The Rootage is Alpina’s top-tier open-face mountain bike lid, and I headed out on the trails to find out how it performs in a stacked field with tough competition.
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The liner is constructed from EPS foam, and its shell is made from three pieces of in-moulded polycarbonate and carbon fibre to help improve knock and shock resistance.
It has a ceramically-coated edge – dubbed Edge Protect – that spans the full circumference of the lid’s rim, which Alpina says is designed to protect the lid from accidental damage. Alpina claims the vents have been reinforced to help with strength, too.
The Ergomatic buckle uses a ratchet system with a push-button locking mechanism. This means it can be loosened slightly, rather than being either fastened or open, like traditional systems. The strap splitters are height adjustable and there’s extra, removable, padding on the under-chin section.
There is an indexed thumb wheel to adjust the retention cradle’s fit and it also has three points of vertical adjustment. The peak is height adjustable with two positions.
The lid has 15 vents with six forward-facing entry ports. The largest front vent has a mesh cover over it to help reduce the chances of bugs, branches and mud entering the helmet.
The Alpina Rootage wasn’t included in Virginia Tech’s helmet safety impact tests.
Alpina Rootage performance
The Rootage’s fit was neutral and I didn’t feel any pressure points or hot spots for the duration of the test period. It sat deeply and snugly, even when set to the middle cradle position, and after wearing it for prolonged periods it remained comfortable, requiring little to no readjustment.
My hair sometimes got pinched between the straps and retention cradle at the rear, causing discomfort, but it stayed put over rough terrain and also felt fairly light on my head.
The retention cradle tightened evenly across my head and was easy to adjust on the move thanks to the indexed thumb wheel. The under-chin padding also helped with comfort despite some concerns I had with it adding bulk.
I did find it quite tricky to get the chin strap’s tightness dialled in correctly with the padding in place, but once the extra pad was removed this problem was resolved.
The internal padding was soft and comfortable and wicked sweat away well. This was fortunate considering the lid’s poor ventilation that made heat build-up quickly.
Although the vents are numerous and, according to Alpina, strategically-placed, they weren’t big enough to let sufficient air flow through the lid to keep my head cool.
I found it heated up quickly on hot days and slow climbs, and is one of the few lids I’d been tempted to remove entirely on a fireroad climb.
The one large forward-facing vent’s mesh covering is a great feature and I certainly noticed fewer bugs entering the lid compared to those I’ve tested without mesh. However, this could also be a result of the size of the Rootage’s other vents, which are smaller than some other lids on the market.
Its rim made contact with the arms of multiple pairs of riding glasses just in front of my ears, where its shell extends downwards. At the rear, I also found it hard to get the glasses to sit comfortably either on or just in front of the retention cradle. These two issues were very frustrating and in the end I gave up using glasses with the Rootage altogether.
Large-framed goggles did tend to push the lid upwards on my head, but smaller ones caused fewer issues. With the peak fully up, there was just about enough space to park goggles on the front.
Alpina Rootage bottom line
Although the Rootage was comfortable to wear and had no hot spots or pressure points, the limited cooling and lack of compatibility with glasses and goggles really spoilt the show for me.
Considering its hefty price tag, I would recommend looking elsewhere.
|Price||GBP £150.00USD $170.00|
|Weight||358g ( 52-57) – as tested|
|Features||Sizes: 52-57, 57-62
Features: Carbon fibre shell sections, adjustable visor, fly mesh, Ergomatic buckle, anti-bacterial pads
Colours: Indigo / Cherry drop, Black / Neon Yellow, Seamoss
|Helmet type||Mountain bike open face|