AGV Corsa R Motorcycle Helmet Test
AGV has been in the business of producing flagship helmets for decades. If you’re a motorcycle racing enthusiast, AGV is household name.
Top MotoGP (Valentino Rossi, Andrea Iannone, and Jack Miller) and Isle of Man TT (Guy Martin and James Hiller) riders sport the lids. For 2017, AGV is updating its premier race and track helmets: the Pista GP R and the Corsa R.
With a wide variety of changes introduced to the Corsa R, AGV has dubbed it the “Ultimate Track Helmet” of its lineup. The Corsa R is constructed out of a carbon-fiber/Kevlar/fiberglass composite shell that is available in four shell and EPS sizes.
One of the goals AGV designers had when updating its racetrack motorcycle helmets was to improve vision. In that regard, they’ve done a fine job. The new Corsa R has a claimed 190 degrees horizontal, and 85 degrees vertical field of view—a 15-degree improvement over the previous model. In practice, that translates to a great deal of unrestricted vision. A rider can spot entry, and exit, without straining his neck—a massive help while on track.
The Corsa R absolutely shines in terms of stability. I made use of an Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory shod with some fresh Pirelli Supercorsa kicks while lapping Buttonwillow Raceway Park. This is a great way to test the Corsa R, as the Tuono lacks the kind of wind protection a superbike would have. With on the Tuono’s svelte windscreen directing some air away from the helmet, the AGV Corsa R remained remarkably steady.
When liter-cheating my way down the front straight at Buttonwillow, I felt no lifting or headshake while piloting the venerable Tuono. Even better, if I decided to make a quick look over the shoulder, the forces of aerodynamics did not reprimand me, nor did the helmet did not conflict with my suit. Designers actually went to great lengths to ensure that the Corsa R and Pista GP R would not hang up on the suit, and they were successful.
Keeping debris out of my face was a 5mm thick, Race 3 faceshield. As opposed to the outgoing Corsa, the Corsa R can be equipped with an edge-free Pinlock 120 liner. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Pinlock ratings, 120 represents that amount of seconds before the anti-fogging begins to fail. That’s a quite an improvement over the original Corsa, which didn’t make use of an edge-free Pinlock, and had an Pinlock rating of just 70.
Also, the Corsa R faceshield comes equipped with race-ready tearaway posts, and is interchangeable with the Pista GP R. Finally, the faceshield mechanism is constructed out of metal, as opposed to plastic, which should help with durability.
The locking system, once you’ve familiarized yourself with it, is quite handy. A single, slightly recessed button on the chinbar releases the faceshield, which enjoys a smooth, unimpeded movement. From a fully opened position to a closed position, there are no rough feeling detents. The locking mechanism engages with confidence, shaking all doubt as to whether or not you’ve secured your faceshield. You can lock the faceshield partially open, leaving it cracked for additional air, yet safely secured—a nifty feature, indeed.
Venting is the least of your worries when riding with the AGV Corsa R, thanks to five adjustable vents up front, and two rear exhaust ports. AGV, like many other high-performance helmets, the venting solution is to make use of high-pressure air situations that form within a helmet.
Cool air comes in, and the warmer air is naturally pulled out the rear exhaust. It works impeccably. The chin vents distributed air across my face, which can actually be felt, and is quite pleasant. The upper vents did their job as well, but because it was a bit chilly, I kept them closed. Another point of interest is that the venting is situated to further help reduce fogging, which again, works flawlessly.
Internally, the AGV Corsa R has been revamped. On the latest addition of the Corsa R, there is a far more user-friendly snap system for all padding, and a new cheek-pad safety release system.
Most remarkable is that the Corsa R and Pista GP R make use of a reversible crown pad that can be flipped from the “warmer” Shalimar material to the Ritmo material, “cold” side. If it’s a bit chilly, just flip the crown pad and you’ll get be able to retain a little bit more heat, or vice versa. That makes the new AGV helmets versatile, and seeing as racetracks are often in inhospitable environments, I’ll take all the customization I can get.
AGV has stuck with its “bunny ear” padding system. This is great news, as it allows for further fine-tuning around the crown portion of the head. Of course, padding of various thicknesses can be purchased, and replaced, depending on your needs.
I’m impressed by the fit-and-finish of the internals. In my experience, there were no harsh pressure points to live with, and better yet, it works great with my glasses. All of the materials are safe to wash, sweat-wicking, anti-microbial, but more importantly, feel wonderful. Plush, but not overly soft, the Corsa R is quite comfortable given that it’s such a track-focused helmet.
According to AGV representatives, the Corsa R and Pista GP R have been designed to accommodate Intermediate Oval head shapes; rounded shells will be available for the Asian market.
Fitment is highly personal, so we strongly encourage that you get out there and actually try a Corsa R on before purchase—that is the only way to be certain that a helmet will work with you. Of course, when wearing a Corsa R and Pista GP R, one should expect sporting, race fit. A double-d ring with an easy to find snap secures either lid in place. Overall, the chin bar sits relatively close to the face for a more precise feeling, in general.
AGV Pista GP R Insights
In addition to extensively testing the AGV Corsa R, I tested the Pista GP R, the same helmet that the likes of Valentino Rossi used during the 2016 MotoGP season. What are the differences? There are a few, and they’re crucial.
Should you choose to go in for the $1400 AGV Pista GP R (base price), you’ll be met with a 100 percent carbon fiber shell. Owners will also be able to use the integrated CamelBak system, which I’ve always wanted to sip overly sugared Kool-Aid out of—not because I should, but because I can.
Scooped front air vents can be found on the Pista GP R, but all vent openings are constructed out of aluminum, unlike the Corsa R. AGV representatives stated that this was to ensure structural integrity of the carbon shell.
The most visually noticeable difference is the elongated spoiler. If we were to hit the speeds that MotoGP machines do, I’m sure we’d all appreciate that. We should note that pieces such as the spoiler, faceshield, and internal padding are interchangeable between the two helmets.
Needless to say, if the Corsa R is a track-focused helmet, the Pista GP R is a step beyond that—designed for and used in the premier leagues of motorcycle racing. Of course, it’d probably look awesome while riding a scooter as well.
The AGV Corsa R and the AGV Pista GP R are flagship helmets. They come at a premium, but with that, comes exquisitely constructed helmets. The Corsa R begins at $800 and is a phenomenal helmet. It easily meets all of the standards I demand for ventilation, comfort, and vision. Whether you’re a frequent track day enthusiast, club racer, or beyond, the Corsa R will be on your short list of potential helmets.
Location photography by Erik Voake