wants in a modular helmet then I predict you’ll be very happy buying and owning it, with an asterisk being whether the chinstrap fits you without causing problems.

Now that I’ve ridden about 400 miles in this helmet I’m convinced I was right about it being the modular helmet I would buy if I was looking to buy one today. It works for me on every level although I would like AGV to make a few tweaks for next year.

The AGV Sportmodular Carbon helmet on my head looking down.

Some Minor Changes For Next Year

Improve the padding on the chinstrap, move it further forward, add a ratcheting closure and an integrated BlueTooth system to the shell. Maybe they can do something to make the latch grab easier on the chin bar when lowering it as well?

Those are small improvements on an otherwise perfect helmet in my books. The danger in using the word “perfect” is that everyone’s head shape is unique like their fingerprint pattern. What’s perfect for me might be all wrong for you.

One thing I’m sure of is the Sportmodular is most definitely worth your time to test drive when helmet shopping.

Pros

  • Lightest modular available at a claimed 1295 grams or 2.85 lbs
  • 3 shell sizes available keeps this helmet compact and close fitting around the head
  • Same aerodynamic design as the racing Pista GP R helmet
  • Quiet on the road, ultra comfortable padding, and material
  • Cool or warm to wear thanks to Ritmo or Shalimar reversible crown liner
  • Terrific ventilation and equipped with a rear spoiler to deal with turbulence
  • Carbon fiber makes it stronger and lighter than usual
  • Visor comes on or goes off with little effort
  • Pinlock anti-fog lens included with the helmet
  • Titanium D-rings
  • DOT and ECE 22.05 compliant

Cons

  • Expensive $749
  • Rain comes through the front vent when open
  • Chin strap is set far back and padding moves off it leading to some chafing at times
  • Chin bar doesn’t easily close
  • The sun lens touches my nose when fully lowered

Specs

  • Manufacturer: AGV Dainese
  • Price (When Tested): $749.95
  • Made In: China
  • Alternative models & colors: Matte, Tri-Colore
  • Sizes: XS-SM, MD-LG, XL-3XL
  • Review Date: July 21, 2018

Shopping Now? We Recommend:

webBikeWorld has worked closely with RevZilla over the years to provide our testers with products to review. In addition to being a great site to shop from, they’re also a great partner.

RevZilla

Free shipping on orders over $40
30-day no-nonsense return policy
Excellent selection of all major brands
Awesome pricing

Buy This Helmet on RevZilla

Amazon

Free shipping (with Amazon Prime)
30-day return policy
Excellent selection
Competitive pricing

Buy This Helmet on Amazon

AGV Sportmodular Carbon Helmet Image Gallery

 

12 Comments

  1. Jorge Martinez
    July 29, 2018
    Reply

    The visor locking system has the purpose of keeping the visor locked in case of a crash preventing any foreign objects or debris to hurt your face.
    And I agree about the chinstrap, it needs to be relocated.
    Fantastic helmet

    • Jim Pruner
      July 30, 2018
      Reply

      Hi Jorge!
      Ok I guess I can see that being a decent idea for the visor lock if it actually works.
      Most any crash I’ve seen the visor has come right off the helmet after impact with the ground.
      Do you have any firsthand experience with a visor lock working during a crash?

  2. carlos
    July 30, 2018
    Reply

    Hi, Jim.

    First of all, thanks for your review. And also for your Tuktoyaktuk article series.

    About the chinstrap, I guess it might be there because of security reasons. Schuberth has the AROS (Anti Roll Off System) to avoid the helmet from unconvering your head (reduce the possibilities to roll off), and that allows the chinstrap to be positioned forward. In this case, having into account that the helmet doesn’t have cheeks in the main shell, I can imagine it is a good place to put it in order to have similar effects to the AROS system without having it. Or maybe almost without cheeks on the main helmet, they don’t have a better place where to put it 🙂

    About the visor lock, it seems again brand experience on security because it’s also available in the pista GP-R, but also available in modern helmets like hjc rpha 90 or a recent wBW review, the scorpion exo r420.

    In my opinion, it really seems a very good helmet and a very light one, in case it fits you right.

    Best regards.

  3. Jim Pruner
    July 31, 2018
    Reply

    Carlos thank you for the kind words I appreciate it.

    I also appreciate that readers like yourself and Jorge who commented above are very smart and I can learn a lot from all of you.

    Thank you for the insight. I think you’re bang on.

