From AGV to Suomy: The 5 Best Italian Motorcycle Helmet Brands

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We’ve all encountered the iconic “Made in Italy” tag at some point, right? Italy’s been synonymous with top-notch craftsmanship and lavish designs since the 11th century. That legacy still holds strong today, especially in how it influenced the motorcycle helmet industry.

You see, back in the 1950s, only two dominant brands, AGV and Bell, reigned over the motorcycle helmet scene worldwide. AGV was renowned in Europe but had yet to make its mark in the US (a change I’m proud to have been a part of), while Bell enjoyed fame in the US but was virtually unknown in Europe. These brands held sway with no serious contenders in sight. They two stood out head and shoulders above the rest!

And AGV’s trailblazing success paved the way for other motorcycle helmet brands to emerge, each striving to match or surpass the standards set by their Italian predecessor. It all boils down to that quintessential “Italy Ethos” – a commitment to excellence that continues to propel innovation and craftsmanship in the realm of motorcycle gear.

Now, speaking of excellence, let me share my current best Italian motorcycle helmet brands with you.

Helmet Model Category Outstanding Feature Check & Buy Now
AGV K6 S Best Sport-Touring Lightest at 2.95 lbs. RevZilla | Amazon
Nolan N87 Best Street Eyewear Adaptive System RevZilla | Amazon
Suomy TX-Pro Best Track 210° Peripheral Vision FC-Moto | Motardinn
Airoh ST 501 Best Bluetooth Multiaction Safety System FC-Moto | Motardinn
Caberg Duke Evo Best Adventure P/J Homologation FC-Moto | Amazon

5 Best Italian Motorcycle Helmet Brands

AGV Helmets Displayed at the AGV Bangkok Store
Large assortment of AGV helmets displayed at the AGV Dainese store in Bangkok, Thailand. I frequent this store at least twice a year and have purchased multiple helmets from them. I bought two AGV AX9 dual sport helmets from them earlier this year,  for use in Thailand and Vietnam. The AX9 is one of my favorite helmets.

Italy holds a special place in my heart. It’s where my journey as a helmet owner began in 1972, with the iconic AGV X3000 in France, a model developed for Agostini. Back then, this helmet cost almost $125, which, in today’s currency, is over $900. My professional career in the helmet industry also kicked off with AGV at the age of 16, where I had the privilege of serving as Vice President for AGV Helmets North America for a fulfilling 25 years. Besides, I’ve had the opportunity to lend my expertise as a consultant for Vemar Helmets from 2005 to 2007, as well as for Suomy Helmets.

And when it comes to the best Italian motorcycle helmet brands, drawing from nearly 50 years of personal experience, here are my top picks:

1. AGV Helmets

Display of AGV K1, K3 and K6 full-face helmets in my office
In my AGV Sports Group Office in Frederick, Maryland, from left to right: AGV K1 “Dundee”, AGV K3 Decept, AGV K6 in Kawasaki colors to match my Ninja 400 track day bike, and AGV K6 in Italian Flag Green, White, and Red colors. I have a vast collection of AGV helmets ranging from the early 1950s to the latest models available today.

Think helmets, and AGV is probably the first name that comes to mind, right? Since ’46, they’ve been owning the industry, their reputation even outshining the formidable Japanese brands Shoei and Arai. It’s all about their unbeatable safety, comfort, and those killer designs (seriously, have you seen the AGV Pista GP RR? Yep, it was the first FIM-approved helmet). No wonder the brand’s synonymous with MotoGP and perfect for aggressive riders across the years, from the legendary “Ago” Giacomo Agostini, who dominated with an incredible 15 World Championships from ’63 to ’70, to the modern icon Valentino Rossi, securing nine World Championships from ’96 to 2021.

Today, AGV continues to reign supreme in helmet technology, proudly upholding its legacy for an impressive 77 years. The name itself, a fusion of founder Amisano Gino’s initials and his hometown, Valenza, speaks volumes of its origins and commitment to excellence. They’re always at the forefront of innovation, continually building on their pioneering achievements.

It all started with their groundbreaking milestone—the AGV Model 160, the world’s first fiberglass full-face helmet introduced in 1954. Fast forward to 2017, and they broke new ground yet again with the release of the AGV Sportmodular, the world’s first 100% carbon fiber modular helmet. Then, in 2020, they introduced the game-changing AGV K6 with its revolutionary 5-density EPS structure, setting a new standard for safety. Not to mention the incredibly lightweight AGV K6 S, tipping my scales at just 2.95 lbs. in the small size, among others.

