Skip to main content

100% Altec helmet review

The 100% Altec is the company's first open face helmet and is aimed at riders who seek a lighter weight helmet with more ventilation

100% Altec helmet
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

100%’s first open-face helmet is high on protection and lower-speed ventilation with premium details to justify price

For

  • Smartshock system absorbs rotational forces
  • Large vents radiate heat during slow-speed climbs

Against

  • Isn't as airy at higher speeds
  • Snug fit

Altec is 100%’s first non-full-face helmet but still offers a good balance of protection and ventilation for aggressive riders who play all day.

The geometric shell design with contrast colour vent inserts has a full protective hardshell wrap around the bottom edge to prevent accidental drop/kitbag/transport damage. The rear three-quarter coverage is good too. There are five different colourways mostly in muted matt colours for an understated look.

It comes in three sizes with a dial-adjustable, two-position cradle on the back but we’d strongly suggest trying before you buy, as sizing is snug. Contrast straps are anchored on a plastic Y junction plate to keep them flat and stop wind flap/buzz and the buckle is a simple, classic snap-lock design. The pads are mounted on ‘Smartshock’ elastomer columns (they look like little red candlesticks). Like MIPS and other systems, they are designed to let the helmet ‘float’ around your head on impact, reducing the immediate rotational/shearing force that often causes the most damage. We can’t categorically vouch for their effectiveness, but it’s potentially a useful extra level of protection when you need it most. The small blue anchor studs are unobtrusive while riding too although they can leave an imprint on bald heads after a long ride.

100% Altec helmet

100%'s Smartshock is designed to absorb rotational forces similar to MIPS (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

The mid-length peak clunks between three different angle settings to sit well with goggles and the flank vents are also designed to sync with the arms of your riding specs for secure storage.

The 15 vents include five large front ports and they are all tapered to the inside to help suck air off your head. This works better than most boosted-protection helmets at lower climbing speeds or when you’ve stopped for a breather and that’s where most aggro/gravity riders will want that heat reduction. There’s no internal channelling to direct airflow over your scalp though so it doesn’t cool as well at speed as the best in category helmets from Lazer and Specialized. At 330g for a small, it’s relatively light too, which helps reduce head nod on longer days or bigger drops.

Verdict

If you’re after deep-dish, floating-pad head protection that stays pretty cool on the climb back up, 100%’s Altec is definitely well worth a look. Just try before you buy to get the correct fit.

Tech Specs: 100% Altec

  • Discipline: Trail / Enduro
  • Price: £139 / $165
  • Sizes: 50-55 / 55-59 / 59-63
  • Colours: 5
  • Weight: 330g (small)
Guy Kesteven

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He got an archaeology degree out of Exeter University, spent a few years digging about in medieval cattle markets, working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit he’s also coughed out a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too. We trust Guy's opinion and think you should, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel Ltd MTBs, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Cannondale Supersix Evo Dura-Ace Di2 Disc road bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg