Better Bucket

Alpinestars Supertech M10 Helmet Review: The Off-Road Rider’s Featherweight Champ


June 24, 2019 Cars : Motorcycles By Photo by Matt Neundorf
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It’s rare for any company to get things right on their first attempt. Entering into unexplored territory with a new product can be tricky; hell, even well-established car companies usually need to give a new model a couple iterations or model years to iron out the kinks.

Which is why I was a bit tentative to slide my gray matter into Alpinestars new Supertech M10 Helmet. It’s not that there’s any reason to doubt Italian motorcycle gear manufacturer’s commitment to safety, of course. But helmets need to be more than safe to be effective. They need to fit well, be comfortable, offer adequate venting and be light enough to not induce fatigue on a ride.

So, how does this company’s first diallance into protective headgear stack up? Does Alpinestars have a hit on their hands with the Supertech M10, or should buyers wait for the next generation?

The Good: Alpinestars clearly set a high safety bar for themselves to clear with the Supertech M10 — and they’ve cleared it on a number of deliverables. This helmet is a marvel of technology. Integrations such as MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) combine with a slip layer between the EPS foam liner and the interior padding to further reduce the rotational forces associated with crashing. The EPS liner itself is comprised of a four-part construction, meaning the most impact prone sections can react with a different density of protection.

Meanwhile, under the chinbar, a clavicle relief cutout has been made to help mitigate collarbone injuries. The moisture-wicking interior is also set up with an ERS (Emergency Release System) at the cheek pads to ensure paramedics can toss off the M10 without adding to potential problems. On top of this, the visor is held on via a trio of quick-release fasteners that surrender their hold at near lyany impact.

Who It’s For: Since its both DOT- and ECE-certified, any street rider looking for a well-ventilated, lightweight summer helmet could happily don the Supertech M10. But riders that are hell-bent on exploring single-tracks and trekking down paths less travelled will see the greatest benefits of Alpinestars’s development work.

Watch Out For: Despite the integrated A-Head Adjustment feature, if you don’t carry an intermediate oval-shaped melon on your shoulders, the SM10 isn’t the bucket for you. Also, some of the vents either don’t have screens (the nostril vents) or the screening is inset from the outer shell (the upper eyeport vents), which makes them a mud magnet. One roost too many and the earth’s goo will be trapped too tight for a wipe on the fly, restricting airflow.

Alternatives: This may be Alpinestars’s first production helmet, but the off-road and motocross space is already pretty packed; alternatives from well-established helmet manufacturers and other do-all brands abound. The Arai VX4 Combat ($665) meets both DOT and Snell ratings and offers their unique Facial Contour System to ensure a snug fit. The ATR-2 from 6D ($695) is a touch heavier than the Supertech M10 but boasts a beefy list of safety integrations that 6D developed during work in the NFL’s Head Health Challenge. Another great choice is the F5 Koroyd from Klim ($649); equipped with MIPS and built using Klim’s patented Koroyd energy-absorbing technology, it too boasts leading-edge safety tech and a lightweight design.

Review: The original plan was to take the Supertech M10 out to an off-road riding school north of Toronto, but Mother Nature had other ideas. At the time of this writing, all nearby trails had yet to be opened due to unseasonable flooding. No matter. Since it was graced with street legality, I went to find out how this MX lid performed around town and during lighter-duty ADV riding.

Right out of the included tote bag, it’s hard not to be impressed with just how light the Supertech M10 is: deceptively so, even for a motocross lid. The interior is soft, plush and supportive; I could feel a bit of a hot-spot at my forehead initially, but after experimenting with the fitment system, was able to find a fit that worked just right.

On the street and in the breeze, the M10 offers an expansive view from the eyeport. I experimented with both goggles and sunglasses during on-road testing, and both fit well enough to keep my peepers protected without stifling airflow. From behind a windshield, buffeting and wind noise is quieter than expected; a few hours of interstate slog would be perfectly tolerable it on. That said, it’s certainly not as quiet a headspace as a full-face cocoon, and the visor will induce lift at speed.

Off-road, the M10 comes into its own. The combination of 16 intake vents and five exhaust ports keep things cool, while its near-imperceptible weight means keeping your noggin on a swivel won’t wear you down. The eyeport is well-sized for proper off-roading goggles, and despite not being adjustable, the visor is well-positioned to cut glare without becoming too much of a sail.

Verdict: It may be Alpinestars’s first entry into the segment and designed primarily for motocross, but the Supertech M10 — the product of more than five years of design and development — has far broader appeal. This is a lid that dual-sport and ADV-riders should have on their radar. But what really has me salivating is the assumption that this won’t be the only helmet Alpinestars creates: With an incredibly strong presence in MotoGP, World Superbike and product lines that fill near every niche of riding, it seems like only be a matter of time before dedicated street and track helmets see the light of day. And given how well the Alpinestars did with the Supertech M10, we should all be in for a treat.

What Others Are Saying:

• “The Alpinestars Supertech M10 helmet is DOT- and ECE-approved. It features a multi-density foam liner, composite shell, MIPS rotational impact device, impact release visor system and comes in six different sizes. There is no doubt that the styling, design and construction are cutting edge.” — MOTOCROSS ACTION MAGAZINE

• “We’ve enjoyed the time spent so far in the M10, and we’ll continue wearing it. Testing helmets for a review is one thing, but continually reaching for it every time we ride or race is another – it speaks much more to the helmet’s value not only in terms of comfort and looks, but to the peace of mind that comes with knowing and trusting the protective qualities it provides.” — BRENT JASWINSKI, MOTORCYCLE.COM

• “With any helmet hitting north of the $500 mark, the bar for features is very high. Thankfully the S-M10 exceeds expectations in all areas and confirms that Alpinestars really did overdeliver with their first foray into the dirt helmet world.” — ESSENTIAL MOTO

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Alpinestars Supertech M10 Meta Helmet Key Specs

Construction: Three-layer composite
Weight: 2.77 pounds (size medium)
Number of Shell Sizes: Four
SPEC4:
SPEC5:

Alpinestars provided this product for review.

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