Two new helmets have been added to Troy Lee Designs' catalog for 2023, the Flowline and the Flowline SE. They'll serve as the entry points to TLD's half shell helmet lineup, with the A3 remaining as the top tier option.
Both Flowline models use the same shell shape, and are equipped with a MIPS B32 liner to help reduce rotational impact forces. The SE version receives a few upgrades, including dual density foam, a Fidlock buckle, and an anti-microbial liner. Each version is available in three sizes (XS/S, M/L, XL/2XL), and in a whopping 11 different
• 14 vents
• MIPS B32 liner
• 3 position visor
• Fidlock magnetic buckle on SE version
• Weight: 362 grams (size M/L, actual)
• Five star Virginia Tech rating
• Colors: Lots of them.
• Flowline: $119 USD / Flowline SE: $159 USD
Both helmets received a five-star rating in Virginia Tech's testing, and are certified to the NTA 8776 e-bike standard, along with the usual CPSC and CE certifications.
The Flowline retails for $119 USD, and the Flowline SE is $159 USD.FIT AND ADJUSTMENTS
The fit of the Flowline reminds me a lot of the TLD A1, which I still consider one of the comfiest helmets I've ever worn. The Flowline has a similar feel, with deep coverage and a cushy liner that hugged my head medium sized, oval shaped head very well.
The retention dial is easy to use, although it's also easy to overtighen – there were a few times when I had to loosen it up mid-ride to alleviate a slight pain at the back of my head. Still, I'd rather be able to get a helmet too tight versus not tight enough. As it is, the Flowline never shifted out of place on rough trails, and there wasn't any distracting noise from the MIPS liner.
The sun barely rises above the horizon this time of year here in the Pacific Northwest, so the visor mainly served as a rain shield rather than something to keep the sun out of my eyes. I rode with it in the highest of the three positions, where it stayed securely in place and didn't impede my line of sight. If you're one of the four people still wearing goggles with a half shell there's not really enough room to store them under the visor, although that always seemed like a silly selling point to me.
As for glasses storage, it's possible to slide the arms of some sunglasses through the two outermost top vents. It's a secure perch, but they're not totally out of the way. I'll give TLD points for making it possible at all, but the Specialized Tactic and POC Tectal both do a better job in that regard. VENTILATION
It's still the middle of winter, so I haven't been able to ride with the Flowline in scorching, or even semi-hot weather. I have been able to work up a sweat while wearing it, though, and I'd put it in the middle of the road as far as ventilation and sweat management goes. There's not the same level of airflow as you'll find with Fox's Speedframe helmet, or Giro's extra-airy Merit, but it hasn't felt overly stifling, at least in the more moderate temperatures I tested it in. WEIGHT
The Flowline's 363-gram weight is competitive in this category. That's around 20 grams lighter than the Specialized Tactic
, and 20 grams heavier than the Giro Source
, two other options in a similar price bracket.VIRGINIA TECH RANKINGS
As I mentioned, both helmets received a 5-star rating from Virginia Tech. You can read more about the methodology they use to test here
. Interestingly, the $119 Flowline performed better than the $159 SE, receiving a score of 10.79 versus 12.42 (the lower the score the better). That's despite the fact that the Flowline uses only one density of foam, while the SE's dual density foam is intended to allow it to better handle low and high speed impacts.
At the moment, Specialized's Tactic 4 ($110) is sitting at the top of the rankings with a score of 8.55. FLOWLINE VS FLOWLINE SE
The Flowline packs a lot in for $119, and realistically it'd be the one I'd go with over the more expensive SE version. I know lots of riders like Fidlock magnetic buckles, but I prefer the old-fashioned fastening method. Yes, the yellow MIPS liner does make the inside of the Flowline look a little cheap compared to the fancier version, but no one's going to see it when it's on your head, and it functions exactly the same.
Very comfortable fit with extended rear coverage+
Reasonable price and weight+
Wide range of color options
Middle-of-the-road ventilation -
Not the best sunglasses storage
|The Flowline carries on the tradition of comfort that the A1 kicked off when it debuted a decade ago. The price and weight are all reasonable, and the wide variety of color options makes it easy to find the ideal match for a rider's tastes.— Mike Kazimer|
But looks like TLD is simplifying and condensing their product offerings in half shells to be two distinct segments.
Sweaters & venters.
A1, A2 & A3 have very different price points and appeals but my guess is they got tired of phone calls and emails asking the difference between A1 & A2 and the same for the difference between A2 & A3.
Eliminate the A2. Bulk up the A1 & rebrand. Two very distinctly different helmets for the consume to pick from.
Me....I'm buying up some A1 inventory. Love the look, the feel and the venting.
General public.. "Ewwww"
Troy Lee " PUT IT BACK, PUT IT BACK NOW!"
@100percent has backed me on this since the start. Thanks to them and my grandfather for always showing me that it is simply not rude to be nude. #staynudepb #staywokepal
Greatest design for bike lenses was the lens wipe on a leash in the back pocket of the old Ruckus and Sprint jerseys from TLD.
Next best is the lens wipe in the pocket of the Leatt 4.0 jacket. All these lens wipes sewn into the hem at the bottom of jerseys in the back are useless.
So many better ways to keep your glasses safe and fog free.Id rather see them spend money on design (that thing is hideous) and safety rather than cheap selling features.
I use it and it’s phenomenal! Literally zero foggy. They just don’t fog anymore
I have a very sweaty head.
And goggles wipes in shirts? Always just end up sweaty and making the problem worse in my experience
Pinched rear brake line oso. It was an issue in my local ibis dealer, they said no, we won’t sell it. Well I left that region but have to wonder and well, how did that work out? Thoughts?
Is it just a case of the price is what people will pay or are there features which actually cost more to make in most helmets which are missing from the cheaper ones?
I could be wrong, but I think Bell owns the tech and quite a while back TLD had to pay around $50 per helmet to license it.
I stated who owns the rights to MIPS and how much they were selling it to other companies for.
Stop tagging me for crying out loud people.
MIPS maintains a higher level of manufacturing for helmet makers using their technology mipscorp.com/sustainability/our-supply-chain
With so many people wearing full-face these days, why aren't they testing more full-face helmets?