AGV Blade Helmet

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AGV Blade Helmet

Postby Kingfish » Sat Dec 25, 2010 7:04 pm

Review.

  • 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?
Begin…
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. 8)

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.

Image

Image

Inspection:
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 – 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.

Image

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.

Image

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 wouldn’t want to go blasting down the motorway at 70 mph and expect to feel secure, no – 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. :lol:

Image

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 “the helmet will never fit tighter, and it can be adjusted if required”. 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. :wink:

Chin Strap:
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 – 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 Adam’s Apple. :x

Image

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. :wink: 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.

Compare-Contrast:
The Blade Helmet is slightly smaller than a traditional motorcycle helmet with leaner lines, yet is vastly more robust than a typical cycling helmet.

Image

Positive Traits:
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. 8)

Negative Traits:
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 don’t know if this has to do with the holidaze traffic, but I noticed an immediate effect in traffic wearing a “motorcycle” helmet over a bicycle helmet in that cars assume you are street-legal and will cut you right off, whereas they’d think twice if you were a bicycle (provided they saw you in the first place). :roll:

User Notes:
  • Fogging – 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.

Image

Recommendation:
After weeks of searching I’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, I’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. :wink:

Happy ho-ho, KF
Last edited by Kingfish on Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AGV Blade Helmet

Postby dogman dan » Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:02 am

Looks real nice for winter riding. I switch to a snowboarding helmet in winter, and would wear it all year. But summer here puts me back into the traditional bike helmet. I do very little mixing with traffic on my route, and figure the helmet is for my boo boo. If a car tags me I'm toast, I'm sure. I ride 20 mph commuting. Racing I wear a real motorcycle helmet and armor.
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Re: AGV Blade Helmet

Postby Kingfish » Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:51 pm

That’s a good point Dogman. I am tempted to wear armor for my protection when, not if, I get tagged. It’s just smarter to “Be Prepared” for the worst. :roll:

ADDENDUM: I would like to add that there are several accessories available for this helmet. My morning commute has me staring directly into reflected sun this time of year and that sun-shield would be useful, whereas the peak visor is better suited for midday.
Oh forgot to add that although I wear a Balaclava when bitterly cold, my head stays plenty warm inside the helmet. I think that about covers it. :)

Cheers, KF
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Re: AGV Blade Helmet

Postby amberwolf » Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:36 am

Kingfish wrote:One important thing to consider, and I don’t know if this has to do with the holidaze traffic, but I noticed an immediate effect in traffic wearing a “motorcycle” helmet over a bicycle helmet in that cars assume you are street-legal and will cut you right off, whereas they’d think twice if you were a bicycle (provided they saw you in the first place). :roll:

Interestingly, I get the opposite reaction here in Phoenix. (tested in daytime only, as at night my lighting makes more difference, and a quite dramatic one, on CrazyBike2) This is on various roads I travel on my work commute, as well as my grocery runs, for the last couple of months or so since I got the motorcycle helmet, on parts of the roads that are more than one lane wide in my direction, where I am riding at 20MPH or as close as I can manage, but cars are allowed to go 30-40MPH (and typically go 5-10MPH more than that).

If I wear no helmet (done only for an experiment in reactions of other traffic) or any type of bicycle or rollerblading or similar helmet, then I am treated more like a bicycle by those that dont' much like them, and cut off or passed very closely, etc.

If I wear that black HJC (?) motorcycle helmet, then people that would have likely otherwise just passed me really close or actively forced me to the edge of the road or gutter instead stay behind me until the lane next to us opens up, and then they pass me with a fairly wide berth. Some of them ZOOOM past me, gunning their engines, but they still do it with a wider berth than they probably would have with the bike helmet. Of course, I still get a few paint-scrapers, but the only thing that would stop *them* from doing that is some Ben-Hur spikes on my wheels. :lol: I'm still looking at painting it white, for warmer-weather use, and for better visibility especially at night, with reflectorstrips and stuff.


