The LS2 Valiant 2 helmet on review here is a flip-front design very similar to the Shark Evo range. Homologated for use as P/J, meaning it’s legal to wear open or closed, we gave one to Bennetts Rewards member Graham Mudd to test…
I work 50 miles from home and come rain or shine I commute on my Kawasaki Versys 650 and Zero DSR workhorses. A real mix of rural, fast single carriageway, dual carriageway and urban roads, it’s a proper test of any kit I’m riding in. I also enjoy pottering along single-track country roads with grass growing down the middle and some gentle byways.
I’ve had this LS2 Valiant II for six weeks now, covering around 2,000 miles. The weather has been unseasonably good for April; where we’re usually lashed with rain, there have only been scattered light showers and it’s been largely sunny. Some frosty mornings but warm in the afternoons. I’m lucky that I’ve been given the Shark Evo GT to test too and can compare the two, although I’ve put fewer than 900 miles on the Shark so far – expect a full review of that on BikeSocial very shortly..
The LS2 comes in two outer shell sizes – the smaller encompassing XS/S/M and the larger L/XL. Made of a cheaper polycarbonate material than the composites offered by some more expensive lids, the previous version of the Valiant still achieved a four star SHARP safety rating, which is pretty good on a helmet in this price bracket.
It does indeed feel solid and well-made, though it doesn’t have an ACU Gold sticker so can’t be used for racing.
Priced at £249.99 for plain colours, I have the ‘Citius – white/blue’ version, which like the other graphics is £20 more expensive. The Valiant II largely does away with the current trend for aerofoils and maintains a classic clean line, which I prefer.
The chin-bar mechanism is excellent. The recessed button under the front can be a little awkward with winter gloves on and needs a firm press, but once operated the transition from full face to open face (and vice versa, both movements opening the visor in the process) is flawless. It’s smooth and it never sticks, locking closed with zero effort and a solid click; it works better than the Shark Evo GT, which is prone to jamming and often fails to lock properly unless you pinch it closed with finger and thumb. Top marks for the LS2!
A nice touch, the Valiant 2 not only comes with the soft-fabric drawstring bag most helmets do, but also a padded helmet rucksack with pouch for a spare visor.
As is always the case for modular lids, the chin bar mechanism adds weight to the helmet. However, the LS2 certainly isn’t heavy and is almost identical to its Shark Evo GT rival. Whether pootling though town or blasting along the M6, the Valiant’s mass never felt tiring or put a strain on my neck, even with the largely ineffective screen attached to my Zero causing the wind to batter my head!
Even with the chinbar in the rearward position the LS2 is well balanced with none of the drag associated with traditional flip-front helmets
There’s a large chin vent and two large forehead vents at the front of the Valiant 2, with a double exhaust vent to the rear. Overall the vents work pretty well; being bald I can feel the forehead vents flowing air over my head, while the chin vent flows a significant amount of air to my face.
The vents do not seal tightly though (the exhaust can’t be closed at all) and having them closed merely reduces the airflow rather than stopping it completely, and I found myself wishing I’d worn my balaclava on a couple of the colder mornings.
The vent switches are small and difficult to find with winter gloves on and do not operate with a clear ‘click’, leaving me unsure if they’ve worked or if my glove had slipped off it. In this respect the Shark clearly outperforms the LS2 with its large, easy to operate vents, though it too suffers – to a lesser degree – with leaking closed vents.
The clip-in neoprene chin skirt does a great job of stopping draughts getting into the helmet via your neck and is both more effective and simpler to use than that on the Shark Evo GT with its magnetic skirt that’s awkward to use with gloves on.
The visor on the LS2 is nothing short of exceptional. Pleasingly solid off the helmet, I accidentally dropped it onto the drive outside my house and it survived without a scratch. Complete with a Pinlock 100 Maxvision (the mid-range of this anti-fog insert), it’s great to ride in cold weather with no fogging up while the class-one optic rating of the visor alone gives a perfectly clear, broad view.
The visor opens easily with a tab in the top centre. There are no ‘halfway’ open settings – it’s either fully open or fully closed, though there is a ‘crack’ setting to aid demisting should it occur.
The seal with the helmet is good, letting no extra wind in above that of the vents and very little of the breeze across your face that seems common with some modular helmets. In the little rain we’ve had – and a simulation hosing from my son while washing the Kawasaki – the visor seal is good and lets no water into the helmet.
In ‘Jet’ mode (chin bar to the rear, clear visor down) the LS2’s visor gives a good level of stone and bug protection to most of your face, the bottom being level with my bottom lip.
The release mechanism is a revelation. Each side has a catch to simply slide forward and the visor pops out. To re-engage just push it back into place. How simple is that? Frankly brilliant and I’m left wondering how, after 25 years of full-face helmets, it’s only now that I’ve come across a helmet where getting the visor off or back on isn’t a bit of a faff! Compared to its Shark rival, where you need a biro and a fair bit of force, the LS2 is a breeze.
The drop-down sun visor works well, fitting nicely around my nose without the large area of bright light at the bottom that can be distracting.
