ALPINESTARS MISSILE TECH FULL FACE REVIEW
Review by Alex Sardella
Photos by Vinnie Zacha-Herthel & Alex Sardella
Alpinestars may have one of the largest product selections when it comes to all things two wheels. Their product collection ranges from the typical moto and mountain bike, but additionally there are large offerings in touring and motorcycle riding with plenty of safety products throughout the line. Their Missile Tech full face downhill helmet has been along with me for most laps at the bike park this summer, and now it’s time to talk about it.
A ton of tech is packed into Alpinestars’ Missile Tech Full Face, helping to justify its $429.95 price point. Starting on the outside, the matt black finish is sleek and a proven favorite. Simple branding is something I usually look for, and Missile Tech in this “solid” colorway keeps its subtle. The outer shell is a mix of carbon and fiberglass which strikes a nice balance of lightweight and strong. The visor is fixed into place, with enough room to tuck a GoPro underneath. The GoPro needs to be fixed onto the visor and not the helmet in order for it to fit. From a venting standpoint, the helmet boasts 22 vents to aid in airflow and ventilation on the hot summer days at the bike park. The chin bar has a simple curve making it look sleek and modern. The grill in the front can be removed for easier cleaning and to allow for increased airflow for more pedal-intensive use such as enduro.
On the inside, the helmet features the tried-and-true MIPS rotational impact protection system. There is a pretty sizeable, padded liner which sits atop the MIPS and adds a nice layer of comfort. The cushion around the rest of the helmet is comfortable and snug, giving that locked-in downhill helmet feel, and is given the Polygiene anti-microbial/bacterial treatment to keep the stank away. Solid cheek pads rest nicely on either side of the face and add a real sense of security. On the cheek bones, Alpinestars uses an Emergency Release System, which at the yank of a pull tab, releases the cheek pads and makes the helmet very easy to remove in the event of an injury. The Missile Tech helmet uses a D Ring closure to secure the helmet in place under the chin. The helmet is available in sizes XS – XL, with a size medium tipping the scales at a relatively light 990 grams.
There is a classic saying in action sports, look good, feel good, ride good. Aesthetically, the Missile Tech helmet looks attractively designed, felt comfortable and secure on my head, and as a result I rode with confidence out on the trail. The helmet was probably one of the better fitting full faces I have worn, helped by the snug pads against my cheeks which feel cozy and assuring. There is no need for a BOA or secondary restraint due to the even spread of XS-XL sizes and different size cheek pads to tailor the fit. The pads did wear in and pack down nicely, but not so much that it became loose or rattly. The chin bar sat in a neutral place and didn’t make unwanted contact with my jawline. Under the jaw line lies the D Ring closure, which is standard in premium helmets, although the locking button was a little hard to get into place with gloves on at times.
Alpinestars nailed the vents on the chin bar and forehead. Forward facing vents like these do an amazing job at helping keep your head cool and sweat to a minimum while riding. The ventilation in the back of the helmet complements the front vents and although the helmet is snug and tight, I felt like air was passing through the helmet while riding. A small amount of airflow goes a long way in my book.
A couple other features that are noteworthy. The goggle integration presented no issues either. I ran both Smith and Leatt goggles with the Missile and both goggles sat nicely within the widened frame and rested naturally on my forehead. There is a sizable lane for goggle straps to fit into, so the goggles always looked streamlined around the helmet. The helmet bag is a small but key perk as well. I like keeping my DH kit together, so stuffing goggles, gloves, knee pads or even a pair of pants into the helmet bag is super nice when keeping all your gear together and tidy. Lastly, there are small vents on either side of the bag to help the carry case from getting smelly.
Alpinestars did a solid job in keeping this helmet lightweight given its intended use. A size Medium comes in at 990 grams and has 22 vents. A competitive helmet, Fox’s Rampage Pro Carbon, weighs 1241 grams at a size Large, and has a few less vents at 17. While this may not be a big deal for some, for me, long summer days at the bike park can heat up quickly, and in California, I’ll take any weight shedding and extra airflow I can get.
The Missile Tech is a purpose-built lid for downhill riding and racing. I’d lean toward this helmet if I was a DH racing, or a high level Enduro rider, and the price point reflects those intentions. If you are just getting into racing or maybe looking at your first downhill bike, there could be better options out there for lightweight, or ‘beginner friendly’ full faces. The Missile Tech full face feels as though it’s built for riders pushing the pace and should pack the protection to back it up.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Finding a full-face helmet that instills confidence due to the fit and protection qualities can really be a game changer for your riding. Alpinestars Missile Tech helmet has done just that for me. The snug and safe fit were noticeable instantly putting on the helmet from the start and it translated out to the trail. I’ve been really pleased with the overall experience in the Missile Tech full face, and those looking to shell out some cash for a DH ready full face will hopefully feel the same.
Weight: 990 grams (medium)
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