Released earlier in the year, the Troy Lee Design A3 helmet promises maximum comfort, ultimate style and all-over safety.
What is it?
The Troy Lee Designs A3 helmet is the latest open face helmet from TLD. Funnily enough, it follows the A2 which in turn followed the A1. Both the A1 and A2 remain in the range, but the A3 is the flagship lid and sports a £200 price tag.
Troy Lee Designs A3
- Price: £200
- Weight: 375g
- From: Saddleback
What is it for?
With more coverage, better ventilation and much more padding the A3 can be used for pretty much anything other than full-on downhill racing. The TLD A3 lid is aimed at trail and enduro riders, but it’s cool and light enough for long days in the saddle and I’m sure XC riders wanting a splash of style along with added safety will appreciate the A3’s features.
What are the features?
The features are many and numerous, but let’s begin on the outside. For a high tech look, the A3 has a shell made from three pieces, this also gives the TLD crew freedom when creating some very nice looking and unique designs. The shell is perforated with a total of 16 vents with the vents on the front being much larger than those found on the A2 and A1. The larger vents mean more airflow and a cooler fit, but also allows the channel of cool air to remain even when adjusting the visor. The peak has three points of adjustment and uses a channel plus magnets to keep the peak where it’s positioned. Goggle wearers will be chuffed to bits that the visor can be lifted completely out of the way for storing eyewear. Speaking of which, Troy Lee says the A3 is compatible with glasses and the new inner cradle was developed to prevent any interference with glasses frames or arms.
Additional nice exterior touches are the protective film beneath the visor to prevent marks on the cool design and alloy breakaway bolts that hold the visor in place. In the event of a crash, the bolts should break rather than the visor and a spare set of bolts comes in the box.
Just beneath the flashy exterior are two types of foam which are co-moulded together using a patented method. Both EPS and EPP foams are used together. The EPS is there to absorb high-speed energy and EPP for low-speed. Looking through the vents the two types of foam can be identified (grey is EPP and EPS is black) and you’ll be able to see how Troy Lee has positioned the different foams across the lid with varying degrees of thickness depending on the protection required.
Delve deeper into the helmet and you’ll find a new 360 degree moulded cradle and built-in MIPS impact protection system. The MPS fitted here is a low profile B MIPS solution meaning you get all that rotational protection but without the bulky designs sometimes associated with it. The new cradle is designed for maximum comfort and a perfect fit with no pressure points. The cradle uses a new micro-adjust dial adjustment and because the dial pulls and tightens across the whole skull cradle, the A3 helmet gives a secure and comfortable fit with no areas of pressure or tightness.
For added comfort, the micro-adjust dial is mounted to arms that add a little spring or suspension to the fit and the whole of the cradle is covered in custom padding with an X-Static weave to prevent odour. Even the padding is cleverly thought out, featuring perforated lines that allow riders to trim the pads and dial in the best fit for them. Each A3 comes with a set of pads fitted and an extra set in the box. Another item that comes fitted and in the box is the TLD Sweatglide system, an EVA foam channel that directs sweat off your forehead and away from your eyes. This is easy to remove if you don’t want it, but I find it very handy.
If you thought the features were over then you’re wrong! The designers at Troy Lee have even paid attention to the strap separators, making them thinner and more comfortable. Last but not least is the magnetic buckle, easily the best way to attach a helmet and super convenient to use even with gloves.
So what’s it like?
It’s a £200 helmet and every single last detail has been carefully planned out, it’s exactly what you want from a flagship helmet. It’s comfortable, lightweight, cool, and most of the designs look great (some are a little out there).
“But Andi, it’s £200” yes it is £200 but if you ride 3 times a week over a year then it costs £1.28 a ride. That’s less than you’ll pay for a coffee and cake mid-ride and the A3 is going to do a much better job protecting your head than a Victoria Sponge!
Will you keep using it?
Not this black and red A3 exclusively no, because I’ve just received a cool metallic blue A3 and it’s super slick. I’ll likely be testing other helmets throughout 2021 but when it comes to my own ride time it’s the A3 I’ll be reaching for every ride.
|Brand:||Troy Lee Designs|
|Tested:||by Andi for 4 months|