We were lucky enough to see the first Troy Lee A1 lid in the flesh on Wednesday last week, so we thought we had better get our thoughts down on paper.
If you have been living under a rock for the last month the A1 is a new helmet from Troy Lee Designs aimed at the Enduro market which as we all now is growing at an alarming rate at the moment. Why is in important and why should we care? Well Troy Lee Designs are one of the most famous helmet manufacturers in the industry and their D2 and D3 full face lids have been hugely popular over the years and arguably there will be an army of fans keen to sport this new design for their more regular trail duties.
The helmet has been designed from the ground up by Troy Lee, from the intricate graphics which are applied by hand to the twist fit system, there are no parts that haven’t been created specifically for this helmet. Thats a big job to get right, especially when you consider how easy it would be to buy in parts from factories that are already producing helmets which pass safety tests. The construction is In Mold and the polycarbonate shell has an extended wrap to ensure durability, the graphics are applied by hand, which when you take a look at the intricacy of the design is very impressive. If they were to apply the transfer in the mold they wouldn’t have been able to guarantee it’s accuracy, and that wasn’t good enough for Troy, so they opted for the more expensive and time consuming hand application approach.
True to the Enduro styling there is plenty of coverage around the back on on top of the head. Instead of covering the A1 with vents they have opted to put large vents in the front of the helmet and also exhaust vents at the back. The vents have been designed with channels linking them molded into the interior to ensure good airflow, it won’t be the coolest of helmets on the trail, but should offer more airflow than some of the Enduro lids on the market. The peak is adjustable in the same way that the D2 and D3 are, and it features aluminium fixings as a further nod to the quality of the materials used.
Recognising that many riders use helmet cams and lights during the winter, the Troy Lee Designs A1 features a flat area on the top of the head to mount a camera or light, vents either side of this allow for a strap-on mounting system to be used too. It’s a small feature, but for riders who regularly partake in the odd bit of POV action, or whom ride at night and want to be able to stick a light onto the helmet easily will benefit hugely from this. Another small nod to the heritage of this helmet is the rear point and vent which comes straight from the D2 and D3 design camp.
Inside the A1 the design and functionality continues, the internal padding is a one piece affair with total coverage for the head, it has been designed to incorporate the vents in the helmet to ensure that sweat doesn’t build up and the airflow remains consistent. The internal pad is removable for washing and of course antibacterial and sweat resistant. The Troy Lee Designs fit system is a twist wheel affair that offers on handed operation. In addition to this there is a three point adjustment to allow for different head shapes and adjust the way the lid sits on your head.
The fit on the Troy Lee Designs A1 is very wide, by that we mean that our abnormally largely brained IT Director who usually has to wear a Large or Extra Large lid found the medium/large went onto his head like Cinderella’s glass slipper, and yours truly with a more normal and less effective brain found it very comfortable too. They wanted to build a helmet that would help most bike shop owners, meaning they can carry a mostly medium sized stock and have just about everyone covered. It makes it easier for stocking, and for people buying online to get a decent fit. The low profile nature of the mould ensures it doesn’t look like a mushroom too much either.
Lastly it is worth mentioning the colours, they are going to be limited in thier availabilty, the first run off the line will be this gold flake and black cyclops design alongside the silver and black we saw in the original press release. Once those colours have run thier course then there will be two new colours and so on and so forth. At some point there will be a matt black version, for those who don’t like to attract too much attention on the trails, but for the moment you will have to put up with being stopped and asked about the jewelery adorning your melon. We should probably also mention here that the motif “For the world’s fastest racers” is on the back of the helemt, which could be a consideration if you are bottom of the Stava leaderboard and don’t want to be seen as an “all the gear, no idea” kind of rider.
Hang on, we almost forgot something, the price, hold your breath, expect to pay around £150 for one of these in the UK, which puts it firmly at the very top end of the helmet price bracket, sharing that sector of the market with the likes of POC. If these sell anyhting like the D2’s and D3’s from Troy Lee then expect to be seeing plenty of A1’s at trails near you soon!