Alpinestars Supertech S-M10 Helmet
As one of the most respected brands in motorcycling, and motocross in particular, Alpinestars has built its legacy on boots. Over the years its has slowly been moving up the body by offering knee, elbow, and chest protection, riding gear and, until very recently, stopping at the neck with the BNS Tech Carbon neck brace. Now Astars can truly be called a head-to-toe gear company with the all new Supertech S-M10 Helmet.
If you missed it, Alpinestars announced its first motocross helmet at this year’s Anaheim 1 with Broc Tickle being the first rider to showcase the lid in professional competition. But the general public, including the media, hasn’t had a chance to check out the helmet ourselves for months, so Alpinestars invited us out to Milestone MX, in Riverside, California, to get a closer look and spin some laps with S-M10.
What It Is
First off, there isn’t just one unique, groundbreaking feature that makes this motocross helmet completely different that any other, but there are a ton of features that add up to a pretty unique helmet option. Starting with the basics, the carbon shell is made of three layers of material. The outer is a 3K carbon, high-density layer, followed by a unidirectional carbon composite layer for radial strength, and then an aramid fiber layer for penetration protection. One major feature of the shell isn’t the construction, but rather, the range of shell sizes available. Each of the four main helmet sizes (small, medium, large, and extra large) all have their own dedicated shell size. In contrast most helmet manufacturers save time and expense by using one shell size for multiple helmet sizes and just changing the liner and padding.
Next is the multi density EPS polymer liner, which has four different densities in different spots around the helmet to match those specific impact zone needs. The chin-strap at 26 mm is wider than certification requirements. The cheek pads have an emergency release system and the top center of the liner has a spot for a Eject device.
On to the features that are a little more ground breaking. First is the A-Head fitting height and and angle adjustment system which allows for a more tailored fit. Essentially it is a rectangular layer of plastic netting that has attachment points at each of its corners. In the “stock” position, each of the corners have pegs that are in the middle of three possible holes. By moving the four corners to the lower positions and stretching the layer tighter, it would raise the helmet on your head. Conversely, moving the pegs to the upper holes would slacken the layer and let your head sit deeper into the helmet. By only adjusting the front or rear two corners, you can adjust the forward and rearward tilt of the helmet.
The visor position is non-adjustable, but what makes it unique is its release system. Instead of plastic bolts that are designed to break or magnets like the Fox V3, the Supertech helmet has a circle of plastic clips that hold a peg on the visor in place until force is applied. The two benefits to this release system that we can see right off the bat is that, one) you don’t have to replace plastic hardware when the visor breaks off and, two) it is still very sturdy and it would be hard to imagine it being knocked off by roost.
Along the lower edge of the of the sides of the S-M10 are softer areas designed to lessen the chance of a collarbone break if they came into contact with a rider’s body. Instead of the hard carbon shell, there is a section of stiff-ish rubber, covering sections of EPS that run all the way to the front of the chin bar. Speaking of the chin bar, there are channels in the EPS on both sides of the chin bar running underneath the cheek pads for a hydration hose - no need to punch a hole in the front grill.
By now most of you know about MIPS, but the Supertech S-M10 has its own version. Rather than being a single layer of low-friction material between the EPS liner and padding, the S-M10 has multiple sections of a low-friction material wrapped in a silk-like cloth that still maintains its rotational energy absorption no matter what position you have the A-Head system adjusted to. Lastly, the ventilation system was a priority with shell design facilitating incoming air and creating a low-pressure area at the back of the helmet to suck hot air out.
How It Worked
Full disclosure, we’ve only worn the Supertech for a couple motos so that’s why this is a “First Impression” not full review. That being said, there are some features that were immediately noticeable and have us pretty excited about the S-M10.
This motocross helmet is light, even for the DOT version. Astars claims that a medium ECE helmet is 1260g (2.77 lb) and the DOT version is 1370g (3.02 lb), but using our super fancy measuring device at the office (mail scale) the DOT size Lage we received was a shade under 3 lb. While riding, the lack of mass was easy to notice and while we didn’t ride all that long in it, over a full day of riding, especially on long off-road rides, having a light helmet can really make a difference in your comfort and energy levels.
It was 99 degrees when we rode in the S-M10 and its aggressive ventilation system was, thankfully, easy to notice. Obviously, with all the padding and liner material, no motocross helmet will feel like a bicycle helmet, but we did notice a cool breeze on left and right side of the forehead. We would say venting is better than most since feeling any sort of cool air flow in your helmet on a nearly 100 degree day is difficult to achieve.
Some helmets can feel like they are really wrapping around your head with the padding making a lot of contact with your head and cheeks (Arai for example) while other helmets can feel like they are more open (like Fox’s helmets typically). The Alpinestars Supertech does a good job of being somewhere in the middle. The cheek pads don’t give you a claustrophobic feeling nor do the pads feel like they are covering the back of your neck. Also, the ear openings are generous for those with average to large ears. But, there is a secure, snug fit that feels solid and plush. So far, we didn’t notice any hot spots or pressure points.
Sizing wise, the fit was pretty spot on. One of our guys had a Large and it fit him like any other large, yet it did seem to tilt a little downward pushing his goggles farther down his face than was comfortable. All we had to do was adjust the A-Head system by lowering the front two pegs and changing the tilt of the helmet. After the adjustment, the goggle port was perfectly aligned with his face and allowed the goggles to rest where they should.
We are going to keep riding in the Alpinestars Supertech S-M10 for a good long while to get more acquainted with all of its features, benefits, and possible shortcomings. Just from looking at the design, we can tell that some riders might not be happy with the non-adjustable visor or if they adhere to the Arai philosophy of “rounder is always better” they might be dubious of the angular shell profile.
If you want to buy a Supertech S-M10, Astars says that five colorways will be available sometime this month and two additional colorways will be added in November. You will also have to save your pennies because this premium helmet comes with a premium price tag - $649.95.