The 2017 Troy Lee Designs A2 helmet is a completely new design and redefines what safety, style, comfort, and ventilation should look like in a mountain bike helmet. The A2 improves on the A1 thanks in part to wider vents that help keep the head cooler. One of the main complaints about the TLD A1 helmet was that it was a little warmer than other helmets on the market and TLD claims the new A2 lid offers 25% more air intake.
Another great feature on the A2 helmet is added protection and who is going to complain about a safer helmet? The A2 combines EPP for slow speed impacts and EPS for high speed impacts to create a game changing level of protection in mountain bike helmets. The TLD A2 helmet is also equipped with MIPS - this allows the helmet to slide relative to the head which adds more protection against rotational violence to the brain caused by angled impacts.
-25% increase in air intake allows for ample cooling efficiency
-Equipped with MIPS
-Anodized hardware with breakaway technology
-Large eyeport for perfect goggle or glasses fit
-Weight: 370g (taken from size M)
I was excited to get on the trail with this helmet, not only to look super good for all my riding mates, but also to see the difference from the TLD A1 helmet. Living in Southern California we experience a lot of warm days throughout the year, however the past two months have not been the case. With rain almost every week and temperatures in the 50’s and low 60’s, it isn’t exactly ideal conditions to test if this helmet actually has better ventilation than the A1 - this did not stop me from trying though! First, I did a few hot laps with the new A2, running around in circles around our showroom. Initial aero and ventilation testing proved inconclusive, time for more testing…
All joking aside, we headed out on the trail for a nice afternoon pedal. Even though weather isn’t optimal for testing the ventilation, I could still notice the increase in airflow immediately as I got out on the trail. Once summer comes, the added airflow will be a welcome addition. Another feature I noticed is the slightly different padding used in the A2 which has a “lighter” feel. Not necessarily the weight, but the way the material feels on your head. The new A2 helmet is super comfortable and proved to wick away sweat very well. Not only do the pads feel more comfortable but the fit for my head is also an improvement. The overall shape is slightly different and also has a “wrap” around feel. Could be the way the MIPS cage has contact with the head, could be a redefined shape on the A2 but whichever the answer is, I am a fan!
The next big difference in my opinion is the straps. Two straps come out from the helmet in the same way, but instead of the plastic piece joining the two straps into one strap, there is now a connector that is fixed in position. Then, a single strap is sewed around the plastic connector down to the buckles, where you can adjust how tight the straps are like normal. The straps fit great around my ears without any twisting and proved to be comfortable around the face while riding. Fit can be adjusted via the dial in the rear of the helmet and there are 3 height settings that can be adjusted to further dial in this lid.
Overall, I would give this helmet a solid A grade. With an improved fit, new strap design, and MIPS protection, it's hard to say anything negative about the helmet. In true TLD fashion, there are 13 colors to match every kit and every style. Although the A1 continues to taste great, the A2 helmet has now resides in my gear bag on a full time basis.