Valentino Rossi has a long history of playing around with his helmet design for the official MotoGP winter test sessions, and for the 2016 Winter Test sessions that took place at Sepang he revealed a suitably ‘winter’ themed helmet design that was intended to poke fun at the fact that MotoGP winter test sessions in Mayalsia are as far removed from anyone’s definition of winter as it is possible to get. Tropical heat, humid conditions, blazing sun, unpredictable downpours, it is all part and parcel of Sepang.
Rossi turned to his longtime helmet designer Aldo Drudi to create this bright and colourful design that features a snowman on the front and top of helmet wearing a yellow Yamaha branded hat and scarf. The rest of the helmet is covered in snowflakes with a large ’46’ positioned at the rear of the helmet.
When Rossi revealed the helmet he wore a matching yellow hat and scarf in his Yamaha garage adding a extra touch of humour to the design…despite the stifling heat.
The helmet has now been released by AGV as a Limited Edition in their premium Pista GP range – this is basically their race level helmet and it is the same product that Valentino Rossi hits the track with on raceday. These limited editions always eventually sell out, and many fans pick up one as a collectors item as they generally hold their value very well and can increase in price on markets like eBay when all the initial Limited Editions are sold out. The Pista GP is the top of the AGV range, so expect to pay a premium price also – the Pista GP will generally set you back over £1000 / $1500 – however, you can get it cheaper, often with a hundred or more knocked off the list price, so shop around. Check the links at the bottom of this page for shops that sell it at competitive pricing.
Product Description of the AGV Valentino Rossi Snowman helmet:
The Pista GP is the revolutionary new top of the range model. Developed in collaboration with Valentino Rossi and other riders from the World Championship Series, the Pista GP sets new standards in terms of protection and ergonomics and is the benchmark for professional race helmets. The carbon fibre shell and the EPS internal components were optimised using FEM techniques (Finite Elements Analysis) to obtain an extremely high performance helmet in terms of size, light weight and protection. The result is a helmet that is significantly superior than the limits set by ECE standards and that weighs just 1275 g (refers to MS size in the ECE 2205 version).
The AGV Pista GP is a full carbon fibre helmet that has been specifically designed for racing. This end product has been the result of the AGV Extreme Standards Helmets project; this has made it one of the most innovative helmets seen on the market for many years. It was designed, developed and tested by AGV and Valentino Rossi himself with one single aim; to create a helmet that offers the ultimate protection for racing. Using Finite Elements Analysis (FEM) enabled developers to reach previously unseen standards in terms of protection, comfort and ergonomics. The new integrated Ventilation system (IVS) provides an improved airflow of over 193% compared to its predecessor the GP-Tech. The addition of the rear spoiler and a smaller frontal section has maximised high speed aerodynamic performance. The helmets visor has a front micro-lock system that reduces the risk of opening in the event of a crash, it has a 15 degree larger peripheral vision for optimised vision whilst in the tucked position, and the visor mechanism is 71% smaller than its predecessor.
- Limited edition replica
- Includes scarf and hat
- Full carbon fibre construction
- 4 shell sizes
- IVS (Integrated Ventilation System)
- Breathable Lycra micro-porous lining and Dry-comfort fabric
- Fully removable and washable inner liners
- Pinlock ready Race 2 flat, non-scratch visor
- Pinlock visor insert comes as standard
- Unique rear diffuser
- XQRS (in metal) shield replacement without tools
- Visor tear-off system
- Double D retention system
- ECE 2205, AS/NZS, JIS, ECE/DOT certification
- ACU Gold approved
Official AGV Pista GP helmet video:
Image gallery of the Valentino Rossi ‘Snowman’ winter test helmet:
Our Review of the AGV Pista GP helmet:
The AGV Pista GP is AGV’s flagship helmet in their race category and it replaces the GP-Tech that was their race class helmet for many years. The Pista GP helmet is a product of the racetrack and it doesn’t care about your daily commute, this is a helmet that really comes to life at high speed or on a race track. It is the first real commitment from AGV to create something new and revolutionary since they were acquired by Dainese. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is an update on the very popular GP-Tech helmet, the Pista GP is a completely new helmet that has been built from the ground up, and the differences between the GP-Tech and the Pista GP can be seen at pretty much every level. Let’s look at a few of them and break it all down:
The shell is carbon fiber, and if you get to see a Pista GP without graphics and the various painted designs on the shell then you will appreciate how beautiful it looks, all the seams and connections are practically invisible so the whole shell looks like a single moulded piece of carbon fiber. The shell is basically flawless and the lightweight nature of the carbon fiber construction makes it a real pleasure to hold and handle.
The helmet uses four shell sizes to cater for all head sizes, and the Pista GP was ergonomically created by using lazers to scan the heads of actual people, including Valentino Rossi, and they used the resulting 3D models to then drive the design of the Pista GP shell. Many helmets usually create the shell first and then try and make the inside work as they want it, but the Pista GP can at least back up the claim that it was built from the inside out. This is evident from the moment you put the Pista GP on, the shape falls into the neutral / oval headshape which means it is rounder at the rear and tapers inwards as it moves around towards the front of the helmet.
The helmet is very comfortable to wear and the shape of the Pista GP is completely different from the GP-Tech – the shape of the Pista GP has clearly been informed by feedback from the racetrack, for example, the chin of the Pista GP is low slung (when compared to the GP-Tech) and it is designed to give more protection to riders when they are riding head-down at speed in a tucked position. There is a rear spoiler that is positioned to give extra downforce and stability when riding at speed and in a ‘head down’ position. Our experience was very positive and the general stability of the Pista GP felt solid at any speed. The spoiler can removed and it is also designed to detach in the event of a crash to ensure it doesn’t get snagged on anything if you find yourself sliding along the ground.
