Troy Lee Designs A2 Helmet - First Look

Feb 27, 2017 at 1:14
by Mike Kazimer  
Troy Lee Designs A2

Back in 2013, Troy Lee Designs introduced their A1 helmet, which marked the company's return to making half shell bike helmets after a decade long hiatus. That helmet won over plenty of riders with its ultra-comfortable fit and extended coverage, but it was a little warmer than other helmets on the market.

That's where the brand new A2 comes in. Thanks to its wider vents and increased internal channeling, the A2 is claimed to offer 25% more air intake, which should come in handy on those hot summer days.
TLD A2 Helmet Details
• 13 vents, internal channeling
• MIPS equipped
• Dual density liner with co-molded EPS and EPP
• Exceeds CPSC 1203, CE EN 1078, AS NZ 2063:2008 standards
• Thirteen color options
• Weight: 370g (actual, size M)
• Price: $169 USD
• Contact: www.troyleedesigns.com

Troy Lee did more than just carve out the vents on an A1 and call it good – the A2 uses a mix of EPP (expanded polypropylene) and EPS (expanded polystyrene) foams in order to allow it to handle high and low-speed impacts. Compared to the A1, the EPS at the front of the helmet is 16% thicker to provide even more protection to the frontal lobe area. In addition to the use of two foam densities, TLD also equip the A2 with a MIPS liner that's designed to help reduce the rotational forces that reach the brain. MIPS liners are now found on all of Troy Lee's half shell helmets, no matter if it's the A2 or the A1.


Troy Lee Designs A2
The A2 has fewer total vents than the A1, but the vents it does have are much larger.
Troy Lee Designs A2
The larger rear vents also provide a convenient spot to stash sunglasses when they're not in use.


Troy Lee Designs A2
Troy Lee Designs A2
The A2 uses a polycarbonate shell over both EPP (grey) and EPS (black) foam.



The A2's shape makes it possible to easily store sunglasses when they're not in use, and there's also more room around the ears to prevent glasses' frames from touching the helmet's shell. The fit of the helmet is adjusted via a dial at the back of the helmet, and there are three different height settings for further fine tuning.

There aren't any gold sparkles this time around, but the A2 is available in thirteen different color combos, everything from the matte black Decoy version shown here, to a bright blue glossy fade. MSRP is $169, with a $6 upcharge if you choose the reflective white or the SRAM / TLD racing version.

For riders with a soft spot for the A1, don't worry, it's not going anywhere, and there are a whole host of fresh color options, along with a newly reduced price of $139 USD.


Troy Lee Designs A2
The visor is attached with anodized aluminum hardware.
Troy Lee Designs A2
A ratcheting dial makes it easy to adjust the fit on the fly.


Ride Impressions

I've been able to get in a handful of rides so far with the A2, and although the mercury has been reluctant to climb above 50°F / 10°C (after all, it's still February), the increased airflow with the A2 versus the A1 is noticeable, a feature that will undoubtedly be even more welcome when spring and summer arrive. The padding also seems to dry faster, another plus for those warm days.

As far as fit goes, the A2 has a tough row to hoe when it comes to knocking the A1 of its perch as the king of comfort. So far I'd say A1 keeps the crown, although the A2 isn't far off. My head shape is more oval than round, and the A2 seems to sit a little bit higher than the A1 does. It's very secure, and it never shifted out of place even on rough, bumpy trails, but it doesn't cradle my head quite as well as the A1. As with any helmet, it's always best to try before you buy – fit will vary from rider to rider. On a similar note, I also found that the front portion of the helmet's shell sticks out far enough that it slightly entered my field of vision, typically when climbing. Of course, this could also be related to my head shape, and might not be the case for all riders, but it's something I didn't experience with the A1.

Luckily, I haven't put the A2's impact absorption capabilities to the test yet (knock on wood), but it's good to see more companies incorporating features designed to deal with multiple impact speeds. I need some more time (and some warmer weather) to fully evaluate the A2, but by all appearances it upholds the blend of style and safety that Troy Lee Designs' helmets are known for.








