LS2 MX701 Explorer adventure motorcycle helmet review.

ls2-explorer-featured

LS2 MX701 Explorer Adventure Helmet: modern, great value & versatile.

LS2 are a funny bunch. Historically, they’re mostly known for pushing out a large number of lower priced helmets. But nowadays, their helmets are really upping the ante and they’re creating some well designed, high spec lids that are – in theory at least – giving the big boys a proper run for their money.

carbon fibre ls2 explorer adventure helmet bottom view
Rear view of the LS2 Explorer carbon ‘black’ helmet

And leaving me, for one, a little confused about who they are and what they offer.

And that’s from someone who’s daily helmet is a carbon LS2 Arrow (which I’m finding to be a seriously fantastic helmet btw!)

The LS2 MX701 Explorer is a great case in point. It’s launched in two flavors – an HPFC shelled version (that’s fiberglass to you and me) and a carbon fiber version. They both look great and they’re both covered in all the goodies you’ll be looking for in an adventure helmet.

So, it does leave me wondering if there’s much point in paying any more for a helmet from one of the big brands when you can get so much value for money buying an LS2.

So, let’s take a look over the Explorer. If you’re in the market for a new dual-sport/adventure helmet, then here’s what the LS2 Explorer offers – as ever including the views and thoughts of actual owners – and check out our suggested alternatives at the bottom for some fully reviewed and fantastic alternatives.

Looking to buy an LS2 Explorer?

Please click below to visit the LS2 Explorer helmets pages at two of our recommended stores and Amazon – both checked for great online ratings. And if you buy from any store, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

JPCyclesShop for helmets at Amazon

Overall/Summary

LS2 say the Explorer has been created from the ground up to be the best adventure helmet around. And while it’s probably not, it’s a great value, modern looking lid that certainly delivers a lot of features the the money.

If you’re doing a bit of adventuring, you might find it’s not the coolest helmet (though it’s OK for less demanding on-road work).

And if you do intend to do most of your miles on the street, you can rip off the peak to help with the aero if you like (slapping it back on if you hit the dirt).

That sheild’s nice and wide and comes with a Pinlock in the box to help keep vision clear. It’s also optically correct and backed up with a drop down sun visor which all works well.

Fluo orange Alter graphic Explorer

Every adventure helmet should have an EQRS liner these days – like the Explorer – and it needs to be comfortable and light. Check the comfort once you buy it as there can be niggles (see comfort section below), but it’s a pretty light helmet whether you buy the carbon fiber or fiberglass version so you should be OK there.

Yes, there’s a question mark about how great the protection will be when push comes to shove (it hasn’t been independently tested by Snell). But like many LS2 helmets, there’s certainly no question mark over the value the Explorer offers. It’s rare to find a carbon fiber helmet at such a low price point – and especially one that ticks all the adventure helmet boxes.

Most owners love the Explorer for good value for money and for its modern design. Many (not all) find the build quality excellent too – plus it has all the features most of us are looking for in an ADV helmet.

Overall then, if you’re in the market for a new dual-sport helmet and like getting value for your money, the LS2 Explorer might be worth a try. It’s probably not the best adventure helmet out there, but it’s a good helmet. See the bottom of the page for some alternatives – or check out all our Adventure helmet reviews.

Shell & Safety

(more about helmet safety)

Both the fiberglass and carbon versions of the Explorer are made in 3 shell sizes to optimize fit and looks – and safety.

ls2 explorer frontier carbon motorcycle helmet side view
Carbon fiber Frontier Explorer

The carbon version is slightly lighter – it’s been weighed to around 3.3lbs (1.5Kg) in size M – whereas the fiberglass version will be around 3oz heavier. That’s not a lot of difference but in terms of safety, every ounce of weight saving helps as it’ll reduce the amount of interia generated by the weight of the helmet during an impact.

It’ll also mean it’s that little bit more comfortable and easy to live with day to day.

Other safety features include an emergency quick release liner (see EQRS), Pinlock Max Vision insert included to keep your shield fog-free, metal micrometric fastner which are really easy to use and good solid fasteners, and a shield with very good peripheral vision.

There’s also an integral drop down sun visor for when the sun’s in danger of obscuring your vision.

They’re all great safety features to have… but what about the helmet shell itself?

Well, all Explorers are DOT (ECE 22.05 certified if you buy one in Europe) so should give a decent amount of impact protection, but beyond that it’s hard to say as it’s not been Snell tested yet.

ls2 explorer extend adv motorcycle helmet front view
Front view of the LS2 Explorer Extend graphic

It does have a multi-density EPS to help it absorb different levels of energy – which is good to see. But looking back at SHARP helmet test data which tests ECE certified lids, LS2 helmets have scored just over 3 stars for safety over the years (out of a maximum 5) though that’s mostly for their cheaper polycarbonate helmets.

There haven’t been any carbon LS2 helmets tested so far, but there have been two fiberglass helmets tested to date and both have scored 4 stars. Whether that’s indicative of how well the LS2 explorer scores if it was to be tested remains to be seen.

