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Troy Lee Designs D3 Carbon Full Face Helmet

Average User Rating: (Spectacular)
Vital Rating: (Spectacular)
Troy Lee Designs D3 Carbon Full Face Helmet D3 Helmet Speed CF Orange
C70_d3_helmet_speed_cf_orange C70_d3_helmet_speed_cf_orange C70_d3_helmet_speed_cf_orange C70_d3_helmet_speed_cf_orange C70_d3_helmet_speed_cf_orange C70_d3_helmet_gwin_replica_cf_black C70_d3_helmet_pinstripe_ii_cf_black C70_d3_helmet_finish_line_cf_yellow
Vital MTB Retail Partners:
Chain Reaction Bicycles Jenson U.S.A. Competitive Cyclist Backcountry

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    Vital Review

    “Tested: Troy Lee Designs D3 Carbon Full Face Helmet”

    Review by Ian Collins // Photos by Ian Collins and Fred Robinson

    The Troy Lee Designs Daytona series of helmets (that’s the "D" in D3) was originally developed back when mountain bikers wore skin suits and obsessed over ensuring that their 150mm 30-degree rise Ringle stem had the exact same color purple anodizing as their Cook Bros Racing cranks. The Daytona, D2, and D3 have had a few things in common - carbon shells, nicely sculpted vents, badass clean lines, and rad visors. Looks and functionality aside, TLD has also strived to be a class leader in safety over the years.

    It almost goes without saying that the D3 helmet is the gold standard in gravity riding and racing - perhaps that’s what makes it the most popular gravity helmet. Since its inception it has been used by several racers and teams that aren't even affiliated with TLD, and in many cases are endorsed by other helmet manufacturers. These demanding athletes don't settle, so they repaint or cover up graphics with their own stickers and ride what keeps them safe and comfortable. We can't be fooled though, we know what they’re are actually wearing.

    So what it is about the D3 that draws almost everyone to it? Let’s take an in-depth look at the features and on trail performance.

    D3 Carbon Helmet Highlights

    • Aerospace carbon/composite shell construction
    • Dual density shock pad system
    • Exceeds bicycle and snow safety certifications: CPSC 1203, CE EN1077, CE EN1078, ASTM F1952, ASTM F2032, ASTM F2040
    • 20 high-flow intake and exhaust ports with injection-molded intake system and EPS channeling
    • Removable/replaceable/washable CoolMax and Dri-Lex padding
    • Adjustable visor with machined titanium hardware
    • Titanium D-ring chin strap
    • Quick-release cheek pads
    • Includes two visors
    • Includes helmet bag
    • Colors: Speed CF Orange, Finish Line CF Yellow, Gwin Replica CF Black, and Pinstripe II CF Black
    • Six sizes ranging from XS-XXL
    • MSRP $450

    Initial Impressions

    When you first pull the D3 out of its nice, softly lined travel bag, you'll definitely notice its weight - or rather the lack of it. At around 1,100 grams it's pretty light for the level of protection it offers. Aside from the obvious bold graphics and pops of color, your eyes will be drawn to the little things that speak volumes about TLD’s attention to detail. Finely machined screws that mount the visor and D-ring chin strap closures are both made of titanium.

    As one takes a pulled back glance at the helmet, its aerodynamic-looking design and the overall intention it has for moving air become very apparent. This lid is designed to move fast and breathe well. It features a total of 20 vents – 14 up front and 6 out back - most of which are covered in a metal screening that prevents mud from entering the helmet. The sleek rubber molding nicely caps off the carbon shell and assimilates with the graphics all while protecting parts of the helmet that would typically be prone to getting banged up. The sum of these parts all lead up to a very nice package.

    On The Trail

    After putting the D3 on, the first thing a rider will notice is the plush padding and secure fit. Offered in six sizes from XS-XXL, it fits any head from 20.5 to 25.6-inches in circumference. The helmet fits comfortably, feels solid, and really hugs your head nicely – not to the point that you feel like you're in a sensory deprivation chamber though. It still lets in noises so you can hear your buddies telling you how slow you are, or more importantly, in the event of something catastrophic you won't be unaware because you're deafened by layers of padding and bulk. It's just right with no excessive movement yet it's not overly restrictive either.