A pivotal advancement emerged in 2012 with the introduction of Extreme Safety, a new outer shell construction method placing your head at the forefront. It’s all about finding the perfect balance with advanced manufacturing and smart design, making sure their lids go above and beyond DOT, ECE, SHARP, and FIM standards (just remember, AGV helmets don’t have SNELL certification).

Here’s a glimpse into some of the innovative technologies and features that define AGV helmets:

  • Material Diversity: Unlike Arai and Shoei, AGV offers helmets for riders of all levels, incorporating diverse materials such as carbon fiber, fiberglass, polycarbonate, and Kevlar to cater to various price points and preferences.
  • Impact Protection: AGV helmets undergo rigorous testing, exceeding standard requirements by over 150%, and are engineered to provide superior protection at up to 15 points of impact.
  • Reliable Retention System/Chin Strap: Utilizing titanium Double D-ring chin straps maximizes performance while minimizing weight across the helmet range.
  • Multi-Density EPS: AGV integrates multi-density EPS to match the anticipated impact speed, exemplified by helmets featuring a 5-density EPS liner.
  • Safety Integrated in Shape: Wind tunnel designs optimize stability and reduce drag, while spoilers detach to minimize energy transfer upon impact.
  • Dynamic Weight Optimization: Leveraging motion-induced tendencies to counterbalance static weight, minimizing neck fatigue during rides.
  • Enhanced Peripheral Vision: AGV helmets offer expanded peripheral and vertical vision, providing 12.5% more awareness of surroundings.
  • Robust Face Protection: Visors are up to four times thicker than standard visors, featuring durable mechanisms and safety locks to prevent detachment.
  • Advanced Anti-fog Performance: Full-face helmets come equipped with Max Vision Pinlock® 120 technology for optimal visibility in all conditions.
  • Innovative Ventilation System: Intake and exhaust vents ensure optimal comfort and airflow, even in extreme conditions.
  • Superior Comfort: Premium washable interior materials designed for maximum comfort, moisture absorption, and antibacterial protection.
  • Customizable Fit: Options like the 360° Adaptive Fit system in the Pista GP RR allow for a personalized fit tailored to individual preferences.

2. Nolan

Nolan Helmets SpA, nestled in the scenic setting of Brembate di Sopra, Bergamo, against the breathtaking backdrop of the Alps, was established in 1972 by Lander Nocchi. Fast forward 52 years to 2024, and Nolan continues its tradition of excellence by producing middle to premium carbon fiber and polycarbonate helmets, all painstakingly designed and compatible with their own N-comm system. In their own words,

“Today, Nolan is the only European helmet manufacturer with an integrated fabrication process, ensuring total quality control at every step.”

A commitment to quality that also extends to their production of value X-Lite and Grex helmets tailored for new riders. These offerings are inspired by the legendary careers of motorcycle racers, including Casey Stoner, Ricardo Tormo, and Marco Melandri, who have trusted Nolan helmets throughout their journeys.

Here’s a closer look at some of the innovative technologies incorporated into Nolan helmets:

  • AirBooster Technology: The upper air intake channels airflow strategically towards critical areas, minimizing dispersal and ensuring optimal comfort even in the most extreme driving conditions.
  • Liner Positioning (LPC): The adjustable cap position allows for a customized fit, accommodating various head shapes and sizes for maximum comfort and security.
  • Carbon Fitting Racing Experience: Featuring internal comfort padding made with active carbon filaments, this technology regulates temperature, prevents static, and dissipates heat for a cool and dry ride.
  • Dual Action: The exclusive chin guard opening system, positioned at the center of the chin guard, enables easy operation with one hand while minimizing the risk of accidental opening.
  • Safety Visor Lock: The system prevents the visor from opening accidentally, even during a fall, ensuring your face remains protected from potential injuries. It also maintains the visor in a slightly open position, aiding in demisting by allowing air circulation to prevent fogging.
  • Microlock2 Retention System: Designed with micrometric adjustment, this retention system minimizes the risk of accidental opening with its ergonomic opening lever and toothed holding lever.
  • Nolan Emergency Release System (NERS): In emergency situations, rescue personnel can quickly remove the cheek pads while the helmet is still worn by the motorcyclist, thanks to this innovative system.
  • Racetrack Aerodynamic Spoiler (RAS): Developed in collaboration with official Nolan pilots, this aerodynamic spoiler enhances helmet stability at high speeds, reducing aerodynamic resistance and improving airflow.
  • Eyewear Adaptive (EA): Designed for glasses wearers, this system creates space for temples in the cheek pads, allowing for easy wear and removal of glasses.
  • Rotational Movement of the Chin Guard with Elliptic Trajectory: This unique rotation movement reduces the size of the front part when the chin guard is open, ensuring a comfortable ride even with the chin guard raised.
  • Eco-Friendly Fabrics: Nolan is committed to sustainability, utilizing recycled fabrics made from 100% regenerated fibers in their internal padding, contributing to a more environmentally responsible future.

