The Vector Tech A2 helmet from Alpinestars is designed for trail and enduro riding, offering extended coverage around the back of the head and over the temples.
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There’s a MIPS liner included, too, along with a number of other safety features.
While some may find the fit on the narrow side, if it works for your head, it’s a comfortable mountain bike helmet that offers a decent amount of head-hugging coverage.
Fit aside, the venting is where the Vector Tech A2 could be better. Although it’s not bad at higher speeds, on long, slow climbs it can get rather warm.
Alpinestars Vector Tech A2 helmet construction details
As is now common with open-face helmets designed for trail and enduro riding, the Vector Tech A2 includes plenty of safety tech to try to limit damage to your head in the event of a crash.
For starters, there’s a MIPS liner, which is designed to better protect your head during an angled impact. The dropped rear of the lid, along with extended sections over the temples, adds some extra coverage and protection to vulnerable areas.
Alpinestars includes a reinforcing cage embedded into the EPS foam liner, too.
The in-moulded polycarbonate outer shell wraps around the rim of the helmet, fully covering the most at-risk sections of EPS foam.
There are three indexed positions to choose from for the peak, with the highest providing enough room for you to stow MTB goggles up there if you need to between runs.
To keep the Vector Tech A2 helmet snug on your head, the retention cradle can be adjusted using the large, indexed dial to cinch it up nice and tight.
Unlike some, the cradle is anchored just in front of the temples, rather than wrapping around the whole circumference of your head.
While this design can lead to uneven tension or even pressure points for some people, I found it worked perfectly well for me and provided a comfortable fit.
If you still need to tweak the fit, there are three vertical positions you can slot the retention cradle into.
It’s hard to ignore the massive, reinforced vent that sits front and centre of the Vector Tech A2. This is accompanied by a further 18 vents. Internal channelling is a little limited and, in places, covered by the MIPS liner.
Alpinestars offers the Vector Tech A2 in three sizes (S-L), with my medium test sample weighing 401g.
Finally, it’s hard to ignore the “One goal. One vision” mantra printed across the front of the helmet. Where it’s from, I’m not too sure, but it certainly sounds like a lyric from a Queen song to me.
Alpinestars Vector Tech A2 helmet performance
The Vector Tech A2 doesn’t feel quite as round as some other helmets when you put it on. Its narrower shape didn’t cause me any issues, but I’d advise trying before you buy if possible.
Coverage feels decent, though it doesn’t sit quite as low down the back of your head as the pricier Troy Lee Designs A3.
Thanks to the big adjuster dial on the retention cradle, dialling in the fit is quick and easy, and the tension around my head felt relatively even.
I wouldn’t say it was quite on par with those that have retention cradles that wrap around the entire circumference of your head, but on longer rides, I never felt uncomfortable when wearing it.
At higher speeds, you can really feel the air rushing in through the massive intake that sits in the middle of your upper forehead. That cool blast of air is then forced up and over your head before being jettisoned out through exhaust ports in the rear of the helmet.
The position of the peak seems to make a difference here, though. In its lowest position, air through the huge front vent is limited somewhat and deflected away.
Pop it up into the middle position, though, and you can feel the difference instantly as air comes rushing in.
However, when things slow down, you can get sweaty pretty quickly. On steady climbs, or slower sections of trail when working hard, the cooling effect wasn’t as noticeable.
During back-to-back testing, the Vector Tech A2 felt less airy at slower speeds. Yes, there’s still air trickling in through the font of the lid, but due to the limited internal channelling and MIPS liner that covers much of this, it’s hard to feel the effects.
That means the plush padding, which is fairly comfortable, has its work cut out when it comes to soaking up moisture. It does this well, but it will take a while to dry out, post-ride.
If you’re a fan of riding with goggles, the Vector Tech A2 accommodates them nicely, and should you want to store them between runs, there’s space under the peak once you pop it up into its highest position.
Having tried the helmet with a few different pairs of MTB sunglasses, I had no real compatibility issues. My only niggle is that if you do want to store them on the helmet rather than wear them, options are really limited.
This shouldn’t be a major issue, and it isn’t, it’d just be nice to have the option.
Alpinestars Vector Tech A2 helmet bottom line
The Vector Tech A2 helmet is a well-made, solid piece of kit that’s comfortable, easy to adjust and offers a decent number of safety features.
Its slightly narrower shape won’t suit everyone’s head, but if it does, the fit is good and easy enough to alter, even on the fly.
While at higher speeds the Vector Tech A2 feels reasonably airy, it’s when the pace slows that things heat up rather quickly.
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If you can live with that, though, and like the less traditional looks, the Vector Tech A2 is certainly worth trying when it comes to replacing your trail helmet.