Yes, as a matter of fact July is National Bike Helmet Month at Gear Gals! The Troy Lee Designs A1 Reflex ($165) is a cycling helmet with a reinforced polycarbonate shell in-molded with an EPS liner.
Bike helmets, believe it or not, are the toughest piece of gear for me to review. We buy helmets to protect our heads. But before we shell out $$$ for them, we research them. Mostly by reading reviews. We want to know how they fit. Feel. Look. Are they comfortable? Will they make our head look like a mushroom or a martian? Most importantly, we want to know how well they’ll protect our heads on impact.
For the record, I didn’t test impact (intentionally nor by accident) but I did test everything else.
What I liked
- Fit. A single glove-friendly dial at the back of the helmet makes adjustment fast, simple and can be done while riding. I found that once the rear dial and the side straps were properly adjusted, the Troy Lee Designs A1 Reflex had a snug and comfortable fit with hardly any wobble on my head.
- Padding. The quality and the amount of the stock padding in the Troy Lee Designs A1 Reflex make it ideal for long rides. Plush and generously-placed, the padding covers every point of potential contact. After a six-hour road ride or a fifteen-mile mountain bike ride, I felt no pressure points or need to adjust. The padding is also anti-microbial and is removable and washable.
- Comfortable straps. The side straps are composed of one thin strand of webbing to make them comfortable. Straps are spaced far enough apart at the helmet junction to not touch or chafe my ears.
- Number of air vents. Sixteen well-placed air vents worked well, even when sitting idle or moving slowly up a climb. However ventilation decreased on warmer days or on rides when higher exertion levels were required. Cyclists who live in geographical regions with humid summers will notice this limitation the most.
- Generous head coverage. The polycarbonate shell in-molded with EPL liner extends 14 inches from ear to ear and 17 inches from front to back providing excellent head coverage.
- Generous visor. The visor, while non-removable visor, has minimal adjustability but at 2.5 inches in length provides a lot of sun shading.
What I didn’t like
- Plush padding causes overheating on warm, high-exertion days. Another one of those double-edged swords I guess.
- Heavy. Thick webbing, extensive surface space, sturdy plastic retention strap and generous padding make it hefty at 330 grams for the size small. Though, strangely enough, felt surprisingly light on my head. Go figure.
The Troy Lee Designs A1 Reflect is an aesthetically-pleasing helmet that delivers outstanding fit and comfort. It provides excellent coverage without feeling bulky. However the plush and generously-placed padding that makes this helmet the most comfortable to wear generated the most head sweat on high-exertion rides on warmer days.
Not the helmet to wear for those who live and ride in the sticky, humid and hot climates of the world.
Still, for all others, the Troy Lee Designs A1 Reflex is a Gear Gals Recommended Piece of Gear.