Alpinestars has been making motorcycle gear for over 50 years, and in that time they’ve developed some of the best protection available for the trail and track. But until now, they had never ventured into the world of dirt helmets. So when they debuted their Supertech M10 (S-M10) in January 2018, to say the industry was excited is a bit of understatement. Would it be a triumph or a tragedy? Thankfully it’s the former, and when the folks at Alpinestars threw one my way to try out, I was pretty excited to see what all the fuss was about.
My first impression was surprise at how many “things” were on this helmet. A feature-laden helmet was a risky path for Alpinestars to take because designing from square one is a big task. Most first-timers would have perfected the basics before jumping into a technical helmet. Instead, Alpinestars went all out.
Starting with the shell, Alpinestars definitely did their research and went with the gold standard approach. Utilizing a combination of 3K carbon, unidirectional carbon and aramid, they’ve built a composite shell that will go toe-to-toe with any competitor on weight (at barely over three pounds for a medium) and impact protection.
The S-M10 differentiates itself from competitors with added touches for safety and comfort. The cut-outs at the shell base are “relief sections” for the collarbone. Instead of only removing material, they’ve replaced this section with an energy-absorbing rubber to help with impacts. This was the first indicator that Alpinestars was putting thought into every part of their new helmet.
The second indicator was the attachment of the visor. The S-M10 visor is non-adjustable, using three circular points for attachment. This allows the visor to get ripped off from any direction, since you don’t always know which way you’re going to fall. This keeps unnecessary jerks of the head to a minimum, with the only downfall being that it’s not adjustable. Thankfully the placement of the visor works great, even at 70MPH and on sunny days. Alpinestars even throws in a spare visor because they know that it’s not a matter of if you’ll need it, but when.
Moving to the inside of the helmet, the features keep on coming. The MIPS system that the S-M10 uses is unlike anything I’ve seen. Instead of a traditional MIPS system that uses those flexible yellow plastic connectors to allow for rotational movement, the S-M10 uses a slippery fabric on the outside of its liner. Using slippery fabric in lieu of plastic connectors looks like it would work well enough, but since I didn't take a spill I don't have any personal testimonies. Odds are, though, that with ECE and DOT ratings, plus accommodations for an “eject” inflatable helmet removal system and emergency response cheek pads, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a safer helmet.
Almost as important as safety is comfort, and the A-Head Adjustment System gives comfort in spades. The A-Head system is essentially a little adjustable hammock for the top of your head. It connects at four points within the helmet, and each point has three slots for tailoring the fit. While other helmets have adjustability, the A-Head system is so quick and easy that it encourages you to try different setups without being a huge pain in the ass.
Another key to comfort is airflow. The thing with virtually all dirt helmets is that there’s going to be a lot of air coming in, but it’s the exhausting that counts. Without a doubt, the S-M10 is superb when it comes to extracting heat—so much so that I was often wearing a beanie for my fall rides with the S-M10.
Added bonuses are channels for routing hydration tubes on the chin bar and cut-outs at the ears, in case you want to throw in comms. If all of that wasn’t enough, Alpinestars includes a helmet bag they could have easily charged $60 for. With all of this, you start getting the picture of what the philosophy behind developing this helmet was… Overdeliver.
The S-M10 was great at speed. It was comfortable, it stayed put on my head and after my short time with it, I couldn’t find any true faults. Alpinestars developed a great helmet that looks awesome and my only suggestion for them going forward is to develop a cheaper version.
If they could lose the carbon and drop the bag to get into the $300-400 category, I could see these flying off shelves. As it is, the solid colorway S-M10 is $579.95 and the beautiful S-M10 Meta that I tested was $649.95.
With any helmet hitting north of the $500 mark, the bar for features is very high. From comfort to safety to aesthetics helmet manufacturers better bring the goods if they plan on selling a helmet that costs as much as new Rekluse clutch. Thankfully the S-M10 exceeds expectations in all areas and confirms that Alpinestars really did overdeliver with their first foray into the dirt helmet world.
This article originally posted on EssentialMoto.com