AGV K-3 vs. Fly Racing Conquest vs. HJC RPHA ST | Review
Sunglasses are an essential fashion accessory for the well-dressed motorcyclist, but some of us prefer to ride sans eye wear. In the past, that has meant choosing between a clear or darkened faceshield and dealing with the changing light for the ride, or carrying a spare— not exactly an optimum choice of options. The development of an interior sun visor that can be flipped up and down at will has been a great innovation for long-distance touring, especially.
The players in this comparison are the AGV K-3 ($200; Replica Simoncelli shown, $250), Fly Racing Conquest ($250; Retro Matt shown, $260) and HJC RPHA ST ($360; graphics models $400), with each offering its own take on the genre, and we do like all three.
Fit is always a personal issue, so we don’t rate that aspect of the helmet. We absolutely recommend you get fitted in person for a helmet so that it sits properly on your head and you can tell if the inner shell is a match for your skull. However, we can tell you that our resident Arai wearer was able to wear all three comfortably on all-day rides.
Given that you are buying one of these helmets for the sun visor, it is critical that the helmet handles that feature deftly. In the past, we’ve had some integrated sun visors that worked worse than cheap sunglasses, as you would be looking through a milky haze, or the optical quality of the sun visor was substandard.
Happily, all three of these interior visors are top-notch, taking on direct sun ably. You can wear any of the three without carrying spare sunglasses for the toughest sun angle of the day. There are definitely differences in how the sun visors are deployed, however. It’s important to have an easily manipulated visor, so you can drop it down or lift it up at a moment’s notice— sometimes those tunnels come up in a hurry.
AGV’s K-3 uses a small lever on the left side of the helmet, just below and behind the faceshield pivot. Unfortunately, the lever is small and not well differentiated from the shell. With thin sport gloves, it is not a huge issue. However, with thick winter gloves, be prepared for some struggling. We understand that AGV wanted to keep the lever small to reduce wind noise, but it’s just not easy to actuate the visor.
Fly Racing also uses a left hand lever on the Conquest—this allows you to keep your hand on the throttle—and it, too, is small. Happily, it is not recessed, and the effort to deploy the visor is minimal in both directions.
Unintuitively, you push the lever up to drop down the visor, but that is easy to get used to. Like the AGV K-3, it works best with summer gloves, though it’s reasonably easy to use with thicker cold-weather gloves.
With a large, recessed lever on the left (again), the HJC RPHA ST has the most easily operated sun visor mechanism. Pushing the slide lever up to bring the visor down, and pushing it down to lift it, takes a little getting used to. However, once you are familiar with the action, it happens quickly, so your left hand is off the grip for only a second or so. Wearing gloves does not hinder the operation of the lever.
HJC also does well with the ST’s faceshield system, which comes standard with an anti- fog Pinlock 100% Max insert—a great feature. Using the RapidFire II Shield Replacement System is also easy, with no tools required to remove or install the faceshield. The shield pivot mechanism has five detent positions.
Like the HJC, the AGV K-3 allows you to replace the plain faceshield without tools, and quite easily. The faceshield has four detents, with a large gap between closed and the smallest opening. To supplement that, there’s a flat switch in the center of the mouth guard that can be moved up, allowing for the shield to be moved up just a crack—clever.
Keeping it basic, the Fly Racing Conquest has six detent positions for the faceshield, which is removed and replaced in seconds without tools. We did like how the Conquest shield snaps down impressively securely when fully closed, but the downside is that it takes a lot of effort to overcome that locking click and raise the shield when you want it up.
None of the three helmets have extensive venting, though all three have interior comfort liners that make the most of the air that comes in the vents.
The Conquest has two small vents on the forehead, and two in the mouth guard, while the RPHA ST has a large multi-position vent near the top of the helmet and one at your mouth. With two pairs of double vents on the forehead and a smallish single intake on the AGV K-3, AGV does the best. The forehead vents are easy to close and open, though the top one can be fiddly when underway. Each helmet has exhaust vents that are permanently open, and the difference in airflow between the three is not great.
All three helmets have a standard double D-ring chinstrap, along with a button to secure the hanging strap end. You can remove and wash all three liners, though they are typically a pain to reinstall. Also, despite the AGV name and superb graphics on the Replica Simoncelli K-3, it is made in the Orient, as are the other two helmets are. It is worth noting that the Fly Racing Conquest is made by J-Tech, which also makes Xpeed helmets, while HJC has its own factory.
For touring, as well as rides on days with unpredictable weather or travel time, we’re big fans of the integrated sun visors. Early attempts by various brands were hit-and-miss, but these latest offerings from AGV, Fly Racing, and HJC all hit the mark.
Story and photography by Rick Kippes & Don Williams
Motorcycle Internal Visor Helmet Comparo story from Ultimate MotorCycling magazine. For subscription services, click here.