DSC06680-denizmerdano bluegrass vanguard core helmet

MET Bluegrass Vanguard Core Full Face Helmet

Photos Deniz Merdano - Unless noted
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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.

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The Bluegrass Vanguard Core is a nice looking helmet with a fixed chinbar.

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
met vangaurd core helmet sizing 2

At 725 grams for a medium, the Vanguard Core is a light helmet.

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.

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Subtle graphics work really well.

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24 vents for cool ridings.

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.

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One of the few full face helmets that use a ratchet for an adjustable fit.

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.

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Mips C2 is quiet and does not move while riding.

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6-piece pads are velcro-backed.

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.

Met Bluegrass Vanguard Core

Deniz Merdano



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+2 RG Deniz Merdano

why do manufacturers always think 61cm is enough and call it a day? and why do reviewers never see this as a negative? call them the fuck out for it



Fair complaint! What helmets work for you? Do you have a list you can choose from, no matter how short?



bell usually fit okayish, but most helmets leave an imprint for a few hours on the forehear when wearing one for a whole day. tld d2 xxl was the last helmet that really fit good. simce then they changed the form unfortunately


+1 geno

I measure in at 62cm and have just bought a IXS Trigger FF in M/L (58-62cm) Fits really well.



Same here - plus, the Trigger is lighter, has an adjustable visor, and has the same ratcheting dial that can also be moved up/or down.

The only feature that this has over the IXS Trigger FF appears to be the removable mudguard - which is admittedly pretty cool.  That and the whole Virginia Tech certification - I have no idea how the IXS has been rated by Virginia Tech.


+1 Hardlylikely

One request for helmet reviews:  please describe the nature of the MIPS system, as there's like a half dozen different flavors now, and it's not always apparent from photos which one it is.  There's the old yellow plastic liner, there's a newer version like that but black (not sure how it differs), there's one where the backside of the pads are made slippy (Spec Ambush had that, sucked for sweat absorption), and then the ball in socket flavor that the Proframe RS has.



Mips Product Range

There is a complete list from Mips themselves. They all do the same thing,  in different fastening protocols depending on the helmet shape and materials.


+2 BarryW Hardlylikely

Not trying to be a dick, but the MIPS C2 mentioned in this helmet isn't listed on the MIPS Product Range.  When I was helmet shopping a couple months ago (after getting a "minor" concussion), I looked on the same MIPS webpage to try and narrow down what brands made helmets using the Integra Split system, and of course they don't have that information.  And furthermore, the ball-in-socket setup is called Spherical by Giro but Integra Split by Fox, so if you search for Integra Split you won't see, for example, a Giro Insurgent.  Is this MIPS/the helmet companies' fault?  Yes.

I'd push back on the statement that they all do the same thing.  Some of the of the various flavors are going to be better than others at rotational or oblique impacts (they even say this in the descriptions).  But unfortunately neither MIPS nor any of the other companies with their own systems (Leatt, 6D, etc.) make any data available as to how much better or worse they are than competition, and Virginia Tech's results only include a handful of less common full face helmets (and only break down by high and low energy).  So we as consumers have to make judgement calls as to whether or not we think that one system plausibly might provide more protection than others. 

Anyways, I realize I'm kind of venting.  It's frustrating trying to pick out a helmet when you're specifically trying to minimize concussion risk given how little info is provided by the industry.


+2 BarryW Hardlylikely

If you look at the very last photo of this article, you'll see it says Mip Evolve Core.

Companies definitely add their own spin on the naming which can be annoying. Best is to look inside the helmet for Mips description. We may need to add this in future helmet reviews. 

I'll modify the Features column up top with the actual Mips branding and include the link into the article.


+2 BarryW Hardlylikely

Appreciate the comments and feedback, Andeh, and I agree that it's important to be specific. I'll reiterate that we won't be the ones trying to tell you which MiPS system is safer or works better, however there are also fit and comfort issues that make that info relevant. Thanks for speaking up.



What is with that visor? Stuck in the up position? I don't get it. Maybe I'm too old.


+1 BarryW

Many Enduro/FR/DH helmets these days come with fixed position visors, and when they do that, manufacturers will pick a position that shields the face while allowing for airflow as well as goggle placement when they're not being worn. Took me a while to get used to as well, however it turns out an adjustable visor is less necessary (for me) than I thought. I've been using a Specialized Ambush 2 which has a fixed visor - thought I'd miss the adjustment, turns out I was wrong.



If you look at the photos of it on my head, you'll see that it's at a sweet spot. On all the other, adjustable visor helmets, that would be position #2, the only position you need to be in



I'm definitely a fan of the ratchet adjustment, so I was interested in this until I saw the price. I'll stick with my Trigger. 

Why can't we just have the standard clip for FF, not DD or fidlock?


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