3. Airoh

Airoh Helmets, founded in Bergamo, Italy, arguably the heart of the Italian motorcycle helmet industry, traces its roots back to 1986 when Antonio Locatelli established the company. Initially, Airoh manufactured helmets for other brands, but in 1997, they took the bold step to launch their own brand. Since then, Airoh has achieved global recognition, with their helmets being utilized by competition riders in championships spanning circuit racing, enduro, and motocross.

The extensive range of innovative design features in Airoh helmets reflects the expertise of their engineers, extending beyond production. Airoh’s dedicated Research and Development (R&D) department features its wind tunnel and test laboratory, where groundbreaking technologies such as the patented Airoh Multiaction Safety System (AMS²) in the Airoh Commander Adventure helmet were conceived. A unique system that incorporates silicone elements between the two polystyrene layers of the inner shell, acting as shock absorbers to mitigate the severe twisting movements typical of accidents.

Other notable technologies include:

  • Airoh Sliding Net System (ASN): Designed to minimize the force transferred to the head during impact, the ASN System features a 3-D fabric structure. Its two outer walls move relative to each other, effectively dissipating the energy generated by the impact while providing exceptional ventilation crucial for extreme riding conditions.
  • Airoh Magnetic Lining System (AMLS): Taking the concept of inner lining disassembly to the next level, Airoh introduces the AMLS. Equipped with five strong magnets in the crown padding and three in each cheek pad, this system allows for easy removal of the inner lining for washing. Additionally, it ensures stability and comfort in various usage conditions.
  • Airoh Emergency Fast Release (AEFR): AEFR allows fast removal of cheek pads in emergencies. With a red strap on the lower part, medical staff can swiftly remove them while the helmet stays on your head, ensuring safe liberation without further trauma.

4. Suomy

Displaying the Suomy Spec1R Extreme Andrew Pitt Replica Helmet on my office desk, a cherished addition to my collection from my consulting work with Suomy.
Displaying the Suomy Spec1R Extreme Andrew Pitt Replica Helmet on my office desk, a cherished addition to my collection from my consulting work with Suomy Helmets a few years ago. Suomy is now owned by the same factory in Indonesia that produces the KYT Helmet brand.

The genesis of Suomy (pronounced su-oh-mee) is a deeply Italian and familial narrative. In late 1995, Umberto Monti, the founder, transitioned from a lengthy tenure at Yamaha to pursue a new direction. Helmets became his passion, initially leading him to serve as the European distributor for Bell helmets and later for the Japanese DIC helmets. But his unwavering dedication lay in upholding the ‘Made in Italy’ ethos.

And in 1997, Monti enlisted the help of his two brothers, Valter, a motocross rider, and Maurizio, a nuclear engineer, to establish Suomy—a brand deeply rooted in Italian craftsmanship but with a name that carries a Japanese aura.

From the outset, Suomy distinguished itself with its distinct fluorescent red “dot,” adorning the heads of riders with a unique and unmistakable flair. This, coupled with aggressive design and an unwavering commitment to quality, quickly set Suomy apart in the industry.

Over the past 27 years, Suomy has remained firmly focused on the world of racing, leveraging invaluable insights and knowledge for the development and crafting of helmets.

