I watch a lot of dirt bike racing on TV, from supercross to motocross to Red Bull Straight Rhythm, and a lot of the fastest riders are wearing an Alpinestars helmet.
It’s safe to say that those marketing efforts by Alpinestars for their helmets worked on me. After crashing a few times myself, it was time for a new helmet. An Alpinestars helmet was one of the first that came to mind.
Before we get into the Alpinestar helmet I bought and what I think about it, I want to explain how I think about helmet purchases.
How I think about helmet purchases
When I think about purchasing helmets for dirt bike riding, not just an Alpinestar helmet, I can’t help but buy the best quality possible (which is usually the most expensive) because of a realization I had a few years ago.
If you stop to think about what you’re buying, you’re buying what is essentially the most important piece of protective equipment you’ll have for riding a dirt bike.
You’re protecting your head. Your brain.
Can you imagine spending $250 on a helmet, crashing, and later learning that the brain injury you got from that crash could’ve been avoided if you just spent a bit more money on a helmet?
Imagine for a second, you have a gnarly crash, whether it’s in the woods or on the track. The medical professionals tell you your injury could’ve been less severe if you had a more high-quality helmet.
I get it, $650 for a top-of-the-line helmet, like an Alpinestar helmet, is expensive, but it’s your head we’re talking about here. Are you really going to cheap out on something that protects your brain?
Once I thought about it this way, I decided to forego the extra set or two of “flashy” gear and instead buy the highest quality helmet possible.
I can’t go back now.
Okay, enough with that little detour on how I think about helmets. Let’s look at the Alpinestars helmet I bought: the SM10. (I also bought and tested Fly Racing helmets, one that is the competitor to this Alpinestars helmet, which is the Formula Carbon.)
Alpinestars Helmet: SM10 Review
The Alpinestar Supertech M10, or as it goes by the name of SM10, is a top-quality, premium helmet designed and manufactured by the brand Alpinestars, which is meant exclusively for dirt bike riders.
The helmet packs a lot of unique and innovative features, which the manufacturer spent years perfecting.
Since this is one of the premium Alpinestars helmets, let’s look at its features and what makes this a must-have piece of riding gear.
Alpinestars Helmet Safety and Protection
Alpinestars primary goal when manufacturing the Supertech M10 helmet was to make it provide as much safety and security as possible to the rider. This Alpinestar helmet is DOT and ECE certified.
The most innovative safety feature of the SM10 is the implementation of MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection Systems). This system is beneficial in preventing concussion, as it keeps the helmet’s liner separate from the shell.
The liner inside the helmet has up to four different densities, which provides a better fit on the head of the rider and a better distribution of the energy on impact.
It is split into two parts, and because it is also separate from the shell, it can rotate and move independently from it as well. This means that on impact, if the helmet’s shell makes a harsh and sudden move, the head won’t follow that movement because the liner is independent, thus lowering the chances of a serious injury or shock to the brain.
This Alpinestar helmet also implements an emergency eject system, consisting of a special balloon that inflates and pushes the helmet outwards. This eliminates the need to pull the helmet by force and remove it from the rider’s head, causing further injury. (Crazy, cool, awesome, right?)
Alpinestar Helmet Design and Build Quality
When we look at this Alpinestar helmet design, it doesn’t differ much from the design of a standard dirt bike helmet that we all know. Its shape is almost identical, with some extra curves and lines to make it look aesthetically unique.
The carbon fiber look of this Alphinestar helmet is bad a$$ looking if you ask me, but it’s not really “unique.” There are a lot of helmets on the market that have a carbon fiber design.
This Alpinestars helmet does differ from other dirt bike helmets in terms of build quality and construction.
Namely, the SM10 helmets are made from a material called carbon fiber. It gives the helmet incredible strength and durability while at the same time being lightweight at around 2.8 pounds (1.27 kilograms).
I’ve worn a lot of different helmets, and this helmet certainly feels like one of the lightest. Other helmets I’ve worn are technically similar weights, but this one feels lighter.
The entire carbon fiber layer comprises three separate layers. Each of them has unique protection capabilities.
For example, the first layer, i.e., 3K carbon, helps absorb as much of the initial impact as possible. The second layer provides radial strength to prevent the helmet from splitting apart or shattering, while the third Aramid fiber layer helps to prevent the penetration of foreign objects.
The Alpinestar helmet’s design also allows for a hydration bag to be used by the rider so that long and hot summer rides can be more comfortable. It has built-in canals through which the hydration pack tube can pass.
Quick funny story: the first time I wore this Alpinestar helmet was in a woods race. I wore a Camelbak backpack for hydration during the hour-long race. A little way into the race I tried to put the hose from the Camelbak into my mouth but it didn’t fit with the way the helmet was designed.
I was a little frustrated, but I just forgot about the water and finished the race.
Later, when I was reaching more about this Alpinestars helmet to write this article, I realized the fact that was mentioned above: “It has built-in canals through which the hydration pack tube can pass.”
The image above is me on my YZ450F, not using my hydration pack, because I didn’t think it fit in my new Alpinestars helmet…
Wearing Comfort and Visibility
To maximize the wearing comfort of the SM10 helmets, the Alpinestars brand has manufactured them in four different shell sizes. All the Alpinestars helmets usually come in small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes. Other brands often manufacture one shell size and then adapt the helmet’s interior lining according to each rider’s shape.
The A-Head fit system is another feature that improves the wearing comfort of the SM10 helmet. This system allows the rider to manually adjust how the helmet sits on the head and comprises adjustment pegs. They allow for height and depth adjustment of the helmet and how much it is tilted forward or backward on the head.
This kind of adjustability, paired with the four different sizes, makes this Alpinestar dirt bike helmet highly versatile and compatible with all kinds of head shapes and sizes.
Regarding visibility with the SM10, the helmet provides a wide range of visibility for the rider and is compatible with many riding goggles shapes and sizes. This is made possible due to the A-Head adjustment system.
Airflow and Ventilation
Since the Supertech M10 is a summer helmet, it must also have a well-adjusted ventilation system to prevent the rider from overheating. Therefore, the designers at Alpinestars have implemented 19 intake and 5 exhaust vents to provide maximum airflow through the helmet.
Most intake vents on the helmet are located in the chin area and on the forehead of the helmet, where the visor is located. Besides providing shade from the sun, the visor’s other purpose is to direct the airflow into the vents and effectively cool the inside of the helmet. All the intake vents are also covered with a mesh material, preventing dirt and debris from entering the helmet.
The exhaust vents are located on the back of the helmet, and they effectively expel the hot air from the helmet’s interior. With such vent placement, airflow through the helmet is maximized, providing a comfortable riding experience.
Cons of this Alpinestars Helmet
Overall, this Alpinestars helmet is a great helmet. I really like it. It’s comfortable, lightweight, looks great, and is one of the safest helmets on the market.
Here is the one thing I don’t like about this helmet: the chin.
Compared to the other helmets I’ve worn, this Alpinestar helmet has a chin that is very “short” or “small.” There isn’t a lot of space between your mouth and the chin of the helmet.
This was an issue with my hydration pack as I mentioned previously. It also makes it somewhat difficult to put my 100 percent goggles on. The goggles fit well, no problem in other helmets I have, but are a struggle to put on with this Alpinestar helmet.