A head for helmets
The head honcho of AGV Helmets, CEO Moreno Businaro, talks to Biker Boy about his love for motorcycles and the Italian company's desire to become Numero Uno
His interest in bike helmets is not purely business.
Mr Moreno Businaro, 55, chief executive officer of Italian helmet brand AGV, is also an avid biker.
He was in Singapore last month to launch two new helmets at the AGV Asia convention and tells The New Paper on Sunday that he is one of the luckiest guys in the company because he gets to play at work.
What do you ride?
I'm Italian, so I have a Moto Guzzi Norge 1200. (The Italian manufacturer is the oldest in Europe and favoured by celebrity riders like Scottish actor Ewan McGregor).
I have a Yamaha Fazer, too.
Fifteen years ago when I entered this field, I was able to link my two passions.
Aside from travelling, what is another perk of your job?
I'm very lucky. I get to test my product. When we have a new helmet, I get on my motorbike to test it. It means I can immediately transfer feedback the engineers and technicians.
Are you tempted to collect bikes on your travels?
In India, I discovered the Royal Enfield. It's a very old brand and I want to see if I can buy one.
Its Continental GT 500 is very nice. I am turning my hair grey trying to split my attention between touring and vintage motorcycles.
I visited the company and learnt that the fuel tank is painted by hand. It's fantastic. Every part is mechanical. For someone who likes motorbikes, that's impressive.
What is the next stage of helmet evolution?
Reading your speed or some information (from the dashboard as a heads-up display). That technology is, for sure, the next step. Our Pista GP (full carbon fibre helmet)is, in my opinion, the helmet that completely changed the approach of helmet manufacturing.
It's a helmet that represents a break with the past. For example, in the Pista GP, we increased the field of vision by 15 degrees, and allowed for more protective material.
Would you have considered designs or ideas by other helmet manufacturers?
Until some years ago, AGV looked around for inspiration. After Mr Lino Dainese's acquisition (Dainese, a motorcycle safety apparel firm, bought AGV in 2007), we changed our point of view. We want to be number one.
I suppose your latest helmets are your favourites?
We just launched the AX 8-Dual Evo in carbon fibre. I like the naked version (minus the helmet peak) because it's more aggressive looking.
Where is the hot market for helmets now?
We work in India, which is a growing market. India produces 13 million motorcycles a year. Most of these motorbikes are used in the country(side).
Everybody uses a helmet because in many Indian cities, it's a requirement. But these (helmets) are entry level products. We are one of five important brands in the world. There's AGV, (only because I'm saying this in terms of alphabetical order), Arai, HJC, Shark and Shoei.