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

Despite having a ton of vent holes in the shell and that large peak up top, it seems that LS2’s done an excellent job sound deadening the Explorer.

Yes, we found a few owners who said it was a loud helmet (as you always do with something as subjective as helmet noise), but most owners reckon it’s a really quiet helmet – probably one of the quietest adventure helmets out there.

So, if you need an ADV helmet but want a quiet ride, the LS2 Explorer’s definitely worth checking out (and maybe check out our quietest helmets page too).

Ventilation

(more about helmet ventilation)

The Explorer has a wide range of vents that should give it excellent ventilation. It’s what LS2 calls their dynamic flow-through ventilation which basically means a load of vents, all open/closeable and with a bit of a sucking action going on around the exhaust vents at the back of the helmet (from the aero) to help increase airflow.

ls2 explorer extend matt military green helmet rear view
You can see most of the rear exhaust vents on this Extend graphic Explorer

The Explorer has a nice, large motocross-stylee chin bar vent, a pair of crown vents, pair of side vents and a smattering of large and small rear exhausts. And all are closeable for when things get cold or wet.

Those top and side vents take air through the helmet and circulate it around the head through channels in the polystyrene liner – pushing it out of the rear exhausts aftewards.

The system’s design checks all the boxes but there’s mixed reviews on how well it actually performs. Some folks riding in very hot places reckon it’s great – others say it could do with more cooling around the head. Overall, it’s probably around average for ventilation – so that means if your road riding it’ll probably be mostly OK, but if you’re getting a workout doing a bit of proper adventuring, then you might find it’sa bit on the warm side.

Face Shield (more about shields)

The face shield system on the Explorer ticks all the boxes too.

It’s a quick release shield (shields on dual sports helmets aren’t always quick change) and it’s nice and wide meaning better all round vision. LS2 say it’s made to be optically correct too and, like all polycarb shields, it’ll give excellent UV protection – somewhere over 95% at least.


A couple of useful links…

– All our Adventure Helmet reviews –
– Visit our Smart Filters to find the right lid –


One piece of great news is that, for a competitively priced helmet, it also comes with a Pinlock Max Vision anti-fog insert in the box which should mean you never have to suffer from a badly fogging shield. Hurray.

ls2 explorer solid white adventure motorcycle helmet side view
Solid white Explorer

Finally, the shield has a lock on it. Locks can be a little fiddly to unlock and the shield lock on the Explorer is a little on the small size.

However, it stands proud of the shell and we didn’t find anyone complaining about it, so it seems like this one’s OK.

In fact we didn’t really find any negative comments about the visor system – just positives. The Pinlock works well in all but the most extreme conditions and that wide field of view is universally praised. OK it could offer a better downwards view of the clocks but that’s an issue with most ADV helmets and their chunky chin bars.

Sun Visor and Peak

(more about sun visors)

There’s also a polycarb internal sun visor on the LS2 Explorer. It’s operated with a slider on the bottom edge of the shell – that’s the position favored by most riders as it’s really easy to find and operate.

Having the slider there can limit the available space for a 3rd party intercom, though in the case of the Explorer, it’s set back far enough to not cause too many problems (*but see bluetooth section below).

The sun visor’s well liked with the only occasional negative comments being that it could drop a little lower and it’s a bit of a bugger to refit if you ever pull it out.

carbon fibre ls2 explorer adventure helmet top view
Another view of the carbon black Explorer – showing vented peak and sun visor down

Like many adventure helmets, the peak can be removed to convert the helmet into a more road-focused lid. It’s also slightly up/down adjustable by loosening the screw at the top of the helmet – which can help with aero or shielding from the sun a little (a few owners commented there’s more adjustment on the peak on the Explorer than most other adventure helmets).

Many of the most recent adventure helmets have a vented peak to help with its aero characteristics and it’s good to see LS2 following suit. Most owners reckon the peak’s aero is good though there are some who complain of vibration and noise so it seems like it’s very bike and rider dependent.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

The main thing to note about the LS2 Explorer is that it’s designed for riders with longer oval heads. So, if you’ve got a rounder or medium oval head, you may find that it presses on the sides a little.

ls2 explorer extend adv motorcycle helmet side view
Another Extend graphic fiberglass Explorer

That’s just something worth bearing in mind if you buy one (and make sure you buy from a store who’ll swap it out with no quibbles if it doesn’t fit right).

In fact, quite a few Explorer owners reckon that they found pressure points inside their helmets – so it’s definitely one to wear inside the house for a good while if you think it might be a bit tight – BEFORE you commit to ride in it (after which you won’t be able to return it).

Also, several owners said it tends to size a bit on the small side – so if you’re between sizes, it sounds like you should definitely go for the larger size.

The liner is hypoallergenic and fully removable and washable.

It’s also EQRS or emergency quick release, meaning there’s a pair of tabs on the bottom that are designed to be pulled and quickly release the cheek pads to help paramedics more easily remove your helmet.

