A Return to the Matrix
01/12/2020: IMPORTANT NOTICE - READ THIS FIRST
I received an email from the folks at Matrix Helmets based in London. And I was eager to open the message as they have been kind enough to keep me in the loop about a very impressive new helmet that is on the horizon. I was hoping that this was a notice to be expecting an early release model to review. Unfortunately, the news was far from good.
Being true to their philosophy, “we are a movement and safety is at the heart of this special movement,” the management recently sent an Alpha off to be independently tested by the NHTSA. During this process, the Alpha did NOT meet the DOT regulations. The result of this failure is a recall of all helmets sold in the United States.
What this means for myself and everyone else in the States who own an Alpha is that we will be receiving a NEW DOT COMPLIANT ALPHA within about two months. And it also means that riders need to understand that the helmet does not provide the safety and protection that we would expect when purchasing a DOT certified helmet.
In my case, I will no longer be wearing my Alpha. I am happy to wait for the new model and return the old one if that is what Matrix requests. But each rider needs to make that judgment call on his or her own.
I know that this could pose a bit of an inconvenience for some riders. But, I hope that everyone will look at the bigger picture and opt to err on the side of caution rather than risk their safety.
I would also like to point out that the owner of Matrix expressed his sincere apology for this issue and has given his word that this issue will be corrected as quickly as possible. Matrix is in the process of sending a letter to each helmet owner to inform them about this issue and how the replacement process will take place. They are also working on setting up a recall portal to make the process as stress-free as possible for owners. We will provide that link information as soon as it is made available to WBW.
Finally, I want to take a moment to talk about Matrix as a company. If you read my review of the first Matric Alpha Streetfighter helmet, then you are sure to know that I was very critical of that piece of equipment. And to this day, I will stand by every critique that I made and the low marks that I gave for the product.
But I hope that you have also read my second review of the Alpha Streetfighter. And you know that I was very impressed by the improvements that have been made to the helmet.
In addition, my opinion of the Matrix company changed drastically after the rerelease of the Alpha. It became apparent to me that they really do stand behind their philosophy of safety being at the heart of their mission and their business. And that dedication to the protection of their customers has never been more evident than it is right now as they face this recall.
Matrix is the new kid on the block when it comes to making motorcycle helmets. And being a new company is never easy. Then add in some growing pains and a steep learning curve, and you will understand why most new companies don’t survive, let alone find a way to compete with the 8 – 10 big names in motorcycle helmets. I hope that when you look at Matrix, you see a company that is doing business the right way and following through on their commitment to the safety of their loyal following.
While this recall is a setback for Matrix and those of us who have an Alpha, I do not doubt that this team will pull together and make this right for everyone. And when they come out the other side of this recall, they will be a stronger and better company that will then be focused on the release of their new…
helmet! But that is all I can say for now other than keep checking in at WBW to learn more because we have been promised one of the first runs. And I can’t wait to get it and take it out for a spin.
Please contact Matrix at [email protected] for questions or information on how to have your helmet replaced.
I was very eager to get my hands on the new and improved version of the Matrix Alpha Streetfighter helmet after reviewing the first model. As most readers know, there was some controversy around my original review, which sparked a rebuttal from the management at Matrix Helmet.
But I can honestly state that I stand by my review as fair and honest. I did not sugar coat any of my comments as that is not why riders get their reviews from webBikeWorld. Readers know that this site offers legitimate reviews with the rider’s safety and comfort as our first and foremost concerns.
After the dust settled on the first review, I was very pleased to hear that Matrix was taking to heart my critic of their helmet. As a result, they began work on an improved model which they have been kind enough to provide me for a full review.
Not only do I appreciate that this manufacturer was willing to accept some negative feedback on their product, but I was also impressed that they were willing to act on the input in a very rapid manner.
When the helmet arrived, I immediately unboxed it and could see some very evident upgrades and improvements made to the chin strap and to the inner padding and sizing of the helmet.
A Pleasant Surprise From Matrix!
I would like to point out that the changes to the Matrix Alpha Streetfighter were limited to the interior of the helmet. The size and shape of the helmet shell have not changed. However, when I put the helmet on, it felt much smaller and more stable on my head due to the substantial increase in the padding and finish materials inside the helmet.
From the moment that I put this improved version of the Streetfighter on, I was much more comfortable with the fit and feel. The helmet fits snuggly and remained in place when I turned my head, unlike the original version of the helmet which I could rotate on my head even with the chin strap fastened.
