Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS helmet first look

MIPS introduced to one of most popular helmets on MTB market

Helmets
Troy Lee A1 MIPS is loud yet understated in flat paint.

The Troy Lee A1 MIPS is loud yet understated (click to enlarge).

When Mtbr goes to product launch media events where the journalists can wear the helmet of their choice, we typically see more Troy Lee Designs A1 helmets in use than any other model. That’s high praise that can be attributed to the comfort offered by the A1, as well as its attractive designs and colors.

New for 2016, are even more impressive colors, especially in the Vertigo series, which shares a similar design structure but different colorways.

Troy Lee A1 MIPS version has less liner material compared to the old non MIPS model.

The Troy Lee A1 MIPS version has less liner material compared to the old non MIPS model (click to enlarge).

More importantly, Troy Lee has upped the protection by incorporating MIPS into the A1 series. MIPS adds 23 grams resulting in a 400 gram weight for M/L size. Price rises $50, so the top-of-line Vertigo helmets are $215, and the Drone designs are $189

Troy Lee A1 MIPS rear view reveals large output vents.

The rear view of the Troy Lee A1 MIPS reveals large exhaust vents (click to enlarge).

Features
  • Reinforced polycarbonate shell in-molded with EPS liner that extends down the sides and back of the head for better protection and durability
  • MIPS: Multi-Directional Impact Protection System
  • 8 intake passages draw in air for increased ventilation
  • 8 rear exhaust outlets help draw heat away from head
  • Triple position adjustable retention system allows customized fit for various eyewear, head shape and riding styles
  • Single piece, removable and washable liner made of anti-microbial moisture wicking material for a dry, comfortable feel
  • Full spectrum adjustable moto-inspired visor with anodized aluminum hardware
  • Sizes: XS/S, M/L, XL/XXL
  • Actual weight: 400 grams size M/L
  • Colors: Vertigo Yellow, White, Grey, Red, Black
Troy Lee A1 MIPS rear view in white.

The Troy Lee A1 MIPS in white is a looker (click to enlarge).

Pricing
  • MSRP: $215 (Vertigo), $189 (Drone)
Ride impressions

We’ve taken the A1 MIPS helmets out for a few rides already and have a few initial impressions. First, the weight is about the same as the 23 extra grams is not noticeable compared to the normal version. Second, it is a MIPS helmet so there is some millimeters of sliding sensation if you wiggle the helmet around your head once strapped in. It’s not as firm a feel as a non-MIPS helmet but it doesn’t move around while riding.

There is less padding on the helmet compared to the non-MIPS version and one of our riders with a bald head has noticed the lack of it. He longs for more of the TLD lining which is one of the best in the category.

Ventilation seems slightly affected as the MIPS layer is in the way of airflow. The MIPS material has been strategically cut out to match the vent holes but from the forward facing angles, you can see there is the slightest bit of obstruction. We’ll keep an eye on this as we use the helmet more during the hotter summer months.

Overall, we’re happy that one of our favorite helmets still has category leading designs and that it gives our brain more protection against soft blows and rotational forces.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • centralcoastkid says:

    I use my A-1 or specialized ambush when riding the A-1 straps are completely adjustable so yes you can dial it in to fit your noggin or lopsided ears. love my ambush but strap adjustment is limited

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