Tuesday, March 27

AGV Pista GP Helmet Review

AGV has been busy in the lab for the last several months, toiling away at a brand new helmet we just got a first glimpse of thanks to Valentino Rossi during the Sepang MotoGP test rides. The new pro-level AGV Pista GP Helmet, along with its baby brother, the AGV Pista, is slated to take over for the GP Tech in 2013 for the general riding public. That said, we'll ultimately get to watch Vale wear it all season before we can get our grubby hands on one. The AGV STANDARDS team has been working since 2009 on Project 46, the codename for the AGV Corsa lid, and the result is a significantly lighter, more protective, more comfortable, more ventilating, and aerodynamically improved helmet. I know, it sounds insane, but this really might be the new mountaintop for racing helmets. Let's get into exactly why I make this reckless claim.

Click any of the images to see them in a much larger view.

First, let's start with how AGV begin the process of building this helmet. Rather than the standard method of building a helmet shell, and then filling in the guts, the development of the AGV Pista GP began with a laser scan of Rossi's head. This three-dimensional laser scanning that is accurate to 1/10 of a millimeter, converts to digital data, and enables engineers to mold the AGV Pista ergonomically around the rider's facial and skull contours. Utilizing this data, AGV uses different densities of foam against the face that match its contours but also take into account the rider's positioning to optimize the manner in which the face is cradled. By studying the rider's position in tuck, the visor has been adjusted accordingly and now offers a 9% overall improvement in field of view (and 15ยบ more upward vision) specific to a sportbike.

There are several tests and figures used by AGV when creating the safest helmet they possibly can. After the 3D laser scanning, they have a mathematical model of the helmet from which they can perform analyses of the helmet in computer-generated crash scenarios. In addition to real world testing, the computer crash tests allow them to modify the helmet structure along the way a greater number of times, since physical shells aren't actually being destroyed. More simulated crash testing equals a more protective lid, and AGV's work with mechanical engineers from the University of Padua during this process will ensure that the AGV Pista is as protective as it can be. The AGV Pista and Pista GP will ultimately transmit 31% less impact force to the head than what is required of the official EU safety standard. In addition, the HIC index (head injury criterion) of the Pista, which measures the level of brain trauma risk due to impact, ranks 48% lower than the official standard.

The shell of the AGV Pista GP (as seen on Rossi) is full carbon fiber, while the shell on the regular AGV Pista is a carbon fiber, kevlar and fiberglass weave. AGV has done extensive wind tunnel testing with the new Pista line, to measure several metrics and ultimately produce the best helmet they could. These include the aerodynamic drag coefficient, dB of airflow outside and noise inside the helmet, the heat exchange of ventilation to determine the amount of heat and moisture pulled from the rider's head, and the measurement of buffeting and lift. The aerodynamic resistance has been reduced by 17% over the GP Tech. This value measures the amount of stress passed to the neck of a rider, and with a reduction in this value, the result is more comfort and less fatigue.

Moving from the GP Tech to the Pista GP has resulted in a serious increase in ventilation from what was already one of the best venting race helmets on the market. There is now 193% more vent surface in the PistaGP than in the GP Tech. Using extensive wind tunnel testing, AGV Standards developed an airflow system that is extraordinarily effective at pulling heat, hot air and humidity away from the helmet.

The list of upgrades on this helmet is out of control and we absolutely can not wait to get our hands on one of these for a track test. We'll be delivering a detailed breakdown of the brand new AGV Pista GP Helmet and AGV Pista Helmet as soon as possible.

-RetroZilla
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