Troy Lee Designs has released its first NTA 8776 Certified helmets; the Flowline and Flowline SE. Both half-shell helmets are aimed at eBike riding, designed to protect against higher impact speeds while covering a larger part of the head as compared a helmet designed for regular mountain biking. The two helmets share the same full-wrap in-mold construction, but there are key differences that set them apart.
Here’s a closer look at Troy Lee Designs’ eMTB Helmets.
Troy Lee Designs’ latest mountain bike helmets are the first to be officially recognized as safe for eMTB riders. Specifically, the Flowline and Flowline SE helmets conform to the relatively new NTA 8776 standard, a Dutch standard that comes with its very own safety requirements that go above and beyond the test requirements for CPSC/USA certification, or EN 1078 Certification. The Standard was created for helmets of speed pedelec riders, where the speed pedelec is capable of providing assistance up to speeds of 45 kph. For more specific information on the test requirements for the different standards, and cool videos of helmet destruction, check out our explainer article here.
Both the Flowline and Flowline SE Helmets receive the MIPS B-Series liner to improve protection in cases of rotational impact. They differ on price, use of EPS, chin strap closure and at the comfort liner. While the more affordable Flowline uses a single-density EPS, the Flowline SE gets a dual-density EPS designed to deal with both low- and high-speed impacts. And, while the Flowline gets a regular plastic buckle at the chin strap, the Flowline SE gets a FIDLOCK buckle with magnetic closure. While the colorway options may differ, those two points are the most important differences between the two eMTB helmets from Troy Lee.
Both helmets use straps that are adjustable at the sides, and both feature a 360° retention system with 3-way rear height adjustment. Temperature regulation is dealt with via 14 vents, a few of which are positioned at the brow with several at the rear to help hot air exit, taking sweat away with it. Only the Flowline SE helmet is described as having the anti-microbial quick dry premium liner.
Back to safety…
Aside from the safety certifications, one can look elsewhere for more information on a helmet’s safety relative to its competitors; the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings. Of the 188 bicycle helmets submitted to Virginia Tech for independent testing, the $119.99 USD Troy Lee Designs Flowline ranked #29 with a 5-Star Rating and a Score of 10.79 (lower the better). It sits ahead of some far more expensive competitors such as the $160 Fox Speedframe Pro MIPS, and ahead of Troy Lee’s own $220 USD A3 MIPS.
Interestingly, despite its lack of dual-density EPS, the TLD Flowline actually had a much better, lower score than the more expensive Flowline SE which retails at $159.99 USD. The latter also received a 5-Star Rating but its Score was higher (worse) at 12.42, placing it at #77 in the rankings.
Both the Flowline and Flowline SE are available in 3 sizes, covering head circumferences from 53cm to 63cm.
Troy Lee has also released the $89.99 USD Youth Flowline Helmet, though that one has not yet received a score from Virginia Tech. It is for head circumferences of 48-53cm.