Troy Lee Designs D3 Carbon MIPS Full Face Helmet

Vital Rating: (Spectacular)
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Tested: Troy Lee Designs D3 Carbon MIPS

Rating: Vital Review

By Fred Robinson

Troy Lee Designs’ Daytona, or D-series, helmets may very well be the most iconic line of full face helmets in mountain biking. Worn by some of our sport’s legends like Steve Peat, Shaun Palmer, Sam Hill, Aaron Gwin, Cam Zink and Brandon Semenuk, the list goes on and on and on. TLD's current helmet, the D3, hasn’t seen a big update for a number of years now, but as helmet technology advances, TLD has now integrated the MIPS system into the lid. If you don’t already know what MIPS is, here’s a quick run-down for you: MIPS, short for Multi-directional Impact Protection System, is a low-friction layer placed between the helmet and your head. This allows for a relative motion between the head and the helmet, thus reducing strain on the brain during rotational impacts and adding an extra level of protection when compared to a standard helmet. We’ve spent the past few months in the updated D3 Carbon MIPS to find out if the added features along with the classic design lives up to our exceptions of this iconic helmet.

Troy Lee Designs D3 Carbon MIPS Features

  • Carbon Fiber Shell Construction
  • MIPS Brain Protection System
  • Aerodynamic Shell Design
  • Injection-Molded Air Intake System
  • 20 High-Flow Vents
  • Updated EPS and Headfoam Shape
  • Deep EPS Channeling to Increase Airflow
  • Removable, Washable Padded Liner with Coolmax and Dri-lex Wicking Materials
  • Countered 3D Cheek Pads
  • Quick-Release Cheek Pads for Emergency Helmet Removal
  • Internal Cavities for Audio Integration
  • Titanium Hardware
  • Second Visor Included
  • Helmet Bag Included
  • Exceeds Bicycle Certifications: CPSC 1203, CE EN 1078:2002+A1:2012 ASTM F1952-15, ASTM F2032-15, ASTM F2040-11
  • Sizes: XS, SM, MD, LG, XL, 2XL
  • Weight: 1,250g (XL Tested)
  • MSRP: $495 USD

Initial Impressions

If you were a fan of how the standard D3 helmet looked, you’ll be stoked to know that the MIPS-equipped D3 retains the exact same look. When we did a side-by-side with our old D3, there’s not a single discernible difference between the two aside from the yellow MIPS lining hidden under its padding. Our raw carbon D3 is by far TLD's most subtle finish, with black-on-black logos as well as all black padding and liner — this is one mean looking lid. If all black isn’t your thing, the MIPS equipped D3 is available in three other colors, as well as a number of other options in the non-MIPS version of the helmet.

The D3 has always been a light helmet, and even with the inclusion of MIPS, that fact hasn’t changed. We weighed both our D3 MIPS and our standard D3, and the difference was a measly 10-grams, with an overall weight of 1,250-grams for our size XL. Small details like titanium D-rings and stainless steel mesh, as well as the D3’s iconic styling, all combine to make one stellar looking lid. TLD also included a spare visor and a plush, lined helmet bag with the helmet.

On The Trail

Right out of the box the D3 MIPS is comfortable, with no odd pressure points or overly tight-fitting pads. For our tester, who’s head measures 60cm, the XL D3 fits snug enough to prevent movement while still remaining comfortable. We paired the D3 up with as many goggles as we could get our hands on, including the Spy Omen, Scott Tyrant, Smith Fuel-Intake, and 100%’s Racecraft and Accuri models. We experienced a good fit with all of them. One thing that always irks us is when you can’t get the visor high enough to stay out of view, and thankfully this isn’t an issue with the D3.

Troy Lee Designs has designed the D3 to include 20 high-flow intake and exhaust ports. The chin bar, which sits far enough away from your mouth that you’re not recycling your own hot breath, features five large intakes well as two smaller ones to keep air flowing. These combined with the intakes above the brow and under the visor, which feed into air channels in the EPS and eventually out the back, allow the D3 to breathe very well. As we mentioned, the fit was spot-on and at no time during our testing did the helmet unexpectedly shift or slowly slide down to obscure our vision.

