Back in July, Ride 100% dropped their all-new open face all-mountain trail mountain bike helmet, the 100% Altec. Curious about the helmet’s Smart Shock suspended rotation system, a technology designed to protect the rider against oblique impact concussion injuries, we got the Altec in for review. At first glance, it looks as though the blue Smart Shock elastomers are going to sit rather uncomfortably on your skull, each its own small pressure point, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that you don’t notice them at all; in fact, you barely even notice you’re even wearing an MTB helmet at all. Here’s how we got on with the Altec.
Ride 100% Altec All-Mountain Trail MTB Helmet
What is striking about this helmet is the cavernous vents it sports. While there are only 15 of them in total, as compared to the 26 vents you’ll find on the Bell Sixer, they are somewhat voluminous. So of course, the airflow through this helmet is plentiful, making it a great choice for hot sweaty summer days in the saddle, though unfortunately we won’t be seeing many of those for a while.
Weighing in at 350g (size medium), the 100% Altec open face helmet is fairly middle of the pack for a trail/all-mountain MTB helmet. However, when you consider the impact protection technology it is kitted out with, I’d say you’re getting a lot for those grams. The Altec utilises a unique impact protection technology called the Smart Shock suspended rotational system. It is composed of 14 elastomers suspended within the comfort liner that each act independently by compressing and absorbing direct impacts. Not only do they compress in the vertical plane, they can also compress laterally to allow your head to move independently to the outer shell of the helmet during an oblique impact. This technology has been developed specifically to protect the rider against oblique impact concussion injuries. Thankfully, we haven’t been able to test the safety features of the helmet, as we’ve had a long and happy period of zero blows to the head.
The size of the comfort liner itself is easily adjusted with the use of a ratcheting fitting system at the back, with no fewer than 45 clicks of adjustment. Often such ratchet systems can degrade over time with grit from the trail clogging up the mechanism but after 3 months of riding with this helmet, the ratchet system is still as good as new. The comfort liner pads have antimicrobial properties to stop them getting too fausty with microbes that like to live on your sweat. That said, if your sweat is still to appetising to stop them making a home for themselves on your helmet, you can easily remove the pads to wash them.
The 100% Altec has an adjustable visor; flick it up to place your googles underneath and pop it back down again when you’re ready to hit a descent. The visor is also pretty flexible so shouldn’t snap off easily when you crash. If you’re more of a sunglasses person than a googles person the Altec has a pretty sweet storage place for them at the back. It appears to work well with 100% sunglasses as well as our Oakley sunglasses.
The chin strap is non-adjustable at the sides, but it just so happened to fit me perfectly, with the strap joins sitting just underneath my earlobes. Others with slightly longer heads might find that the join may press against their ear lobe. The strap fastens with a simple plastic no-fuss buckle. Overall, the length of the strap is adjustable but only at the buckle.
The Bottom Line
Can we recommend the 100% Altec? Absolutely. This is a really comfortable helmet for trail days. It’s really lightweight so you barely even notice you’re wearing it, exactly how a good helmet should feel. Fit it and forget it. It has been an ideal helmet for summer; the large vents help encourage maximum airflow over the skull. I chose the white colorway specifically to reflect those hot beams away from my head. There is absolutely nothing worse than a black helmet in summer. The Altec is also available in Black, Slate Blue, Charcoal and Red. $165 will get you one!