The Alpinestars SM5 is the Italian company’s offering in the mid-price helmet category, providing entry into the Alpinestars head protection family for a list price starting at $230. Despite the relatively low cost—other off-road helmets can run as much as $750—the SM5 does not feel inexpensive, and has an impressive set of features.Weighing in at 3 pounds, 1.1 ounces for a Medium, the SM5 has a variable-thickness plastic shell. At this price point, carbon fiber and fiberglass are not on the table. Another cost-cutting move is using just two shell sizes to cover the SX to 2XL sizing range. Additionally, the SM5 is made in China to Alpinestars’ specs.
While there are no advanced impact features such as MIPS, Alpinestars designed five densities into the EPS liner to provide gradual deceleration during an impact. There is an emergency release system for the cheek pads to help safely remove the helmet in a catastrophic crash. Also, the bottom of the helmet has a pliable material to help prevent collarbone injury.The good news is that the Alpinestars SM5 is a high-functioning helmet. Balance on the helmet is outstanding, making it feel lighter on your head. Sizing is completely personal; in my case, the SM5 feels great on my head. My head fits Arai and HJC quite nicely, so you can use that as a starting point. As always, we insist that you get a helmet fitted by a professional.The scalloped bicycle-helmet style interior works for me, though fans of a plush interior will disagree. The upside of this style of interior liner is that it flows plenty of air, and the SM5’s vents are fixed open—another way to save costs. There are plentiful intake and generous exhaust vents, so hot air will not accumulate on your scalp, even at slower speeds.I was able to fit a variety of goggles in the eyeport. The chin guard’s nose guard will get in the way of putting the goggles on, so budget a few extra seconds before taking off. The double-D strap is a classic design that works, and it has a snap retainer.Off-road helmets are great for dual-sporting, and that means freeway speeds. The Alpinestars SM5 is aerodynamically sound, and not unusually loud. There is enough venting in the peak to prevent unwanted lift at speed. Plus, you can turn your head to check highway traffic without feeling like the helmet wants to fly off.Dirt bike helmet interiors inevitably get sweaty and dusty. Removing the three-piece liner takes just seconds. Reinstalling will take maybe a couple of minutes to reinstall, depending on your dexterity and ability to eyeball the snaps for the soft liner pieces. The tab design for the front of the largest interior liner installs especially easily into the slot on the helmet, with some retaining posts to make sure it stays put.For $230—$250 for the Rayon graphics on the helmet we tested—you get a high-quality off-road motorcycle helmet from a company with an impeccable safety reputation. For trail riding and dual-sport action, the Alpinestars SM5 is an outstanding choice.Action photos by Kelly Callan and Drew RuizAlpinestars SM5 Helmet Fast Facts
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Motos and Friends—the weekly Podcast brought to you by the editorial team at Ultimate Motorcycling.
My name is Arthur Coldwells.
In this week’s first segment, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the much anticipated Yamaha MT-10 SP. That’s the model with the Ohlins semi-active suspension. It’s only been available in Europe for the last couple of years, but finally the good news is, that it’s coming to America. The big question is, whether the extra 3k you’re going to have to pony up for the Ohlins is actually worth it, or perhaps there’s just not that much improvement over the stock KYB suspension that has suited the Yamaha MT-10 so well until now?
In the second segment, Associate Editor Teejay Adams chats with Val Collins. Val grew up on motorcycles and learned to love speed, however her real love is Formula 1 tunnel-boat racing. These are the guys and gals that are strapped into a tiny cockpit and then hurtle down the straights at 120 mile per hour and pull 5G in the corners. We attended the recent season finale in Lake Havasu and watched our friend Mike Quindazzi try to take the win. Val chats with Teejay about her love for two-wheels and tunnel-boats. Yeah, it’s crazy stuff.
From all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode and have a great Thanksgiving Holiday!