Things That Could Be Improved

We’ll admit, we’ve always been a fan of the D3, and now that TLD has included MIPS, we have no ill things to say about the updated helmet. Some could complain about pricing at $495, but this falls right in line with the competition's MIPS-equipped carbon full faces. And, if the carbon MIPS model is outside your budget, TLD offers the D3 MIPS in a non-carbon option for $425. The non-MIPS D3 retails for $375. Along with the improved fit over the first generation D3’s, as well as the inclusion of safety features such as MIPS and TLD’s dual-density protection, we don’t have anything to nit-pick.

Long Term Durability

We’ll be the first to admit it, we probably should have replaced our first generation D3 sooner, being that it’s likely around four or five years old and has taken a number of impacts. Even so, the helmet has held up impressively with the lining intact and the removable padding maintaining its fit and shape despite numerous trips through the washing machine. That said, assuming TLD has kept up on QC, we foresee this lid lasting us quite some time, as long as we keep things rubber side up. And, should we take a digger, Troy Lee still offers a crash replacement at 30% off the current MSRP of the helmet.

What’s The Bottom Line?

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” they say, but it’s a fairly common consensus that the D3 is one of, if not the best-looking helmets out there, and we’d have to agree. The D3 oozes style, and with the inclusion of MIPS at virtually no weight penalty, this helmet is at the top of its class. Having smacked our head numerous times (bad, we know) in the non-MIPS D3, we have no doubt when the time comes to actually use, and not just wear the helmet, the D3 Carbon MIPS will do its job well. When we reviewed the D3 a couple years back, we awarded it a perfect five stars, and we see no reason at all the updated lid should see any less. The D3 MIPS is the complete package.

For more information, visit www.troyleedesigns.com


About The Reviewer

Fred Robinson - Age: 32 // Years Riding MTB: 14 // Height: 6'1" (1.85m) // Weight: 240-pounds (108.9kg)

"Drop my heels and go." Fred has been on two wheels since he was two-years-old, is deceptively quick for a bigger guy, and likes steep, fast trails where he can hang it off the back of the bike. Several years of shop experience means he's not afraid to tinker. He's very particular when it comes to a bike's suspension performance and stiffness traits.


Specifications

Product Troy Lee Designs D3 Carbon MIPS Full Face Helmet
Riding Type Freeride / Bike Park, Downhill
Rider Unisex
Number of Vents 20 high-flow intake ports and 6 exhaust vents
Injection-molded air intake system
Construction Hand laid pre-preg carbon/composite/MCT weave blend for superior shell construction and weight reduction.
Top layer UD (unidirectional) carbon weave provides strength and style.
High modulus kevlar reinforced high impact zones for increased strength a rigidity.
Nylon reinforcement polymer in key high-wear and impact zones.
Titanium hardware for reduced weight.
EPS foam.
Adjustable Padding Removable, washable padded liner with Coolmax and Dri-Lex moisture wicking materials.
Contoured 3D cheek pads fit anatomically.
Quick-release cheek pads for emergency helmet removal.
Certification Exceeds bicycle certifications: CPSC 1203, CE EN 1078:2002+A1:2012 ASTM F1952-15, ASTM F2032-15, ASTM F2040-11
Bag Included plush helmet bag
Size XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
Colors 2018: Midnight Black, Freedom Blue, Freedom Black/Gay, Mirage Red, Mirage Ocean, Mirage Gray
2017: Cadence Grey, Longshot Red, Code Yellow, Code Blue, Starburst Black, Starburst Orange, Midnight Black, Nightfall Green
2016: Blacklight Black, Berzerk Red, Midnight Black, Reflex Yellow
Weight 2 lb 5.9 oz (1,075 g)
Miscellaneous MIPS Multi-Directional Impact Protection System equipped.
Includes two adjustable visors with matching graphics.
Not intended for use with motorized vehicles.
1 year warranty.
Price $495
More Info

​www.troyleedesigns.com

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