145 Comments

  • 187 2
 I prefer A4, fewer printer jams
  • 60 2
 don't know, i'm waiting for the RS6
  • 17 5
 Waiting for the electric version
  • 5 2
 @barzaka: Naw, all about that RS TT
  • 4 1
 Letter size for me
  • 5 0
 ARCH D all day
  • 2 0
 Good old fashioned stationary/printer joke...thrown awry by an Auto Enthusiast!
  • 2 0
 @gordon2456: only if you have a Vagina
  • 1 0
 @Fundamentalist: oh! ma god....did you just, like, totally try to identify a group by physical attributes that can not, dare I say, SHALL NOT!, be seen in a public place to further ones application or proof of membership to this group called..."Vagina"
  • 4 0
 @Fundamentalist: In its home country we say that the TT is for girls of both genders. Not sure how well that translates...
  • 2 0
 Well done troy Lee, keep the stupid fin on the back so you can never mount a light on your helmet properly. Too far forward just pulls the helmet down.
  • 119 4
 The logo is hard to read and it's small.
No one will see that I'm wearing tld.
What's the point of getting it.
Does it come with free stickers?
  • 104 1
 You could always get TLD tattooed across your forehead
  • 14 1
 @velociraptor-clintthrust: backwards, so he sees it in the mirror properly.
  • 20 0
 I laughed at the sad people who buy TLD for that reason.

Then realised, that I'm one of them. #SMH
  • 6 0
 @velociraptor-clintthrust: sorry already got yt on my forehead. Maybe I'll get it covered.
  • 1 0
 My A1 did, so maybe this new one will too.
  • 34 0
 Love my A1 but would be good to know if they've done anything to make the A2 stop you looking like Toad from Mario Kart when wearing it.
  • 4 0
 you'll have to get the TA2
  • 7 1
 Ha. I caught myself in the mirror with my Smith Forefront on... wow. And here I was thinking I looked good in it.
  • 11 1
 I used to have a white Pro Trabec. Enough said
  • 11 0
 @gonecoastal: fluorescent orange super 2... I'm like a traffic pylon
  • 5 1
 I tried one on and it was pretty bad. I looked like toad...
  • 2 2
 That's just you head bro
  • 3 0
 @ehvahn: bell super looks good, smiths helmet does, giros does. Idk this one just curves very hard on the sides.
  • 5 0
 Here we go!
  • 9 0
 @browntown40: I look the same in my Smith. To be honest though, we all look like this to non-cyclists, no matter which helmet is siting on our cranium.
  • 1 0
 Did you buy the xl? That thing is mahoosive!
  • 1 0
 I almost went with a POC Oct-whatever they're called until I looked in the mirror. Hahaha
  • 19 3
 Let's hope the liners hold up better than the ones in the a1. They fall apart after about 2 months of use and are like hens teeth to find at times.
  • 6 0
 Same here, had to buy multiple liners because they kept coming apart at the seams.
  • 16 1
 I bought a second A1 as a crash replacement a few months back and the quality is far, far worse than the first. Velcro pads falling off, ratchet adjuster thing made of cheese, liner coming apart at the seams. Same goes for the once awesome Motos. I have three pairs 2013, 2014 and 2016. The barely worn 2016s are fraying and falling apart while the much worn 2013s are still going strong (and have more features?)

Profit before quality (and thats before they were bought out!) - No more TLD for me
  • 8 0
 @DarkSid3: I have the same experience with 2013 and 2016 airgloves, I hope they´ll return to the old path where good design meets good quality...
  • 6 0
 Also new helmets should come with extra velcro for the liner.
  • 3 0
 @DarkSid3: Agree with the TLD Moto shorts. The older 2013 version holding up so well so i dont have any excuse to buy a new black shorts. Cant say the same for the latest version though. Loyal customers will start to stray away from TLD if this thing happen again and again.
  • 2 0
 Did you not find that the A1 was a like an oven on your head, had to get rid of mine way to warm, and I've no hair!
  • 3 0
 @bobtjustice: I was more annoyed how all the sweat would pour down my forehead like an open faucet. I hope they have addressed that, and with the addition of a MIPS liner I hope things haven't gotten worse in terms of temperature and sweat management.
  • 17 4
 Does the visor actually do anything compared to the A1? The A1 only keeps the sun out of my eyes at noon in the middle of summer. Compared to the Super or other lids it's not even worth having on there except to make sure it looks like a mtb helmet.
  • 4 15
flag RedBurn (Feb 27, 2017 at 4:02) (Below Threshold)
 I love my A1 !!! Better die than change helmet
  • 11 0
 Yes, if your visor doesn't double as a shovel for mid-ride trail digging you may as well just ride a roadie lid.
  • 8 0
 Not sure about the A2 but the A1 has the best fit I've tried on my head - no real comparison here with all the helmets that I've used in the past.
  • 2 0
 Have you tried the POC Tectal? I switched because of the airflow problem and man I must say...mint helmet indeed! ????????
  • 8 0
 this is awesome....i literally just ordered an A1 last night, not too bummed though, it sounds like the A1 might still be the better choice for me.
  • 12 0
 Think you made a wise choice. I love my A1. Comfort and it looks better. I also don't get the problem with the vents. I live in the southeast and it gets hot and very humid. Doesn't matter what you have on your head it's still hot as satans balls.
  • 8 1
 I predict that Troy will soon have a room like Scrooge McDuck where he can dive into his A2 profits.
  • 2 0
 Full of specialized ebikes...
  • 1 1
 The guy deserve it. He created the D3, the helmet that saved my life!
  • 4 0
 @mikekazimer Why is it so difficult for consumers to find the actual test results from helmets? I get that they all pass the tests, but I'd still like to see who aced it and who barely passed to ensure I'm getting an even safer helmet. For me, that would the best helmet reviews yet.
  • 2 1
 Because the tests mean very little in real world scenarios... Unless you're planning on wearing your helmet whilst standing under a pre-diagnosed mass being dropped directly on top of your head.
  • 4 0
 As much as I like my orange A1, I ride in Thailand, and with temperatures above 30 C most of the time, the helmet is pretty hot. I replaced a Kali Maraka with the A1, and the Kali fit me better and was way cooler. I'm waiting to buy the Kali Interceptor which is due to hit stores anytime now. It is supposed to have the same fit as the Maraka, and uses Kali's non-MIPS protection that supposedly helped Nicholai Rogatkin survive his Rampage fall without concussion.
  • 2 0
 Just so you know, those Interceptors are hitting stores in the US now!
  • 3 0
 The dorsal fin causes a concern for me. I'd like to mount a headlamp and it doesn't look like you can without moving the light further forward. I guess as long as your light can shift at vertical angles it may be possible?