So what does the AGV Pista GP weigh? The Pista GP is very light indeed and it comes out of the box at 1250g. Any non-essential mechanisms and flourishes are removed from the Pista GP in order to ensure it is as light as it can possibly be, and the carbon-fiber also contributes to the minimal weight of this helmet. The Pista GP is 1250g down from the 1560g of its predecessor the GP-Tech.
There doesn’t seem to be a compromise between lightness vs strength as AGV claim that the Pista GP absorbs 46% more energy in a crash than the AGV GP-Tech….and to be honest we didn’t fancy actually testing that, so we’ll just take their word on it.
The visor on the AGV Pista GP is another area where it is clear that AGV have thrown away any previous influences from their earlier models and have redesigned it from scratch. The first major change that you will notice is the field of view…..it is huge. AGV have clearly spent a lot of time improving the visor aperture and it gives an incredible extra 15 degrees of vision. AGV have achieved this by lifting the natural horizon line up by 15 degrees, so even when you are in a tuck position with your head down on the tank you still get a clear field of vision and you aren’t obscured by the top of the visor aperture. This is clearly another feature that has come straight from the work that AGV’s R&D teams have done with riders like Valentino Rossi. When Rossi first started using the AGV Pista GP he famously said:
“Great aerodynamics, it feels like I am not wearing a helmet. Excellent ventilation, it is really noticeable. Exaggerated visibility, like switching from the TV to the cinema.”
The Pista GP helmet also features a much thicker visor than any previous AGV helmet models have in the past. The visor is 3.3 millimeters thick and gives an extra 9% of peripheral vision. Shark helmets were arguably the pioneer of using thicker polycarbonate visors to give greater safety and durability, so it is encouraging to see AGV investing in this area also.
The visor also has a new locking and release mechanism. The visor is locked by using a really simple single button that is positioned at the front and bottom of the visor and it can easily be operated with either hand (even in thick gloves) with no messing about with sliders or switches. It utilises a two-position locking mechanism that allows the visor to be opened a crack, or fully opened with another simple press of the button. Closing it is equally as easy, just snap it shut and it locks firmly into place. When closed we noticed that the visor feels very secure with no obvious gaps around the edges of the visor and the aperture. Removing the visor is also simple and it can be removed in a second by using a slider on either side of the visor and then easily slipping it out of position.
Again, it seems like AGV have gone for a complete overhaul with their approach to the interior and padding of the Pista GP. The EPS has been created with variable density – this basically means that it isn’t a uniform thickness all over and it has been created to be thicker where you most need it, and slightly thinner in places where you want to avoid unnecessary or needless pressure (for example, around the ears it is less dense in order to optimise for comfort, but the cheek area and the top of the EPS is more dense to give more protection). In our opinion it works, and even on long rides it felt comfortable at all times and didn’t distract us.
The EPS also have large and strategically placed cutaway sections that are design to improve airflow around the helmet.
The helmet also features a comfortable neoprene neckroll – we didn’t get to ride in very wet weather, but from what we experienced it seemed to seal any gaps and would effectively prevent the cold and wet from seeping in.
Nothing is perfect right, and the ventilation is probably the only area of the Pista GP where we found room for complaint. In order to reduce weight, the vents on the Pista GP are operated by rubber bungs, so you don’t have the usual sliders or wheel mechanisms that you get on other helmets to control ventilation. This has been done to increase the surface area of the vents and to allow greater airflow, while also reducing the overall weight of the helmet by removing extra mechanisms and the required housing for them – in fact AGV claim the vents on the Pista GP improves air intake by 200% when compared with the GP-Tech. Don’t get me wrong, the ventilation is great, but deciding to open a vent while riding can only really be done safely by pulling over and taking the bung out. Will you lose the bungs? Yeah, if you are anything like us then you will almost certainly lose them and end up paying for replacements. It remains to be seen how practical this approach is for the everyday rider, but I guess you need to keep in mind that this is a helmet that has been designed for the track and not for your local shopping trips, so there is reason behind the decision, but it is annoying all the same and doesn’t feel especially ‘premium’.
Despite the minor niggles this is an incredible helmet and an amazing piece of helmet engineering. The Pista GP is unapologetically a race helmet through and through and it really comes to life when it is used at speed. It is light, comfortable, stable, strong, has excellent vision, and feels like it is hardly there and doesn’t get in the way of your riding. Oh yeah, and it looks amazing with sharp aggressive lines that cut through the air. The price tag is hefty, but if you are taking this helmet on to the track then it is easy to see where your money is going, but for riders that are looking for something more flexible and forgiving for everyday commuting then you may want to consider saving some money and going for the AGV Corsa option instead.
As we have already warned you enough in this review, the AGV Pista GP is a premium helmet so expect to pay a premium price and to be honest you could probably find a secondhand motorcycle for the same price that a brand new AGV Pista GP helmet will set you back. That’s not to say you need to pay the full price – most decent sellers will be offering this helmet for less that the ticket price, although that said, the Rossi Limited Edition replicas don’t usually get the same depth of discounts. Expect the Pista GP to get retailed at around the £1000 / $1500 price point, but you can get them lower than that is you shop around (at least with a hundred or so off the price). Check the links below for some trusted sellers.
|Get it from Revzilla.com, US based with a good reputation and they ship all over the place. Plus free US shipping.|
|Get it from FC-Moto.com who should be your first stop as they are often best on price. Recommended.|
|Get it from SportsbikeShop.co.uk, your best option in the UK, also ship globally.|
|Get it from Demon-Tweeks.co.uk who have stock. UK based but ship most places.|
|Get it from MotoIn.de, based in Germany but have UK and US sites and ship globally.|
|You can also get stock from a variety of sellers on|