If that Blade helmet was a full-face, I'd like it more. I like it anyway, compared to a bike or rollerblading helmet, but if I am going for more protection I figure I might as well have the whole thing. :) Like Dogman, I figure that I'm probably toast if a car actually hits me, even on CrazyBike2, so the helmet is really only for my own mistakes, or those rare times I'm forced off the road in a way that results in a crash (once every few years or so on average).
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Re: AGV Blade Helmet

Postby Kingfish » Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:15 pm

If I ride anything more substantial than a bicycle frame then yes, I’m with you AW and would want to have an equally-more protective full-faced helmet since it is likely I wouldn’t have to pedal anyways. :)

~KF
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* Epics: Going to California: 2011 8)
* 50-mph, 101, 10k-Club. 12,527 miles-to-date, 7037 as 2WD.

It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.
It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed.
The hands acquire shakes, the shakes become a warning.
It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.
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Re: AGV Blade Helmet

Postby LI-ghtcycle » Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:56 am

Great review thanks! :D

As far as the face shield fogging up, there is a silver bullet, I used to use these on all my motorcycle helmets, and nothing fazes them!

Get yourself a Fog City Fog Shield at any local motorcycle shop. 8)

Image

This picture is NO dramatization, I too have ridden in the sleet and rain in the winter of the North-Wet (Tacoma WA, & Porland, OR) for years on a motorcycle, and this $25 insert creates a double pane just like a window, and will absolutely amaze you. The best part is since we all know the more you touch plastic even to clean it, this precludes the need for wiping the inside of your helmet ever again, and I have had these inserts out-last the face shields themselves many a time when I road motorcycles year round.
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Re: AGV Blade Helmet

Postby TonyReynolds » Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:17 pm

Great review, and it's because of your excellent groundwork, Kingfish, that I ended up with the same helmet, albeit in red and white, because white wasn't available at the price I paid, $63 + shipping from Dennis Kirk:

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I'd read that the color was flat (not shiny), but it looks great in the hand. The helmet comes with a nice helmet bag and the chin strap, as noted in Kingfish's review is fabulous, much more like a Nolan MC helmet ratchet system than any bike helmet.

The fit is a little different, as it "feels" like it sits higher on your head, even when properly seated. It's much more like an extended, solid-shell bike helmet than a MC helmet, which I'm more used to. Fit for me is good: I have a "normal" shaped head and it's tight, but not uncomfortably so. Good fit is critical for protection.

For the price, this was a great buy, and it'll make me feel a LOT better in traffic, regardless of the "helmets don't make you any safer" comments.

Oh yeah, like most helmets, if you wear eyeglasses, you'll need to remove them before donning the helmet.

Tony
Last edited by TonyReynolds on Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AGV Blade Helmet

Postby Alan B » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:32 pm

Thanks to KF et al for this review.

I saw one of these in a motorcycle shop the other day. It really looks well made. Since I'm embarking on the Greyborg build I decided a better helmet was in order. I looked around and it seems there are a number of clearances going on now with these helmets, must be about time for the new model year. Prices under $75 are common, but availability of colors and sizes is restricted. So I put a blue/white one on order in XL. XL helmets are generally pretty snug on me so hopefully it will be a good fit.
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Re: AGV Blade Helmet

Postby ohzee » Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:43 pm

So I just got my AGV from fedex and tried it on. I have a large head so XL it was in a nice green color.
I am new to anything but bike helmets - still man is this one high quality product. Fits very well even with my glasses.
The insert is very nice for padding. I cant wait now to get out and ride with it. Very Very happy with the 85$ US Dollars
this helmet cost.. Will follow up after I take it out for a ride.. I am hoping my eye tearing days are behind me.
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Re: AGV Blade Helmet

Postby Farfle » Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:53 am

Ha, without even reading your review I ended up getting the avg K4 evo. Fits great, replacement wondscreens arent too expensive, fits great, clean lines, fits great, you get the point lol.

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Re: AGV Blade Helmet

Postby Alan B » Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:28 pm

AVG Blade Peak

I've been having problems when riding into the rising sun on the morning commute. It seems silly to ride along with one hand on the bars and the other shading the eyes, and makes it hard to pedal. It is not very safe either.

There are no pictures, reviews, or real information that I could find about the AVG Blade Peak visor accessory. They show pictures of the device, but never on a helmet. So I ordered it anyway and it arrived this evening after sundown, so I haven't been able to test it.

