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ADV ProductsLS2 Pioneer: Feature-Rich Dual Sport Helmet on a Budget

LS2 Pioneer: Feature-Rich Dual Sport Helmet on a Budget

 Lightweight and packed with features, but also easy on the wallet.

Published on 04.23.2018

While LS2 might not be the first name in helmets, their Pioneer MX436 is a feature-packed dual-sport lid that caught my attention. Mainly because of its budget-friendly price tag and what you get for the money. For around $150 bucks, this helmet has a lot going on so I’ll get right to it.

The shell is made from what LS2 calls Kinetic Polymer Alloy — a lightweight composite material developed by LS2’s engineers that is said to have better sliding properties than carbon fiber. There is a drop-down sun shield actuated by a left-side slider and a removable clear windshield with the flip-up tab in the center.

A ratcheting closure secures the helmet rather than a double D ring and it has a wide adjustment range. There are seven intake vents and five exhaust vents, but only the chin bar front vent is closeable. The visor position is adjustable and secured by four (rather than the typical three) adjustment screws. It even comes with emergency release cheek pads to allow first responders to remove the helmet with less head movement.

LS2 Pioneer Dual Sport Helmet on a Budget

How It Performed

I’ll start with what I liked, which there is a fair amount of. My favorite feature is the ratcheting closure. Wow is it easy to use! Gloved or not, my hands had no problem securing and releasing the helmet straps. I could close or open them in like 0.5 seconds. It is very easy to find the female ratchet with the other plastic side and with a quick tug on the ratchet strap, the helmet is loose. But, when you don’t pull the ratchet tab, it stays in place very solidly. I had no worries of it coming loose.

LS2 Pioneer Dual Sport Helmet on a Budget

This helmet fits my head great. I wear a large and the Pioneer is long oval shaped. I had no hot spots or pressure points. I also really liked the visor design. The holes let me cruise on the highway without a neck workout. Only if you had to check the north star for navigation would the visor start to pull your helmet back. The visor is also very secure with four points of contact. On some visored helmets with only two screws, I’ve had them vibrate at speed or wiggle annoyingly off-road.

Some people might disagree but I like that the shield tab is in the center. Some riders gripe that it should always be on the left side. Sure, while riding you want to use your left hand to open or close the shield because your right is on the throttle. But, when you come to a stop and don’t kill the engine, you can leave your left hand on the clutch and flip up the shield with your right. It’s a very minor thing, but I liked it. Also the shield is easily taken off by only removing the two temple screws. Lastly, I dig the design. It’s off-roady with some nice shell shape accents that make it look pretty aggressive.

LS2 Pioneer Dual Sport Helmet on a Budget

As for goggles, it barely fit Oakley Airbrakes, but to be fair those are some of the biggest on the market. Removing the windshield is quick, or you can flip the shield closed over goggles and it won’t bunch up the strap. Wearing goggles with the windshield raised, I did notice the lower edge of the shield was slightly in my view. Detents allow for the shield to be partially cracked open but the first detent is pretty high up and I didn’t find it very useful.

It’s sort of a pro and con but I had some issues with the drop-down sun shield. I liked that the helmet had one and for the first couple hours of riding, I didn’t have any issues. But the more I used it, the less it wanted to work. A sliding switch mechanism on the left side of the helmet requires a pretty big throw to activate the shield or retract it. After over six months of use the sun shield now only drops down 80% of the way, then I have to pull it down the rest with my hand. Full retraction of the shield with the switch still works fine though.

LS2 Pioneer Dual Sport Helmet on a Budget

The helmet isn’t the most ventilated helmet I’ve worn but that is sort of a good thing on cold days since the only vent you can close is the chinbar vent. All others stay open making chilly rides really chilly. I’m also pretty picky about the liner in my helmets because I’m a hairy guy and my face is always in some state of stubble/beard/unshaveness. This liner is very grippy and after a full day of taking it on and off, my face was a bit raw.

Next is noise. This is not a quiet helmet. I’ve ridden many motocross helmets on the street and the Pioneer is pretty much just as loud. Since I come from the dirt riding world, it doesn’t really bother me because I’m used to it. But if you are used to street helmets, pick up some ear plugs.

LS2 Pioneer Dual Sport Helmet on a Budget

On the other side of noise, putting in headset speakers is a no-go. There isn’t a cavity for speakers and, while the helmet fits great, there is no room to fit speakers. Or I should say very little room since I did ride about half a day with Sena 10C speakers in there and had to take them out to stop the torture.

Who It’s For

The LS2 Pioneer is good for newer or budget-minded riders that want a feature-rich helmet at an affordable price. Especially those looking for key features like the ratchet closure, drop-down sun shield or emergency release cheek pads. With it’s open vent scheme, goggle-friendly design and large visor, it’s also a better match for those who spend more time in the dirt than on the highway.

LS2 Pioneer Dual Sport Helmet on a Budget

Our Verdict

Overall, I would say that you get more than what you pay for with this helmet. It may not have the same fit, finish, and luxurious comfort of some of the top-tier helmets, but it is a good value at this price point with a nice feature set. I’d gladly wear this helmet over many others on the market because of the drop-down sun shield, ease of opening and closing the ratcheting strap, and its nice fit. Also at a claimed 3.36 pounds, it is a lot lighter than you’d expect. I would recommend this helmet to any rider, just with the caveat that if they are used to only Arais and Shoeis, they may be disappointed – this is not a luxury helmet, it is a pragmatic, get-stuff-done helmet.

What We Liked

  • Visor is sturdy as a rock, adjustable, and aero on the highway.
  • Ratcheting closure means rapid entry and exit even with gloves on.
  • Convenient drop-down sun shield for day into night riding.

What Could Be Improved

  • Lots of noise without much space to add your own (speakers).
  • Non-closing vents (except for chin bar) equals uncomfortable cold-weather riding.
  • Sun shield slider giving out but still workable.

LS2 Pioneer Dual Sport Helmet on a Budget

LS2 Pioneer MX436 Specs

Colors: matte black, gun metal and various graphics
Sizes: XS-3XL
Shape: Intermediate Oval
Weight: 3.36 pounds (Large)
Safety: DOT and ECE 22.05 certified
MSRP: $149 (Solids); $159 (Graphics)

Shopping Options

RevzillaRocky Mountain ATV/MC
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Sean Klinger Author ProfileAbout the Author: With his sights set on doing what he loved for a living, Sean Klinger left college with a BA in Journalism and dirt bike in his truck. After five years at a dirt-only motorcycle magazine shooting, testing, writing, editing, and a little off-road racing, he has switched gears to bigger bikes and longer adventures. He’ll probably get lost a few times but he’ll always have fun doing it. Two wheels and adventure is all he needs. 

Author: Sean Klinger

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One thought on “LS2 Pioneer: Feature-Rich Dual Sport Helmet on a Budget

  1. I’ve had this helmet in this color for about a year now. I was able to squeeze smh-10 speakers in it though it did take some adjustment to get them comfy.
    My issue is the sun shade slider is right where you would want a sena to mount. I just moved the sena forward to solve that issue. The sun visor still works well on mine, and I did find if I extend it quickly it that the shade goes all the way.
    Cold riding can be rough, but for that I use a different helmet below 30 degrees.
    Earplugs a must on any ride over 30 min or you will be deaf. Also taking to others through a sena on highway is impossible.
    But I do love the helmet! The fit, the price, the sun shield and the looks make it a great deal.

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