Between Aaron Gwin and Brandon Semenuk, it’s not a stretch to say Troy Lee Design’s D3 helmet might be the helmet with the most podiums ever.
The D3, along with it’s predecessor the D2, is one of the most proven and popular helmets around. From bike parks to World Cup races, there always seems to be a more than few in sight.
The first thing I noticed with the D3 is how incredibly light it is, almost to the point that it’s a trip when you pick it up. From the outside, the helmet has a sleek design, with creases running from the chin to the ears as well as on top, including TLD’s signature shark fin.
The helmet’s aerodynamic design not only helps on the outside, which might be hard to notice, but the inside too, which is definitely noticeable. The D3 does about as well as any full face helmet can with air management, between the EPS channeling and outside venting. There’s 14 intake vents in the front and six export vents in the rear that provide enough airflow to make even a hot day in the bike park manageable. Goggle compatibility has never been more intuitive, as there’d a designated angle and lip to keep the strap in place.
Beneath the composite shell of the D3 is EPS foam, a hard Styrofoam that is standard among bike helmets. The inside liner features moisture-wicking materials that greatly contribute to sweat management, and all of the pads are removable and washable, which can seriously extend the life of the helmet. A mesh panel on the top of the inside lets the air brought in by the EPS channeling to circulate, which helps keep the dome temps down. I can honestly say that after a full spring and summer of wearing the D3, there are no lingering smells, which I’d attribute to both the moisture-wicking qualities and the airflow.
The fit of the D3 is another aspect that I haven’t had too many qualms with. The cheek pads are snug, but not tight, and I haven’t had any pressure points. One small annoyance I noticed was in the ears, where the “internal cavities for audio integration” are. This is simply a space that is meant to accommodate headphones, but there were a few points where the hard plastic popped out and was rubbing against my ear. Not a catastrophe, but like I said, slightly annoying.
The field of vision from inside the D3 is another aspect that I found to be adequate, but not overwhelmingly glorious. The chin bar isn’t the most minimal, but I guess that’s what is going to save your face the most, so it’s certainly justified. I’ve been riding with the visor completely up as it seems to just take away from the field of vision in any other position. The visor itself is easily adjustable, thanks to two pivot points and one tightening screw on the forehead. The helmet also comes with a backup visor which I haven’t needed yet, but chances are I will inevitably use it, as they’re simply just thin pieces of plastic that are usually the first to go in a crash.
The strap on the D3 has been nothing but comfortable. Thanks to the helmet’s superb fit, even when snugging it down, I never felt like it was restricting. The double D-ring strap cinches easily, and the D-rings themselves are made out of titanium, one more factor that keeps both the weight down and the safety up.
Overall, the D3 is an amazing full-face helmet that provides as much comfort as it does safety. Whether it’s riding the lifts at Whistler or shuttling trails deep in Pacific Northwest, the D3 has stood up to the abuse like a champ and it feels good to have complete confidence in your equipment. The price tag on the D3 is a hefty one ($375), but the culmination of safety and performance is one that I have yet to find anywhere else.
See more at www.troyleedesigns.com