100% makes a range of full-face headwear but also this open face, called the 100% Altec helmet.
Like a lot helmets the 100% Altec helmet uses a Multi-Density EPS foam, with an injection-moulded polycarbonate micro-shell. To protect the foam, the helmet is bottom wrapped in that shell, and the whole package has extended coverage down the back for added protection.
The Altec doesn’t have a MIPS liner but it does come with an in-house Smartshock suspended pad system that behaves in a similar way. The five pieces of pad are joined to 14 elastomers that locate in holes in the EPS. When there’s an impact these bumpers absorb some of the shock and also allow the pads to slide slightly, reducing the effect of rotational impacts. I saw several systems like this in last month’s test but there’s a couple of things I don’t like about the Smartshock system – when you pull the pads out for cleaning it pulls out some of the elastomers. I can also feel two of the bumpers on the top of my head when riding and there’s a hard edge to the foam in this area that digs in a bit too.
The Altec uses a dialled retention device with a wide range of adjustment and it’s also pretty precise for fine tuning. It has height adjustment too but it’s very minimal. I really like the three-position visor though; it lifts up in pretty big jumps, doesn’t skew to one side and there’s plenty of space to stash a pair of goggles underneath. Round the back there’s a recess for the strap and on top of the helmet there a big flat space for a stick-on GoPro mount.
The buckle is just a standard design and 100% uses those fixed webbing holders at the sides, which I really like because they don’t slide up and down. Unfortunately on our helmet they were set unevenly.
The 100% Altec has some pretty big forward vents but it’s not the coolest helmet I’ve tested. I’m also not a fan of the white EPS as it can get dirty pretty quickly. This helmet is also sporting a few dings and nicks in the vent pockets, although that’s par for the course with any MTB helmet. I like the styling and the Altec does have plenty of innovative features but overall I’ve found it uncomfortable to wear. Obviously, the caveat is that all helmets and heads have a unique shape but I do think the rubber press-stud fasteners could be softer or at least hidden under the foam. I also wonder why 100% has developed its own protection system when it’s not any cheaper – for £140 you can actually buy a helmet with a MIPS liner and sweat pads that don’t need treating with kid gloves.