If you were an 1980s kid then ‘The Pump’ means only one thing: The Pump shoe from Reebok. The manual air pump system allowed air to inflate cushions to form the shoe better to the person wearing it. Targeted at the basketball industry, the shoe was a huge hit in the early 90s and air cushioning found its way into more than just shoes. Now 20 years later the simple idea of an air inflated custom fit can be found in the offroad world with the LS2 MX456e Helmets.
They began as a helmet manufacturer in 1991 in China. In 2006 they decided to brand their own helmets and LS2 was created. After years of growth, both geographically and in quality, they became available in the US in 2010 through Allwin Powersports Corporation. Today you can buy dozens of different types of helmets for on-road, off-road and snow powersports. The flagship of the offroad helmets is the LS2 MX456e.
LS2 sent us a beautifully patriotic USA version of MX456e to try out. Out of the box the fit was already pretty snug but after a few rides we were able to try out the inflation system. As promised, the cheek pads inflate with each press of the button, bringing back those pre-game basketball memories. If you have trouble finding the right fit in a helmet or want a custom fit this is truly the way to go.
The LS2 MX456e uses a tricomposite fiberglass shell. There are vents at the mouth, the jawline, the back and two closable vents above the face opening. There are also vents at the top of face opening. The visor is mounted at three points with screws that can be tightened with a screwdriver or a coin to get them more than just hand tight. I know I’ve has visor screws fall out on trails before. The visor also has a removable extension. The odor and bacteria resistant liner is fully removable for cleaning. Ready to ride it weighs in at just under 3.2 pounds.
Not sure if a Chinese helmet is tough enough for you? How about the fact that is is the helmet of 5 time Dakar Rally motorcycle winner Cyril Despres.
The LS2 MX456e is available in sizes XS to 2XL and in 10 different colors. It is DOT certified and ECE approved. MSRP on the LS2 MX456e is $189.95. For more details on the LS2 MX456e check out http://ls2helmets.us.
Love them or leave them helmets are very much a part of the powersports industry and there are a lot of names in the helmet market. Among those common names is AFX. AFX North America, Inc. was established in the mid-1990s. The founders saw big helmet companies were regularly increasing the price of helmets without offering new innovations to justify that cost. So, in true American fashion, they began creating their own helmets designed to give users feature-rich helmets at reasonable costs. The new AFX FX-21 helmet is proof that after almost 20 years in business they still stand behind that business model.
The AFX FX-21 helmet has an aggressive design. Traditionally helmets have curved in around the bottom, but a recent trend has been that helmets flare out at the lower back of the helmet. While style is all in the eye of the beholder it adds a nice change. It does not interfere with the mobility of the helmet at all. Another innovation in this model is the goggle strap guide across the back, also a trend across the industry. This formation across the back of the helmet keeps your goggle strap from sliding up or down across the helmet and keeps it properly lined up during riding.
The AFX FX-21 helmet is cleaned like most helmets by simply wiping it down. The liner and cheek pads are easily removable for cleaning. They do have to be hand washed; machine washing is not recommended. Being able to machine wash the liner and pads is the biggest improvement we would like to have seen. They do hand wash pretty easily and dry out in a couple of days. Everything snaps back in place with no issues. Ventilation is provided at the mouth (which is filtered by a thick, foam pad), vents on each side of the jaw, two just aft of the top of the helmet and a pair at the back of the head. There are also vents at the top of the eye opening which direct air into channels that run over your head and down the back of the neck. None of the vents can be closed off. It also includes an adjustable visor that can be removed.
On the safety side, the AFX FX-21 Helmet uses their trademarked CONE-HEAD Technology. According to AFX, the outer shell and the impact absorbing, foam liner are fused together. With this design the force of an impact is pushed out to the sides rather than taken full by the helmet and skull. It also helps with the helmets weight; only 2.95 lbs for a size large. The AFX FX-21 Helmet is DOT certified and meets the standards for AMA and several others. The fit is good and snug and plenty comfortable for a day of riding.
The AFX FX-21 Helmet is available in 3 solid colors and 8 colors of the pattern shown in our sample. Solid colors carry an MSRP of $129.95 with the patterns at $139.95. AFX helmets are available through a select few retailers. To find one near you check out http://www.afxhelmets.com. The AFX FX-21 should be a consideration when looking for a good budget priced helmet.
Some people are just too cool for helmets. No argument, we still feel right at home without ours on. But we have also watched some pretty bad stuff happen to people who were completely in control of their ATVs, so we have been forcing ourselves to wear them. Even disregarding personal safety, there will surely come a time when you will want to ride at an ATV park that requires helmets. In preparation for such a park trip, Neecy and I picked up a pair of HJC CL-X6 helmets from Hall’s Motorsports in Mobile, Alabama. There were plenty on display so we were able to find the best size for each of us. The staff at Hall’s Motorsports was able to make recommendations regarding helmet sizes for our quickly growing daughters too. The sizes range from XS to 3XL, but an in-store fitting is your best bet to ensure an accurate fit.
While you may not consider HJC to be one of the elite names in helmets, they have plenty of experience, having been in the motorcycle helmet industry since 1971. According to their own website they have been the #1 selling motorcycle helmet manufacturer in the United States since 1992. The helmets are manufactured at three different plants in Asia.
The CL-X6 is the choice mounting location for our GoPro HD Hero2 cameras.
We found the helmets to be quite comfortable and not too heavy, even after a full day of riding. They also provide adequate dust protection for the mouth and nose. After a couple of riding trips I removed the cheek pads and sent them through the washing machine and a good air dry. The rest of the helmet cleans up easily with a damp cloth and a little soap, if needed. They both still look great. We’ve been using our CL-X6 helmets for about 7 months now and are very pleased with our purchase. Each new HJC helmet comes with an extra nut for the visor, a storage bag and instructions for proper wear and care.
The CL-X6 line comes in 8 different graphic styles with several color choices of each for a total of 27 different helmet looks. MSRP for the helmets ranges between $119.99 for the solid colored helmets to $154.99 for the most graphically intense series. You can view this and other helmet lines from HJC at www.HJChelmets.com. The site also has a dealer locator to help you find the nearest retailer including the many locations of Hall’s Motorsports.