The LS2 Explorer is a newcomer in the adventure helmet market with distinct vents and detailing that really stand out against more established names in the market.
To review this helmet I used one for my first trip abroad in two years, a 2600-mile journey through Europe into Portugal.
When I first put the helmet on it felt good around the top of my head, though a little loose and less hugging around the chin than I am used too.
My real concern came when I put my comms speakers into the helmet. I thought they were too tight to the ears because there are no dedicated recesses inside the helmet to house the speakers.
I was so convinced this would be an issue that I took the correct size hex key with me to remove the comms unit while I was away. Wrong! I covered 2500 miles in temperatures ranging from 6°C to 25°C and not once did I feel uncomfortable.
The helmet incorporates a dropdown internal sun visor. The operating lever is glove-friendly even though it’s barely visible. The lever is located on the left-hand side of the helmet so it can be operated without taking your hand off the throttle.
There is no shortage of ventilation on this helmet, five of the vents can be opened and closed, two on the top at the back of the peak, one each side at the base of the helmet and one in the chin area. No fiddling around in this area -once you have remembered where to put your hands these are really glove-friendly and very easy to operate.
I saw torrential rain for two days of the trip and temperatures as low as 6°C, though to my absolute amazement at no time did I have to raise the visor because it had misted up, even in town traffic.
Granted, the Pinlock was in place, although even so this is impressive. Even with all the vents closed there seemed to be a curtain of air coming from the top of the helmet passing across the front of my face down the visor.
In very cold conditions this airflow may make your face cold, although I don’t think this would bother me. Well, done LS2 - top marks here.
Peripheral vision is good and turning your head to carry out a lifesaver gives the vision to execute a manoeuvre safely.
The helmet sits low at the back of my head, which did initially interfere with my hydration pack, though that was easily resolved with some adjustment.
LS2 say in their description that the Explorer has a quick-release visor. If removing two plastic covers and undoing two screws is quick-release then it’s quick release
Sorry, LS2; time for a few things I don’t like…
Ratchet buckles to fasten the strap. Don’t like them, I like double D-rings, which are easy, simple and infinitely adjustable.
The Explorer’s buckle is operated by a ‘Smart Pull Tab’. My first thoughts were ‘if I pull this it’s going to break’. It didn’t and surprisingly the fiddly operation to secure and open the clasp soon became second nature.
There’s a carbon-shelled version of this helmet that’s more expensive and it does have a D-ring fastener. See, LS2 - you agree with me... your more expensive helmet uses a simple, cheaper D-ring fastener!
The visor has a catch to hold it shut and you need to press a button to release it. Why? If I want to open the visor, and I do on a regular basis, I need to press a button and lift the visor with the same finger. Come on LS2, what’s wrong with a simple-to-use friction or click system on the visor and hinge.
On my BMW R1200GS Adventure I had no issues with wind noise from this helmet. In certain conditions, though, sat upright on a bike with a short screen the peak generated a considerable amount of wind noise. If I tilted my head forward by a couple of degrees, the noise disappeared.
The Explorer incorporates an Emergency Release System. Hopefully you will never have the need for this to be used, regardless it's good to know it’s there.
The fasteners that hold the liner and cheek pads in the helmet had a habit of coming undone. This was not a big issue, other than me thinking that, over time, wear on the poppers may make this a regular and annoying event.
Back to the comms unit. I use a Bluetooth headset to hear directions from my GPS system.
The intercom I use clamps onto the left side of the helmet so I can keep my hand on the throttle and operate the controls.
The left side of the Explorer has a vent and this, as well as the slide operation for the dropdown sun visor, meant my comms unit needed to be mounted towards the rear of the helmet.
This made the controls more difficult to reach, particularly when trussed up in motorcycle gear. It also meant the boom mic was not in the correct position in the front of the helmet, though this can easily be overcome with a wired mic that is usually supplied as part of the Bluetooth headset.
Despite my earlier reservations about room for speakers, the fact they just touched my ear made for a better sound quality. LS2 can supply a Bluetooth unit specific for their helmets, and they say this fits the Explorer.
The helmet is supplied with an inflatable ring to rest it on while you work on it, which is a nice touch. It also comes with two bags, a soft bag with drawstrings that could do with being bigger and having a drawstring long enough to go over your shoulder. There’s also a slightly more ridged bag and its white colour is not practical for everyone.
Despite the few niggles I have pointed out in the review this is a good helmet. Comfort was very good and a visor that doesn’t mist up while riding in heavy rain and low cloud is very unusual in my experience.
The number of features on the helmet make this well up there with the best and at a competitive price too.