    As you move around in the D3, those with neck braces will notice and appreciate that the back of the lid is dramatically sculpted to work with all manufacturers offerings without limiting how much you can tilt your head up to look down the trail. The previous TLD D2 helmet wasn't particularly stellar in this department, and was a bit restrictive when worn with a neck brace. You will also love how well the D3 accepts just about every pair of goggles known to man and fits quite nicely with them. The plastic molding that accepts the goggles is tailor-made to ensure that they nestle nicely into place.

    Once moving down the trail, as expected the helmet does exactly what it's supposed to. It breathes and ventilates well, doesn't move around under medium successive hits, or even big jarring ones such as fast G-outs. The nicely sized and shaped visor keeps the sun and elements out of your eyes and eyewear, the chin strap doesn't chafe, and the pads feel great. No strange howling noises come from the vents. To top things off, it looks cool and makes even gapers look as "factory" as can be.

    Most importantly, it does a great job of protecting the most vital part of your body. In both small and large get-offs, the dual density shock pad system helps protect and absorb impact while transferring minimal shock to the rider's head. As a person who quite often finds himself off the bike unexpectedly, I can say the D3 does an excellent job of protecting and preventing trauma in a variety of unfortunate situations.

    Things That Could Be Improved

    While this helmet is virtually devoid of flaws, there is one small quip worth mentioning. In the picture below you can see the helmet's pad liner in two different states.

    Attached to one liner there is a not-so-plush strip of black plastic that rests on the rider's forehead, and on the other it has been removed. Many users of the D3 complained that the helmet had a tendency to pinch the forehead in two different places just above the eyebrows. After snipping the plastic strip off and re-installing the liner the problem was gone. I was initially concerned that removal of this strip may cause the liner to unravel, but worry not, it's attached by its own independent set of threads. Some will prefer to have the strip installed as it feels more secure. As we all know, heads come in all shapes and sizes, so the fact that it’s easily removable is a nice customization option.

    Long Term Durability

    This happens to be my second D3 helmet. I spent two plus years on the last one, and the only difference is that this one has a louder set of graphics reminiscent of a custom lid Chris Kovarik had mocked up back in the day. In terms of durability and ease of use this helmet is top notch. TLD has all the bases covered. The pads are easily removable and washable, yet don't breakdown after repeated washings. The helmet cleans up nicely even after being ridden in adverse conditions, and as I stated before, the rubber moldings help protect the lid from getting banged up after being tossed around during day-to-day use. After multiple slide-outs and silly inconsequential crashes the surface coating remained tough and continued to shine. While the visor did crack after a handful of small falls, TLD thought ahead by including a spare visor that perfectly matches the helmet. In the event of a big crash, TLD offers a solid crash replacement policy that will save you a few bucks.

    What's The Bottom Line?

    If you're in the market for a new helmet and accept nothing but the best to protect your brilliant brain, then look no further. If you want the looks, ventilation, and protection but want to save a few bucks and don't mind an extra few grams, consider one of the composite models for about $75 less. Regardless of which D3 model you choose to ride, you won't be disappointed by it in any way. The smooth lines, killer style, and thoughtful consideration for safety make the D3 one of the best mountain bike helmets your money can buy.

    Visit www.troyleedesigns.com for more details.


    About The Reviewer

    Ian Collins grew up racing mountain bikes on the East Coast before moving to California in search of the never ending riding season. Although he's generally a fan of slick and steep riding conditions, Ian has gotten acclimated out west and loves its speed. Also an avid surfer, what's most important to him in a trail is flow. Known for being meticulous and borderline obsessive about bike setup, he aids in product development for local frame builder Turner Bikes when he's not out on a photo mission.

    “The comfort, airflow, looks and protection you get from this helmet is well worth the price.”

    The Good: Light weight, amazing quality, great graphic options, comfortable

    The Bad: A bit on the pricey side, sad when you get it scratched or dinged

    Overall Review:

    Besides great looks, the D3 offers loads of safety protection and really great comfort. The inside padding is very soft and offers comfort through all day riding even in the warmest conditions. TLD has done a great job of air vent placement in all the right spots to offer superb airflow allowing you to stay comfortable as you ride, there was a huge difference between the air flow with the D2 and the D3. The overall weight of the helmet is verynoticeable in a good way, that is to say that's its very minimal which also adds to the comfort of this lid.