It goes on over the visor, and sits just above it, In fact when the visor is up it tucks under the peak so you can imagine it being just above the visor all the way back to the center of the helmet. Here are some quick photos:

Image

Image

In any case it looks like it will provide at least some shade for the visor and eyes.
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Re: AGV Blade Helmet

Postby melodious » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:04 pm

I have the Blade as well. It took me a while to get used to the looks as well as the fit vs. a full face helmet. There is a bit of wind noise but you can't do anything about it as it's pretty much an open helmet. The ratchet system is such a joy to work as well. I use it when the temperature is above 40.

Anyways, I saw you bought the peak (it's actually a hard item to find, unless you buy direct from AGV). I'd like to hear how it works for you with various sun conditions. For some reason it looks like it's purely cosmetic.
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Re: AGV Blade Helmet

Postby Alan B » Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:02 am

I found the AVG Blade Peak accessory from Amazon/Motorcycle Superstore. It shipped quickly.

I will test it soon. It appears to me that it will be a significant improvement. But we will have to see. At low sun angles it may require some head positioning to get a shading effect. My hand worked quite well, we just need to simulate that. :)
Last edited by Alan B on Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:08 am, edited 1 time in total. View post history.
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Re: AGV Blade Helmet

Postby melodious » Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:09 am

Ah yes, now I remember. The peak is able to lower down to the position you desire. I also read, however, is that some people have had problems with the peak after installation. I believe the clasping mechanisms had "popped" out, making the peak unusable. And it requires some special part only available from AGV. I may be wrong. It might have been the visor I was reading about (been a while). Make sure you have that thing on correctly. I don't want to hear about how you lost it (I sound like someones Mom now...) :wink:
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Re: AGV Blade Helmet

Postby Alan B » Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:18 am

The peak appears to be fixed in position, there are prongs that determine the position. The rotating cam knobs lock it and the visor to the helmet. The visor has detents, the peak does not seem to have adjustments. There were no instructions with the peak, though perhaps the instructions were in the original manual which I did not read thoroughly. The peak is essentially in the position the visor is in when the visor is up. So if you put your visor up and then imagine it is opaque you can see what the peak will do. I have done that with the visor in the past and it appeared to me that it would help. I considered getting a dark visor and leaving it up, or putting a stripe of tape on it and using that for a shade but on these cold mornings I want to be able to lower the visor, so the peak is the better option. Theoretically. :)
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Re: AGV Blade Helmet

Postby ohzee » Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:24 am

Image

I bought this for my AVG helmet and it works great. With the clear shield down I can adjust the smoked screen as needed.

My evening rides I always head West right into the Sun and this thing works great no matter what the conditions.
Last edited by ohzee on Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:25 am, edited 1 time in total. View post history.
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Re: AGV Blade Helmet

Postby The fingers » Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:46 am

If I were to upgrade my helmet, one of those would be nice. 8)
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Re: AGV Blade Helmet

Postby Alan B » Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:06 pm

AVG Blade Peak Test Run

Today was a nice sunny day but I just couldn't drag myself out on a day off early enough to ride into the rising sun. So I did the next best thing and went out a few minutes ago into the setting sun. I found a local street that has some sections that were directly into, and nearly directly into the setting sun. Enough to get a reasonable test.

There are two problems riding into the sun. One is sun directly in the eyes. The other is sun lighting up the visor itself, primarily the dirt and scratches, making it difficult to see the shaded areas ahead.

The peak sits just above the visor when the visor is up, in fact causing some interference with grabbing the visor to manipulate it. But this is a minor problem as it is still easy to grasp it off center where the spacing to the peak is greater, or you can push it down from higher on the helmet, again off-center where the peak is not in the way.

At least on the GreyBorg the riding position makes it easy to tip the helmet and place the peak in position to shade the eyes and a strip of the visor. This solves the primary problems and allows good visibility. I think in an upright to leaned forward position it will work fine. I did not try it on the Recumbent, there is might require more forward tip than is comfortable.

I don't have one of the secondary tinted visors mentioned above, those appear to be another possible solution.



And here the peak is installed on the AVG Blade helmet over a clear visor:

Image

Image
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