Which Troy Lee Designs MTB helmet should I buy? 

14 April 2022

By Nicki Giles

Female cyclist in woods with bike wearing a Troy Lee A3 helmet

There are new colourways to check out this spring for all three exceptional Troy Lee Designs trail MTB helmets, but which one is right for you? Read on. 

If you’re a mountain biker, chances are you’re aware that Troy Lee Designs MTB helmets are some of the raddest and safest available, but you may not have taken the plunge and bought one yet. All three of TLD’s helmets, the A3, the A2 and the A1, are regularly seen on the trails and each model has its die-hard advocates. Now that each is out in brand new, fresh colours for spring, it’s the perfect time to pick your favourite. 

Laughing male cyclist unbuckling TLD A2 helmet

Troy Lee Designs A3 helmet

The TLD A3 is the brand’s flagship open faced lid. With deep head and temple coverage and a generous mix of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam to absorb high speed impacts and expanded polypropylene (EPP) to absorb low speed impacts, it also includes MIPS (a Multi-directional Impact Protection System) to combat rotational forces. These layers of protection are crowned by a great-looking 3-piece Aerospace filament-reinforced polycarbonate shell.

This Troy Lee helmet will help keep you safe during any type of off. In fact, it achieved an impressive 5* Virginia Tech Helmet Rating. The retention cradle is embedded into the MIPS B32 system, offering 360-degree adjustment and an incredible fit, while 16 sizable vents will keep your head cool while you’re shredding.

The long peak of the Troy Lee Designs A3 helmet tilts up and down and accommodates goggles by fitting into one of three magnetic visor slots, while glasses are stowed at the rear if you wear those. There’s a V2 Fidlock-Magnetic buckle, making this the easiest Troy Lee Designs MTB helmet to get on and off, and a removeable Sweatglide Management System, which channels sweat away from your eyes and towards your temples.

Female cyclist posing in wood in Troy Lee A3 helmet

An M6 liner is fitted as standard, but M12 pads are included, and both have trim lines to allow fit customisation. You’ll also receive two spare Sweatglide Systems, some spare peak screws and several cool stickers in the box.

There are two great-looking camouflage options with this helmet, once with a contrast back and logos, the other an all-over treatment. If you’re looking to stand out, the Pump For Peace model carries a bigger TLD logo, with three core colours and the vents marked out in a darker colour. Or you can select the Uno design, which includes a big TLD logo on the side and three or four different colours, with vents marked out and the top, back and bottom of the lid in contrasting shades.

Pick the Troy Lee Designs A3 if you want the best all-rounder open faced helmet that’s cool enough to cope with serious shredding, comfortable enough to wear all day, and impressively customisable. Trail and enduro riders alike will rate it.

Side on shot of camouflage TLD A3 helmet
Side on shot of Pump For Peace TLD A3 helmet

Troy Lee Designs A2 helmet

The slightly shallower fitting Troy Lee Designs A2 offers a dual-density foam system and MIPS like the A3, so it too gets that reassuring 5* safety rating. Fit-wise, it features adjustable strap dividers and a fit kit that will let you space out the pads exactly to your liking.

This model’s key advantage, though, is its excellent ventilation system. There are 6 intake passages and 7 rear vacuum exhausts to encourage air flow and remove heat, all extra-large and ultra-effective. An X-static® liner with embedded silver ions, meanwhile, combats odour as well as wicking sweat, so your head will stay fresh however hard or fast you shred the trails.

Mountain biker shredding in woods in a TLD A2 helmet

Looks-wise, the Troy Lee Designs A2 is available in either the clean dual-colour Decoy design or the Silhouette design. The former is a simple but effective logo-free combination of a coloured lower portion with an upper portion in either a contrasting or complementary shade. Other than small wordmarks, the only embellishment is a tiny slogan on the back of some helmets, reading “Riding the world a trail at a time”.

Meanwhile, the ostentatious Silhouette lid shouts its brand to the rooftops with an unmissable TLD logo stretching from ear to ear, while three or four bright shades of one colour contrast a white upper back and detailing.

The A2 is a great go-to option, no matter if you are racing in it or just out with your mates for a weekend pedal, as its safety features and air flow system will ensure you stay protected and cool. It’s also a great all-rounder for everyday use.

Side view of honey Decoy TLD A2 helmet
Side view of green Silhouette TLD A2 helmet

Troy Lee Designs A1 helmet

When the Troy Lee Designs A1 helmet first came out, it caused a sensation on the MTB scene. Launched in 2013, it features a reinforced polycarbonate shell, in-moulded with an EPS liner that extends down the back and sides of the head for protection, covered by a plush, washable and quick-drying liner that wicks sweat.

Sixteen vents keep the air moving, while a triple position retention system, adjusted by press studs and a thumbwheel and with slots for sunglasses, is used to find perfect the fit. Finally, a breakaway visor protects the eyes.

It has a modern shape, but the real selling point of this Troy Lee Designs MTB helmet is comfort. Reviewers love the stable, supportive fit and the soft, thick padding used in all the right places, saying it’s one of the most wearable all-day wear helmets on the market. And, since TLD added MIPS to create the Troy Lee Designs A1 Classic MIPS helmet – with the original model being retitled the A1 Drone helmet – it’s one of the safest too. Again, the Classic MIPS model achieved the highest 5* Virginia Tech Helmet Rating.

Man shredding in woods in TLD A1 helmet

The Drone designs are strong and classy. Each has one bold, eye-catching base colour, accented by a large TLD logo and a small Troy Lee Designs wordmark either side of the brim, picked out in a complementary colour. The Classic MIPS designs are similar, but more understated and nuanced. Most include a coloured section at the back and a third colour to add depth to the logo on the side, while all bear a TLD badge on the back.

Wear the Troy Lee Designs A1 helmet if you want to look effortlessly cool and forget you’re wearing a lid during a long day riding the trails. It cannot be beaten for fit and comfort and the A1 Drone is the most affordable model in the TLD stable.

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Side on view of TLD A1 Classic MIPS helmet
Side on view of TLD A1 Drone helmet
Mountain biker shredding in golden light in TLD A2 helmet