Alpina are a German company specialising in protective equipment for cyclists and skiers. They have a wide range of helmets to suit every kind of cycling activity you could think of. I’ll be trying out the Alpina Valparola RC, a highly specced helmet with plenty of options for a comfortable fit.
Reading through the specs for the Alpina Valparola, the first thing I notice is that it’s not short on adjustment. The fit can be adjusted in four ways, which isn’t that unusual in helmets, but two of them are new to me. The first is the Custom Fit System; this sits below the Run System Ergo Pro dial and allows you to fine tune how the rear band sits against the base of your skull.
The second is the Ergomatic clip, rather than the usual one click and you’re done closure, Alpina have something a little different. A long ‘tongue’ with tabs is inserted into the clip and allows you to fine tune the fit. A push button on the clip releases the tongue in stages, or all in one go; handy for when straps start to chafe a little. Not sure how often you’d need it, but a nice option anyway.
The other fit options are the Run System Ergo Pro, a dial based rear adjustment that also has two ‘head rests’ either side of the wheel; presumably to alleviate any pressure spots. The side straps use ‘Y Straps’ which can be positioned exactly where you want. Anti-bug nets to the front keep out any unwanted visitors, while antibacterial pads help prevent stinky head!
The overall look is quite angular with twenty-seven vents and the plain white finish means it looks good while being visible. The Valparola has a Hi-EPS (highly expanded polystyrene) inner with a scratch and UV resistant polycarbonate outer shell, these are bonded together using an In-Mould process. The In-Mould technology forms a permanent bond between the inner and outer – they’re literally baked together – with smooth edges, not taped ones like you see on some helmets.
I’ll be using the Alpina Valparola over the coming weeks, I might even take it on a warm weather training camp, to test it’s cooling abilities! Look out for a review in the coming months.