Style wise I'm still going to pass. I was never keen on the A1 and this one doesn't do it for me either. To each their own tho.
  • 5 0
 The fin seems like it could get hung up on something if you hit the dirt too. I'll pass.
  • 5 1
 @dthomp325: thought the same thing. Although it's small and rounded off, any kind of extra projection especially at the rear edge does have the effect of increasing leverage if it snag on something (branch, ground). When I broke my neck I was wearing a Giro Pneumo which had some flowing long structure at the upper rear edge...just something I consider when choosing a lid now.
  • 1 0
 Must be some f1 fans over at tld..fins are back!
  • 5 1
 The fin interferes with your light placement? Why on earth are you attaching the light to the back of your head? Do you watch your shadow ride down the trails in front of you?

Never had an issue with light placement on my A1.
  • 2 1
 @ScandiumRider: No one is attaching their headlamp to the very back of the helmet. The fin goes from the back to the mid center of the helmet causing a slight bump. Even if it's a small center line bump it can cause the headlamp to be a bit wobbly during a ride.

Take a look at the helmet and then you might understand where I'm coming from.

Again, it causes a concern for me but I've never actually held this helmet in my hands or tried to mount a light to it. So, it's a concern not giving actual facts that this helmet isn't compatible with headlamps.
  • 7 1
 PB please put helmets onto a human for helmet reviews, and post the pictureSmile
  • 3 0
 It's the forehead on the A1 that's gets especially hot. Can't tell by these pics if that's better now?

