Looking for a mountain bike helmet with extended rear of the head coverage and MIPS technology? The Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS helmet should be on your shortlist.
It’s not the cheapest MTB helmet on the market (though it’s nowhere near the most expensive either). In fact, it’s a good mid-range enduro helmet that’s lightweight, has good ventilation, and is comfortable even on long days in the saddle.
The Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS helmet is one of the best mountain bike helmets I’ve tested, and one I’d recommend to friends (and to the Femme Cyclist community).
May 2023: Updated with new price, additional purchasing options, and information on how the helmet faired over a long period of time.
Review In A Nutshell
- MIPS Technology
- Comfortable fit
- Great visor
- Good ventilation
- Extended rear coverage offers less room for a ponytail
- Visor screws can come loose
- Lacks extras: Go Pro mount, goggle clips, etc.
Price & Where To Buy:
MIPS Technology Provides An Extra Layer Of Protection
In addition to the full head coverage, the A1 provides an extra layer of protection–literally.
The interior MIPS line provides a low-friction layer that can help reduce head trauma in the event of a crash. For more info on MIPS, here’s a good overview.
While I think it’s worthwhile to have, women with long hair should note that it’s easy to snag long hair on the liner. I’ve found this to be the case with most helmets that include MIPS–unfortunately.
After safety, the next most important factor when evaulating a helmet is fit and comfort (which are closely entertwined). If a helmet doesn’t fit well, and stay comfortable over a long period of time on the bike, it’s not going to work out for the rider. No matter how safe it may be.
Fortunately, I though the TLD A1 MIPS was one fo the most comfortable helmets I’ve worn. There were no weird pressure points and it stayed firmly in place; even when jumping and riding in rough terrain.
The rear fit dial does a good job of securing the helmet in place, and cinching it down so it fits your particular head circumference. That said, the dial was a little small and was tough to adjust with gloves on.
Plenty of Ventilation For All But The Hottest Days
While it’s not THE most breathable helmet around, that’s par for the course when it comes to extended coverage helmets.
Even so, I found that my head stayed relatively sweat free with the TLD A1 MIPS. There are 16 vents and they are distributed well on all sides of the helmet.
If you are riding in extreme heat, you might want to choose a helmet with a more minimal profile. Otherwise, you’ll be pleased with the ventilation of the TLD A1 MIPS helmet.
Great Visor….But Offers Minimal Adjustment
The visor on the TLD A1 MIPS has a nice large profile and did a good job of keeping sun out of my eyes and off of my face.
That said, it doesn’t have a ton of adjustment. (Less than an inch, in fact). This wasn’t that big of a deal for me riding with sunglasses, but could be if you’re rocking goggles.
Extended Rear Coverage Provides Safety But Can Interfere With a Ponytail
Short-haired ladies can ignore this one. But for the long-haired amongst us, it is important to note that there’s not much space for a ponytail with this helmet.
I had to do a very low pony or bun, and even thin, it had to be a little loose to get the helmet all the way on.
In my opinion, this is an acceptable price to pay for good head coverage….but it might be a deal breaker for some.
Visor Screws Tend To Rattle Loose
Like many mountain bike helmets I’ve reviewed in the past, the Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS has visor screws that tend to want to rattle loose.
While I’ve yet to actually lose a screw, I’m sure its just a matter of time. In either case, it’s a pain to have to constantly check after a ride to make sure I’m not about to lose a screw. (Literally, not figuratively).
Speaking of googles, the Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS helmet does NOT have goggle clips. Nor does it have some of the other extras found on high-end helmets–i.e. a GoPro mount or Recco technology.
Of course, you wouldnt really expect those features at the $140 pricepoint. And if you don’t need the extra bling, it will save you $50+ over more expensive lids. A reasonable tradeoff as far as I’m concerned.
Long Term Durability
I first published this review in 2020 and either myself or my husband have used the helmet several times a week since then. How did it hold up?
Not as well as other helmets we’ve used for similar lengths of time. This one is finally ready for the trash.
The visor screws I mentioned worrying about? They broke. The helmet is scuffed up and pretty beat up looking.
Two plus years of wearing a helmet might seem like about as long as a helmet should last, and that’s probably true. That said, we have other helmets that are about the same age and still holding strong.
If you’re looking for an enduro-style mountain bike helmet with full coverage, you can’t beat the Troy Lee Designs A1 MIPS helmet. It’s comfortable, comes standard with MIPS technology, AND….it looks cool!
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Not sold yet? Come check out our list of the best mountain bike helmets for women and read more reviews.