MXA PRODUCT TEST:
TROY LEE AIR HELMET
WHAT IS IT? An all-new Troy Lee Designs helmet that is designed for a different price point than their top-of-the-line SE2.
WHAT’S IT DO? Troy Lee Designs entered the highly competitive helmet market in late 2002 with its Speed Equipment (SE) helmet. The SE made a big splash with its edgy design, colorful graphics and light weight. However, there were some fitment issues with the first-generation foam liners. And while those problem areas were eventually resolved, Troy moved forward with a totally new helmet design, the SE2, in 2007. The Troy Lee Designs SE2 helmets were the first to ever come with titanium intake vents, mouthpieces, visor screws and strap bolts. To pay for all of the exotica, the SE2 had a $495 price tag.
For his 2009 line, Troy has developed a new helmet that is designed to hit a lower price point and improve on the original SE design. Using the SE as a starting point, Troy improved ventilation, decreased overall weight, lowered the price, redesigned the aesthetic and maintained quality. The new helmet was christened the Troy Lee Designs Air helmet.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Troy Lee Designs Air helmet.
(1) Weight. Thanks to a composite fiberglass shell with carbon fiber and Kevlar reinforcements, the Air helmet tips the scales at three pounds—which is four ounces lighter than our previously tested SE2 helmet. The MXA wrecking crew applauds any helmet that can nail the three-pound mark.
(2) Comfort. The original SE helmet was uncomfortable. As MXA pointed out in our original test back in 2003, the SE had several irritating pressure points (most notably on the rider’s forehead and top of his skull). Troy Lee learned from these mistakes and made the appropriate changes to the new Air helmet. The Air is very comfortable. Riders with round faces will find greater fitment with the Air compared to riders with narrow faces. The liner is super plush, thanks to a soft felt material.
(3) Ventilation. Compared to the old SE helmet, the Air has a larger mouthpiece, as well as larger chin bar vents and rear vents. The Air helmet has increased airflow, which can be felt most noticeably late in a moto.
(4) Eyeport. The Air works best with narrow goggles. Wider goggles (read Oakley and Fox) need to be pushed in on each side to properly seat the goggle to your face. Still, the Air’s eyeport can handle any type of goggle.
(5) Options. You can choose from four different graphic designs with a total of seven colors. MXA tested the red/black Air Hot News model. The Air helmet comes in sizes small through extra large, and the sizing was equivalent to a Shoei.
(6) Place of manufacture. The TLD Air helmet is made in Xiamen, China.
WHAT'S THE SQUAWK? No major complaints.
Troy Lee Designs did a spectacular job of reinventing the old SE helmet as the new Air helmet. It’s lightweight, well ventilated, attractive, $165 cheaper than the SE2, and sets a new standard of comfort for Troy Lee Designs helmets.
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