The shell of Troy Lee Designs A3 is made from three parts co-moulded together, and that gives TLD’s paint shop the canvas it needs for some amazing designs.
Troy Lee Designs’ first go at an open face helmet was the Troy Lee Designs A1, brilliantly comfy we said but a degree too hot and without space under the visor to park your goggles. Then along came the Troy Lee Designs A2, it looked just as stunning and introduced some decent venting, but still there was no goggle garage and the dial at the back didn’t work well enough.
The new Troy Lee Designs A3 looks to have solved those niggles. Just like the A2, the impact liner is made from both EPP and EPS to protect you against low speed (less than 5mph) and high speed impacts, and now there are 16 vents for cooling, with the front ports much larger than on preceding helmets.
There’s a new visor design with three preset positions secured by hidden magnets, and the ability to push it right up and make space for your goggles. TLD says this is a pretty niche requirement, but nevertheless the minority were shouting for it.
Keeping the A3 in place is a new fit system that’s now integrated into the MIPS liner – this means when you tighten the dial at the back it actually tightens the MIPS liner itself. Also new is the padding inside – there’s more of it than in any of the brand’s other open face helmets, and you’ll find a silicon sweat gutter on the brow too, a feature we loved on the Oakley DRT5 helmet. Finally there are new straps, a Fidlock buckle, and recesses inside the shell to prevent eyewear arms conflicting with the helmet’s shell or the retention system.
Troy Lee Designs A3 first ride
In many ways the old A2 was a great helmet, the fit was about as comfy as it gets and the finish was terrific, but it was let down by a couple of key features. The Troy Lee Designs A3 builds on that success first with the new visor, it’s incredibly sturdy and solid without any of the flex or wobble you get from plenty of peaks out there, and the indexed positions are a good idea to help you quickly find the right tilt. The lowest setting is firmly in view and would be useful in a low-sun setting, while the highest position bumps it up out of your line of sight. You can also now push it right up with enough space underneath to park your goggles, although it’s so stiff you have to hold the helmet steady with the other hand to do so.
After just a few rides it’s difficult to make a judgment call yet, but our first impressions are that the A3 is a more comfortable place to be than the A2. The sweat pad on your brow is almost unnoticeable too, although we’ll have to wait until the weather warms up to figure out if it works and channels sweat from your face. The A3 also seems to offer more protection at the sides and the back, there’s now deeper coverage there. T A2 felt more XC or trail, while the new A3 feels more ‘enduro’ and closer to the excellent A1.