509 Altitude Carbon Fiber With MIPS Helmet

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Tested: 509 Altitude Carbon Fiber Off-Road Helmet with MIPS
We try on a lid from a snow brand that has some unique and impressive features.
Vital Review
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The Good
Light, comfortable, MIPS, cool magnetic buckle system
The Bad
Liner is a little old school, you have to trust the magnetic buckle system

I try to tread lightly when talking about helmets. I find it akin to talking about religion. People have faith in DOT, or SNELL, or ECE, or MIPS, or ODS, or any of the many tests and protection systems in a helmet. And until the helmet industry comes up with a new rotational testing procedure to make everyone happy, this debate will continue and without taking a digger in every helmet we get, we can’t get into the “protectiveness” of helmets. We just have to look at the features included by the manufacturer.

Moving on to this specific helmet, the 509 Altitude Carbon Fiber Helmet with MIPS comes from a brand that is more known for its snowmobile and snowbike gear. This falls in line with other cold-weather motorsport gear companies like FXR and Klim, both of which make impressively high-end motocross and off-road gear. 

Features of the 509 Altitude Carbon Fiber Helmet (from 509)

  • MSRP: $399.95
  • Helmet bag included with all Altitude Carbon Fiber Helmets
  • Comes standard with universal camera mount
  • Comes standard with Fidlock® easy-open magnetic strap clasp
  • Innovative aerodynamic channels & 8 intake/exhaust vents
  • 8 sizes across 3 outer shell molds ensure excellent fit
  • Meets and exceeds DOT & ECE 2205 safety certification standards
  • Revolutionary neck brace ready shell profile
  • Dual density, interlocking EPS
  • Removable, washable premium liner
  • Youth shell starts at 1260 grams
  • Specially designed expanded polyurethane chin insert
  • Class leading eye port opening dimensions, which provide optimum peripheral vision
  • Perfect 509 goggle fit
  • One-piece eye port trim

First Impression

Grabbing the helmet out of the box, I did notice how light it felt. Throwing the size large on my trusty kitchen scale, it came in at 1,330 grams (2.93 lbs.) which is on the lighter side of things, especially for a size large. The overall look of the Altitude helmet is pretty Euro, with the super pointy, angular visor and sharp lines around the helmet. It has an Airoh-ish look. The matte carbon finish mixed with the glossy white finish is cool, and black and white goes with any gear. 


I’ve worn many, many different helmets over the years and every time I slip on a new lid, I run through the catalog of helmet fitments in my head to feel how the new one, this time the Altitude, files in. Overall, it is a tiny bit on the bigger side of large, compared to other large helmets I have from Arai, Bell, Fox, 6D, etc. When trying on a helmet you always want the tightest fitting helmet without giving you a headache or hot spots. I’ve made the mistake in the past of setting off on a 6-hour trail ride with a size medium that, after an hour or so, felt like it was trying to squeeze my brain out of my skull. 

I have a more round than typical oval/European shaped head and the Altitude fits really comfortably. I feel good contact around the crown of my head without any gaps at the forehead or at the back. It doesn’t have as much of a wrap around/wrap under feeling that other helmets have (Aria, Shoei, TLD). That is, the bottom edge of the helmet stops a little shorter and doesn’t feel as though it curves under and hugs the back of your head or your jawline. 509 claims that this is a “neckbrace ready” design.

The cheek pads are somewhere in the middle in size as well. Meaning, while a Fox V3 feels like the cheek pads are very short and leave a lot of room for your face and Arais have long, large cheek pads that cover a lot of your face, the 509 Altitude is in the middle zone. 


This is one of the most unique features of this helmet since I haven’t seen this on any other motorcycle or bicycle helmet (maybe its a snow thing?). 509 calls it their Fidlock system and it is a magnetic buckle system that does not use any double-D rings. On the end of one strap there is a flat metal piece with a raised lip, and on the end of the other strap is sort of a D ring with a piece that magnetically latches into the flat piece on the other strap. Look at the photos, since this description isn’t painting a great picture. 

The two ends of the straps are shaped in such a way that when the straps are pulled, there is no way for the buckle to come loose. Any force is directed into the edge of the buckle where the D ring sits securely. The only way to unhook the buckle is by pulling on the red tab, which releases the buckle immediately. It is way faster than fiddling with a double-D ring. I think this design was developed for snow guys that have bulky gloves on. You can take of your helmet, even with gloves on, it two quick motions in like two seconds. 

I did everything I could (short of breaking the hemet) to try to get the buckle to come loose without pulling on the red tab. I pulled the straps apart, I pulled the straps straight down, I pulled one side, I pulled the other... From what I can tell, this system is pretty legit, but I would be lying if I didn't have at least a little hesitation, just because we (moto guys) are so used to double-D ring closures. 

The Rest

Ventilation is neither awesome or bad, just middle of the road. The MIPS liner is a nice safety feature if you believe in that technology. The cheek pads and crown liner are pretty old school to remove with tabs and slots and fidgeting required. So many helmets nowadays have just four snaps or even magnets like the Bell Moto-9 that makes it so easy to throw the liner in the washing machine. 

Final Word

For riders looking for a light, carbon fiber helmet without spending a massive amount of money, I think you’d be happy with the 509 Altitude helmet. But, you do have to be a rider who isn’t a brand snob. Also, for the money, I’d like to see a little better finish (fancier liner material, modern liner removal) but those are small gripes for an otherwise light and comfortable helmet with a cool and convenient buckle system. 


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509 Altitude Carbon Fiber With MIPS Helmet
Carbon Fiber
small - XXL
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Where To Buy
Free 3-day express shipping on orders over $79.
Free shipping on orders over $85.

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