Bluegrass have redeveloped their whole product line starting from scratch for 2018 and onwards. The Italian brand, which is an offshoot of the classic MET Helmets marque, now offers knee, elbow, and core protection in two distinct lines – Skinny and Solid. The Skinny line is focused towards longer trail and enduro rides with an emphasis on comfort and fit. The Solid line is orientated towards racing and bike park days with a higher level of protection.
Both ranges are then split between two price points, one with D30 padding and one using a more affordable dual density foam. Bar the pad material, Bluegrass were keen to point out that regardless of price the protection uses almost identical construction methods and both pads are certified to the same CE levels – just because you have less to spend doesn't mean your protection should be compromised. The following is a quick insight into the new range; more information can be found on the Bluegrass Eagle website
The Skinny Elbow and Knee guards use extended sleeves to help with a secure and comfortable fit, they use silicone bands on the on the hems to keep them in place. Sizing on all 2018 Bluegrass knee and elbow pads are XS to XL. The D30 versions cost €99 for the knee pads and €90 for elbows, the more affordable foam version costs €50/€45.Skinny Armor Lite
The D30 back protector is the only option for the Armor Lite, it is shaped to be neckbrace compatible and is CE Level 2 certified. The wide back protector is also designed to protect shoulder blades and the upper back and is claimed to weigh 530g. The stretch mesh fabric is lightweight, and uses a silicone hem at the waist and has elastic loops to hook onto your pants or shorts. Solid Line
The Solid Elbow and Knee guards are bulkier than the Skinny line and include some extra features like adjustable hem straps with velcro. The knee pads also have a side zip, so riders can remove the pads without taking off shoes and plenty of care has been taken to ensure the zips don't irritate your skin. There are extra pads surrounding the main protective piece, to add extra protection around joints and materials are thicker and harder wearing ward off pedal pins and gravel slides. Again there are five sizes and standard and D30 options. The prices are higher at €75/€70 and €120/€110 for the D30Solid Armor B+S
The Solid Armour Back and Shoulders uses the same D30 back plate as the Skinny Armour, but with added D30 shoulder pads, there are also soft foam pads on the chest. Vaportech fabric should keep you cool and there is an option to store a 1.5-2.0litre bladder in the back plate pouch. There are two side pockets to keep money or a lift pass, making it a good park riding and downhill option when you don't need to carry tools or tubes.
We met Bluegrass in Finale Ligure, the day following the EWS final to check out the new line. We did a couple of runs to try out the pads and will be putting them through their paces during this winter for a long-term test. Our initial thoughts are that they are a big improvement on previous offerings from Bluegrass, having a great attention to detail. Using professionals like Liam Moynihan from the Dudes of Hazard and Team BH Miranda Racing's Karim Amour and Alex Cure, they appear to have built a great protection lineup to stand proudly in the huge range of products on the market.
For more information head to the Bluegrass Eagle website.