O'Neal Blade Hyperlight IPX Helmet Review

O’NEAL BLADE FULL FACE HELMET REVIEW

Review by Alex Sardella | Photos by Vincent Zacha-Herthel 

 

O’NEAL’s protection range runs the gamut from moto to mountain bike, with offerings that can cover riders head to toe. Earlier this year we checked out the Pike Helmet and had a solid experience with the lid. With that in mind, we were keen on stepping it up a notch and trying out the full face offering from O’NEAL. With summer laps at the bike park now coming to an end, we’ve been able to put the Blade Hyperlite from O’NEAL to the test over a hot and dry summer here in Northern California.

THE LAB

The O’Neal Blade Hyperlite is the mid-tier option in the Blade full face helmet series. The “Hyperlite” refers to its fiberglass shell, which allows the weight to come in at a respectable 1190g, sitting solidly in the middle of the range for a full-tilt downhill helmet. A slick black and white Matte finish on the exterior catches your eyes at first glance of the Blade. Small hits of branding and a long visor attached by large, anodized aluminum screws also pop out for the exterior aesthetic. The visor is somewhat adjustable, by half an inch, and is limited to the range of the center screw fixed to the top of the visor. You can opt to not screw in the middle screw, but the visor becomes a bit loose and rattles easily if you go that route.

O'Neal Blade Hyperlight IPX Helmet Review

On the inside, O’NEAL uses moderately sized foam throughout all sides of the helmet. The foam is a bit thicker on the cheek bones and sits rather comfortably. Some parts are removable and washable, but all parts are lined with antibacterial Polygiene treatment. There are pull tabs on either side of the cheek which allow for a quick removable of the liner in case of emergency. Looking under the foam, O’NEAL uses a Patented technology called IPX ACELL to bolster the protective capabilities of this hard charging lid. The star shaped green EVA foam pads move in all directions to help with rotational impacts at both slow and fast speeds. IPX acts as O’NEAL’s solution to rotational impact protection, as their own version of a MIPS-like technology. The green stars are sprinkled on all sides of the helmet and assist the helmet in passing EN1078 safety standards.

The O’NEAL Blade Hyperlite retails for $299.99 and comes in sizes XS – XL. Having this many sizes in a full face option is a huge plus in my book as it should ensure you get the fit dialed and therefore the safest and most comfortable helmet. Getting an exact fit on the Blade seems to be one of the strengths of the helmet.

O'Neal Blade Hyperlight IPX Helmet Review

THE DIRT

Now that we are through the Tech, lets dig into how the O’NEAL Blade Hyperlite helmet performs and feels while descending. The use of the word “descending” is key here, as, this is surely a downhill helmet and not meant to be worn pedaling uphill. That said, it will do OK in the event of a traverse or quick transfer. I have found the helmet to be rather warm overall. Although it has been a hot summer which certainly hasn’t helped matters, more could certainly be desired from a ventilation standpoint. Not including the chin bar, there are only 13 vents on the helmet, and they’re not 13 big ones either. We’d like to see slightly larger vents on the sides, and some more venting in the front, so there can be as much airflow as possible when you are smashing down the trail.

From a comfort perspective, the helmet fits me incredibly well and the foam is cozy on all touch points throughout my head. This may be due to the nice size range O’NEAL has for the Blade, which allowed me to get the fit more closely matched than other less specific lids. I typically run a size L helmet, and the Blade fits true to size. It’s not too tight nor too loose, and the foam has been wearing in nicely over the course of the summer too. The cheek pads are in the right space and the emergency pull tabs are easy to locate. I do really like the beefy style moto strap combined with the magnetic closure – it’s the best of both worlds and makes for an easy on/off with the helmet.

O'Neal Blade Hyperlight IPX Helmet Review

You would imagine that O’NEAL’s goggle line, Blur Optics, would be the ideal fit for the Blade helmet. I’ve been bouncing back and forth between a pair of Smith and Leatt goggles and have found the goggle integration streamlined and straight forward with these also. There have been no major adjustments or problems on the goggle compatibility front. Playing with straps or micro adjustments can be a pain, so it’s always nice when there is seamless integration across different brands.

One small protection feature I am questioning is the lack of coverage in the back of the head. There seems to be a large gap between my neck and the start of the helmet. Slightly concerning in the way of whiplash or a big crash that could leave you exposed. I looked at some other helmets I have worn and photographed, and it seems to be notable here with the Blade. It’s a small gripe, but when wearing a full face, we are looking for as much 360-degree coverage as possible.

The Wolf’s Last Word

The Blade Hyperlight IPX Helmet from O’NEAL is one of the brand’s premium full-face offerings, and with that I must hold it to its $300 price tag. The Blade’s internal foam feels secure and snug when wearing which allows for a confident feeling on trail. If the helmet had a touch more venting and a bit longer shape in the rear, I would consider this a very worthy option for those in the market for a new DH-ready helmet. The pros and cons are about even for me on this one. The lack of rear skull protection is concerning, and the venting could be a bit better as we have seen in some of its competitors. I’d recommend finding a local O’NEAL dealer to try one out, as the full range of adult sizes means you can truly find the right fit and see if the Blade is right for you.

Price: $299.99
Website: O’neal.com

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We Dig

360-degree comfort of interior foam
Magnet closure on moto straps
Length of visor
Nice range of sizes for full face

We Don’t

Could sit deeper on back of head
Look of Chin bar
Ventilation

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