Hands-on Gear Review

Troy Lee Designs A2 Pinstripe MIPS Review

Troy Lee Designs A2 Pinstripe MIPS SRAM
Price:  $175 List | $100.00 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Stylish, great coverage
Cons:  Minimal visor adjust, glasses hit back of helmet, sits too low on the head
Bottom line:  The Troy Lee Designs A2 is a improved and revised version of the super popular A1; it has more ventilation and comfort, and offers more material to deal with impacts.
Editors' Rating:   
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Rotational Impact Protection System?:  MIPS
Adjustable Visor?:  Yes
Number of vents:  13
Manufacturer:   Troy Lee Designs

Our Verdict

The A2 MIPS all-new for A2 helmet redefines mountain bike safety, style, comfort, and ventilation. The first helmet in its class to combine EPP (for slow speed impacts) and EPS (for high-speed impacts) in one sleek package, that will set a new benchmark for mountain bike helmets. The A2 has all the bells and whistles that Troy Lee Designs has always been known for; great style, excellent full head coverage, MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) as standard, and an improved retention system for adjusting the fit. It also has an improved X-Static padding system.

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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Dustin Schaad

Last Updated:
March 19, 2018

Troy Lee Designs is top tier when it comes the full-face helmet market, but the half-shell market was shaky at best until the TLD team produced the A1. The A1 was the best looking helmet out there with extended coverage and it came with super stylish graphics that Troy Lee himself occasionally paints; he for sure paints most of the TLD Team riders helmets. The new A2 should be great news for A1 lovers, because it addresses all of the shortcomings of its predecessor, without losing its reputation. It also flat out looks better.

Performance Comparison

Troy Lee A2 in it's element
Troy Lee A2 in it's element


During fast flowy descents, the A1's secure fit really shines. It sits snug on the head without bouncing around, yet not squeezing our head too tightly. Troy Lee Designs have always had a deep fit, and the TLD's shaping, padding, and retention system perform exceptionally. The three height levels for the retention system lets the A1 snug down on the back, side, and front of head, giving equal pressure in just right spots.


The glasses and goggles work fine while descending, but as soon as you start that grueling climb and try to slip the goggles above your eyes onto the helmet, the visor gets in the way and won't adjust high enough. Hopefully TLD will address this issue in the future.

Goggles fit securely around the back of the TLD
If you're enduro rider that wears goggles while racing then the TLD is not the helmet for you - unless you pull them off and rest them on the neck.


Weighing in at 13.4oz, the A2 sits in the middle of the pack. We wouldn't say that it's noticeable, or you shouldn't consider purchasing the TLD A2 because it weighs a little more than a few of the other helmets. The protection and style make up for the added few ounces.


The 13 large vents allow the airflow to circulate continuously without fail. The coolness of the TLD A2 is very comparable to the highly airy Smith Rover. In fact, it ranks highest in coolness in our book.

TRoy Lee A2 ventilation works great
The TLD has great style


The A2 has an in-molded liner with a dual-density layering system. The outer rigid EPS foam protects against high-speed impacts, while an under-layer of more compliant EPP foam is molded in place to protect against slow-speed impacts. Finally, to protect against rotational impacts, the A2 features a MIPS skull cap between the helmet's washable padding and the molded impact shell.

Great picture of the MIPS that keeps your grey matter safe and sound
Great picture of the MIPS that keeps your grey matter safe and sound


The A2's headband can be adjusted fore or aft at the temples, or up or down at the rear to ensure a snug fit as well as an optimum angle. The band retains the ratchet dial, which is a plus if you wear gloves or just have fat fingers.

A1's ratchet dial  which is a plus if you wear gloves or just have fat fingers - ha!
A1's ratchet dial, which is a plus if you wear gloves or just have fat fingers - ha!


In general, this model did great throughout our rigorous testing. The one thing to note is that the MIPS moved around a bit and started to break through the front vent. We adjusted it and it never seemed to pop out again.

Best Applications

Enduro riders and XC crushers will love the new TLD A2 and its comfy feel - with excellent vents to accompany you on those hot muggy summer rides.


The TLD A2 sits at the top of the pack for the price, but with all the great features such as MIPS, relatively common on high-end helmets, it's a standard price point on the market today.


If you are looking for style points, the TLD A2 will keep the lookers looking and high fives coming. It will also keep the grey matter safe if you find yourself flying over the bars one day. The A1 is still available from TLD and is considerably less expensive than the A2 tested, but we'd have a hard time recommending it over the A2. The new TLD A2 is a huge upgrade; it's one that any fan of Troy Lee should probably start saving their pennies for.

Dustin Schaad

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Most recent review: March 19, 2018
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