With the AGV AX-8 EVO Naked, the Italian helmet brand is bringing a new look to the street market, one that caters to what it calls “new road-riders generation.” The AX-8 EVO’s shape appears round and featureless, and its ventilation ports are minimal. Its eyeport, however, is huge, and its chinbar tapers sharply from the cheeks to the chin, very similar to a dual-sport or off-road helmet. This isn’t a coincidence; when looking for inspiration for a new sport-touring oriented street helmet, AGV turned to its AX-8 DUAL EVO lid. Essentially, the Naked version strips the visor from the off-road helmet and calls it a day. A simple approach, but the result is this contemporary and modern-looking helmet.
The Naked is constructed from what AGV calls SSL (Super Super Light) layers, consisting of carbon, Kevlar and fiberglass. Three different shells are offered to accommodate sizes ranging from 2XS all the way to 3XL, and though the AX-8 Naked is not Snell certified, it does carry D.O.T. and ECE 22.05 certification. Inside, AGV uses Dri-Lex material, which is both extremely soft to the touch and also wicks away sweat to keep the rider as cool as possible. The interior padding is removable and washable as well. Double D-Ring closures keep the helmet secure to the head.
Fit-wise, narrower head shapes will fit best. My round-oval head is on the narrower side and fits relatively well, however, when first donning the helmet each time, my ears fold at the top and I have to stick my finger inside to fit my ears within the pockets. I have noticed a small pressure point on my forehead that materializes after wearing the helmet after a couple hours. Over the course of a day’s ride, I’m breaking for gas or food stops often enough that it’s rarely an issue. According to my handy kitchen scale, my medium AX-8 Naked comes in at exactly 3.0 lbs.
Besides its stylish looks, a big bonus for the AX-8 is its large eyeport. The helmet features a clever molded rubber padding at the bottom edge of the chin bar which, when crouching in a tuck, acts as a shock absorber. Its usefulness is negligible, but even while resting my chin on the tank in a tuck, my vision is not obstructed by the upper limits of the eyeport. Changing shields is easy but does require a flat-head screwdriver (or coin). The screw used to keep the visor in place is a soft metal that chips easily if the screwdriver isn’t seated perfectly before turning.
Another gripe is its ventilation, which is average, at best. The vents are easily adjustable with gloves on, but I hardly noticed much air flowing through the two brow vents or two exhaust vents. Even the huge chin vent didn’t deliver much air, though I largely attribute this to the foam placed behind the vent to filter dirt or dust particles from being inhaled or ingested by the rider.
The biggest surprise I encountered with the helmet is its aerodynamics. Lately I’ve been riding bikes with decent wind protection that has masked the AX-8’s aero shortcomings, but during our More for Less Shootout, aboard machines with no wind protection at all, once traveling upwards of 75 mph I noticed my neck muscles working harder than usual because the AGV wasn’t cutting a fluid hole through the air. Turbulence or buffeting isn’t the issue, it felt as though a very weak invisible passenger was tugging my head backwards. Slowing down or changing my seating position to a more aggressive sportbike stance helped lessen the feeling.
Overall the AX-8 Naked becomes a question of balancing form and function. The build quality is great, and the fit, construction and performance is on par with the rest in AGV’s lineup, which is top notch. Plus – maybe most of all – it looks great, too. If details like aerodynamics and soft visor screws are important to you, then buyers might want to look elsewhere. However, if these issues aren’t critical and the aggressive look is something you dig, fork over $379.95 and you’ll have yourself a nice, premium helmet.
The AX-8 Naked is available in the matte black color seen here and also in a full carbon version ($499.95), visit www.agv.com for more details.