A look at LS2’s polycarbonate modular crash helmet – the LS2 FF325 Strobe
The FF325 Strobe is Chinese helmet maker LS2‘s entry-level flip-up crash helmet. LS2 say it’s aimed at sports-touring riders, which really means more or less anyone and everyone, from commuters to sunday riders and long distance tourers.
As soon as you hear the words ‘entry level’, you start looking for the cost-cutting and money-saving because we know that’s how companies make their entry level helmets right? They usually develop a polycarbonate/thermoplastic shelled model (two names for effectively the same type of helmet material) with a view to releasing it without some of the bells and whistles we’re all increasingly taking for granted in a helmet.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the LS2 FF325 to see if we can find out where LS2 has cut corners, and find out what existing Strobe owners think of their helmet.
- LS2’s entry-level modular helmet
- Polycarbonate shell
- SHARP 3 star safety rated
- 2 shell sizes
- Micrometric fastener
- Drop down sun visor
- Sizes XS-XXXL
- Expect to pay $150-£170
The LS2 FF325 Strobe seems to do pretty well on the safety front.
It’s both ECE 22.05 and DOT certified, meaning it’s passed the mandatory safety testing required before it can go on sale in Europe (that’s the ECE bit) and LS2 confirms its helmets comply with the US DOT requirements. For more information on those, click the links.
The Strobe hasn’t been Snell tested but has been tested by the SHARP crash helmet safety labs where it scored 3 stars out of 5, which is OK but not the best (see our alternatives section at the bottom of the page for some suggested and recommended flip-up helmets that will score four and five stars for safety).
Crucially for a modular helmet, SHARP noted that the chin guard remained closed and locked in 100% of its impact tests. That’s a great result and surprisingly not that common in a flip-up helmet – and probably testament to the solid metal locking mechanism used by LS2.
Of course, you need a helmet to protect you when you hit the ground or skidding along the road, which is why we pay such close attention to SHARP helmet tests.
But there’s other stuff on a crash helmet that’ll help you avoid an accident in the first place.
The Strobe’s got most of the other features you’d hope for in this respect.
It’s also an optically correct shield for distortion-free vision.
There’s a drop down sun visor so you don’t get too caught out by the sun – though as usual, a few owners reckon the tinting is a bit too light for when the sun’s full in your face.
The FF325 also has a micrometric fastener on the strap. They’re widely regarded as safe as houses and really easy and convenient – though you do have to ensure the strap remains correctly adjusted as the strap stretches over time.
So, overall for safety, the LS2 FF325 Strobe has many of the features you’d look for in a helmet and there’s no obvious cost-cuttings gone on here. Just a slightly weaker SHARP performance compared to some of the best-tested modulars on the market lets the Strobe down a little.
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As usual – a word of warning on how noisy you’ll find the LS2 Strobe.
How noisy or quiet you’ll find the Strobe is very much dependent on things like how noisy your existing helmet is, your riding style, how fast you ride, type of motorbike you ride and so on.
That’s reflected in the feedback given by owners of the LS2 FF325 Strobe whose opinions vary quite a bit.
What’s for certain is it’s not the quietest helmet. But then again, modular helmets are usually on the noisier side (even those that claim to be whisper quiet!).
Most owners reckon it’s either noisy or quite noisy. The occasional one or two do say it’s quiet, but overall, we’d expect you to find it’s noisier than average.
A couple of owners said the noise seems to come in mostly from the vents and closing them quietens things down a bit. But that’s not very helpful if you’re riding along in the summer!
So, if you’re thinking of buying a LS2 FF325 Strobe, go into it expecting it to be quite noisy and buy some decent ear plugs to wear when you’re riding and you shouldn’t be disappointed.
Consensus seems to be that the ventilation on the Strobe is OK but could be better.
It has the conventional array of vents – from a dual chin vent and single crown vent – all venting through the internal shock absorbing liner to take air through to the scalp.
Owners seem to agree that the ventilation is about average – typical comments are that it keeps you reasonably cool but could be better.
There’s also a few comments about the shield vents not managing to keep the shield fog-free at low speeds. However, that’s common on most helmets and why anti-fog Pinlock inserts (or in this case LS2’s own version of a Pinlock) are becoming so popular.
