MET Bluegrass Vanguard Core Full Face Helmet
The MET Bluegrass Vanguard Core is one of the more attractive lightweight full face helmets currently available. I prioritize the appearance of my helmets while riding, as it reflects my personal style and the reputation of the NSMB media conglomerate. The 725-gram, medium polycarbonate, EPS potpourri, is a highly ventilated, safety-certified brain shell. The interface of a full face helmet can make or break the experience for a lot of people and the Vanguard Core has a few features that stand out. The idea of wearing a full face helmet for a long summer day is scary. The Vanguard Core has 24 vents to combat swamp head syndrome.
Vanguard Core features (provided by MET)
- In-mould polycarbonate shell with EPS liner
- Mips® C2 rotational management system, engineered to add protection in case of certain impacts, Mips Evolve Core
- Five-star rating from the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab
- Fidlock® magnetic buckle makes it easier to secure the helmet
- Adjustable C-shaped cheek-pads to help achieve the perfect fit, with two different thicknesses included.
- Integrated, fixed chin bar for full face protection.
- ASTM 1952-15/2032-15 and NTA 8776 certified
- Safety release and flexible injected visor to avoid extra rotation of the neck in case of a crash
- Breathable chin bar with removable mud-grill
- Safe-T Heta fit system
- 360° head belt and 3 vertical adjustments give you everything you need to find a uniquely individual fit
- 24 vents work in concert with internal, engineered air channeling system to improve ventilation and comfort
I was expecting a familiar full face experience while sliding my head into the helmet cavity. The smooth, heavily-padded orifices of yesteryear have gone missing. Instead, the C-shaped cheek pads and an adjustable "Safe-T Heta" fit system protrude slightly into the path your head needs to navigate. The best way to achieve a stress-free entry is to loosen the ratchet all the way out to open up the pathway. If not, you will scrape against the sharp plastic that tightens against your occipital bone. Up until the Vanguard Core, I had not experienced a full face with this fit adjustment system. The benefits are evident once your head is inside the helmet.
360° retention and 3 different vertical settings allow you to adjust the fit of the helmet to your head shape. I really appreciate a stable full face. Normally when the pads start to settle and pack, or you get a handsome haircut, helmet fit can change. The MET Vanguard Core seems to have combated this intelligently.
Fidlock magnetic buckles are divisive for full face wearers. Some appreciate the convenience and others claim they may unlock due to vibration. Coming from a Smith Mainline with a D-buckle that I find difficult to work with while wearing gloves, I loved the Fidlok on the Vanguard Core.
The Vanguard Core also is a quiet helmet. Not by muting the world around you, which it does not do thanks to openings around the ears, but in operation. No squeaks or creaks resonate around your head, unlike some other full face helmets with Mips. The Smith Mainline is the main offender, with its creaky Mips integration.
The snap away visor is also well made, allowing you to eject without worrying about it breaking into many pieces. The three snaps that hold it into place pull out with some force, allowing you to reattach them if you haven't compromised the integrity of the helmet. A removable mudguard in the mouth opening is another nice touch that is useful in the summer when hydration is important. I have kept mine in as I prefer the aesthetics.
The Bluegrass Vanguard Core breathes well and ventilation is sufficient for its category. I have worn it on warm bikepark days and shuttling on the local hills and while pedaling up paved roads. It wasn't pleasant but I was not overly bothered, either. The Vanguard Core never once rattled or blocked my vision. It works well with Smith goggles, among others.
A couple of months ago, I tested the Vanguard Core's design when the left side of my body - and my head - met with a sturdy tree. I was extremely happy to be wearing a full face for that ride. The helmet sustained no damage, and neither did my face or head. My shoulder was a different story but recovery has been swift thanks to extremely talented and caring health care professionals.
The 480 CAD / 350 USD Vanguard Core from Bluegrass is one of the nicer lightweight full face helmets I have tried. In fact, the fit, finish and adjustability are better than anything I have encountered before. It gets 5 Stars from me, and Virginia Tech seems to agree as well.