A sturdy, secure trail helmet with plenty of room for action camera attachment
The Altec is 100%’s only half-shell helmet and it has been around for a couple of seasons already. It boasts Fidlock’s rapid-to-fasten magnetic chinstrap buckle to boost what’s already a pretty bulging feature list considering the £140 swing tag – good enough to be considered one of the best mountain bike helmets out there.
Exclusive to 100% is the Smartshock Rotational Protection system that takes the form of suspended internal pads that float on concertinaed elastomer buttons. The idea is that the (very thick and comfy) pads can wobble and flex on the rubberised buttons embedded in the EPS in an impact, and the slight twist inside the helmet against the scalp will reduce the effect of a glancing impact.
Protection against head-on impacts is targeted by a toughened polycarbonate shell and multi-density EPS that aims to deal with impacts of different velocities. The interior itself is deep and dished-out, so the Altec sits snugly down towards the ears, and with the pads being so thick, there’s a very cushy and cosy feel.
With absolutely huge front vents, air flow is great (especially onto the forehead) and this would likely be one of the cooler helmets around if it wasn’t for how warm and wrap-around those internal pads are. With all the air that gets pumped in and onto the brow, cooling is still pretty good though, and denser pads mean it’s effective at mopping up sweat if you run hot, with less of it dribbling down your face or glasses while riding. You can squeeze out the pads at the top of climbs and the Altec seems to stay relatively stink free even after a lot of use.
In terms of stability, the rear dial retention wheel and cradle work very effectively and (similar to Troy Lee lids) there are tight adjustment increments, and the lightweight fixed-webbing chin and ear straps are well positioned and unobtrusive. The new Fidlock clasp isn’t essential, but the way it finds each side so easily is pretty convenient, and riders that like to open chin straps for extended climbs will find the speed of the system a bonus.
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For a half shell, the Altec feels reassuring and sturdy, the visor design works well and there’s also loads of real estate on top for POV cameras or lights to be positioned. Some testers have complained previously about the soft rubberised elastomers of the Smartshock digging in, but we had no issues this time out, so try it for size first. If the fit is good, there’s a lot going on here for the asking price and the sculpted looks are on the money too.