So, I just got a 3/4 helmet for the first time in 15 years. The only other one I had was the quite nasty one that came with the first bike that I purchased, and I pretty much immediately bought a full face Shoei. I currently have a EXO 1000. I really like the EXO, except that it gets quite uncomfortable for me on longer rides. One of the main reasons that I bought it was for the cheek pad adjustment pump, but alas, apparently my face is weird, and I have never used the pump to adjust it and still the cheek/jaw area is tight. The EXO makes me make a fish face, which doesn't bother me for shorter rides, but after a longer ride (4+ hours) it is annoying and a little painful after a long time, actually makes my jaw ache and teeth feel like I'm wearing braces. It felt like the right size when I bought it, nice and snug, I never would have known from a test fit in the shop that it would make my face hurt after a long time.
I was looking at other full face helmets because I'm going on a long trip in a couple weeks, and I did not want to succumb to the urge to tear my face off halfway through. Then I came across the AGV Blade at a particularly good price. Didn't jump on it right away, because first I had to answer the question of whether I really wanted a helmet that was less protective. Anyway, ended up going for it, and just wanted to post my opinion of this helmet. Before I do that, yes, I know that if I wreck, I'll grind my jaw off down to the roots of my teeth, so no need to remind me of that. I still will be using my full face 95% of the time (and yes, I know that it's that 5% when I will grind my jaw off).
So, about the helmet. This thing is pretty sweet!
- Extremely comfortable. Probably any 3/4 would be coming from a full face.
- Easier to hear. The niner sounds so sweet!
- So much cooler than the EXO. I never found the EXO 1000 to have very good ventilation, the two top vents don't seem to do much, and the visor only cracks a tiny bit, or a huge bit. Even with it being much more open, the vents actually seem to work well too. I can tell the difference between open and closed which was always hard to tell with the EXO.
- No peripheral vision restriction. I hadn't ever really found the peripheral vision on a full face to be a restriction...that's why we have necks, so we can turn to look at stuff. However, this helmet gives a completely unrestricted view. Even the bottom of the face shield is below my peripheral, so when it's bugless, it is just a perfectly clear view of what's around me.
- Stable. At highway speeds, this helmet does not budge or pull.
- Seems to be well made. No creaks or noises at speed. The chin strap is comfortable and has a toothed clip that is easier to attach than a D-buckle strap.
- Good looking. (Italian designed, so I guess that's a given) One of the only 3/4 helmets I've seen that doesn't look out of place on a naked/sports bike. I put this one last because I never take style into consideration when buying protective gear, but in this case, it happens to be a damn fine looking helmet! It might inspire a potential future paint job on the niner...
- First and foremost, less safe than a full face.
- Louder. The "easier to hear" benefit at lower speeds translates into much more wind noises at higher speeds. I wore earplugs in my EXO when on long trips, and I will definitely be doing the same with this, and probably even on shorter trips.
- Rain will suck. Haven't gotten caught in rain yet, but I'm guessing my chin and neck will hate it.
- Bugs will suck. See above.
All in all, I really love this helmet, and just wish that it was as protective, so I could be comfortable wearing it 100% of the time. I would recommend trying it out to someone looking for a 3/4. Here are a few pics of it. What do you think of that paint scheme on a niner. I think it would look pretty sweet, except maybe in reverse. Matte white with matte green stripes.