After a few years of specialising in full face helmets, Troy Lee struck gold with the A1, its first modern trail helmet. Boasting good coverage, decent weight, and a range of colour schemes to suit introverts or extroverts, it’s become an instant classic (read Barney’s review of the A1 MIPS helmet here). The A2 helmet isn’t a replacement for the A1. Instead it aims more at the XC crowd, with more ventilation at the expense of slightly less coverage. Cashing in at £140.00 (with some colour variations coming in at a tenner more expensive) it’s at the pricier end of the spectrum. But a closer look reveals some really nice details that make it stand out from the crowd.
The A2 is available in wealth of colour options. My test helmet came in the Pinstripe colour scheme, which will either remind you of hot rods at a dragstrip, or dodgems at a fairground. It’s not entirely to my taste (I’d rather hug a tree than rev a throttle) but it will please anyone seeking a lairy, motocross-inspired aesthetic. There’s a subtle sparkle to the finish, anodised breakaway visor bolts, and reflective detail on the straps, all of which add to the feel of a high spec product.
As with the A1, sizing is on the generous side, and a M/L size wraps itself nicely round my 60cm cranium. There’s an L/XL size too, so if your head regularly causes solar eclipses, Troy Lee probably make a lid that fits. The helmet sits a bit higher on the head than an A1, with a “shark fin” at the rear, in a nod to TLD’s classic D2 full face. It also feels thicker, although this could be partly due to the generous pads and MIPS lining.
The MIPS element of the A2 is a thin extra layer that allows slight movement in order to attenuate side-on impacts. All of Troy Lee’s helmets now come with MIPS as standard. What this means in practice is that the pads are mounted on a plastic cradle which can move independently of the main helmet, up to a few mm each way. The extra movement isn’t noticable in use and nor does the lining make the helmet feel sweaty. In fact, ventilation is up there with the breeziest of them. The pads are made from a futuristic silvery material, called X-Static, and never seem to wet out, or do that horrible thing of leaking musty sweat back down your forehead.
Fit is very personal and it’s always a good idea to try a helmet on before buying it. However the A2 was really comfortable in use. It sits a fair bit higher on the head than some designs, and feels more like an old skool XC lid than a modern trail helmet, which some riders will probably hate and some will probably love. It weighs a fair bit, at 380g for a M/L size, but it’s on a par with most trail helmets. I honestly didn’t notice the weight as the A2 was so comfortable in use.
The weight won’t appeal to the XC crowd, and enduro riders will want a bit more coverage. But the combination of ventilation, styling and top-notch build quality should find the A2 some fans.
|Brand:||Troy Lee Designs|
|Tested:||by Antony for 4 months|