Date reviewed: May 2023 | Tested by: John Milbank | Price: £129.99 | ls2helmets.com/uk
The LS2 Storm II on review here is the successor to the previous Storm. Side-by-side, they look identical, and they weigh pretty much the same, but the new Storm II is certified to the tougher ECE 22.06 safety standard.
Whether the previous Storm already met the higher safety level is something we’ll never know, but after riding in this helmet on a BMW R1250GS and a Honda VFR800 for several months, I can tell you that it feels like it costs a lot more than £130…
The LS2 Storm II has two outer shell sizes covering the XS to 3XL range, and is made of the company’s impressive-sounding Kinetic Polymer Alloy (KPA). It’s not a fibreglass composite, but it’s not a basic thermoplastic either, fusing tiny aramid fibres with a polymer in what essentially makes up the brand’s mid-range lids.
Starting at £129.99 for plain colours and rising to £149.99 for graphics like the ‘Racer Red/Blue’ on review here (which goes great with the colour-scheme of my BMW), the finish is very good indeed, with quality-feeling plastics and flawless graphics (note that the carbon-fibre here is just a graphic), as well as a lovely pearlescent white paint. My only small gripe is a little imperfection in the shell at the edge of the chin vent.
The Storm II retains an attractively aggressive styling while still meeting the tougher requirements of the ECE 22.06 ‘glancing-off’ test, which measures rotational forces transmitted to the brain in a drop test on an angled anvil.
With my scales showing 1,563g for my medium-sized lid, that’s within the ball-park of the claimed 1,500g +/- 50g and very close to the budget-priced HJC C10 I reviewed recently. It’s also only a little less than the first ECE 22.06 lid I tested – the Arai Quantic – which came in at 1,588g.
The 22.06-certified Shoei NXR2 is 1,392g, and I’d say that my experience of the higher standard lids we’ve reviewed so far has been that they’re all in this region. Whether we’ll see any that meet the tougher safety standards down in the sub 1,300g area remains to be seen, but I would stress that in the 27 years I’ve been reviewing motorcycle helmets (and other riding kit), I’ve never come across one that felt ‘too heavy’ when I was wearing it.
What matters more than weight is aerodynamics, as a lid that drags can put more strain on your neck than one that’s a couple of hundred grams heavier. The LS2 Storm has no noticeable drag on the GS or the low-screened VFR.
The LS2 Storm II has a two-position and closed chin vent that works a little unintuitively in that you slide the large, easy to access button up to pull the vent down and open. The two positions are pretty irrelevant really, as there’s very little difference between part-open and fully-open. It’s disappointing to find that this vent doesn’t shut securely though. Likely due to the screens fitted to the bikes I have, I didn’t notice any drafts or water leaks here, but as wind pressure can buckle it open slightly it’s potentially possible that in very heavy rain, on some bikes, the odd spatter of water could get through.
The motion of the button does make sense in that it follows the direction of the two-position and closed top vent. Again, the two stages don’t make a lot of difference, and while there are two entry slots in the top, they both feed the same two holes in the expanded polystyrene (EPS) inner shell.
These two holes feed into some shallow channels that run to two large always-open exhaust ports on the rear, and another one on either side.
Overall it’s a good set-up, if not outstanding: if I didn’t have glasses I wouldn’t have a problem, but there’s not quite enough air-flow to keep these clear at all times.
I removed the nose guard as this deflected my breath straight onto my specs, but it was only after taking out the chin skirt too that I could ride with the visor shut and not get some fogging on my lenses. This does make it more drafty, but it’ll also make things cooler in summer.
I tend to ride with the LS2 Storm II’s visor just cracked open on the GS, but I must say that this is an absolutely brilliant mechanism. It opens easily with a central thumb tab that’s accessible with either hand, it’s easy to set just-off locked for some extra air, and there’s no ratchet, so you can easily put it where you like. Oh, and it has a positive fully-open position that won’t drop down at speed, and when closed down it doesn’t leak any water.
It's also incredibly easy to remove with just a pull and rotate, and even easier to replace, so there’s no issue with whipping it off for cleaning. I really am extremely impressed with the Storm’s visor mechanism.
A Pinlock 70 MaxVision is included in the box for you to fit yourself. Some 22.06 lids come with them installed as they’re part of the homologation process in the new standard. This is the mid-range fog-resistant insert, which works well and is a great addition to the package.
Despite the retaining pins being set at their widest point, the Pinlock I received wouldn’t fit. This appears to have been a limited issue with an early batch though, as LS2 immediately send out a replacement visor and Pinlock that worked fine.
The drop-down sunshield is operated via a thumb-tab that slides on the lower left of the shell. It’s a welcome feature especially during the low sun of Spring and Autumn, though I wish the gap between the cut-out in the centre, and the top of my nose wasn’t quite as big as it is, to avoid light leak.
The sunshield can be removed by simply pulling it out.
The Storm II’s hypoallergenic lining is fully removable, which makes cleaning easier. It’s also very soft and feels much higher quality than the price would lead you to expect. My disappointment with it is that there’s a seam in the centre of the forehead, which can cause discomfort for me after a couple of hours of riding. This is subjective though… always check for any pressure points when trying on any helmet.
Reflective panels are sewn into the neck skirt for extra visibility.
A micrometric ratchet-type fastener is fitted to the LS2 Storm II, with the bonus of an easy-to-grab flexible plastic pull-tab on the catch.
This style of fastener is found on most lids besides those for race-use now, as it’s easy to set up and gives a valuable degree of adjustment, while being quick and simple to operate even with gloves on.
Fit is entirely subjective, so any helmet must be tried on before buying. I found the LS2 Storm II to be a great fit, but there was some pressure on my forehead. A good dealer will often be able to help with this once you’ve bought the helmet, but I did use the back of a well-rounded spoon to compress the forehead area inside a little. An important disclaimer here: you should never modify a helmet, and you absolutely must NOT ever cut any of it away. Carefully compressing the forehead can ease the pressure point, but it must ONLY be carried out with great caution.
The seam in the lining also appears to be an issue for my head.
All helmets require the use of earplugs, regardless of any claims made; you can find out why earplugs are so important on a motorcycle here. I would say that the LS2 Storm is noisier than some lids I’ve tried, but not excessively so – the biggest issue seems to be around the sides, where I notice more wind noise.
Recesses in the EPS liner allowed the speakers of a Sena 50S to fit in the LS2 Storm II without any undue pressure against my ears, though this will again be relatively subjective.
There’s not space on the lip of the shell to clip an intercom on, but there’s plenty of room on the side for an adhesive mount.
This is only the second sub-£150 ECE 22.06 helmet we’ve reviewed, so we don’t have many others to suggest yet. Do keep checking our ‘best motorcycle helmets’ review though, as that is constantly updated…
At the cost, it’d be hard to expect a ‘perfect’ helmet, so it’s not really a surprise that the venting could be a little better, and I’d like to see the sunshield’s nose cut-out made a touch smaller. The pressure point at my forehead was also disappointing, but I dealt with it, and it’s something that other buyers might not have any issue with at all.
Overall, I’m impressed by the LS2 Storm II – the build quality, excellent visor mechanism and overall fit is good for the price.