Getting all that replaced would've costed me around INR 3000, so it was wise to put another 3000 and buy a brand new helmet, especially after considering the number of times my SOL was dropped from the seat of my motorcycle. A helmet dropped badly once, is almost as good as having no helmet.
My budget was INR 6500 for a helmet and I wasn't going to buy the SOL again. MT Helmets from Spain had created quite a stir in the market so I decided to check the top end version of their helmet (not top end anymore)- the MT Blade. I bought a Fluorescent Yellow colored helmet with silver graphics on it from their dealer in Bangalore called Moto 101 and It costed me 6250 INR. Below are my observations on the helmet after using it for 10,000 kms.
Fit and Finish:
For INR 6250, I couldn't ask for more. I loved the way the helmet tightens itself around the scalp and cheeks, keeping itself firm and stable. The fit was a perfect snug fit and it didn't let me realize that I was wearing a 1.4 kg helmet as the helmet's weight was distributed evenly across the head. The anti- allergic and smooth liner fabric keeps me comfortable inside and the stock transparent visor is 2.2 mm in thickness, pinlock ready, making it one the thickest visors on a helmet in its class! I've tried many other helmets out but after trying the Blade out, something told me this was it! Air circulation:
Whenever I used my SOL helmet, I felt the need to open my visor in traffic in order to allow some air to enter, despite it having 8 vents. In my opinion, a lot of helmets have a dozen or two air vents on them but still suck big time in terms of keeping your head cool. Of course, sometimes it is a marketing tactic since you'll be pulled in to buy a helmet that's got 12 or 20 vents. But, with the MT Blade, the 6 air vents it has ACTUALLY work well and one can feel the air enter from the vents!
I'm pretty happy with the way the air finds itself through the vents. In addition, the visor too doesn't fog up easily unless you breathe heavily, another plus point there! Since its winter now, I've had to close the nose vents for the early morning rides, such is functionality of the vents in the front.
Ride above 80 KMPH and you'll begin to hear the whooshing of strong winds hitting your helmet. There isn't much difference from the SOL helmet in terms of the noise but it is slightly better. I've tried helmets that are much more expensive and they too make way for a lot of wind noise so I'm not really complaining about this point. I'd suggest closing the upper air vents or wearing ear plugs in case the noise gets too annoying.
Personally, I love wind noise and am not a fan of ear plugs in any way but if do you hate wind noise, then there's no alternative than buying a helmet that could be more expensive than an iPhone 7! I feel people who complain too much about wind noise are sissies and probably have overprotective parents, or will turn out to be overprotective parents. After listening to the wind for 50,000 kms across India without earplugs, I can only say that it hasn't had a negative effect on my hearing ability. In fact, my hearing abilities might have got better if I think of some instances. :) Protection:
For INR 6250, this helmet is DOT and ECE certified like many other ridiculously expensive helmets out there. It doesn't come with SNELL certification if you were just thinking of that. Just to clear the air, helmets are extremely expensive and are DOT, ECE certified offer the same level of protection as the MT Blade, what you're paying extra for is the brand name, better fit, additional features, etc. So if someone tells you that an expensive helmet is safer but has the same certification as your helmet, you know which finger to show!
The locking mechanism on the Blade is D-ring, something that I prefer all the time. Visibility and other features:
The field of view this helmet offers is quite less. This is due to the jaw protection on the Blade being large, so you may have to use your neck muscles to look down a bit if you intend to look at the rear view mirror instead of just moving your eyeballs. It could be worse for tall people, no matter how much you adjust the rear view mirror. It is pretty much a race helmet so I think they've ignored this aspect. The blade also has a sun visor that drops down at the flick of a lever so you don't have to wear those ugly shades when you're riding. There's also a layer at the bottom of the helmet that is grippy in nature so in case you've kept the helmet on the seat of your motorcycle while you have some conversations, it won't slide and fall off.
The padding inside the helmet is washable and replaceable. The Blade also comes in two different shell sizes (one for sizes S & M and another for sizes L- XL) which makes more sense, unlike many other helmets that have one standard shell size but size varies depending on the thickness of the padding inside. That's like having a pair of large sized shoes and stuffing it with shit loads of foam so it fits you! There's also enough room near the ears for 'communication systems'.
What I didn't like about MT's Blade helmet:
* Area is compromised in the field of view inside the helmet. This isn't a big hindrance but it could get you into trouble in case you don't notice something that's present beside you while riding.
* The top of the helmet does not have a flat surface to mount an action camera. This isn't a functionality defect of any sort and is basically not a real problem but it definitely is a challenge.:)
* Speaking of mounting an action camera, I'm really not a fan of mounting one on the chin because it makes one look weirder and secondly, I wouldn't want a Chinese camera to be right in front of my face if something does hit me there first, especially when there's a lot of electronic devices exploding and making news around.
To bring this to closure, I feel that the MT Blade offers great value for money, there's no helmet in the range of INR 5500- INR 6500 that offers so much! From the vent sliders, the way in which the visor shuts and opens to the overall feel of the helmet, it does feel solid and robust. It definitely looks and feels like a good quality, premium helmet and gets at par with many helmets that cost INR 15000 and above.
A friend of mine who bought an AGV K3 seemed regretful after he checked my helmet out. Even after 10,000 kms of use, the padding hasn't stretched significantly so the snug fit almost remains the same. I did my best to maintain the visor so it is still extremely clear. This is one helmet that I actually feel like cherishing for a long time and luckily, I haven't dropped it till date! Even if I do consider upgrading to a more expensive helmet in the farther future, my expectations would be much higher than what they were before I bought the MT Blade, it definitely has raised standards.
By: Ssaajan Manoj Jogia