If great ventilation is important to you, we suggest you have a look at our ‘helmets with good ventilation‘ page.
The LS2 FF325 Strobe comes with what LS2 call their Twin Shield System – but what the rest of us call a clear main shield and drop down sun visor!
Having said that, it’s still great to have both in an entry-level modular helmet and from owners comments, they work very well.
The main clear shield works on a ratchet and is a quick-release shield. Having a quick release shield on a flip-up helmet is still novel enough to be worth a mention, and in the Strobe’s case it’s LS2s very good ShortShift system.
You’ll notice there’s two round pins on the shield if you look closely at the pics. Usually, they’re locating pins for a Pinlock anti-fog insert, but if you’re used to seeing Pinlock pins, you’ll notice that these are a bit lower down the shield than normal.
That’s because they’re locating pins for LS2’s own version of the Pinlock, the FogFighter. So if you want an anti-fog insert to fit to the rear of your shield to keep it nice and clear, then don’t go looking for a Pinlock for the Strobe and search for a FogFighter instead. They usually sell for around $30.
Overall, folks say the main shield is a good un. There’s one or two comments about the cracked open position being too big and letting too much air in. And there were a similar number complaining their shields were too stiff to open (which sounds to me like there was a bad batch of Strobes around towards the beginning of the production run). It looks like it should be sorted now though.
One final note. The Strobe’s main shield is an optically correct shield. That means it should be distortion-free and, again, is something we rarely see in such an entry-level helmet.
The sun visor is operated by a slider on the bottom left of the helmet. Moving the slider operates the sun visor by a cable and it’s an analogue version – meaning you can part lower the sun visor as well as having it fully down (some are up or down and nothing in between).
As with most sun visors, a few folks say the on fitted to the FF325 Strobe is a bit too light; but that’s normally because there’s a legal limit to how dark a sun visor can be in most countries meaning LS2 have to comply with those regs.
If you live somewhere really sunny, then you’ll probably use the helmet’s sun visor in addition to some sunglasses. Which is fine because the Strobe has glasses grooves to make fitting and wearing glasses much more comfortable.
Again, even though the LS2 FF325 Strobe is an entry level, budget modular, we’ve not really found any short-cuts or cost cutting made by LS2 so far.
Chin Guard (for flip-up)
There’s two main points to make about the chin guard on the LS2 Strobe.
First, it’s easy to use. To open it, there’s a single large button underneath the chin guard to press and that’s it. Raising the chin guard couldn’t be simpler.
Second, it should be as safe as they come. You see, when a modular helmet is tested by SHARP, they note how often the chin guard becomes unlocked. And if you read our articles on SHARP testing or our visit to the SHARP testing labs, you’ll know that many flip-front helmets fair badly on this test.
If our records are correct, the lowest score by any modular helmet showed it stayed locked just 17% of the times it was tested (that was an old Marushin M401 btw – a helmet that’s no longer available thankfully!).
So for the LS2 Strobe to score 100% is an excellent performance and means you can be as sure as you can with any modular that the chin guard will stay locked in an accident.
Which is precisely what you expect with a modular right?!
Comfort & Sizing
Overall, owners say the FF325 is a comfortable helmet, though there’s mixed reports on the sizing, so read on.
Most buyers reckon the sizing’s way out. They say the Strobe is smaller than you’d expect – so order one size and in some cases two sizes larger than you’d expect.
But it’s mixed messages as others say the sizing is spot on.
From our research, there’s more people ordering a size above their usual helmet size (or their measured helmet size) and we’d go with that. But make sure you order from a retailer who’ll happily accept returns without quibbling – and preferably from one who’ll pay for the returns (some of our recommended retailers will do this).
The Strobe is designed for intermediate oval shaped heads (that’s most of us) though a few folks with very long heads said it fits them perfectly too.
Inside the LS2 Strobe, the lining is removable and washable and it’s made from breathable and hypo-allergenic fabrics. There’s also a glasses groove in there so fitting and wearing glasses with the Strobe should be comfortable.
