From the stylish 60’s to the energetic 80’s retro helmets are trying to bring all that nostalgia back to the present, but do manufacturers sometimes bring a little too much of the past with them. That’s what we set out to find on our road test.
Best Retro Helmets 2020 Road Tested + Video
Full-face retro helmets are definitely a growing though still underserved market in the motorcycling world. Though this is not a new segment and many other manufacturers have retro helmets out there including AGV and, more recently, Shoei and Arai.
The main issue with the market is often manufacturers will go a little too far with the retro and the helmet sacrifices some functionality for style, which is inevitable though there is a balance there. So, we’ve chosen our top 3 retro helmets, the AGV X3000, the Arai Concept-X, and the Shoei Glamster out on the road to see which one can balance form and function best.
On a side note, the Glamster isn’t the first Shoei retro helmet to be released nor are the AGV X3000 or the Concept-X. Shoei actually have a good range of retro helmets including the open face Shoei JO and the Shoei Ex-Zero, which is a blend of an open-face, full-face, and a cross helmet. Arai also have the retro open face Arai Urban-V while AGV also produce the AGV X70 to also compete within this market segment.
AGV X3000 Specs
First off, let’s start with the AGV X 3000.
Among the helmets here today, this is an older retro helmet since it came out about 3 years before Arai or Shoei, but it is based on the helmet Giacomo Agostini used to wear, which is a major feature. As an added touch, the X3000 retro helmet uses the classic AGV logo. The shell of the X3000 is made of fiberglass and it comes in 3 shell sizes. Though it is spartan, this does make I remarkably light at about 1360 grams.
For ventilation on the AGVX3000, there is one vent in the forehead at the front that has a rubber stopper that you can remove and place in the helmet. The visor is not pinlock prepared though it is anti-scratch treated. The liner is made of suede fabric and genuine leather and it is removable and washable.
AGV X3000 Road Test
Before we get to the road test, just a quick reminder about our test set up.
For the helmet’s internal temperature (in degrees C), we used a thermometer placed in the helmet’s EPS channels. The noise level in the helmet was measured from a microphone near our rider’s ear. To find out what the airspeed was on the helmet, we used an anemometer mounted on the bike. Lastly, we performed our test at 130 km/h (80 mph) on long stretches of highway.
When we tested the AGV Ex 3000 out it was a much nicer day with the day’s airspeed ranging from about 105 to 115 km/h. For temperature, the day was about 25 degrees Celsius while the X3000’s internal temperature was actually about the same, also at 25. For noise, the AGV X3000 helmet also did about average with around 102 decibels inside of the helmet.
AGV X3000 Champion Helmets Score
Overall, the AGV X3000 motorcycle helmet does alright for ranking, though there was one area by far where the helmet could have picked up a few extra stars. For material, the X3000 earns 4 stars with its multiple shell sizes and quality shell material. For weight as well, this was a light helmet so that’s another 5 stars. However, since the visor is neither pinlock prepared nor is there any insert in the box, the X3000 could only earn 2 stars for this category.
For ventilation, the X3000 came back again with 4 stars since it ventilated very effectively. For noise, the X3000 earns another 3 stars just like the Shoei. Lastly, for comfort, with its suede-like interior the X3000 was very comfortable earning itself 4 stars. This brings the X3000 to a total of 3.5 stars at 17 Euros per star.
So, even though the visor doesn’t come with Pinlock, the helmet over-performs for its price compared to our other helmets in today’s lineup.
Arai Concept-X Features
Next up, we’ve got the Arai Concept-X (though you may know it as the Arai Neo Rapide if you're outside the EU).
This is a much more recent retro helmet than the AGV, and the time definitely shows since the Concept-X does come with a bit more practicality to it. The outer shell is made of Arai’s peripherally belted Super Fiber Laminate construction (PB e cLc) to create a very rigid and round shell to improve its impact performance. The Arai Concept Ex also comes in weighing at about 1506 grams in a size M, which is about average for a full helmet, but standard for Arai’s heavier helmets.
For ventilation, the Concept-X has 6 chin vents, made adjustable by a switch on the inside. Then, there are the two classic Arai forehead vents and two exhausts at the back. The liner is removable, washable, anti-bacterial, has emergency release cheek pads, and there is space for a communication system. It also features a multi-density EPS liner.
Arai Concept-X Road Test
When we tested the Arai ConceptX out the weather was a cool and windy day and the airspeed ranged from about 120-140 km/h. The day’s exterior temperature was about 9 degrees Celsius and the helmet’s internal temperature was around 16 degrees. So, that’s a 7-degree difference, which is quite large. For noise, we measured about 106 decibels, which is also on the noisier end of the spectrum.
Arai Concept-X Champion Helmets Score
Overall, the Concept-X ranks well, as is to be expected with an Arai helmet. For material, with its super fiber complex laminate construction and 3 shell sizes, this helmet earns 4 stars. With its weight of about 1500 grams, the Concept-X also does well to earn another 3 stars. Since the visor is pinlock prepared and the insert is in the box, the helmet gets another 4 stars.
Unfortunately, for noise the helmet did a little bit worse earning 1 star and for ventilation the Concept-X earns 1 star. Lastly, for comfort the helmet came back again with its 3.5 stars for comfort. Overall, this means the Arai Concept-X earned 3 stars at 31 Euros/star.
Shoei Glamster Specs
Lastly, we come to the Shoei Glamster full face helmet.
This is the most recent helmet here, being only a few months younger than the Concept-X, but it still made it to our top 3. It's got plenty of designs beyond the usual matt black and plain colours, and it even uses a retro styled Shoei logo. The shell of the Shoei Glamster is made of Shoei’s Advanced Integrated Matrix (AIM) material and it comes in 3 shell sizes. For weight, the Shoei Glamstar also comes in at a lightweight 1186 grams in a size M.
For ventilation, there are vents in the chin and forehead. So, that's 4 chin vents covered with metal mesh and a large sliding vent in the forehead to let air into the helmet. The visor of the Glamster is pinlock prepared with the anti-fog lens included in the box. Finally, the liner is removable, washable, anti-bacterial, and has emergency release cheek pads.
Shoei Glamster Road Test
When we tested the Glamster out it was another windy day and the day’s airspeed was about 120-140 km/h. The day’s temperature was about 9 degrees Celsius and over time we found the helmet’s internal temperature to be about 11 degrees, so that’s a difference of 2 degrees. For noise, the Glamster was also fairly quiet with about 102 decibels.
Shoei Glamster Champion Helmtes Score
Now let’s see how many stars the Glamster earned. For the material category, with its AIM shell and 3 shell sizes, the Glamster earns 4 stars. For weight, the helmet also did well with another 5 stars for its excellent 1186 grams. The visor of the Shoei helmet is also pinlock prepared with the insert lens in the box, so that’s another 4 stars.
For ventilation, the Glamster had a 2-degree difference so that’s another 3 stars while for noise the Glamster earns another 3. Lastly, for comfort, the Glamster earns a decent 3 stars for its 3D liner. Overall, this means the Glamster earns 3.5 stars and each star will be coming in at about 23 Euros/star, which is also very budget friendly.
What is the best retro helmet for 2020?
With all three helmets all together now it’s clear that the X3000 and the Glamster have come out on top. Where the X3000 is offering great comfort and ventilation, the Glamster is offering a more aggressive style and a more high-level visor. Additionally, the AGV helmet has a much lower price and value for money making it another great value for money helmet.
Though the Arai did score a bit lower than the two, it was only by half a star and it still comes with all the modern safety features that have made Arai so well-respected. So, to declare a winner for the best retro helmet we’d honestly have to declare it a tie between the Shoei Glamster and the AGV X3000.
Both helmets really complement each other’s weaknesses, and both come out on top for their own reasons. And while the Shoei and the Arai are more advanced in age and features, the AGV still did things right.
If you’d like to go for the Shoei Glamster, AGV X3000, or the Arai Concept-X, be sure to head to ChampionHelmets.com where we have a lowest price guarantee and bundle deals including a free additional visor.
While retro helmets do tend to go a bit spartan by going for style over features, we do see a change here from the X3000 to the Glamster and the Concept-X, which are offering more advanced helmets at a similar price range. At this rate, it’ll definitely be an interesting market segment to watch for in the coming months.