Helmets with adventure peaks are as popular as bikes with adventure beaks. We tested two top-end options to see what they’re like.
AGV AX9, Price: £399, Sizes: XS-XL, Weight: 1500g (tested), Warranty: 2 years, extra year if registered
Arai Tour-X 4, Price: £579.99, Sizes: XS-XL, Weight: 1700g (tested), Warranty: 5 years
Arai Tour-X 4
Tested by: Mikko Nieminen | £579.99 | www.whyarai.co.uk
This is my second Tour-X helmet. The first one went in the bin years ago after a series of ‘tactical dismounts’ on an off-road riding trip left it too battered to be worn any more. I hated to bin it, but it was beyond repair, and most importantly it had done its job by taking the blows and leaving my noggin unscathed. And it had been comfortable, versatile and pleasant to wear, so have been hankering after another one for years.
One of the reasons why I have always liked Arai helmets is the high safety standards of these handmade helmets, but the Tour-X has plenty more than that to offer.
The features that I really like about this lid are many. One of the main ones is that the big visor gives you a huge field of vision. The downside about the visor is that the Pinlock lens is a pain in the behind to get fitted snugly as the visor doesn’t have the same indentation for it as many other Arai visors have. There’s also no drop-down sun visor, but the helmet is roomy enough to easily allow you to wear shades.
Another thing that I like about this helmet is the excellent ventilation. The big chin vent and two vents at the top draw plenty of air in, and with the shape of the helmet leaving more space between your face and the visor, it feels like you are enjoying proper air-conditioning. All vents, including the two exit ones at the back, are easy to open and close.
The peak is good for riding in the mud, but it’s also great at times when the sun is low as it works as a great shade for your eyes. At higher speeds it does turn into a bit of a sail, but that’s the nature of peaks. The peak is secured to the helmet with a couple of screws each side, which can be opened using a coin. This is fairly simple to do, the only downside being that the same screws hold the visor in place, and you have to remove them if you want to remove the visor. Compared to other Arai helmets this is a bit of a crude way to do it, and it makes slipping a dark visor on or switching to wearing goggles a bit more of a faff.
The levels of comfort are high. The removable and washable lining is soft and snug, the double-D strap easy to use, visor opening and closing simple and even noise levels are pretty good for a peaked lid.
This is a helmet with a high price and high level of comfort, functionality and safety. It’s one of my favourite helmets.
Tested by: Mikko Nieminen | £399 | www.agv.co.uk
It was always a tough job to try and de-throne the Tour-X from its throne as my favourite adventure lid, but the AX9 had a pretty good go at it.
The first thing you notice when wearing the AX9 is that it feels instantly ‘sportier’ than the Arai. The shape is different, with the back of the neck and the sides of the helmet much higher. The chin bar also feels closer to your face. The removable and washable lining feels very pleasant and nicely snug.
The visor is big, just like the Arai’s, and it has the indentation to help the Pinlock lens sit in the right place (Arai, this is a feature to copy).
The visor can be easily opened with either hand, but once fully open, it’s still in your peripheral vision a bit more than I would like.
You can adjust the peak height/angle, but this requires removing the peak (two screws either side, can use a coin), removing the visor (one screw either side, coin operated), and inserting new guides in the visor. So it’s not something you want to be doing too often. The good thing is that unlike the Arai, the peak and visor have separate fastenings, but neither of these are quick- release systems.
I used the helmet on a fast ride where the speeds exceeded those that the helmet is designed for and I found that the screws securing the peak started to get loose and the peak vibrated, so it’s worth considering how fast you are likely to ride with this helmet.
Ventilation is good, but not as good as the Arai’s. I also found the top vents slightly more cumbersome to operate than the ones on the Arai.
Same as the Arai, the AGV doesn’t have a sun visor, but wearing sunglasses is perfectly comfortable, and the peak helps too.
Both of these helmets allow you to remove the visor and put some goggles on, but the shape of the AGV is much better for this with a nice ridge at the back to hold the goggle strap in place.
The AX9 is a brilliant helmet, but for me it doesn’t quite nudge the Tour-X off the top spot. Having said that, it is a great helmet, and costs a fair bit less than the Arai, so it is definitely worth a try if you are considering a peaky lid this summer.
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