For the 2020-2021 season, I had the chance to test two new items from 509: the Altitude 2.0 Hi-Flow helmet and the famous Aviator goggles, which are making a comeback, much to my delight. Now, let’s get to my review of these two items!
Altitude 2.0 Helmet
The Altitude 2.0 Hi-Flow helmet is a variant of the standard Altitude 2.0 helmet that offers a better air intake at the muzzle. It must be said that the Altitude 2.0 was not a first class helmet in this area. This new version offers a better mesh opening at the front. 509 also offers a rubber insert to close this hole for colder conditions, but nothing to do: I never managed to install it. No matter how hard I try, the cap just won’t fit in the small holes (as if the pattern is different from the one on the helmet), so I had to resign myself to ride with the helmet open all season.
Personally, I love riding my full-face helmets with the included mask that pinches my nose to completely seal off the air and prevent it from fogging up my goggles. Unfortunately, although included in the box, I feel like it compromised the performance of the air intake in the helmet. And the cherry on top: adjusting this mask is simply a nightmare. It offers no latitude to fit properly on the nose, which forced me to enlarge the holes to be able to pull it more towards my nose. Also note that the fabric tends to tear near the metal clip.
On a more positive note, the helmet is very comfortable, and frankly very light at 1200 grams! Moreover, the Fidlock system is very practical to attach and detach the helmet quickly. If like me you are afraid that it comes off by itself, you should know that it is very solid.
Regarding the air intake, it is very good when you ride. In the mountains, the air enters well and you don’t get out of breath excessively. The best proof that the system works is on the trail, at high speed, where you really feel like you don’t have a muzzle. Especially in cold weather, I don’t recommend the Altitude 2.0 Hi-Flow on the trail, unless you put on the mouthpiece to block the air intake. I know it sounds weird to talk about trails with a helmet made for backcountry riding, but the reality is that many people have to go on trails to find snow in Quebec.
The famous Aviator goggles! Since 509 is back as a partner with the Magazine, I’ve been saying what a shame it was that the Aviators were no longer available. Well, that’s settled: they’re back! I was so excited about their reintroduction that if 509 hadn’t sent me a pair, I would have bought them myself. Note that 509 sent me the Fuzion version, which I don’t recommend for off-roaders. In order to do my test properly, I changed the glass for a more ventilated one.
In order to be ready for any scenario this season, I bought two additional glasses, as well as the rigid goggle case (link here https://ride509.com/products/universal-goggle-hard-case). This allowed me to try directly from the mountain the most interesting feature of the Aviator in my opinion: the 5MAG system. I don’t know about you, but changing glasses on standard goggles is a pain; I can never get a corner of the goggle to close properly, introducing a stream of air and snow. With 5MAG, you just twist the frame and boom, the glass is ready to be removed. Simple, isn’t it? Wait for the best: inserting the glass is even easier. In fact, moving the glass closer to the frame is enough for the magnets to do the job for us, and once it’s in place, it doesn’t move from there. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it takes less than fifteen seconds to change the glass on the Aviator goggles.
The only downside I see to these goggles is in the vertical field of vision. I find that my vision is obstructed at the bottom of the frame, where my eyes see the cushion of the frame of the goggle. From a peripheral vision standpoint, it’s very good, although a few more degrees wouldn’t hurt.
As for fogging, I only had to change my glass twice during the season! By the way, I blame the Altitude 2.0 helmet mask and its difficulty of adjustment I mentioned above for these two episodes of fogging. I’m pretty sure that with a perfect seal on the helmet, the Aviators would have had a perfect score.
After a full season of trying the Altitude 2.0 Hi-Flow and Aviator combo, I come to a mixed conclusion. On the one hand, I am totally in love with the Aviator goggles and highly recommend them. Having tried almost the entire 509 line of goggles last year, there is no comparison to be made, the Aviator goggles are simply superior in every way.
On the other hand, while I enjoyed the Altitude 2.0 Hi-Flow headset and its basic features, I’m still a bit disappointed with the Hi-Flow system. I was expecting a more modular muzzle opening (why not take advantage of the 5MAG system here too?) and better performance, especially when not riding. On a positive note, this is still a light, comfortable helmet at a very attractive price.
As always, I would like to thank 509 and MSD for allowing me to test it throughout the season! You can also read my comments on the rest of my equipment on the Magazine!
For more informations on the products, visit the 509 website.