The 100% Altis is the budget-friendly younger sibling of the very well-reviewed Altec. While its lower price means fewer features and a noticeable reduction in build quality, it’s a proven case of substance over style as the Altis is pleasantly surprising with its superb comfort and effective ventilation.
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The Altis bolsters 100%’s rather slim open face helmet lineup, filling the spot left open for a more budget-friendly lid. Even though it sheds £50 off the asking price, it shares quite a lot with its spendier brethren, the Altec.
Similarities between the Altec and Altis include the look and the vent layout, including an almost identical visor that offers three positions and plenty of room for goggle storage. Still, it also gets a Nexus Push Release Snap-Buckle, and the ratcheting fit system found on the £140 lid.
As a cheaper helmet, there are a few differences, however. This Altis has high-density EPS foam, rather than posh multi-density foam found on the Altec, and 100%’s own Smartshock rotational impact reduction system gets 11 points on the Altis; three points less than the Altec.
That’s not all it loses either as, against its pricier counterpart, it’s missing a single vent, coming kitted with 14. Those vents are also noticeably smaller, but even so, this helmet shows no reluctance to encourage masses of air to breeze over your skull. Before moving on, the Altis has tipped my scales at a respectable 356g.
When testing other 100% helmets, such as the Trajecta, I felt like they were too round for my more oval-shaped skull, putting a lot of pressure on my forehead. So I was very pleasantly surprised with how well the Altis fit. In fact, I’ve found the helmet to be incredibly comfortable; it’s well-padded, and the shape works excellently with my head.
Speaking of the pads, they’re removable and anti-microbial. During my couple of months of testing, they’re yet to pick up a stench, which is impressive considering my ability to seemingly sweat on command. The helmet has been tested during the cooler months, though, so ask me again when things warm up.
Much like the Trajecta, the Smartshock points can be felt on the forehead, leaving a mark after extended periods on the bike. Generally, it didn't affect the helmet’s comfort during long rides.
At £90, the helmet’s finish clearly lacks the high-quality standard of others in its price range. There’s an awful lot of EPS on show, and the paint job isn’t terribly well done. Granted, these issues are merely cosmetic and absolutely aren’t telling of the Altis’s impressive performance.
Another flaw is that the retention system can interfere with glasses, making them sit on my face in an awkward and not always comfortable position. Often, it takes some jiggling to get them playing nicely with the helmet. If you’re one to remove glasses on the climbs and pop them on for the descents, you may also find this issue.
It sits at a price point that’s rife with great helmets, though. A shining example is the Troy Lee Designs A1 Drone, priced at £95 and to many trail fashionistas out there, it’s regarded as the king of cool. While famed for being a looker, it’s known for being pretty warm, and it doesn’t come built with any form of rotational impact protection.
Another helmet costing £95 is the Smith Engage. It’s built with significantly less EPS on show, a full-fat MIPS liner, and it gets an integrated spot to store eyewear.
While the 100% Altis is very slightly held back by its not-ideal finish and its retention system can fumble with eyewear, it’s a helmet that will make many trail riders very happy. It’s excellently comfortable, and the level of airflow it encourages is nothing but impressive.