The helmet sells for just under $250.00 USD. But this is subject to change due to the exchange rate as the Matrix Products are sold from the UK.
Another customer-friendly upgrade from Matrix is free shipping. This saves around $30-$35 USD when you are purchasing from the website. This price range puts the Alpha Streetfighter in the mid-range for helmets in the United States and a relatively reasonable cost for a quality helmet.
Fit, Comfort, & Sizing
Fit and comfort are important qualities of any piece of riding gear but the proper size is possibly the most critical for a motorcycle helmet. And because riders need to order this helmet without having any way to try on a sample before the purchase, I feel that accurate sizing and sizing information on the website is critical.
My review of the original Alpha Streetfighter was very critical when it came to the size and fit of the helmet. I was able to grab the chin bar and move the entire helmet several inches when the chin strap was completely tightened. However, I am very pleased to report that the new Alpha Streetfighter offers much more precise sizing and fit. I requested an extra small and this helmet fit extremely well!
The cheek pads provide a bit of pressure to keep the helmet square on my face. In addition, I have a very secure feeling as the entire interior padding is in contact with my head. There are no gaps in the padding or spaces where I do not feel contact with the interior of the helmet, unlike the first model.
The chin strap on the improved Alpha Streetfighter offers the standard double D ring closure. This might not seem like an important update, but it really is. First, this closure style allows for a greater range of adjustment than the previous buckle system. And second, this is the most common style of closure on helmets worldwide.
Almost every rider has a great deal of muscle memory that kicks in when strapping on a helmet and fastening the chinstrap. So changing this almost industry standard closure made putting the helmet on and taking it off a bit uncomfortable for me. With the new strap, I slid the helmet on and fastened the strap with no drama and was ready to jump out on the road.
The BioFoam cheek pads in the Alpha Streetfighter are a good 1.5 inches thick and are removable.
The rest of the interior has been upgraded with a stitched moisture-wicking liner, rather than the piece of fabric that was held in place with tape the original version. Polyfoam has also been added, which greatly improves both the comfort level of the fit and sizing.
Overall, Matrix has addressed and corrected every issue that I had with the fit, sizing, and comfort of the Alpha Streetfighter. When wearing this helmet, I feel much more comfortable and protected than I felt wearing the original model.
Field of Vision
I am a die-hard full-face helmet rider. As such, I am willing to accept a little reduction in my field of vision to get the added protection. I understand that I need to turn my head further to see to the sides and behind me.
As I mentioned earlier, the shell of the Alpha Street Fighter has not changed, nor has the size and shape of the viewport. But by providing a helmet with far more accurate sizing and fit, my issues with the restricted view have been eliminated.
With the helmet fitting snugly, I am able to make those quick glances over my shoulder to see what is trailing to my left and right. In fact, I was able to ride in the center of a single lane and glance over my left shoulder far enough to see the right side lane line behind me.
I was actually a bit surprised to discover this large field of view and repeated the maneuver many times to be certain that I really was getting a clear view of what was directly behind me and trailing to either the left or right.
With my newfound level of comfort with the field of view wearing the Alpha Streetfighter, I decided to take a spin through what I consider to be the most dangerous place for any motorcycle rider. I entered a big parking lot.
I always try to keep my head on a swivel to see who is going to appear from nowhere and not be paying attention. I expected a bit of trepidation but was completely comfortable surveying my surroundings from inside the Matrix Alpha Streetfighter. I had no issues with glaring blind spots or restricted vision.
What I learned from this second experience wearing a Matrix Alpha Streetfighter is that you don’t know what you don’t know. My issues with the original design of this helmet were completely related to the issues of size and fit rather than the actual size of the viewport.
I have never worn a helmet that was not the correct size so I was unaware of some of the very dangerous complications that can arise from an improper fit. I consider myself fortunate to have had this learning experience and know that it will help me in future helmet evaluations.
The opening at the bridge of the nose is 1.75 inches and the largest portion of the opening is 2.25 inches which are located about mid-cheek.
Peripheral vision is about 1.5 inches at the far left and right of the opening. With a properly sized helmet, this vision port is perfectly adequate for quick glances over a shoulder to see well behind and beside your bike.
Chinbar Concerns Also Eliminated
The chin bar on this helmet is more substantial than most, but this is by design. The purpose is to provide maximum protection to the rider’s face in the event of airborne debris. I voiced concern about the size of the chin bar when demoing the original Alpha Streetfighter. It blocked a great deal of my vision when looking at my gauges and at the surrounding environment.