Hopefully, you’ll never need it but – especially in an adventure helmet – it’s worth having there just in case.

The liner isn’t anything particularly fancy, but the word is it’s of decent quality, comfortable and wicks sweat away OK.

Both the fiberglass and carbon versions are available in fitment sizes XS-XXXL.

Looks & Graphics

The LS2 Explorer very much looks the part when it comes to a modern dual-sport helmet. There’s a wide range of graphics available too – and several solids if you’re more of a purist.

ls2 explorer alter hi viz yellow motorbike helmet rear view
There’s a couple of high viz options too…

If the carbon fiber version’s grabbed your interest (and why not at this price!) then you can of course find a plan ‘carbon black’ version that shows off the carbon fiber weave. But there’s also a couple of carbons that offer a lick of color in the Frontier, Extend and Focus carbon graphic helmets.

In fiberglass, there’s just two solids – a matte black and a gloss white, along with the Camo-X and Alter graphics (in 3 colorways).

As always, to find the latest graphics and deals, please click the links below that’ll drop you right onto their LS2 Explorer helmet pages.

Best places to buy an LS2 Explorer?

Please click below to visit the LS2 Explorer helmets pages at two of our recommended stores and Amazon – both checked for great online ratings. And if you buy from any store, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

JPCyclesShop for helmets at Amazon

LS2 Explorer Video

Here’s a 4m look around the Explorer from an LS2 representative.

Other stuff – fasteners, bluetooth, warranty

The Explorer comes with a metal micrometric fastener. I’m a great fan of how easy micrometrics are to use, and if they’re regularly adjusted, they’re as safe as any fastener out there.

ls2 explorer matt black adv motorcycle helmet underneath
The fiberglass matt black Explorer from below

As for a bluetooth communicator – it’s designed to fit the LS2 Linkin Ride Pal, so that’s probably the one to go for if you’re looking for a more integrated solution. It also means there is space for speakers in there too if you’re wanting to fit your own headset.

Word is they’re not the deepest speaker pockets but if you have slim speakers you should be OK. We’ve heard from owners of Cardo Packtalk Bolds and Sena SMH5s who said theirs fitted fine.

The main issue with fitting your own 3rd party bluetooth to the Explorer is that the sides aren’t flat so it can be tricky to fit your controller with a sticky mount. And the sun visor slider can interfere with fitting a clamp mount too – so it can take a bit of trial and error to get it fitting right. Still, I guess that’s often the case with fitting 3rd party bluetooth kits to helmets.

Not all LS2 helmets come with a 5 year warranty, but the good news is that both versions of the Explorer do – as usual, covering manufacturing defects only.

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/sportsbike/track helmets.

Good Alternatives to the LS2 Explorer?

Click the link to find all the dual sport/adventure helmets we’ve covered so far. Adventure bikes are really popular these days, which means helmet makers have been keen to get adventure helmets out there, so there’s a lot of choice.

ls2-pioneer-solid-white-dirt-bike-adventure-helmet-side-view-
LS2 Pioneer

LS2’s own Blaze is highly rated and cheap too. It’s got EQRS and a sun visor and it’s half the price of the Explorer if you don’t mind wearing a polycarb lid.

arai xd4 Tour X4 hi viz neon yellow crash helmet side view
Arai XD4

Towards the top of the pile is the fiberglass adventure helmet from Arai, the XD4. It’s a well liked helmet that has three configs, turning it from a road to an adv to a dirt helmet. It’s also Snell certified for safety in the US (DOT version).

Same goes for Shoei’s Hornet X2 – it’s also a fiberglass helmet that’s comfortable, well built and with a well designed peak.

Shoei Hornet-X2 ADV solid white crash helmet
Shoei Hornet X2

Other Adventure/Dual-Sports helmets?

There are lots of other Adventure/Dual Sports crash helmets out there, so please check out our Adventure motorcycle helmets page to see all our other reviews and previews. Or, if you're looking for the safest tested helmets on the market, you might want to take a look at our safest motorcycle helmets pages where you'll only find helmets that are Snell certified or SHARP four or five star rated - so you'll know you're wearing the best protection out there.

Looking to buy an LS2 Explorer?

Please click below to visit the LS2 Explorer helmets pages at two of our recommended stores and Amazon – both checked for great online ratings. And if you buy from any store, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

JPCyclesShop for helmets at Amazon

Star Ratings

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Safety
Comfort
Noise
Features
Value
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ls2-mx701-explorer-motorcycle-helmet-launchedThe LS2 Explorer is a great value adventure helmet that does most things pretty well. It's light, quiet, has a good shield and peak system (with drop down sun visor) and it's generally well built and finished. It'll also fit LS2's own communicator though there is some space to fit your own (though it's fiddly). And it has most of the features you'll want in a modern adventure helmet. OK there's some question marks over the fit and how good protection will be (mainly because it hasn't been independently tested yet). All in all though, a good buy.

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