A1 is the best fitting helmet ever for me but because I have the XL is doesn't work with goggles; the coverage is so low it mashes the goggles down on my nose very uncomfortably.
  • 4 2
 Looks like a Trek... no wait hang on, I'm glad to see they haven't bothered making the helmet light compatible again, the A1 just about got away with it but wasn't ideal, the A2 looks like it makes the problem worse? Anyone else?
  • 2 0
 I took a header off a cliff while riding a trail in South Korea (love that place). Completely smashed the A1 I was wearing and got a serious concussion. I have no doubt the helmet saved my life though. I originally bought it for the comfortable fit but now I have a certain loyalty to the brand that only a life or death experience can bring. I have been wanting a MIPS helmet and will give this a look.
  • 4 0
 They have MTB trails in South Korea? Next time I go back to S. Korea I will bring my bike hehe (I'm from S. Korea)
  • 1 0
 I smashed one in too. They work!!
  • 6 1
 Just when I bought a new A1, a month ago .... hummm
  • 8 2
 Cheaper and way better looking, so i wouldn't be too bummed...
  • 4 0
 You must have known this was coming??
  • 8 2
 Damn it's as if the business world isn't based on you
  • 14 13
 TLD buying a high tech, revolutionary, modern, anti-rotational device from Bell? C'm on guys, POC showed MIPS the finger for that move and made their own system, which by the way isn't as irritating for the skin and hair catching as MIPS since it's about slippery pads... and they may even earn even more money than companies do by installing that gullilble yellow crap, increasing feeling of self worth of a buyer more than safety. I wonder if MIPS blackmails me again after this one.
  • 6 9
 Sorry, forgot to add: I love the looks of the helmet (that dark grey and the white/red are brilliant) and using different thicknesses, especially the bit about the forehead. Weight and price are fine too.
  • 6 3
 WAKI, we fixed the hair catching thing that non-bald people have had some concerns about, the A2, has thin felt discs around the MIPS rubber grommets.
  • 3 7
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 27, 2017 at 8:12) (Below Threshold)
 @stikmanglaspell: great. Isn't making so many cuts diminishing the effects of MIPS?
  • 5 0
 I've listened to an interview with Troy himself - he very-genuinely tried to create a product that provided what he felt was better than MIPS when developing their new SE4 and said they just couldn't, so they went with MIPS, which obviously is carrying through all of their product. People love to pose resistance to all things new and different. Helmet tech will always be controversial, but I have no reason to believe Troy isn't trying his best to provide what he feels are the best safety products - he said it himself - speeds are higher, risks are greater and he's trying to recognize that.
  • 1 0
 MIPS not so related to Bell anymore...
  • 1 0
 Has anyone else had a problem with the visor hardware falling out on rides? Two A1's and two visors missing a screw. I even lock righted the second one to no avail. Oh and a screw from TLD is no shit 10$ hence a trip to the hardware store.
  • 1 0
 @dirtbagluvin sorry for the trouble man, we put a thread lock on the last few seasons of A1's, and for the record, we sell a upgrade kit with 3 ano aluminum screws and new velcro's for the liner, for $9. But hit me up if you need some help if you are still rocking hardware store jams! haha
  • 1 0
 @stikmanglaspell: thanks! Good to know. I should order a set. Said screw it and have been letting my new one flap away.
  • 3 1
 And teh obvious question: Goggle compability, if any? The visor of the A1 didn't play nicely with my Adidas Goggle, and it'd be great if the A2 would. Any chance?
  • 13 0
 This is pinkbike, you're not allowed to wear goggles with a half shell here. Or a neck brace. Or ride anything but a Santa Cruz. /s
  • 3 2
 somewhat related.
I just heard Stik got kicked out of a supercross after party!!!! From what I heard, walked in, well known ex-motocross racer looked at him and said get the F out @stikmanglaspell
  • 2 2
 @anonDH Man, get your gossip straight, you are a terrible story teller! I was working on a shoot years ago, on the ex-motocrosser's ranch...world record truck jump.

Ex moto dude found out I was there working/shooting and said to someone "Dont bring that stikman guy to my property ever again"...because of something I wrote on stiksandstones.com back in the day.