    Fit wise the helmet comes in several size allowing each rider to find thier perfect fit, the cheek pads are also removable and interchangeable allowing for even more custom fit.In terms of goggle fit, we have tried Dragon goggles and most recently the Oakley Airbrake and they fit perfectly with this helmet.

    The other great thing as compared to the older D2 is that most of the inside padding can be removed and washed. Although I haven't had to do this yet it's nice to know that the helmet can be washed and kept clean & fresh when the times comes.


    TLD definitely has great options when it comes to looks. The D3 comes in a variety of color ways, allowing riders to choose a helmet to match their style or kit. You can choose from more flashy graphics to more subtle and simple styles like the black pinstripe carbon. Plus this year looks like they have an Aaron Gwin signature, so that's pretty sweet, buy that helmet and you'll be able to rip down a World Cup track on just your back rim!

    Another nice thing about the D3 is that in addition to the carry bag,  the D3 also comes with an additional visor which is a nice bonus in the event of crashing.

    So overall I am very happy with this full face, yes it's very expensive but you really do get what you pay for. The comfort, airflow, looks and protection you get from this helmet is well worth the price.

    “Totally worth it!”

    The Good: Good looking helmet, light, safe and well-conceived!

    The Bad: Pretty expensive, but its totally worth it!

    Overall Review: Simply the best helmet! Fits super good, is safe and i've never had problems with it yet and i think i won't get any problems. It comes with a second visor and a nice helmet bag. Not cheap, but totally worth it!

    “The Best Full Face Helmet”

    The Good: fits great, looks great, light, and the extra visor is nice

    The Bad: Pretty pricy but worth it

    Overall Review:

    awesome helmet, fits and feels as great as it looks, it is also extremely light. another cool this is that it comes with an extra visor just in case you go down and you break it off. Its defanitly worth it to get the extra money to buy one!

    “I have a big 'old dome”

    The Good: Fit, air flow, light weight and style

    The Bad: price and some of the designs are ugly

    Overall Review:

    Troy Lee does it right. I've owned a 661 evo, 661 evo carbon, TLD D2 and a TLD D3. I don't know what I was thinking wearing anything but the D3 now that I have one. If i could sum it up into one statement it'd be peace of mind. I have a big, oddly shaped head but the D3 fits excellent. It's very comfortable and secure without any pressure points. When you star riding you notice excellent ventilation. The face opening is solid too. Most goggles will fit without getting their air vents blocked by the helmet.

    What you need to realized when you buy into TLD is that you buy into a service. These guys would look over my lid after every hard hit and tell me what kind of life it has left in it or if i should replace it. They've always been super fast in both responsiveness and shipping.

    The only thing to frown at is how high the price is... but at the same time you have to realize you're getting a solid product that will protect you. In addition the non-carbon models are just as solid. There are plenty of companies online too that blow last years colors out for a slamming deal.

    The TLD D3 gets Ryan D's thumbs up as a worthy buy.

    “TLD D3: Outstanding So Far”

    The Good: - fit is excellent - shell finish is second to none - vents pretty well - liners are comfortable and easy to clean - extra visor - safe, safe, safe

    The Bad: - expensive, you get what you pay for I guess - rubber/foam material around the chin area delaminates easily - XL/XXL shell is HUGE (preference)

    Overall Review:

    I have been using the D3 pretty much from the get go when I started riding downhill a little over 2 years ago (had 2 other helmets for a couple of months before). I have been on both composite and carbon offerings and immediately I noticed upon picking up the helmets, is weight. I did feel quite a difference, the carbon being a little lighter. I did not put weight as a plus or minus for the helmet because I believe it is quite relative. Guys coming from moto say it is super light, and vice versa for riders coming from XC or AM.

    Fresh out of the box. Troy Lee Designs D3 carbon, Pinstripe blue.

    Finish is amazing on my Pinstripe blue D3.The helmet looks sick. I can't think of other lids that look as mean, or as advanced as the D3 when it came out years ago. A clear coat covers the carbon weave of the shell, and the thing just feels so solid in your hands. Titanium hardware adds bling and reduces weight, even though it's not noticeable.

