Introduced this summer, the Bluegrass Vanguard Core Edition is the youngest full-face helmet in this test. It’s designed to take on everything, from enduro trails to races and bike park laps. We took one for a spin to see what it’s capable of.
Bluegrass is a subsidiary of Italian helmet manufacturer MET and covers the brand’s gravity range. It comes as no surprise that the Vanguard Core Edition looks a lot like the MET Parachute, which is also included in this comparison test. While both helmets rely on a sleek design language with rectangular vent holes, the Bluegrass looks significantly bulkier. In spite of this, at 771 g in size L, it’s one of the lighter helmets in this test, and at € 330 also one of the cheaper ones.
The Vanguard Core Edition offers plenty of adjustment options, making it easy to adapt the helmet to your head shape. For starters, the retaining system is height-adjustable, and on top of that, Bluegrass include two different thicknesses of cheek pad. These pads can be installed in two different positions, while their C-shape makes it possible for Bluegrass to add vent holes far back on the chin bar to allow air further into the back of the helmet. The chin straps run through the opening in the cheek pads and through a recess in the padding, which keeps them in place and prevents them from slipping backwards. The Bluegrass also relies on a MIPS liner, which is designed to dissipate the rotational forces generated in a crash. However, the MIPS liner of the Bluegrass is black rather than the usual bright yellow, which suits the discreet look of the full-face helmet rather well. The visor is flexible and comes off easily, both when you’re removing it for cleaning and in the event of a crash. The mud grille on the chin guard prevents dirt from flying into your mouth, and is removable to improve ventilation. Fidlock supply the magnetic buckle, which is easy and intuitive to use – we’re big fans of it!
Given the countless adjustment options and pad positions the Bluegrass Vanguard Core Edition offers, finding the right fit can take some time. Moreover, you’ll have to be careful not to pinch yourself with the retaining system while putting on and removing the helmet – we recommend releasing the system while doing so. Once you find the optimal setting, the Vanguard is comfortable from the moment you slip it over your head. Overall, it’s a great fit for a wide range of head shapes. It’s pleasantly light, and encloses your head nicely while at the same time ensuring a high level of wearing comfort. In our 2023 lightweight helmet test field, it’s the competitor that conveys the most authentic DH helmet feeling – at least until you start moving. Once you start pedalling, you’ll realise that the Vanguard combines the best of both worlds, with the secure, tight fit of a downhill helmet and the superior ventilation of an enduro lid. Even on long, nasty climbs, it doesn’t get overly hot, and the cheek pads can be easily removed and clipped to the bars to further improve ventilation – a god-send for enduro racers! What might sound like a small detail is an incredibly clever feature that’s worth its weight in gold, especially on long transfer climbs! The openings around the ears keep you in touch with the outside world without creating annoying wind noises on the trail.
The Bluegrass Vanguard Core Edition is undoubtedly an excellent all-purpose helmet, combining the advantages of two concepts like no other competitor in this comparison test. Bluegrass’ full-face helmet provides a great fit and encloses your head comfortably, striking an outstanding balance between safety, ventilation and comfort. No matter whether you’re shredding nasty enduro trails, clocking fast laps at the bike park or racing at the weekend, the Bluegrass Vanguard is an excellent, loyal and comfortable riding companion. A well-deserved test victory!
- Excellent fit
- Very comfortable
- Inspires huge amounts of confidence
- Outstanding ventilation
- Retaining system has to be released for when putting on and taking off the helmet
For more information, visit met-helmets.com.
For an overview of the group test: 9 lightweight and convertible full-face mountain bike helmets in review
All fullface helmets in test: Bell Super Air R Spherical (Click for review) | Bluegrass Vanguard Core Edition | Fox Proframe RS (Click for review) | Giro Insurgent (Click for review) | MET Parachute MCR (Click for review) | POC Otocon Race MIPS (Click for review) | Specialized Gambit (Click for review) | Troy Lee Designs Stage (Click for review) | Uvex Revolt MIPS (Click for review)
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Words: Simon Kohler Photos: Peter Walker