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.
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
- 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
- MSRP: $215 (Vertigo), $189 (Drone)
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.