The feeling was similar to when I was a child and would try to wear one of my father’s hats that was much too large. However, with a properly sized helmet, my vision was not obstructed when viewing my gauges or looking at the road.
Because the outer shell of the helmet is still the same dimension, the chin bar still comes into contact with shoulder armor as shown in the picture below. But the difference now is that the correctly fitted helmet no longer turns on my head when it touched my shoulder armor. I am able to adjust the angle of my head slightly to maneuver past the armor and see a larger radius.
My issue with the chin bar blocking my gauges has also been eliminated with a proper fit of the Matrix Alpha Streetfighter. The helmet remains snug when I tilt my head down to view the gauges and allows me to also view a bit of the road in front of my bike.
The Alpha Streetfighter visor is scratch-resistant, tinted, and 3mm thick. There are three positions that the locking mechanism offers.
Riders can have the visor completely open, lowered so that there is about an inch gap between the bottom of the visor and the top of the chin bar or the visor can be fully closed. The original helmet that I tested had a gap between the top of the visor and the helmet shell. This gap allowed a line of sunlight to enter the helmet and was pretty annoying.
I later discovered that the gap was due to crooked alignment of the visor on the helmet. This issue has been completely corrected by Matrix. With the dark visor closed, I had no light entering the helmet and was perfectly comfortable wearing my clear prescription glasses, even in very bright sunlight.
Sure-Lock Visor System Open & Closed
The Sure-Lock system on the visor is basically a pin on the helmet and a hole in the visor. There is an angle to the edge of the visor that is designed to be a tab to move the visor.
I found it virtually impossible to secure the visor with one hand when I was riding and equally as difficult to open the visor when it was secured using only one hand. I will say that once the Sure-Lock system was secured, the visor remained constantly in place, but I could only change the visor when I came to a stop and could use both hands.
As expected, the airflow in this helmet is very good in the face area of the helmet. The extended chin bar and the large vent openings allow for a ton of air to enter the front of the helmet. Unfortunately, there is no way to control the amount of air. Also, the lack of vents in the top of the helmet will result in a pretty sweaty head in the summertime.
In an effort to reduce the noise issue, Matrix added a wind deflector at the chin. This feature makes a huge difference in the sound of air rushing into the helmet. I rode with the visor completely closed and was very happy with the amount of sound inside the helmet and my ability to hear the other vehicles around me.
When I rode with the visor partially closed, there was good airflow to cool my head and an expected increase in the wind sound. But the wind deflector kept the sound very comfortable and far quieter than the original helmet design.
After my first experience with the Matrix Alpha Streetfighter helmet, I was very interested to see the changes made by Matrix. But I was also a bit concerned about the process of evaluating the new design. I was very disappointed with the first helmet and knew that I needed to separate that experience from the testing of the new design.
It was going to be a first for me to do a second evaluation on a product after it had been improved. And I wanted to be certain that I was fair both to the product and to the readers of Web Bike World.
What I discovered was that Matrix deserves a rousing round of applause for the improvements made on the Alpha Streetfighter helmet! I am not only impressed by the huge strides made in the fit and function of the helmet but in the ability of the company to institute the changes so quickly. I have an entirely new respect for the Alpha Streetfighter helmet and Matrix as a company.
Oxford stated that their mission is to:
“Revolutionize the way you see motorcycle safety. We’re committed to bringing you a unique spin on quality safety wear, ushering out the aged, older style of bulky, cumbersome helmets, and bringing a modern, sleek new style when you’re riding your pride and joy, be it in the city or anywhere else!”
I believe that they are well on their way to achieving their goal and that their dedication to their customers will serve them well in the future. They have proven to be attentive and ready to take action to meet the needs of their customer base.
I will continue to wear my new and improved Matrix Alpha Streetfighter helmet with confidence, knowing that it offers a great fit and comfort as well as safety with a sleek new style.
- Light Weight
- Fiberglass Shell
- DOT Compliant
- Tinted Visor
- Very True Sizing
- Ample Cheek Padding
- Internal Wind Deflector At Chin Bar
- Double D Ring Chin Strap
- Visor Is Difficult To Lock/Unlock with One Hand
- Not Approved For Use On UK/EU Roads
- 1 Year Warranty (*warranty is 1-7 years depending on the manufacturer)
- Manufacturer: Matrix
- Price (When Tested): ~$250 USD with free shipping(depending on exchange rate)
- Made In: China & Vietnam
- Alternative models & colors: Black Matte & Gloss White
- Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
- Review Date: September 2019
Matrix Alpha Streetfighter Helmet Image Gallery