Not familiar with LS2 helmets? Neither was I until two of them—the MX453 dual-sport and FT2 FF396 full-face models—showed up at the office late last year. The LS2 brand was launched in Europe in 2007 by MHR Helmet Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Xiqing Plastics, a Chinese company that has been making helmets since 1991. Within just a few years, LS2 became the top-selling helmet brand in Europe, and the brand recently entered the U.S. market.
The MX453, which meets both DOT and ECE safety standards, has a lightweight tri-composite fiberglass shell, an expanded polystyrene (EPS) inner liner and a removable, washable, moisture-wicking comfort liner. Like a dirt bike helmet, it has a peak that extends forward from the crown to block sunlight and help protect the rider’s face from branches, rocks or whatever you might encounter on a dual-sport ride. Like a full-face helmet, it has a faceshield that flips up. The large eyeport offers good visibility and makes it easy to wear goggles with the faceshield in the up position. There are closable intake vents in the chinbar and on the crown, with exhaust vents on the back; the chin vents and exhaust vents are covered in metal mesh to keep out dirt and debris. A tried-and-true D-ring, which gets tighter under tension, secures the long, generously padded chinstrap. The whole kit-n-kaboodle weighs 54.4 ounces (3.4 pounds), quite a bit more than the 2.98 pounds claimed on LS2’s website.
From the moment I put it on and after hours and hours of use, the MX453 has been a very comfortable helmet. One feature that contributes to interior comfort is cheek pads that are cut from a solid block of open-cell foam using LS2’s 3D Laser Technology. Some other brands glue pieces of foam together to achieve a similar, contoured shape. On the other hand, overall quality on the MX453 seems average. Some of the outer plastic has roughly cut edges and, upon close inspection, the paint and graphics look cheap. Molded as a single piece of plastic, the peak has two raised ribs that run over the top of the helmet and widen into a shroud at the back where the exhaust vents are. The shroud fits inside a recessed cavity in the shell, but the edges don’t line up well and the screws that secure the shroud to the helmet look chintzy. The faceshield doesn’t lock closed and there are no détentes to hold it open partway. And the thin rubber gasket around the lower edge of the eyeport flaps in the wind when the faceshield is up, with or without goggles.
Then again, everything works, nothing has broken or fallen off, and the helmet retails for just $169.95 regardless of color or graphics. Like all LS2 helmets, the MX453 is covered by a five-year limited warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. It’s available in sizes XXS-XXL and in the following color/graphics combinations: solid hi-viz yellow, solid matte black, gears graphic in red, blue or silver, and golden eagle graphic in gloss black.
For more information or to locate a dealer, visit ls2helmets.us