- Well thought-out chinstraps
- Hot when working hard or climbing slowly
- No MIPS or equivalent
Style and comfort is the name of the game for Alpina's Rootage helmet. This sleek carbon fibre lid is easy to live with and comfy to boot, but it's a little hot – and it's expensive too.
- Buyer's guide to mountain bike helmets: get the best bike helmet for you
- When should you replace your bicycle helmet?
- Bikepacking kit on a budget: everything you need to bivvy for under £100
Alpina might not be the best known brand in the UK, but the Rootage may help change that. It's a stylish number built for trail and enduro riding, offers low rear coverage, and boasts some unique features.
The outer layer has carbon fibre plates for – it's claimed – greater protection, while the lower edges contain a ceramic for resistance to scratches and bumps.
Inside is the usual expanded polystyrene layer – Alpinia calls it Hi-EPS – and as it's in-moulded the liner is permanently bonded to the outer shell and contains no voids at all. The result is stronger than if you glue (or even tape) the outer shell to the liner, if more expensive to manufacture – you should expect in-moulding on helmets at this price.
On the other hand, there's no MIPS layer or other rotational-impact protection tech here.
The adjustable peak is a good size and there are large vents front and rear for cooling. I'd like to see more on the upper forehead, however – I get a little warm when climbing slowly in the Rootage, and it's noticeable when stationary too. A few more inlets on the front would help.
At any decent speed airflow isn't a problem, and the front-most vent is covered with mesh to stop insects – another handy touch. Nobody likes a grumpy bee freaking out on their scalp...
The chin strap is secured by a ratchet, as also seen on the Giro Fixture, so is adjustable in small increments on the fly. It's not wholly necessary, but it's nice feature all the same. The usual Y-shaped sliders make adjusting the straps comfortably around your ears easy.
The rear cradle is positioned well – not too high or too low – and is comfortable. The dial can feel a little vague (you can't really feel or hear individual clicks at you ratchet tighter or looser), but it works well enough.
Although a little warm at low speeds, the Rootage is supremely comfy. The padding may look a little sparse but it works very well, and the Alpina is good fit for my fairly round and not super tall head shape. That said, I'm within a centimetre of the lower limit of the Small (52-57cm), and if you're any smaller than that you may find the Rootage too big.
At 360g for this Small version, weight is about average.
At £139.95 the Rootage is very much at the upper end for enduro open-face trail lids, and up there with the £149.99 Endura MT500.
However, for £150 you can get a Bell Sixer or Giro Montara with MIPS, while the a Troy Lee A2 offers MIPS at £140. The Bontrager Rally is also £140 while offering rotational-impact protection, in this case in the form of WaveCel.
The Alpina Rootage is a good-looking lid that's hardwearing and very comfy. It's a little hot if you're working hard, and it's expensive (if not uniquely so) for something without rotational protection, but for 'normal' UK temperatures and general fast trail riding, it's an excellent choice.