So, my recommendation to ya is get an A2 helmet, it will protect your head from further damage you seem to suffer. #ProTip of the day! Wink
  • 1 1
 @stikmanglaspell: I'll gladly get Jeremy Mcgrath to confirm this; happened recently (2017). Are you okay with a audio recording or do prefer a video confirming it?
  • 1 1
 @anonDH: Sure thing super sleuth. I have not been to a 'supercross after party' since Las Vegas finals in 2001.
  • 1 1
 @stikmanglaspell: Okay, I confirm shorty.
  • 2 0
 @anonDH, remind me again how this is related to the new helmet?
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Because safety is our priority
  • 2 0
 Can't they put some netting into these helmets? My brother woke up in an emergency helicopter after being stung by a bee that got stuck in his helmet.
  • 1 1
 Sucks to hear it doesn't have as much coverage as the A1. The fit system on the A1 doesn't have the fine adjustments like the Smith helmets do, and that added on the liner problems is why I stopped wearing mine.
  • 2 1
 "The A2's shape makes it possible to easily store sunglasses when they're not in use" what does this mean? like a spot to hook them when your not wearing them? pics?
  • 5 0
 You stick the sunglass arms through the rear vent holes, like this: www.pinkbike.com/photo/14454563. They sit between your head and the top of the helmet.
  • 4 1
 @mikekazimer: Best thing a gift someone your glasses
  • 2 0
 Would have liked to have seen side by side compare photos of the A1 and A2.
  • 2 0
 Dual density EPS is the way to go. Good to see TLD getting on board with this as well.
  • 1 0
 I would wear it as a XC lid with enduro standards, cause now I'm wearing a Giro Swicthblade as my enduro lid to gain some DH standards. Smile
  • 1 2
 What the hell are the people at TLD smoking...?? There graphics look f*cking terrible! Been like that for years. There were always "a few" good looking items in their collection, but most of it looks terrible. Pinstripes for example..... Come on, pinstripes are 1999..
Doesn't mean I don't like the company because their history is awesome, and the few items I think that do look good, look really good then...... Appearently, it's also what the people on the market want... Lots of buyers with bad taste then or what huh...?
  • 2 0
 So its still no good with googles ? Pass...
  • 1 0
 Still??? Thought the same with mine you have to adjust the back for them to play nice. They fit perfect with my 100% goggles. No pressure on the bridge if my nose.
  • 1 0
 @DHaddict82: well... they didnt play nice for me and my friends woth 100% goodles.
  • 1 0
 A1 didnt work with my oakley jawbreakers.
  • 2 0
 @jrocksdh: what size? I have an XL and have no issues. People with small heads shouldn't use jawbreakers anyway they look wrong.
  • 2 0
 The comment about the A2 "sitting higher" or not having as much coverage as the A1 is only because both the front and sides above the ears were raised slightly to accommodate riding glasses and/or goggles better than the A1 managed to. Overall after riding one for months I find the fit over the head itself to be great and just like my A1 Mips. That and it also works with my light mount just fine for those questioning the shape.
  • 2 0
 "the A2 has a tough row to hoe" What does that actually mean?
  • 2 2
 Means he needs to be a firm pimp yo!
  • 4 0
 It's a metaphor with a farming theme. A hoe is a farming tool used to break up a row of dirt for planting. Or "hoe" could be used in another context here in the US of A, but it wouldn't make sense in that metaphor.
  • 2 0
 Writers love sounding catchy even though it usually just turns out embarrassing.
  • 2 0
 Let's just all assume it was about prostitution.
  • 2 0
 @nyhc00: Safer and funnier bet Big Grin
  • 2 0
 Where's all the cool wacky color options?
  • 1 0
 Have always wore TLD helmets and will continue to wear them! Great to see this and the D3 with MIPS now tup
  • 1 0
 Damn it. I was thinking in buying the A1 but now I have to make a choice between the two and I'm terrible at making choices.
  • 1 0
 Omg the new D3 in US flag design is a must have. I don't need it, but I NEED it.
  • 1 0
 SE4?
  • 1 0
 I just tried on an A2 and now I can't wait to get one. I've owned 3 A1's and I prefer the fit of the A2.
  • 1 0
 If the pads inside are like the last one they can stick it up there a.hole....
  • 1 0
 visor is adjustable or fixed? cannot find any mention in review
  • 2 0
 adjustable
  • 1 0
 @morcombemedia: thanks... but I'm reading mtbr.com's review and they say: „My only real complaint is the non-movable visor, which sits low enough to hang in sight.“

so I'm confused now and if they are right, TLD is out of my interest now
  • 1 0
 @mookie73: I know it's adjustable coz it says
"aluminum hardware connnects the helmet"
Just stick with A1 for the mo
  • 1 0
 @mookie73, the visor is adjustable, with a similar range of motion to the A1.
  • 1 0
 @mookie73: It actually sits higher than the A1. Early versions were given two different positions and the higher of the two was chosen. But definitely adjustable in the same range as the A1 as Mike mentions below.
  • 4 3
 looks like Fox Flux for me
  • 1 0
 I take it no D4 this season?
  • 1 0
 Quick buy the a2 now the a1 is old news
  • 3 1
 Still for sale, at a new lower price, coming standard with MIPS.
  • 1 0
 How exactly does one row a hoe?
  • 4 4
 With all those air vents, doesn't it defeat the purpose protecting you head on the trail and the drag that it creates?
  • 1 0
 Which color did you review?
  • 1 0
 Surely the reflective one should be the cheapest of the lot?
  • 1 0
 Just enough Enduro!! Nice wk TLD....
  • 1 0
 Lookn good TLD... My A1 is great
  • 1 0
 I miss sparkles! I love sparkles! Sparkles is moar Enduro!
  • 1 0
 Eh hope it looks better in person
  • 1 0
 Would be nice to actually see it on someones head.
  • 1 1
 Better (safer) or just different. Probably the latter.
  • 2 1
 I like the dorsal fin.
  • 2 1
 A1 best lid I've had.
  • 1 1
 I dont like this helmet. Fit is all wrong
  • 5 8
 Surprised not to see a helmet with a removable chin bar like the Bell, Giro, etc!
  • 6 1
 @stuwiltshire This makes me lol
  • 4 7
 looks like a Session...for your head.
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