As soon as I saw AGV’s K-5S become available in a Guy Martin replica design, I planned to add one to my collection. The helmet is the next step up in AGV’s range from my current K-3 SV, a lid I loved so much that I bought two. I wanted to love the new K-5S just as much.
The K5-S is competitively priced for the features it provides. It’s a multi-composite sports helmet (carbon and fibreglass mix) and the difference in weight between my K-3 SV (1470g) and the K5-S (1350g) was noticeable, especially as I never believed my K-3 SV to be a heavy lid. In the K5-S it felt like I wasn’t wearing a helmet!
It comes in sizes XS-XL and in two different shell sizes to ensure the best fit. I found the K-5S cheekpads to be incredibly hard wearing; they have hardly changed shape in the whole time I have been wearing it. I think that is unusual as most pads will start to soften and the helmet becomes slightly looser.
You get a clear visor as standard, with Pinlock anti-fog insert, a double D-ring strap fastener, four-star performance in the SHARP impact tests and compatibility with the AGV Share Bluetooth system, though this is not something that I have used.
The interior has been designed to ensure that there’s no stitching in sensitive areas for a more comfortable fit and personally I didn’t find any pressure areas or any uncomfortable places within the lid. It’s comfy and looks great, with red accents sprinkled around to improve the looks.
You can fully remove and wash all liners, which I like, as I often have to deal with make-up stains. When I washed these liners, they went back in nice and easily.
The helmet also comes with a chin curtain to reduce wind noise (and keep you warmer in cold weather) and a removable breath deflector. I always remove the breath deflector when wearing a helmet with a Pinlock visor though, as I don’t see the need for both.
AGV boast an Integrated Ventilation System (IVS) which means that vents are hollowed into the shell to sit flush with the outer surface. I’m not sure if the IVS is responsible, but the vents in this lid are very good, with lots of options for adjusting; in-vents on the chin bar, above the visor (my eyebrow vents) and on top of the head, and an exhaust vent at the rear. You get real airflow going through the lid, which is strange, yet wonderful, on hot days.
The lid features an integrated sun visor, which is something I look for in a helmet even though I still upgrade to a tinted external visor. If you are looking to fit a tinted visor so you can look as cool as the Stig, expect to pay around £50.
When you receive the helmet, you also get small plastic pieces in different colours in with the instructions. I figured these were in case you broke something, but actually found that they are inserts that alter the amount of stops between having the visor closed and fully open. It lets you have large stops as you lift the visor, or small ones. I like this feature and changed mine to have smaller stops for more adjustability.
I love the look of this lid, not just because it has my favourite Guy Martin design (other colours are available), but because of the trademark AGV pointed chin and incorporated spoiler. Apparently the spoiler was tested in a wind tunnel for maximum stability and aerodynamics, though I’m not sure I noticed these technological advances on my daily commute into Milton Keynes! The only issue I find with the pointed chin is that you will scratch the bottom of it when you put the lid on the ground. If this part was made of a softer material, you wouldn’t have any scratching issues.
When I initially took on the K5-S, it was with the intention of keeping it after the review period. In the end, though, I decided against buying it. And why?
There seems to be huge debate about noise with most AGV lids, and this one is no exception. Some people say the wind noise is fine, others disagree. I already have a K-3 SV, which some people say is noisy, but I find that to be okay. Unfortunately, I have found the K5-S too loud for me on longer journeys.
I initially rode sports bikes while wearing this lid and thought that the noise was caused by the position in which I was riding. However, I found the same wind noise when I was mostly hidden behind the screen on my adventure bike and still found air entering the lid despite the vents being closed.
Whatever the cause, the noise put me off keeping the helmet. Despite the wonderful features, brilliant interior, glossy replica design, secure D-ring fasteners, reduced weight, the fact that I’ve wanted one for so long and AGV being my preferred brand, I can’t ride long distances with it, so it’s not the one for me.
I have a friend who has exactly the same lid, in a different colour. When I discussed my thoughts with him, he told me that he had exactly the same issue. He also rides long distances on his commute to work. He even finds that with all of the vents closed, air is still entering his helmet somehow.
I understand that wind noise is extremely subjective and customer reviews are split down the middle with opinions, however, this is my personal experience. Other than the wind noise, I absolutely love the lid. But I couldn’t own one long-term.
The top edge of the Pinlock visor insert can get in the way when riding on my sports bike as I’m leaning forward, however as I usually ride with a tinted visor without a Pinlock, it hasn’t bothered me too much.
There are lots of vents which can be opened in different combinations to create a good air flow, however, the vents might be causing some of the noise.
The fit of the lid is comfy, with no rubbing or pressure areas, but I find it too noisy for comfort – and can only suspect that air is entering despite the vents being closed.
The helmet seems well made and developed no faults throughout the 3000 miles of use.
I think the helmet boasts good features for the price, I was especially impressed with the lightweight composite-fibre shell.