- Bought from Amazon on 12/1/2010; query
- Manufacturer website: Blade Mono White
- Color: White, Solid
- Size: X-Small
- Cost: $129.95 USD with free shipping, & it appears that tax was not applicable.
- Shipping: Received on 12/10/2010 using the SuperSaver method.
- Related ES Thread: what kind of helmets do you guys wear?
I spent an inordinate amount of time investigating lightweight helmets for ebikes looking for something more substantial than a bicycle helmet, and yet not being as weighty as a motorcycle full-face. In short, there is a wide gulf between quality and features from the crappy knock-offs for less than $50 to the uber-exotic >$650 full-featured racing protection. After my disappointing first foray into this market spending $75 I did raise the budget to $200 to find something suitable. Let me tell you that even $450 may not be enough to buy the best helmet for ebikes. Compromise must take priority. This is a review of my second purchase after returning my first.
Arrival & Unpacking:
This was sort of an early holiday gift to myself, and once received I dropped all that I was doing to document the inspection; however the review would have to wait as I had other priorities that required attention. Now that some time has passed I am better acquainted with the helmet and this report is richer nonetheless.
Shipping container was boxed well from Amazon. The product box was equally strong and well-constructed. Inside was the well-protected helmet, wrapped first by modestly shear synthetic dust covering suitable for a dry shelf; the assembly of the covering was well-attended and should last many years with nominal care. Release of the draw-string, the extracted helmet is amply covered in high-density bubble wrap formed like a tight-fitting glove; shame to throw it away. Inside the box is a generous multi-lingual manual, decals, and an assortment of manufacturer addendums and legal cautions.
This particular model of AGV Blade helmet did not come with a peak visor; there is a strange discrepancy on Amazon with one supplier displaying a peak visor or sun-shield for less price but also with less descriptive detail Ã¢â‚¬â€œ like the DOT rating which begs the question: What YEAR is being offered? I elected to go with the supplier providing the same description as the manufacturer website.
From the exterior, this is a well-constructed thermoplastic shell. Every feature is a detailed study in fit & finish at a level nearly equal to a $450 full-face Shoei. The wind visor/shield is made of a replaceable clear anti-scratch (hardened) polycarbonate material, having 5 detents between fully open and close positions. There are two air vents that snap open of close at the ridge; at bicycle speeds the effect is lost, though it would probably make a difference at highway speeds.
The striking feature about this particular helmet is the unique and perhaps signature shape, displaying trim clean lines of exquisite Italian-styling. Granted the shell is better suited for mopeds than motorcycles; you wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to go blasting down the motorway at 70 mph and expect to feel secure, no Ã¢â‚¬â€œ that is beyond expectation. It is however a design well-suitable for urban traffic at commuter speeds up to 45 mph. Personally it reminds me of protection a futuristic space traveller might wear.
The interior is just shy of plush and certainly superior to any <$150 I have tried in the last couple of months, rivaling my favorite Harley-Davidson picks. Although I did not go all the way to find out, the interior is said to be fully-removable. I did remove the cheek pads and neck padding, and partly removed the remaining interior to see how it was constructed before my curiosity was sated. The hard-foam protection is firmly in place.
Note: After fitting several helmets I decided to order one-size smaller for my head after being instructed at several times that Ã¢â‚¬Å“the helmet will never fit tighter, and it can be adjusted if requiredÃ¢â‚¬Â. When new, this helmet fit very tight at the temples; after two weeks of use this is no longer noticeable, yet the fit is very secure.
Yes, I 've made a lot of noise about this with other helmets in my search because there have been chin straps sewn into cheap materials that would rip right out at the first instant of casual strain, and straps made of quality material riveted as should be directly to the helmet shell Ã¢â‚¬â€œ which BTW is required for DOT. I have used the cumbersome Double-D rings, and the afterthought snap to secure the extra bit from flapping about in a high wind. I have felt poorly-placed straps riding high and low on my neck, and even cutting at the AdamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Apple.
There is however not a single strap equal in combined utility at any price over the AGV Blade: Ultimately the feature overrode my concerns for the negative shell material and decided my purchase. No fumbling about; it sports a dead-simple quick-release mechanism: Just pull the little bright nylon strap and it is released, and then snaps back into place with equal ease. The bit under the throat is perfectly oriented and anointed with supple brushed synthetic material resembling Naugahyde; thankfully no Naugas were harmed during the manufacture. The strap is adjustable at the opposite end of the quick release, in addition to sporting a single D-ring which I find useful for latching my finger around when the helmet is removed. The whole fastening assembly is of solid construction and riveted to the shell.
The Blade Helmet is slightly smaller than a traditional motorcycle helmet with leaner lines, yet is vastly more robust than a typical cycling helmet.
Very snug fit, affirmed remarkable styling, very good protection for the moped/commuter, lighter-weight than traditional motorcycle helmet, excellent chin strap design, shield easily flips out of the way, well-constructed, excellent value for the price.
No matter how you spell it, it is still a plastic shell. Not the lightest-weight available in its class; slight neck ache the first week of use, but it is not so noticeably after the second. Fogs easily, but then so do all shielded helmets, and whistles a bit with the shield up. The fit is a little tight at the temples; this is a personal issue and has everything to do with the shape of my pointy head; not a big issue by the second week of use. My senses are moderately dulled from the padding and the vision restricted over a bicycle helmet.
One important thing to consider, and I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if this has to do with the holidaze traffic, but I noticed an immediate effect in traffic wearing a Ã¢â‚¬Å“motorcycleÃ¢â‚¬Â helmet over a bicycle helmet in that cars assume you are street-legal and will cut you right off, whereas theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d think twice if you were a bicycle (provided they saw you in the first place).
- Fogging Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I found that the open-face helmets fogged the least in store during fitting. In cold weather this helmet fogged so bad the first time out that I was in fear for my own safety after the first 10 minutes. This was resolved by heading directly to my local REI where after consultation with the experts bought a couple of products, of which only one is worth consideration: Cat Crap.
Apply as per directions to the interior of the shield. If you wear glasses like I do then I strongly advise application to both sides of the lenses. Disclaimer: Check with the manufacturer first to be sure the material will not be harmed.
Cat Crap is not a perfect solution; however it does reduce the effects of fogging well-enough. New behaviors will need to be acquired on breathing and direction of out-breath to the bottom-most of the helmet away from the shield. I also overtly raise the shield at stops to help keep it clear. High speeds > 25 mph naturally keep the shield free of fog in the cold driving Seattle rain. It just takes a little bit of practice to sort out what feels natural towards a personalized riding style.
- Rain-blindness can also be reduced though not eliminated by the employ of Rain-X on the exterior of the shield. Generally this works better than no treatment at all. In Seattle we often get this misty drizzle rain; at nominal speeds this is not a giant concern though. The hardened polycarbonate shield appears not to be affected by the application. However Rain-X will fog acrylic in short order.
After weeks of searching IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve come to the conclusion that the perfect helmet does not exist at any price. However, for <$130 you would be hard-pressed to find a better helmet for urban-speed ebikes. The more I use this helmet the greater my confidence about riding in traffic. It is eye-catching and visible which is exactly what I want of drivers. Negatives aside, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d rather trust my life wearing this over a bike helmet and I am quite certain that any traffic cop would agree.
8.5 Stars out of 10.
Happy ho-ho, KF