There’s lots of comments by owners saying how comfortable their Strobe is so, as long as you get one that fits right with no pressure points, (and don’t forget, having a helmet that fits right should be your number one safety priority when buying a new helmet) then we don’t expect you to have any problems here either.
Looks & Graphics
The LS2 FF325 Strobe probably isn’t going to win any awards for innovative design. But then it wasn’t intended to. It’s designed to appeal to as many riders as possible so LS2 have made a pretty conventional helmet design with some reasonably ‘safe’ graphic options.
If you’re after a high-viz helmet, you’ll find the hi-viz Civik Strobe and there’s also the gloss black and white along with a cool titanium grey Strobe. Apart from these, the Civik comes in black/white and black/blue versions. Finally, there’s a classy solid colored Strobe wineberry burgandy version around.
For any other design options and to check the latest deals (or just to buy one because they’re such a decent price) visit our recommended retailers by clicking one of the links below. To find out stuff like delivery costs and returns policies, make a note of the retailers mentioned below then click this recommended retailer link for at-a-glance information before buying.
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Click above to drop onto their LS2 helmets pages or *quick view store T&Cs here.
LS2 FF325 Strobe Video
Here’s a video giving you a look around the Strobe from the dude at Competition Accessories.
Other stuff – audio, weight, build quality, chin curtain, warranty
There’s no specific bluetooth communicator designed to work with the Strobe, and it’s worth being aware that a few owners (not to mention the guy in the video above) reckons that the sun visor slider might get in the way of mounting your bluetooth. If you’re planning on mounting one, take a good close look at the pics of the helmet to make sure you think it’ll mount OK before buying.
A medium size LS2 Strobe weighs in at about 3.4lbs (1.55Kg) that’s lighter than the average flip-up helmet so shouldn’t feel too heavy on the bike.
Most owners rate the materials and build quality as being very good. Having said that, I think most take into consideration that the Strobe is a lower-priced helmet so they’re not expecting Arai or Shoei levels of build quality in the first place. They say it feels sturdy and solidly built. There have been a few moans though and it does sound like there was a batch of helmets with quality issues around the comfort lining pulling away and the chin guard and visors becoming stiff and difficult to operate. However, that seems to be resolved now and most owners are surprised at how well built their Strobe feels.
Having said that, many owners report the chin curtain can come off very easily. It is designed to be removable and it does clip back in, but it’s obviously annoying several owners.
LS2 does give a full five years manufacturer’s warranty with the FF325 Strobe though, so if you do have any build-quality problems, you’ve always got that warranty for piece of mind.
Well, we set out to find out where LS2 have cut corners with the FF325 Strobe – and we came up empty-handed.
LS2 seem to have made a great helmet with some premium-level features (I’m talking about you, optically correct, quick release shield!) that would shame some helmets at twice the price.
But apart from these blemishes, it’s a great helmet. That chin guard is super easy to operate (and shouldn’t open in an accident). Fit LS2’s Fog Fighter and the shield should be fog-free. The sun visor is great and the slider makes it really easy to use. It’s also comfortable and has a quick release main shield which many modulars at a much higher price point still lack.
It’s a shame it drops a star or two for safety so we can’t add it to our recommended modular helmets list.
But that’s not to say it’s one to avoid. At this price, the LS2 FF325 Strobe is a great helmet and well worth checking out when you’re in the market for a new flip-up helmet.
Crash Helmet Buying Guides
For (hopefully!) other useful information to help you when buying your next helmet, check our various guides - or have a look at our top helmet lists where we've got the top 10 rated helmets overall and best budget/safest/full face/flip-up helmets.
Alternatives to the LS2 FF325 Strobe
It’s amazing what you can get for your money these days. The Strobe offers great value but there are one or two others worth checking out too (and of course check out our top 10 flip-up and modular helmets list).
First off, there’s the Shark Openline. That’s Sharks own entry-level modular. It’s another SHARP 3 star modular helmet with sun visor and Pinlock anti-fog insert in the box.
The Lazer Paname is worth a look too – that’s a SHARP 4 star safety rated flip-up helmet, again with a sun visor and Pinlock included.
If you can stretch to around the $300 mark, you should also take a look at the AGV Numo Evo – that’s a four star safety rated helmet that’s got excellent ventilation and is rated highly for comfort.