We have no hesitation recommending the Troy Lee Stage if you're in the market for an enduro/trail full face
It’s called the Troy Lee Stage helmet and boasts Troy Lee’s typically slick styling and aspirational image, it certainly turned heads when it was released.
As riders tackle more technical terrain, and faster trails with bigger jumps, the need for greater head protection offering sufficient ventilation for all-day pedalling is becoming more and relevant. In recent years we’ve seen a slew of new designs hit the market, some offering a convertible solution that transforms from open face to full face with the use of a removable chinbar. Others take a full-face design and pare back material and enlarge the vents to give all over protection with greater airflow.
But last year this new contender entered the ring, from helmet heavyweight Troy Lee Designs.
In the box the Stage comes with a carry bag, spare visor hardware, sticker kit and – as there’s no adjustable retention system – a selection of different pads to customise the fit. In total you get two liner thicknesses (13mm and 10mm) to sit over the MIPS device, two neck rolls (25mm and 15mm) and three jawpads (35mm, 25mm and 15mm). All are labelled to make them easy to identify.
With a 56cm circumference head, I should be in a XS/S Stage, but the M/L actually fitted well when running the thicker liner pad, and didn’t rock, roll or wobble even slightly when riding. And it has to be said that most people will wear the Stage with goggles, and this always helps stabilise a helmet.
On our scales the Stage came in at 708g, which is slightly heavier than the claimed 690g, but still around 40g lighter than the Fox Proframe. Either way, it’s an extremely light full face and never felt cumbersome or a burden to wear all day. By the same token, ventilation is excellent, which means you’re more likely to wear it on a hot day in the mountains or the bike park where the risks are greater but you also want to be comfortable. If pushed, I’d say the Fox has slightly better airflow, certainly in terms of gulping down oxygen when pedalling hard, but both are significantly better than a DH full-face.
Like the Fox there’s a simple chin strap that can chafe against the ears slightly, and it’s fixed by a convenient magnetic Fidlock buckle that is much quicker and easier to secure than a typical D-ring system.
The visor has 40° of angle adjustment, which is just enough to provide sufficient space to park your goggles, if that’s your thing.
In terms of protection, the Stage exceeds DH full-face standards, which is comforting, but there’s no doubt it won’t protect as well as a proper DH full-face in certain situations as there’s less material and larger holes in the structure. Only you can decide which compromise you feel comfortable making.
With a dual density foam EPS and MIPS liner, as well as reinforced shell and chinbar, Troy Lee has certainly worked hard to make the Stage as secure as possible. An unplanned headplant while wearing the Stage seemed to testify to this, as barring a bit of scraping to the helmet, my head emerged unscathed from the high-speed incident at BikePark Wales. If I’d been wearing an open-face the consequences would definitely have been more significant.
In a straight fight I’d probably choose the Fox, even if I think the Troy Lee is the better looking of the two.