Bolle Sharp Helmet
Size Tested: Small (53-57 cm)
Color: Soft White
Bolle’s Stated Weight: 410 grams
Blistered Measured Weight: 433 grams
Removable Ear Pads
Adjustable Airflow Vents
Double Density EPS
Detachable, washable lining with soft facing
Goggle Strap Guide
Sizing: Small 54-58 cm, Medium 58-61 cm, Large 61-63 cm
Days Tested: ~40
One of the main problems I’ve had with helmets has been fit. I’ll find a helmet that initially fits, but overtime it packs out more and more until it is sloppy.
The other issue has been temperature regulation. Aside from the added protection, I have always been a firm believer in helmets because they keep my head warmer. However, on warm days or after a lot of hiking or sidestepping, I often feel like my head is overheating. So the things I look for most in a helmet are that it fits properly and is comfortable, while also being warm and ventable.
Adjustable Venting System
One of the nice features of the Sharp is that it has a venting system consisting of 6 vents and a low profile knob used to slide the vents open and closed. Venting systems in general are an incredible feature, especially since I ski a variety of terrain that requires frequent sidestepping or boot packing. Even just using the vents on warmer days when I may have overdressed may save a trip to the car to shed other layers.
However, the Sharp’s particular venting system is not easily adjustable. I can hardly open or close the vents while wearing the helmet without gloves on, let alone while wearing gloves. As a result, I have to rely on other people to adjust the vents or take the helmet off. Even with the helmet off and no gloves on, the venting system does not slide smoothly. (Contrast this to Jonathan Ellsworth’s review of the venting system of the Smith Vantage helmet.)
So, while it is nice that the Sharp has adjustable vents, they unfortunately are not the most convenient to use. As a result, I usually leave the vents open or closed for the ski day and only adjust them when absolutely necessary.
The goggle lock system on the Sharp is simple and easy to use. With the helmet on, I can easily apply and lock the goggles into place on the back of the helmet.
Bolle was smart and made the lock long enough so that it loosely covers the goggle strap (which also sits in a bit of a groove, so it’s not moving around), and this keeps the rubber goggle lock from being placed under much stress. After forty days of use, the lock looks good as new.
The fit system that Bolle uses for the Sharp consists of a removable padded liner and a low profile adjustment dial on back of the liner. This system is very adjustable, allowing for fine adjustments, which has been especially important as the helmet has packed down a little with use.
The only problem with fit that I have experienced is that the Sharp liner runs a little too far down the back of my neck. The main time this becomes an issue is with goggle fit. As a result of the helmet fit being long in the back, the helmet sits low enough on my forehead that my goggles push down on my nose. When I try to push the goggles up, so they aren’t plugging my nose, they are resisted by the helmet, which can’t tilt back any farther because of the liner. This may not be an issue for those with longer necks, but it’s worth noting for the rest of us.
In short, the Sharp’s fit system accounts for varied head circumferences, but not head height (distance to occipital protuberance). Some helmets have different settings so that the liner can be raised farther into the helmet, which may have provided a better fit for me.
Padding/ Comfort/ Sizing
The padding is soft and well placed, making the helmet feel very comfortable. The removable ear pads fit seamlessly with the rest of the helmet.
I have spent a considerable amount of time trying helmets on for sizing. My last helmet was a size medium Smith Maze. In general when I try on helmets I feel like I am in between sizes. A medium, like my old helmet, feels a little too big, while size smalls feel too constricting. I have been very satisfied with the sizing of the Sharp, especially because it is so adjustable. The helmet can be adjusted tighter than I usually have it, and Blister reviewer Jason Hutchins, who has a head circumference of 57cm, can comfortably wear the Sharp on its largest setting. Nice range.
The Sharp is made with an inmold construction, which consists of a polycarbonate shell fused with the foam liner. Bolle claims that this ultralight helmet is also very resistant to impact. The Sharp, weighing 433 grams, isn’t quite as lightweight as the Smith Allure, at 330 grams. However it is lighter than other women’s helmets such as the Smith Voyage (450 grams) and Smith Vantage (500 grams). Since the Sharp is lightweight, it not only aids in the comfort of the helmet, but also isn’t a burden to strap onto my backpack for touring.
Overall the Bolle Sharp helmet is a good, lightweight helmet. It will be a better choice for those who do not frequently open and close their helmet vents throughout the day, but tend to set-it-and-forget-it, and I would recommend trying the helmet on with goggles to make sure that the fit is right for you.