Troy Lee Designs’ hotly-anticipated Stage helmet has landed, but does it live up to the hype?
Well, with its sharp lines, distinctive styling and classic TLD touches, it is arguably the best-looking lid in the lightweight/well-vented enduro full-face category. And aesthetics aside, it’s been built to exceed downhill full-face helmet standards.
Safety features include a dual-density EPS/EPP inner shell and a MIPS liner to better protect your brain.
As with the Fox Proframe and Bell Super DH, the Stage comes in three sizes, with different pad thicknesses supplied to tailor the fit (two liners, two neck rolls and three sets of cheek pads).
The peak offers plenty of adjustment and sits high enough to remain out of view while riding
Unlike the Bell and the Stage’s other big rival, Giro’s Switchblade (which comes in five sizes), there’s no retention cradle to further fine-tune the fit. That said, although my head is at the bottom of the M/L sizing range, I found the Stage gave a secure, comfy fit using the thickest pads. While it doesn’t feel quite as snug as the Proframe, it’s not far off in terms of security and is just as comfy, if not comfier, than the Fox, Giro and Bell.
Part of that is down to how light and airy the Stage feels. My M/L lid tipped the scales at just 697g (the Proframe is 763g, while the Bell and Giro — which are convertible from full-face to open-face — weigh 883g and 919g respectively, all in size medium).
The Stage has 11 air vents and 14 exhaust ports, which work with the internal channelling to make it far cooler than a DH full-face lid — it feels much closer to wearing an open-face helmet. It takes a lot of effort to overheat in it, so you can easily tackle climbs with it on.
The Stage does lack the confidence-inspiring, ‘hugging your head’ feel of a DH full-face, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It is, after all, aimed at trail riders and enduro racers looking to boost protection without having to wear a heavy, sweaty lid, and it manages this extremely well. The peak offers plenty of adjustment and sits high enough to remain out of view while riding, unlike that of the Proframe, which is fixed.
As with the Bell and Fox lids, the Stage uses a Fidlock magnetic buckle. While it’s not my preferred closure, TLD has placed it far enough from the neck that its edges don’t irritate, and it’s reasonably quick and easy to use.
I’d like a little extra padding on the strap though. Aside from these minor niggles, I’m a big fan of the Stage and like just how airy and unrestrictive it feels when you’re gasping for breath and working hard.
Troy Lee Designs Stage helmet specifications
Sizes: XS/S, M/L, L/XL
Colours: Black, Black/Pink, Grey, Race Black/Red. Race Silver/Navy
Vents: 11 air vents and 14 exhaust ports
Protections: Dual-density EPS/EPP inner shell and MIPS