Salice is one of Italy’s lesser-known headgear manufacturers, but its glasses and helmets have always impressed us for both their quality and price.
The Bolt helmet is an old favourite, especially when it’s combined with Salice’s ITA shades with their matching tricolore graphics. Salice has revised its Bolt for 2014, aiming to improve on a lid that impressed us when it first appeared.
The airy 23-vent Bolt has had its ridged shape slightly smoothed to improve its aerodynamics, but its EPS core is still protected by a full in-moulded hard shell that wraps around every exposed edge, making it more resilient to accidental knocks.
At 312g (58-62cm) the Bolt’s not ultra-light, but that’s only a concern to weight obsessives. Its one-piece pad incorporates a bug net at the front, though the pad does take up more space than smaller, individual pads and on cold days fitting a skullcap underneath proved a bit of a squeeze. The lightweight straps have an open central section that allows moisture to pass through, and they feel very comfortable against your skin.
Its retention system – like its shape – has been revised. The single micro-adjust dial tightens the cradle, which is attached to anchor points at the temples, and you have to rely on the webbing straps for any vertical adjustment. It’s not as simple to find the sweet spot for this cradle as it is with the best helmets, though once you have set it the Bolt does feel comfortable. The dial itself is easy to cinch tightly – but it doesn’t lock. This meant it loosened occasionally when we were wearing it, though the helmet’s shape and its straps did keep it securely in place. More positively, the dial now includes four bright LEDs that can be set to constant or flashing mode, an excellent addition for night-riding safety.
The Bolt’s finish is up there with the very best, and it is both tough and comfortable. At this price Salice’s top lid is competing with the likes of Giro’s £130 Atmos and Bell’s Volt helmets (second or third in their respective line-ups) but it’s also up against Italy’s LAS, Met and Kask – which could prove much tougher competitors.