LS2 MX456 Light Dirt Helmet Review
While auxiliary tinted visors, built-in communication systems and quick-release ratcheting chin straps can be convenient, there is something to be said about a lightweight, minimalist layout with well-designed features. The new LS2 MX456 Light dirt helmet has precisely those characteristics. With functional features in a practical package, this dirt helmet is easy to wear for more than just a quick romp in the woods.
The characteristic that stands out most prominently when you start reaching highway speeds is the surprising stability of this helmet. Typically, the beak on a dirt helmet will catch the wind and can buffet around uncomfortably. The beak on the Light is pointed and tapers out as it connects to the helmet, which keeps it tracking straight, as if it’s locked in. But the trade-off is apparent when you turn your head at 75 mph for a blind-spot check and the helmet yanks sideways. Once you know what to expect, you can go back to appreciating the stability it offers. It’s important to note that I tested the highway characteristics on a naked dual-sport with no fairing and on another dual-sport with a partial fairing that sends the wind into my face. The second scenario negated the stability and made the Light feel like any other dirt helmet. So, either a full fairing on a big adventure bike or no fairing at all will keep this helmet as stable as it was meant to be.
The beak is easy to adjust with the thumb screws, but it doesn’t move around at all at highway speeds. The rubber roost guard helps keep some of the wind from directly hitting your face, so if you’re like me and wear an open dirt helmet year-round, you may appreciate the slight break it offers on cold days. However, it’s still an open helmet that allows air to flow through the chin, side and forehead vents as well as the channeled, multi-density EPS liner. The goggle opening is just as big as you’d expect it to be on a dirt helmet and shouldn’t have any trouble accommodating most goggles.
Speaking of goggles, the High-Performance Fiberglass Composite (HPFC) shell has a channel around the back where the strap goes. This keeps the strap from sliding up or down over the course of the day. Further, the HPFC shell makes for impact absorption that warrants Snell M2015 approval on top of the DOT rating. “Long oval” is an accurate description of the head shape, as it’s slightly narrower and longer in fit than an intermediate oval. With two shell sizes, the Light is limited to a size range of XS to XXL.
Keeping this helmet clean is as simple as popping out the removable liner and cheek pads for washing. If they get worn out, those parts are also replaceable. Unfortunately, the cheek pads have a thin strip of material across the areas where you’d stick Bluetooth headset earpieces. While I haven’t yet, the plan is to cut out those pieces to stick in a headset. The jaw area of the helmet has a flat area large enough for a small headset mount, but attaching some larger mounts may require creativity. The chin strap is made of the same hypoallergenic material as the liners and uses the traditional, reliable D-rings for closure. However, there is no “belt loop” on the long half of the strap, so sometimes the padding can slide sideways, leaving the hard strap material against your skin.
For dual-sport and adventure riders who prefer the simplicity and inherent reliability of dirt helmets, but still spend time on the highway, the new LS2 MX456 Light is a serious option. Of course, this helmet works equally well for a day ride in the woods. Snell M2015 approval, functional beak and shell designs, and light weight all make for a competitive package at less than $200. The small inconveniences are far outweighed by the riding experience and performance characteristics that make it a joy to spend time wearing the LS2 Light. LS2Helmets.com
|▲ Aerodynamic beak is very stable||▼ Modification needed to fit headset|
|▲ Rubber roost guard reduces breeziness||▼ Wind noise is loud, even for a dirt helmet
|▲ Goggle strap channel keeps strap in place|
|▲ Snell approved|