Troy Lee Designs’ original A1 half shell is easy on the eyes and was an instant hit upon release, but aesthetics aside, in many ways it fell short.
Despite its popularity the A1 was poorly ventilated, pooled sweat into your eyes and was arguably not the most comfortable helmet around. Thankfully the team at TLD went back to the drawing board with the A2 to design a helmet that truly improves on its predecessor in every way.
First and foremost, the A2 has some notable upgrades to the overall safety of the lid. The shell is the first in it’s class to be constructed using a layer of dual density EPS foam for high speed impacts co-molded to a layer of EPP foam for low speed impacts. This is all on top of the the MIPS liner which is utilized in many helmets on the market today to protect your brain from rotational forces experienced while unexpectedly going OTB.
The final layer is an aerospace filament-reinforced polycarbonate shell. This lid has 16% more foam in the frontal lobe region and raised EPS splines provide more protection in common impact zones while also giving the helmet a great profile. Break away anodized aluminum screws hold the visor in place adding to the overall safety of the helmet.
Having worn the A1 for the past year, I was pleasantly surprised with how light and airy the A2 feels. At a glance. the A2 looks very similar to its predecessor, but take a closer look and you’ll realize its a whole new animal. The most notable difference is the size of the vents. They deepened the channels down the length of the helmet and made the exhaust vents substantially larger.
Troy Lee claims they are 25% larger to be exact, and they really do a much better job of keeping your head cool on those hot summer days. Weighing in at 350 grams (for the M/L) the new design feels noticeably lighter. The shape of the shell and liner above the brow does a much better job of funneling sweat away from your eyes, which was my biggest issue with the old A1. The washable X-Static liner is also more comfortable and does and excellent job of absorbing sweat and drying quickly.
Though the profile of the helmet does allow for a better field of view than the A1, the A2 still sits lower on the brow than most helmets. The fin and contour in the back do a great job of holding a goggle strap in place, but “endurbros” everywhere will be disappointed to hear the visor does not lift high enough to stash your goggles underneath when they are not needed.
The helmet’s fit system utilizes the A1’s same ratchet dial to keep things secure and offers three positions front and rear to customize the fit for a variety of head shapes. The straps are now fixed underneath the ear, so adjusting the helmet to feel just right is a breeze.
My frustrations with the A1 have all been removed with the updated A2. It feels great on your head and twelve different race-inspired colorways make it easy to find a flavor that is right for you. The A2 is welcome addition to the TLD line up and one that will undoubtedly continue the brands popularity in the half shell market.
See more at http://www.troyleedesigns.com