Some plants can tell you how, when, and where to touch them, secreting acids or growing thorns as a means of communication. Once you know where the spicy bits are you can pluck the fruit and spread their seeds accordingly. Similarly, the Altis half shell helmet from 100% has one position that it likes best on my skull, and once I find that particular tilt it feels great all damn day.
A size large/XL 100% Altis lid with a moderate amount of mud dried across the back weighs 397g and retails for an even $100 on the brand’s website. That’s quite a good price for a helmet that mitigates both direct and rotational impacts. There are six colors available, and three of those are variations of black. There’s a “snakeskin” colorway and a tan shell. In short, if you’re looking for exciting and flashy hues this may not be the dome protection for you.
Rotational protection in the Altis is taken care of by the brand’s Smartshock Rotational Protective System (SRPS) which consists of eleven blue discs that are nestled inside the skin-soft padding, allowing the helmet to turn on your scalp when you hit something — like the earth. High-density EPS foam takes care of the direct impacts, and the molds are size-specific. I managed a few tumbles through mostly-edible plants whilst wearing this lid and my head felt healthy afterward. Well, it felt as good as it did prior to crashing; the level of health is up for debate. I didn’t bang it against any trees, so the EPS isn’t dented and the outer shell looks great despite some muddy slides.
Fourteen gaping ports around the shell do a swell job to let the wind roll over your scalp, and the air moves at a decent clip between them thanks to gaps in the anti-microbial liner. It’s been a while since I tested a truly steamy half shell, and this one is just as good as the best venters for getting the perspiration out of the helmet and into the air where everyone behind you can ingest it.
100% Altis fit and rotational impact protection
When I first slid the Altis over my thick horse-hair it felt somewhat sharp in two places near the crown of my skull. Most helmets fit my head’s shape really well, with zero sharp sensations through my matted fur. I then rotated it about 1cm rearward from my usual helmet position and it feels great there. I can’t quite figure out which part of the helmet is creating that uncomfortable pressure, but it’s easily abated with a tiny angle adjustment. I was always taught to set the pitch of a helmet such that the shell base sits an index finger’s thickness from my eyebrows, but the 100% designers may use a different metric.
Fit adjustments are intuitive and easy on the Altis, with the usual rear ratchet wheel that can slide up and down to change the overall angle of the shell. The chin strap slides fore and aft as expected, and the trident buckle is easy enough to use with thin gloves on.
Unlike a rattling yellow MIPS insert the SRPS rotational protection is quiet no matter how chunky the track, which should please any of us who can’t tolerate cacophonic gear. Friends with long hair say this 100% system doesn’t cut or get tangles in their hair like MIPS inserts tend to.
A three-position adjustable visor creates ample space for goggles below and provides a good bit of sunblock in the right season. There’s one south-facing trail here in Bellingham that angles sunbeams directly into your eyes on winter afternoons and I was happy to be able to cut most of that light by sliding the visor low. You can cram the temples of your glasses into the Altis vents, but there isn’t really a comfortable position to leave them in where they can’t rattle loose. For myself it’s likely best to keep the shades on my face, as I often forget them and then they’re donated to the next person who rolls through.
While you won’t find a reasonable way to eat this plastic crown most riders will likely find a comfortable position to mount it on their head. The Altis gives great protection with less noise for less than the price of a lift ticket at some bike parks, and it looks good doing it.
- Ample fit adjust
- Great coverage and protection
- Windy venting
Pros and cons of the 100% Altis half shell helmet.
- Not comfortable in all positions
- No colorful options