If you've got the right shaped head and you want a light lid with some carbon this could be for you… pricy though
Weight: 248g Contact: www.alpina-helmets.co.uk
The Pheos sits at the top of Alpina's road range, a mixture of polycarbonate, EPS and carbon fibre. A weight of 248g is towards the lighter end of the market comparing it Giro's Ionos at 304g so one for the weight weenies.
The Pheos uses a similar setup as the Giro Ionos of carbon fibre sections added to strengthen the cross members between the main vents. This allows for 25 vents in total which not only provides that low weight but also has the effect of letting huge amounts of air to pass over your bonce keeping things cool.
Available in three sizes (small - 50-55cm, medium - 55-59cm & large - 58-63cm) getting one to fit shouldn't be too much of a problem. That is depending if your head is the right shape, the Alpina is very round. If you've ever been called 'football head' (think Karl Pilkington on An Idiot Abroad) by your mates then the Pheos could be the helmet for you. The medium I tested measured (inside to inside) 22cm front to back and 17.5cm side to side and didn't really fit me very well. Most helmets do, I've worn various Giro's, Met's, Bell's etc with no problem but the Pheos only touched front and back while nothing at the sides. This meant the helmet would rock occasionally from side to side as I tilted my head.
The retention system sits just above the ears and with plenty of padding fits well and is comfortable. Adjustment is taken care of by a simple wheel, turn it clockwise to tighten, anti-clock... you get the picture. It looks cheap on a £130 helmet but it works well enough and even allows tweaking on the fly with thick winter gloves on. The chin strap buckle has a range of adjustment thanks to a grooved slider rather than a snap shut clip like most helmets. I actually found it rather useful when wearing a skull cap or the likes as you could tweak the fit here without having to adjust the straps.
The choice of two simple colourways, black/white or white/black should see it match most kit and bikes without clashing and the overall look is understated and clean.
Performance wise the Pheos has been tested to CS EN 1078 but being a dedicated roadcc tester that wasn't enough for me, I decided to see how it worked in the real world. All I needed was one bike travelling at circa 25mph, one twig to get lodged between tyre and mudguard, one Alpina Pheos and one stretch of the Queen's highway - check. The ensuing buckin' bronco style dismount saw me test the front right portion of the Pheos in a touchdown so quick I didn't have time to put my hands out to break my fall. Damage in the form of cracks were visible at two of the struts near to the impact point, most of the way through the polystyrene but held together by the carbon strips. There were also further damage points around the helmet where the EPS had moved after absorbing the impact. The helmet was totalled but had remained in one piece and stayed on my head - job done.
Overall the Pheos is a bit of a mixed bag, the fit is an odd one plus the retention cradle and chin strap looks cheap and crude but they work well and provide loads of adjustment. The Pheos lacks the good looks of say the Giro Atmos or Specialized S-Works and just looks a slightly inferior product in my eyes, a little rough around the edges. It did its job though by staying together after a fairly hard impact and at the end of the day I suppose that is what a helmet is all about. Is it worth £129.99, nope, in relation to the opposition I don't think so but if the fit is right for you and you want a lightweight helmet with a bit of carbon bling and good venting it's worth considering.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Alpina Pheos Helmet
Size tested: Black/white, 55-59cm
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The manufacturers say that the Pheos is the pinnacle of their enviable helmet range. It is a top end helmet, but not as top end as others.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The carbon fibre struts here add to the structural strength which showed up when I crashed it
Other than the fit (which hasn't affected the score as thats a personal thing) its light and well vented
Right, I'm going to mark this in terms of the bits that touched my head, the cradle, chin strap and padding provide a plenty of comfort.
Some technical features like the carbon fibre but let down by cheap looking retention system
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Well I crashed and it stayed together, a big plus in my book
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The lightweight and the fact it saved my swede fromsome gravel rash
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The price and the fit
Did you enjoy using the product? Not really as it didn't fit that well
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
About the tester
I usually ride: Genesis Flyer My best bike is: Ribble Gran Fondo
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,