    I found fit to be a little tricky. Head circumference is where you usually start, but it still boils down to head profile. Each head is different, hence made sizing a challenge. I've tried on other brands and I was almost always a large. I wear an XL D3. Best advice, fit it before you buy. I tried on a L D3, and even though I could squeeze in it, I can't breathe. Seriously.

    Riding with the D3 is awesome. It's famous for a reason. Looks badass, fits really good, cool, comfortable, and topnotch protection.

    Riding with the D3.

    Reviews usually do not come with the safety of the lid being tested but lucky for you who's reading this, I have had quite a spill while riding with the D3. Close to a year and a half ago I was on my first D3, the composite version. Shuttle runs on my local hill. I came in a little nose heavy on a routine stepdown and landed a little sideways. Crashed on my right side, I actually do not remember how I rolled or ragdolled down the slope but my bike landed 20 feet away from where I stopped. I felt my head slam on the ground upon impact. Rung me pretty good, visor destroyed, hairline cracks on the shell, and even bigger lines in the EPS foam inside the lid. Front vents cracked, and ten staples mated to a 2cm laceration on my right forearm. Worst crash I had so far. If I had a cheaper, less padded helmet, I don't know what the damage would have been. I believe all certified full face helmets will protect you. But seeing and feeling how much more padded, and the quality and thickness of the dual EPS the D3 has, Im not going to hesitate on getting another D3 when its time to retire my current one.

    To close, I'm just going to point out a minor flaw or minus I have seen, and sum this all up. The rubber material inside the rigid chin area of the helmet delaminated pretty quick. Although nothing superglue can't fix, I wish it stuck on there better for a top level piece of kit. That's about the only real complaint I have on this helmet.

    So from personal experience, the D3 is the best downhill helmet you can buy at the moment; be it for aesthetics, comfort and/or safety, this helmet has it all.

    “helmet = D3”

    The Good: ventilated, comfortable,safe and the best looking.

    The Bad: only it's price.

    Overall Review:

    If you are looking for a new helmet you have no other choice than the D3, there's no other helmet out there that is as well built and good looking out there.

    Before my Troy Lee Design's pinstripe black i have had 2 helmet's, one carbon too.

    This helmet havealready saved me in various hard crashes, and apart from some minor scratches and the paint in the visor crack a little it's like new.

    If you ride downhill , free ride, slop style or enduro it doesn't meter, it's still the best helmet on the market and i', sure it only will appear a better helmet when troy lee launch the D4

    “Best helmet you can buy”

    The Good: Light weight, strong, durable, adjustable, comfortable, breathable, and good color options

    The Bad: Nothing that i can find, its a perfect helmet so far.

    Overall Review:

    The D3 carbon is probabaly the best looking helmet on the market at this point. They hace great color options, sleek lines, and a intense design. I can only find one other helmet that is a compeditor to the D3 and thats the Specialized Dissadent. It has all the same features as the D3 and is very similar in its look but still it is not as strong, there are less color options, its heavier, and in my experiance a bit less breathable. The D3 surpasses all safty standards and is still one of the lightest full face helmets on the market. It is also very easy to adjust the cheek pads and tld has a very acurate size chart. I have not had one problem with my D3 and i love it. I would recomend it to anyone looking for a premium helmet!

    Vital MTB Retail Partners:
    Chain Reaction Bicycles Jenson U.S.A. Competitive Cyclist Backcountry

    Specifications

    Riding Type Freeride, Downhill, Dirt Jump / Urban
    Number of Vents 20 high-flow intake and exhaust ports, including a revolutionary injection-molded intake system, combine with new deeper EPS channeling to provide optimal ventilation
    Construction Carbon Shell
    Adjustable Padding Removable padding
    Certification Exceeds bicycle and snow safety certifications: CPSC 1203, CE EN1077, CE EN1078, ASTM F1952, ASTM F2032, ASTM F2040
    Bag Included
    Size XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
    Colors Finish Line CF Yellow, Gwin Replica CF Black, Pinstripe II CF Black, and Speed CF Orange
    Weight

    N/A

    Miscellaneous Titanium hardware
    Price $450.00
    More Info Troy Lee Designs website
    Vital MTB Retail Partners:
    Chain Reaction Bicycles Jenson U.S.A. Competitive Cyclist Backcountry