After several Shark helmets where the lever is on the top of the helmet, at first I found the LS2’s jaw-mounted lever awkward, but after a few rides I got used to it and it works well enough. Annoyingly though the LS2’s sun visor often doesn’t retract all the way up, meaning you either have to drop it again and raise it with a bit more force, or open the visor and push it up the last bit with your thumb. Also, if you have an intercom system the location of the lever interferes with the placing of the controller. I had to mount my intercom much further back than I’m used to, which initially made operation a bit awkward.
The lining is lovely. Soft and plush, there are no pressure points and with a 200 mile day meandering around the Shropshire Hills on my Versys, I can confirm the Valiant is all-day comfortable. At first I found the padding on the cheeks a bit too thick when the chin-bar closes it pulls the sides in slightly. This leads to what my wife calls ‘hamster cheeks’, but it was never uncomfortable and after putting the miles in the padding eased off and bedded in.
It’s easy to remove for washing, though putting it all back in is a bit of a faff! It took me a couple of attempts and some muttering under-my-breath to get it all sat back how I wanted it. But to be fair to LS2 this is no different from any other helmet I’ve ever owned.
A nice touch is the included inflatable doughnut pillow to support the helmet while slotting the various pads back into place.
During disassembly, I did have part of the cheek liner pull away from the popper as the glue separated, but it hasn’t caused any problems in use at all.
A debate on many motorcycle forums, I’ll stick my head above the parapet… I never liked double D-rings. I always found them awkward, especially with numb hands in the depth of winter.
The LS2 Valiant II has a ‘type 2’ micrometric buckle , with the ratchet mechanism made of metal not plastic for extra security and safety. Personally, I prefer this system for its ease of use, even with winter gloves on. Simply slide the buckle into the ratchet until the desired number of clicks to fasten, then pull down on the red tab and slide the buckle out to release. Simple to use and adjust.
The straps have a soft fabric covering to stop chafing on your chin.
The supplied inflatable doughnut is useful when working on the helmet. And it doubles as a neck pillow in a pinch!
One of the reasons it’s important to try a helmet on before buying is to check fit. Not just size, but shape; I have an odd-shaped head, which does not agree with Arais.
I’ve tried a lot of helmets over the years and only AGV and Shark have been comfortable to wear all day. Until now. The LS2 fits me a treat.
The multilayer EPS (expanded polystyrene) and plush lining cosset my wonky bald head in a way few other helmet manufacturers do, with no pinch points or rubs. Many a time I’ve pulled up to have a break or refuel and my skull has breathed a sigh of relief as I’ve pulled my helmet off, but the Valiant I confidently feel I could wear all day without ever removing it.
The cut-outs for an intercom system could maybe do with being a touch deeper as I found my Maxtek intercom speakers pressed slightly on my ears. For shorter journeys in the saddle it wasn’t a problem but on longer trips they started to get a bit uncomfortable after a couple of hours. I believe more upmarket intercoms have slimmer speakers so this may not be a problem if you have a Cardo, Sena or similar.
If you wear glasses there aren’t specific cut-outs in the lining for the arms; I don’t wear specs but I wore a pair of sunglasses and found my ears being pinched between the arm and lining, which got pretty uncomfortable after a while. Shark’s rival Evo GT doesn’t have specific cut outs for glasses either, but somehow it’s much more comfortable for riding with them. This will be personal of course, so give it a try if you’re thinking of buying one.
As well as the standard drawstring bag, the LS2 Valiant 2 comes with this rucksack
The downfall of any modular helmet is noise; those extra joints and mechanisms combine with the helmet being a touch bigger and heavier to make it noisier than its conventional full-face equivalent.
At town speeds all is well, but venture into the countryside and anything above 40mph starts to get pretty loud. As someone who suffers with permanent tinnitus I always recommend wearing ear plugs outside the city limits, but with the LS2 Valiant they are genuinely needed. I have filtered Earpeace plugs (reviewed elsewhere on Bike Social) that do a sterling job of knocking down the sound of the wind while letting me hear music over the intercom. This is an issue across the board for modular helmets, even the really high-end ones, so I can’t knock too many points off the Valiant.
For more information on why earplugs are vital with any helmet, and advice on which are the best, click here.
I was pleasantly surprised how well the LS2 Valiant 2 performed. I’d go so far as to say it’s probably one of the best performing helmets in this price bracket.
It feels quality and well made, it’s all day comfy, it has a brilliant visor system and a fantastic chin-bar system – everything I look for in a lid. LS2 has made a great helmet for the money.
I love the flexibility that this design gives you – true open-face for when its warm, full-face for when it’s cold or raining, jet for anything in between. And it’s homologated for all those uses. It really is three helmets in one!
But is it better than the rival Shark Evo GT? Sucking air through teeth while looking at the ceiling… Yes. Not by a lot, but the chin-bar mechanism being a lot smoother and more reliable, combined with the better visor swings it for me. And considering Shark practically invented this style of helmet and the GT is £100 more, that is no small achievement.
If you’re in the market for a modular lid, the LS2 Valiant 2 comes top of my recommend list.