The Flowline SE is every bit as Troy Lee Designs as the brand’s previous offerings, exhibiting the trademark comfort but also noticeably upping the airflow - especially when compared to the A3 and A2 helmets. It brings TLD’s famed performance to a much friendlier price point, too, making it a stand-out option among the best mountain bike helmets but the build quality could be better.
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Troy Lee Designs Flowline SE - Technical details
Troy Lee Design’s Flowline range takes over from the much loved A1 and A2, introducing a new, even more, futuristic silhouette but the biggest change is in the airflow department where TLD helmets have previously fallen short. This time, the brand has cut 14 vents into the lid and perhaps the most noticeable departure from old designs is the inclusion of two vents just above the brow.
Separating itself from the more budget-friendly Flowline, the Flowline SE gets its main protection from a dual-density EPS foam. It also benefits from a Mips cradle, which handles rotational impact protection with extended coverage at the rear.
For durability, the Flowline SE utilises a fully wrapped, in-mould constructed outer shell and, inside, there’s an antimicrobial comfort liner.
For head security, there’s a Fidlock buckle (as seen on the spendy A3), and a precision fit system that offers three height settings as well as the usual circumference adjustment. The visor is three-position adjustable.
As for its weight, the M/L size came in at 372g which doesn’t make it incredibly light, but it’s far from heavy.
Troy Lee Designs Flowline SE - Performance
With a very solid track record of creating comfortable helmets, I was confident that the Flowline SE would easily follow suit but with Troy Lee Design’s heavy efforts into airflow and breathability, it quickly defied expectation.
The Flowline SE hugs the head and fits perfectly. As expected of a Troy Lee helmet, comfort is very impressive and is a definite improvement over the A2 that it replaces. And although it’s not the lightest helmet in the world (not that it's heavy for that matter) you hardly feel its weight when secured to the head.
A common issue with Troy Lee Design’s helmets has always been the lack of airflow. The Flowline SE directly addresses this, not by adding more vents but by placing them in more effective positions. The new brow vents funnel air from the very front of the helmet where shallow channels guide air around the head. Generally, it’s a light and breezy-feeling helmet.
I’m a fan of the new styling, too, but having owned the A1, A2 and A3, the Flowline SE doesn't possess the same build quality. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nothing to be alarmed by but it’s just not as beautifully crafted. More EPS is visible and the shell feels thin in comparison.
However, the Flowline SE is a superb helmet that won’t fail to please and it’s exciting to see Troy Lee Designs address criticisms, however few, and work to improve its helmet line. In fact, the Flowline SE is so good that it almost makes the A3 obsolete, which makes me even more excited to see what’s next on the cards from the brand.
Troy Lee Designs Flowline SE - Verdict
As for value, £140 is much better than what we’ve seen from TLD before, with the A2 coming in at £165. However, as I say so often in helmet reviews, the sub £150 space is hugely competitive.
Lazer’s Jackal is a very good option for £160 which comes with comfort and protection-first design and soft straps, and similar features to the Flowline SE but it’s weightier and of course, £10 pricier.
Specialized’s Ambush 2 is priced at £150 and it gets a five-star Virginia Tech rating. However, its visor isn’t adjustable but ventilation is top-class.
It’s great to see a brand creating a product that takes the comfort and performance of its higher-end lids down to a more accessible price point. If you’re a fan of Troy Lee Designs helmets or have just caught onto the hype, you won’t be disappointed here as the Flowline SE is incredibly comfortable and its ventilation is top of the class.