Troy Lee Designs D3 Fiberlite Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Protective, reasonably priced, comfortable
Cons: Average ventilation, heavier weight, no rotational impact protection system
Manufacturer: Troy Lee Designs
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The D3 Fiberlite is a killer full-face mountain bike helmet that posts rock-solid scores in most performance metrics. This is the less expensive version of Troy Lee Designs' fancy, carbon-shelled, top-shelf options. Essentially, it packs a lot of high-end features into a fiberglass shell at about half of the price. There are lighter and more airy options available, but the D3 Fiberlite is an extremely strong value and is more than comfortable at high speeds and catching serious air.
The D3 Fiberlite is a comfortable helmet that delivers a snug and confidence-inspiring fit.
The first time we put this helmet on we found that it fit a little tight. If you are on the cusp of two sizes, we would recommend trying one on or maybe sizing up. Our large test helmet was not egregiously small or uncomfortable, but we felt it had a snugger fit compared to other helmets. After spending hours sweating into this helmet, we do feel the fit loosened up a touch as the pads packed out slightly. That said, we don't recommend relying on this pack-out to achieve a comfortable fit.
The D3 padded liner covers most of the interior of the helmet. It has a plush feel that is cushy and soft against your head. Throughout testing, our face was never irritated by the material despite the snug and secure fit. The shape of the ear pockets is decent although other helmets have a little more space. If being able to hear clearly is a consideration in your full-face purchase, we recommend looking elsewhere, the solid shell and heavy padding don't let much noise through.
This helmet tends to squeeze your cheeks a touch more than other options, and the inside is soft and heavily padded. We found the top of our head fit beautifully into the crown of this helmet. It did not have a tendency to bounce around on the head. Instead, it felt quite secure and confidence-inspiring. For those who plan on wearing their helmet on pedal-missions, this snug fit might feel a bit constricting.
The D3 Fiberlite uses a lightweight fiberglass shell with a healthy amount of EPS/EPP foam lining the inside. According to the manufacturer, they use extra foam in certain areas to enhance the protection levels in key places. Visually, this is a very padded helmet that is heavy on foam. It has a very substantial and robust feel with ample head coverage. The D3 Fiberlite carries the ASTM F1952-15 and ASTM F2032-15 certifications for DH and BMX cycling.
This helmet does not have MIPS or any other type of rotational impact protection system. There is some scientific debate as to exactly how effective the MIPS system is, but we do feel that it is a nice feature to have. It was a little disappointing to us that the D3 Fiberlite didn't come with one. That said, the solid feeling shell, dual-density foam liner, and secure fit made us feel well-protected while wearing it. It also comes with a D-ring chin strap and quick-release cheek pads for emergency helmet removal.
At 43-ounces, the D3 Fiberlite is among the heaviest options in this review. We don't really view this as too much of a problem. The intended use of this helmet is pretty clear. It is meant for gravity endeavors like riding lifts at the bike park or shuttle with your DH rig. You will not be grinding uphill with this lid. This helmet shines at the bike park or on straight-up shuttles that don't require much pedaling. We feel the heavier weight actually makes it feel sturdier and more robust.
The D3 Fiberlite is not a super breathable or especially well-ventilated helmet, plain and simple. Yes, this helmet has a whooping 20 vents. Fourteen of these vents are intake vents and there are 6 exit ports. The helmet has channeling laid into the foam that allows air to pass through from front to back. All of the vents, including the five ports in the chin bar, are covered with a tight wire mesh screen.
Simply put, the D3 has okay ventilation, but the size of the vents, the wire mesh covers, and the inner lining simply doesn't ventilate all that well. It isn't a crazy hot and clammy helmet, but if you are worried about healthy amounts of airflow, we suggest looking elsewhere as a lighter, enduro-focused helmet is a better option.
The D3 Fiberlite has an adjustable visor that is of adequate size and shape. The end of the visor is approximately 6.5-inches wide. This is a pretty good size as we find narrower visors to be a little awkward. The visor is pretty firm and it isn't very easy to bend and twist. We didn't crash on the visor, but we could see this visor cracking pretty easily given its rigidity.
The visor is adjusted by loosening a thumbscrew located under the visor just above the brow. This isn't the easiest spot to reach and it isn't the sort of adjustment you will want to do on the fly. The visor can move approximately 2-inches up and down which is a sizeable range of motion. The visor is anchored by the center thumbscrew and two seemingly heavy-duty bolts at the temple.
Throughout testing, we observed no major signs of durability concerns.
We mentioned the rigid visor as a potential area for concern. With the visor being so stiff and firm, we think it could be more prone to snapping and cracking in the event of an impact. One additional minor concern is that this helmet has fabric pull tabs to help pull the helmet onto your head. These are an item that we could easily see tearing or fraying with repeated use.
The D3 Fiberlite comes with a Troy Lee Designs helmet bag and an owner's manual with details about the helmet. It does not come with extra pads, hardware, or a replacement visor.
We feel the D3 Fiberlite is an above-average value. You can spend more money to save a little bit of weight. You can also spend more money to get some better ventilation and airflow. That said, if you want a fantastic helmet that offers a comfortable fit and protective feel, the D3 Fiberlite gets the job done at what we feel is a very appealing price.
The Troy Lee Designs D3 Fiberlite delivers excellent levels of protection with a ready-to-rumble and robust feel. If you are into bike park days, sketchy freeride lines, or racing downhill bikes and don't want to take out a second mortgage to buy a helmet, we feel this is a good option to consider.
— Pat Donahue