  4. Trex
    July 31, 2018
    Reply

    Fair assessment of the AGV. I tried it, the Neotec 2 and the Schuberth C4 (cf. my comments on the recent Neotec 2 review) at Revzilla. If you want the lightest modular, the AGV is it. What you noted as “cons” kept me away from it, too. The quality just wasn’t there. I cannot image a Shoei or Schubert having flaws in/on the outer shell. I bought the C4. First, I prefer a ratcheting chin strap (you’ll notice the closeness on the AGV right away). Between the Neotec 2 and C4, it was small, subtle things that gave the nod to the C4: the way the chin bar opened and shut, the glide of the drop down visor. The shield and it’s almost micro settings, most of all.

    • Jim Pruner
      August 1, 2018
      Reply

      It’s such a toss up between these three helmets. They’re all great in their own way, but overall I think you’re right about the C4 being the highest quality or finest quality. It’s also the most expensive and so really it should be IMO.
      Unfortunately I can’t wear it for more than an hour because it hurts my head. I also don’t care for the looks of it as much as the other two, but that’s not really important compared to other things.
      I think we rated all three within 0.1 of each other and what it comes down to is comfort and the little things as you pointed out, but no one will regret buying the AGV, C4 or Neotec II if they feel good on your head.

  5. roberts
    August 2, 2018
    Reply

    I had a flagship agv helmet. first and last time

    it was a limited edition flagship gp-tech. only 1000 made.
    the overly came off in the first week of rain. the interior gets fuzzies very easily and the visor is so thin and flexes and has rainbow stripes across it that pretty much ruins you using it. and even till today still has them on the newer models.
    the only race helmet ive ever seen with no locking visor. the visor would slam down after 30mph. I went back to my arai (which has its own QC issues imo)
    been riding 23 years now. imo, the more expenisve helmets dont give bang for the buck anymore.

    heres my videos
    overlay:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtjFavNAgI4
    visor:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11hLA48KdiU
    interior fabric:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfesXvffjJ8

    this was quite a few years back. only had a 3mp phone

    never will I buy an agv helmet. I never had fuzzies with any arai, scorpion or caberg helmet ive owned.

  6. Jim Pruner
    August 2, 2018
    Reply

    Wow thanks for sharing Roberts. That’s totally unacceptable quality issues. Did you try contacting AGV about it?

  7. Roberts
    August 3, 2018
    Reply

    Yes contacted agv usa. Shipped it from. The middle east. They found a replacement from Italy. Had the visor rainbow stripes and flexing because it was thin. Around 2.1mm thick if i remember correctly. I sold the agv at a huge loss. Beautiful graphics. Horrible quality. I now stick to scorpion (thanks to your reviews) or midrange arai helmets. I no longer buy caberg though.

  8. Jim Pruner
    August 3, 2018
    Reply

    You can’t go wrong with Scorpion or Arai. How incredibly disappointing. I’ll have to see how this AGV does long term and update you all.

  9. Todd Fagan
    August 10, 2018
    Reply

    Loved your review, it parallels many others I have read. The only thing I disagree with is your wish for an integrated BT headset. I have the Uclear on all my helmets and it works fine with all of them. I own 9 helmets for different days and different bikes. A dedicated or proprietary BT system is the first thing that kills a helmet for my consideration. Many of us out here have invested good money on our systems and being expected to purchase multiple different systems for different helmets is not feasible nor a fiscally good move.

    This helmet is in the running for me for long distance riding due to the weight and being able to lift the chin bar for a drink when fueling up or at a stop light is a huge deal. When i am on a bike for 10-12 hours or longer every ounce seems to count!

    • Jim Pruner
      August 12, 2018
      Reply

      Hi Todd!

      Thanks for the feedback.

      It’s funny you should mention the integral Bluetooth remark as I just finished installing my Sena 30K in the AGV and just love how it fits in there. The padding around the ears makes it so much easier to hear the music/phone calls, etc. I’m really loving it and have to agree with your assessment about good money spent on systems that need to be able to transfer to new brainbuckets. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I wrote that looking back now.

      Even more so after I just finished testing the Shoei Neotec II the last few days with the integrated SRL system which is a Sena 20S platform. It’s night and day different and not for the better unfortunately.

      I formally take it back. You’re absolutely correct about that.

      If your head fits this helmet and the chinstrap doesn’t bother you it’s surely going to be your new favorite helmet like it is mine. It’s a keeper! I don’t want anything else on my head.
      We’re doing a 3 helmet shootout this weekend comparing the Shoei Neotec II, AGV SC and Schuberth C4 so I’ve been spending time with each of them. I keep trying to like the Shoei and C4, but they don’t compare to the AGV’s pure comfort and lightness. For me it’s a no brainer, but the other testers aren’t won over yet.

      Thanks for reading and helping keep us honest.

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