Troy Lee’s A1 lid first launched back in 2013 and remains visually unchanged – except for the paint-master’s exterior handy work – but has moved with the times with the addition of MIPS technology (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) – a layer inside the helmet designed to protect the brain from the rotational forces often experienced in crashes.
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Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS helmet details
Along with MIPS, the A1 is constructed with an EPS liner and an in-mould hard shell. It’s got 16 vents with ventilation channels for the upper-most ports.
The screws that fasten the peak to the helmet’s body should break away in the event of a crash and its liner is quick-drying, removable and washable. The retention cradle’s fit is adjusted using an indexed thumbwheel and it has three points of vertical adjustment.
The chin strap is fastened using a standard quick-release clip and the strap splitters are vertically adjustable, locking into place.
The Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS was awarded five stars out of five in Virginia Tech’s helmet safety impact tests, scoring 11.7 where a lower score offers better protection.
Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS helmet performance
The A1 MIPS’ overall fit and generous internal padding make it one of the most comfortable helmets on the market. Its shape was spot on and has no unusual bumps or discrepancies in the moulding’s contours that I could perceive.
The soft and thick padding deformed enough to iron out any irregular lumps or bumps on my head and it fitted snugly in all the right places. I experienced no hotspots and it didn’t feel especially narrow or cavernous where it shouldn’t.
The A1 was easy to adjust on the move thanks to the thumbwheel being easy to use with one hand.
The arms of sunglasses fitted comfortably over the top of the retention cradle and stayed put when I wanted them to. Normal-sized goggles also fit comfortably underneath the helmet, but when I was wearing larger framed goggles the helmet’s rim did contact them, either pushing the helmet up slightly or the goggles down over my nose. This wasn’t as pronounced as on other helmets I’ve tested, though.
The peak is fixed, which means that there’s no front-of-helmet goggle parking – as seen on Giro’s Chronicle. Despite the peak not being adjustable, it did angle up far enough so that it didn’t encroach into my field of vision when climbing or descending.
The A1’s main weakness, though, has to be its lack of ventilation, which traps heat inside the lid. This means the generously-cushioned pads get sweaty quickly and are unable to dry out quickly. This resulted in sweat dripping down my brow.
It’s not the lightest open-face mountain bike helmet on the market, but I didn’t notice a marked difference between the A1 and lighter helmets I had on test.
Although looks are fairly subjective, I think the A1 looks terrific despite it being a 7-year-old design.
Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS helmet bottom line
The A1’s comfort and luxurious feel does more than enough to make up for the heat build up I experienced on slower climbs and on warmer days. It looks great whether you’re riding trail or enduro and offers fantastic levels of protection, as verified in Virginia Tech’s independent tests.
But don’t just take my word for it; the A1 is one of the most commonly spotted lids out on the trails for a reason and, if the ventilation is a real problem for you, you might want to consider Troy Lee’s A2 instead.
|Price||AUD $290.00GBP £120.00USD $145.00|
|Brand||Troy lee designs|
|Features||Sizes: XS, SM, M/L, XL/XXL
Colours: Black/Red, Black/White, Gray/Gold, Gray/Walnut, Orange/Gray, Navy/Seafoam, Silver/Navy
|Helmet type||Mountain bike open face|