Bluegrass Vanguard Core: testing the new full-face MTB helmet


Bluegrass was founded in 2008 as a subcompany of MET and is now considered a globally renowned manufacturer of bike helmets in the MTB scene.

Bluegrass presents their new fullface enduro helmet

Italian producer Bluegrass proudly presents its new Vanguard Core, a full-face enduro helmet that meets the highest safety standards and is equipped with the latest technologies. This is evidenced by an in-mold polycarbonate shell, the EPS construction and a firmly integrated chin bar. Certified to the latest industry standards (ASTM, NTA, CE, AS/NZS, UNS and 5 stars in the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab Test), the Vanguard sets new standards with its protection technologies. It exceeds ASTM limits for deflection by an impressive 40{09776a9e527fe6e7777aceefa8f4e2f820982470cae700a67e7c7fb2d68155cf}. In other words, this helmet was designed to withstand extreme impacts. A notable addition to the Vanguard Core’s safety arsenal is the proven Mips C2 Brain Protection System, which was tested in collaboration with the renowned Virginia Tech Helmet Lab and awarded five stars. This system reduces the rotational forces that can act on the brain in the event of an angled impact and thus adds to safety.

What really puts the helmet in the spotlight is its extreme lightness compared to the competition. At only roughly 700-790 grams (the manufacturer specifies 725 g for the Core models in size M), it is miles ahead of its competitors in terms of weight saving.

The design

An outstanding feature of the Vanguard Core is the cheek pad design. With a C-shape, they offer maximum ventilation without covering the vents in the chinstrap. Adjustment is therefore possible at any time. The user-friendliness is further enhanced by the well thought-out inner structure, the Safe-T-Heta-Fit system for individual size adjustment, the Fidlock magnetic closure and the flexible, quickly removable visor, as well as the 24 ventilation openings that keep the helmet well aired even in warm temperatures.

Available in a range of sizes and colours, the Bluegrass Vanguard Core offers safety, comfort and style at a price of €330 (RRP) – an investment that increases that confidence in your own safety, without which MTB adventures are pretty much unthinkable. In our shop, the Bluegrass Vanguard Core is available in three different colours.

The facts in a nutshell: 

  • In-mould polycarbonate shell with EPS inner shell.
  • Mips® C2 brain protection system to provide extra safety in case of a crash
  • Five-star rating from the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab
  • Magnetic Fidlock® closure for easier helmet attachment
  • Adjustable C-shaped cheek pads in two strengths
  • Integrated, fixed chin bar for full-face protection
  • ASTM 1952-15/2032-15 and NTA 8776 certified
  • Flexible visor with safety closure to prevent neck twisting in crashes
  • Breathable chin bar with removable “mudgrill”
  • Safe-T-Heta adjustment system
  • 360° headband and 3 vertical adjustments for a custom fit
  • 24 ventilation openings with an internal air channel system to improve helmet climate and comfort
  • Hand-washable comfort pads for increased hygiene and durability
  • Wide field of vision for compatibility with all goggles and sunglasses
  • Padded transport bag
  • Certifications: CE, US, AS/NZS
  • Weight (manufacturer information): approx. 790 g (size L)


Together with this information, our Bluegrass product manager handed me this really impressively light helmet in the “White Black Matt” version and asked me to try it out on the trails. Since I was planning to ride to the Willingen Bike Park anyway the coming weekend, I grabbed the really elegant and simply designed helmet and the matching GLOVES straight away.

BIKEPARK WILLINGEN – Hot weather, cool breeze

Different chin pads and the perfect fit

The helmet comes with two different pairs of chin pads. At first, I was a bit sceptical due to my rather small head and previous experiences with helmet fittings. Since the Vanguard Core is available in sizes S, M and L, the only option for me was size S (52 – 56 cm). If you turn the small wheel at the back of the head all the way up, you can easily pull the helmet over your head. The cheek pads in two different sizes allow the helmet to be optimally adjusted so that it fits perfectly and doesn’t pinch uncomfortably at any point. This worked flawlessly in my case, too. Thanks to the big front opening, I also had enough space for my large glasses.

Keeping a cool head on the trails, trails, trails

After having spent most of my time on my home trails lately, I needed that real bike park feeling again at the weekend: up with the lift and then just blasting downhill!

After the third round, it was still morning, the temperature began to rise noticeably. Slowly but surely, it was getting closer to 30 degrees. The jumper ended up in the van, but continuing wearing the helmet was no problem at all.

The helmet’s ventilation is impressive! A pleasant breeze flows through the 24 openings, which is nice and cool even when going up in the lift and perfectly directed around the head when going fast. Thanks to the u-shaped chin pads, no direct draught reaches the ears, but the rest of the head is well-ventilated.

Ultra-light and exactly the right fit

What impressed me even more was the lightness: especially in narrow bends or in rougher bend passages, the helmet did not interfere with my head movements and my line of vision in any way. Even after wearing it for a long time, I never felt the need to relieve or straighten my neck. Despite its lightness, the helmet conveys a very high feeling of safety, perhaps because the fit is so precisely adjustable and the chin pads do not press into the cheeks but rather nestle against the face. That was at least my experience. As I usually had to try on several helmets in the past until I would find one that really fit me, I was absolutely positively surprised by the many adjustment and customisation options of the new Vanguard!

Adding safety to the hands as well

The matching Bluegrass Prizma 3D MTB gloves were the perfect complement. The snug fit gloves due to the 4-way stretch mesh (on the top) fitted my very slim hands perfectly and even after rougher trails my hands and arms didn’t get tired. The 3D TPR prisms sewn into the top of the glove protect my knuckles and the top of my hand. A perforation on the palm provided the necessary ventilation on what was after all a very hot day. The gloves are also touchscreen compatible, which came in handy when a friend called me to meet her at the bike park later.

An almost perfect visit to the bike park comes to an end

When I took off my helmet at the end of the bike day in Willingen, I sadly noticed a negative point, albeit a very small one: To take the helmet off, you have to completely open the wheel at the back of the helmet. However, I didn’t find this particularly annoying because the helmet really fits perfectly and the very smooth Fidlock closure makes opening and closing the chin strap very easy.

Highly recommended!

I have worn the helmet on 2 weekends in 3 different bike parks and have long since grown fond of it. If you really want to feel well protected and comfortable for once and don’t want a lot of weight on your head or a stiff neck, it’s definitely worth the investment!

Just looking at the Bluegrass Vanguard Core and the almost too positive test results and accolades, I was, as I am, sceptical at first. But once I put it on, I didn’t want to part with it. Good all-round visibility, no neck pain, perfect ventilation and a great feeling of safety thanks to the precisely adjustable fit – THANK YOU BLUEGRASS for this really well-made and beautiful Vanguard Core full-face helmet!