The 100% Altis Gravel helmet is a peak-less version of the MTB trail helmet and gives an exceptionally comfortable fit. It features several neat design touches that other brands should note, but the extra mass can make it quite warm, and the look won't appeal to everyone.
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Some people will wonder what exactly makes the Altis Gravel designed for riding gravel. The true answer would be: nothing. The Altis Gravel is identical to the Trail MTB version, which Liam tested, minus the peak. But don't let this or the name put you off as it has many excellent features that make it great for gravel riding, or road, or cross-country, or whatever style of riding you enjoy.
With the helmet being identical in construction to the mountain bike version, it is no surprise that safety is a key factor, leaving other areas such as ventilation and aerodynamics less important compared to some other models or brands. The Altis features the Smartshock Rotational Protective System, with 11 elastomers fitted within the shell that suspension the padding. 100% say this improves protection by compressing and reducing direct impacts and allowing movement independently from the helmet shell.
While there is no denying that having adequate protection is a good thing should the worst happen, there is a second more tangible benefit. On traditional helmet designs, the padding is usually attached by small velcro tabs, often losing traction after prolonged use. While the Altis has some small velcro tabs, it does not solely rely upon them. This allows the pads to be removed and washed easily, which can only be a good thing, despite the anti-bacterial pad material.
The padding on the Altis feels thicker than most other helmets, and they help provide an incredible amount of comfort, even for all-day rides. The helmet straps, with a wide link section beneath the ears and dual colour design, are also very comfortable and easy to adjust to suit your head and preference. The rear retention strap has a simple rotational dial, and the fixing point on the side of the helmet has two points on each side to adjust the fit. The only element that feels missing, from a fit perspective, is the lack of height adjustment for the rear ratchet.
The shell feels deep, offering good coverage on the rear section with the EPS shell material that feels thicker all around but more apparent on the front. The thickness is almost certainly for improved protection, and on the peaked version, it doesn't appear as noticeable. On the peak-less gravel version, it is visible both looking upon it and when wearing the helmet with the front section noticeable in your peripheral vision, almost as if there was a peak in place. While it is not too significant to negatively affect the vision, it isn't a factor on more road-based helmets.
The Altis is a little heavier than other similar priced helmets designed for the road, or light off-road use, with close to or sub-300g being the norm and the Altis weighing in at 326g. The weight does feel balanced over the whole helmet and combined with a good amount of padding, it never feels like a burden to wear.
The Altis features 14 vents, including a large vent at the top. 100% claim "massive airflow", but my experience is the opposite. The vents may be large, but no air channels are running the length of the helmet, reducing airflow across the head. Testing during the winter months may not seem like the best time to test and comment on airflow. Still, due to the colder air, a helmet's ventilation is actually far more noticeable. With the 100% Altis Gravel on moderately paced rides and upwards, I had a constant drip of sweat descending from the front of the padding. When combined with the thicker padding, it can create a reservoir, turning into a waterfall if you compress the padding. The lack of airflow and ventilation is only likely to increase as the days get warmer with summer approaching, but if you are a more sedate rider, it may be less of an issue.
At £90, the Altis gravel does offer good value for money considering the build quality, safety features and design. While there are few other gravel-specific helmets to compare to, it stacks up well compared to cross-country, trail, or road helmets. The MET Veleno recently tested is a touch more expensive at £100. Still, it can not match the retention system of the Altis. If you are looking for a helmet for a mix of riding, including mountain biking, road, or gravel, the Altis could be a suitable option so long as ventilation is less of a concern. You could also purchase the standard Altis, which is also priced at £90 and effectively get the removable peak for free.
If comfort and safety is a priority, the Altis Gravel is a great choice, with generous padding that makes it very comfortable for all-day use. The Smartshock safety system makes it easy to remove and replace the padding to allow them to be washed. Where the helmet suffers, however, is in ventilation, which is limited with very little noticeable airflow across the head for cooling, but this may not be a factor for everyone.
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