Key milestones in Suomy’s journey include:

  • 2000: Suomy forms a partnership with Ducati, a powerhouse in the motorcycle racing scene, leading to the most talented Ducati riders in the Superbike World Championship donning Suomy Helmets. This marks the start of #SuomyHelmets.
  • 2001: Suomy celebrates its first World Title victory with legendary SBK rider Troy Bayliss.
  • 2006 and 2008: Bayliss further solidifies Suomy’s dominance by clinching World Titles, alongside notable riders such as Troy Corser, Aaron Slight, Ben Bostrom, Scott Russell, and Ruben Xaus.
  • 2003, 2004, and 2007: Suomy witnesses more victories as Neil Hodgson in 2003 and James Toseland in 2004 and 2007 claim SBK World Championship titles.
  • 2003: Suomy makes its mark in the 250 GP Championship with Manuel Poggiali’s World victory. The 2000s also witness Suomy’s debut in the MotoGP World Championship through sponsorships with icons like Loris Capirossi and Max Biaggi.
  • 2010 and 2012: The legacy continues as the “Corsaro” secures two SBK World Championships, further solidifying Suomy’s position as a force to be reckoned with in the racing world.

5. Caberg

In 2024, Caberg celebrates its Golden Anniversary, marking a half-century of challenges, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to safety in helmet production. It all began in 1974 in Bergamo, Italy, where Caberg, short for “Caschi di Bergamo” (Helmets from Bergamo), embarked on its journey to establish itself as a renowned name in the industry. Today, Caberg’s 2024 collection proudly adheres to the latest ECE 22.06 standards, reflecting their ongoing dedication to safety and excellence.

The story of Caberg traces back to the introduction of their first full-face helmet, the Articolo 100, and the open face with a peak named Articolo 300. Since then, Caberg has continued to innovate, introducing products that have left a lasting impact:

  • 1992: Caberg made history as the first Italian company, and second globally, to unveil a flip-up helmet with the groundbreaking 292 Unlimited model.
  • 1998: They revolutionized the market with the innovative Just one, the first flip-up helmet that allowed the opening of the chin guard with a single button.
  • 2002: Witnessed the introduction of the Downtown, a pioneering open-face helmet equipped with a second integrated goggle-shaped visor.
  • 2003: Caberg presented the versatile Justissimo, an exclusive flip-up helmet that seamlessly converted from a flip-up to an open face, boasting an integrated sunshade visor.
  • 2005: Saw the release of the Solo, the first full-face helmet featuring a second integrated sunshade visor.
  • 2014: Caberg showcased their forward-thinking approach with the introduction of the “Tourmax,” the world’s first flip-up dual-sport helmet.
  • 2017: Marked the debut of the Ghost, an aggressive and futuristic open-face helmet equipped with a goggle-shaped visor.
  • 2018: Brought forth the Drift Evo, a sporty touring model crafted from fiberglass and carbon.
  • 2019: Introduced the high-end flip-up Levo in fiberglass, featuring a panoramic ultra-wide visor.
  • 2020: Expanded their range with the introduction of the high-end jet Flyon in fiberglass.
  • 2021: Released the bold and aggressive full-face Avalon, designed to meet the needs of young riders seeking style and performance.
  • 2022: Enhanced the Drift Evo Carbon range with the graphic version Drift Evo Carbon Sonic.
  • 2023: Witnessed the launch of the new Duke Evo, a flip-up model boasting an aggressive look and ECE 22.06 P/J homologation.

As part of its 50th Anniversary celebration, Caberg unveils the SOS Medical ID and the Drift Evo II, the brand-new full-face helmet. Available in fiberglass and Carbon versions, the Evo II combines a sport-oriented design with cutting-edge technical solutions, including the innovative SOS Medical ID technology, which allows you to store personal data, medical records, and emergency contacts, providing vital information to rescuers in case of accidents or emergencies.

Michael’s Summary and Conclusion

Information for this article was partially sourced and researched from the following authoritative government, educational, corporate, and non-profit organizations:


Picture of About the Author:

About the Author:

Michael Parrotte started his career in the motorcycle industry by importing AGV Helmets into the North American market. He was then appointed the Vice President of AGV Helmets America. In total, he worked with AGV Helmets for 25 years. He has also served as a consultant for KBC Helmets, Vemar Helmets, Suomy Helmets, Marushin Helmets, KYT Helmets, and Sparx Helmets.

In 1985, he founded AGV Sports Group, Inc. with AGV Helmets in Valenza, Italy. For over 38 years now, the company has quietly delivered some of the best protective gear for motorcyclists in the world.

Click Here for Michael’s LinkedIn Profile

Click Here for the Complete AGV Helmet & AGVSPORT History

Click Here for All AGV Sports Group Social Media Information

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