The new feature packed Troy Lee Designs A2 helmet features a pioneering use of two types of foam as well as internal MIPS protection system.
Despite being a little bit less voluminous than the A1, the A2 packs in an almost unbelievable amount of features and attending acronyms. And it does all this whilst offering more in the way of ventilation too.
The headline (‘scuse the pun) feature of the A2 is the pioneering use of dual-foam inmould. Essentially the main body of the helmet is made of two different types of foam. Each foam offer differing types of protection to your bonce.
The expanded polystyrene (EPS) is the usual stuff you find in bike helmets. It good for taking big, hard whacks.
This is combined with expanded polypropylene (EPP) which is softer and good for slower speed impacts.
It almost goes without saying that the A2 also offers MIPS protection too. MIPS is an internal ‘slip layer’ that is designed to move under rotational forces to help prevent twisting injuries.
Overall, the new A2 looks a whole load neater and less in-yer-face oversize compared to the polarising A1. We look forward to trying one out.
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.