After 10 years of producing variations of the well-received AX-8, AGV has introdiced its AX-9. Slightly heavier, more refined and with more attention to detail, the helmet writes a new chapter in the story of dual sport motorcycle accessories. Despite all this, there has been only a slight increase in price over its predecessor.
The most obvious change in the AX-9 compared to the AX-8 is the bigger and sturdier sun visor. The old model wasn’t the best in terms of vibration resistance at high speed; with the larger visor, the new helmet provides better aerodynamics and riding quality when you’re moving at higher velocity.
Another overdue addition is the pair of Pinlock pins on the default clear visor for attaching the anti-fog visor insert. There is also an extra knob on the right-hand side of the visor to raise it , which wasn’t present on the old model.
The front airflow block is also now easily removable; in the old model, it wasn’t possible to detach it from the outside. The top air intake vent has been removed, producing better aerodynamics and less noise while at speed. You might almost think that you are wearing a road helmet rather than an off-road one. Weight is around 1.5 kg now, while on the AX-8 the carbon fiber version came in at around 1.35 kg.
The biggest improvements on the AX-9 are on the inside, though; the attention to detail that AGV put into producing the lining of this new helmet surely puts it at the top of its category. Padding is made from 3 different materials, depending on the area they are designed for. All surfaces that contact your bare skin are covered in hypoallergenic and antibacterial microfiber, which feels like silk. The material that is close to the bottom part of the helmet is hydrophobic instead, preventing the liners from absorbing water during seriously rainy rides. The padding around the top of your skull is instead made of microfiber and nylon, shaped like a beehive, to allow heat to dissipate through the back vents.
On a positive note, the AX-9 has been designed to be thoroughly compatible with (apparently) all systems of Bluetooth communication. It has sections carved out of the foam lining for speakers and microphone installation.
Overall, the AX-9 Carbon looks like the perfect accessory for any serious adventure motorcycle rider, designed to accommodate all conditions and styles of riding. The new features clearly make it more oriented to a road touring experience compared to the old AX-8 Dual Evo, but they don’t reduce its off-road capabilities in any way.
I took the AX-9 for a ride and, coming from a non-carbon AX-8 Dual Evo, I could immediately sense a different feel.
The new AX-9 provides better soundproofing and comfort. Vibration is reduced, thanks to that stiffer and stronger sun visor. This unfortunately also means that there’s more wind resistance at high speed, causing some discomfort if you are not keeping the helmet at the right angle.
The extra weight over the AX-8 Carbon is not a drawback because the helmet allows more fluid movement of the rider’s head.
There’s more room around the ears, which eliminates once and for all the annoying pressure that the AX-8 exerted on my ears during long rides. The chin wind protection flap is bigger and has been secured better than on the previous version; this completely prevents airflow into the helmet from below. This feature is great for winter (even though it may fog up your whole visor) but excruciating for summer.
The locking mechanism for the visor is hard; I sincerely struggled several times to fully close my visor. There’s a hard clip that is way too hard to press with one hand. Definitely something to be revised.
The big airflow vent at mouth level allows little or no air to come through even when opened. There’s also an extra switch on the inside of this vent, to open or close it. Not sure if this is a good design, since it’s hard to access it when the helmet is on. The two top front vents haven’t changed from the previous model.
Overall the new AX-9 Carbon feels great and can definitely be one of the best dual sport helmets on the market. It wasn’t a complete revisitation of the AX family, but again, there were great improvements from the previous model.