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2018 R1200RT
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I went helmet shopping last fall, I had no reference as to a modern helmet. I had not purchased a new one in over a decade, and well, you know how technology changes. So do prices, as the helmets I was familiar with were upwards of $600, and honestly, for that price, I didn't know one from another.

Well, doing my online due diligence (reading reviews, likely compensated 馃檮), I became enamored with LS2's "Valiant" modular helmet line. It retracts from front to 180 degrees back, so the helmet can be ridden as either a full face, or open face helmet. I don't ride with an open face helmet, but the option was attractive for those very-hot-weather riding days. Overall, as far as the features I was interested in, it had 'em all. They were in the $350 to $400 range. I found a close out from a larger European online retailer, Motocard.com, with generous return policies, and took a shot. I liked it quite a bit. It's probably the best helmet I've had in my hands since my circa 2010 era Nolan. In fact, after I had it, I liked it so much, I bought my wife one off Amazon.

I haven't ridden much this year, and for most of those rides, I was still using my old helmet. So, perhaps the third time I had it out, I was just riding down the road to my rural mailbox to pick up mail, and as I launched, I flipped the visor down (out of habit, mostly, didn't really need it), and it only came down 1/3 of the way. It started raining pretty hard right at that moment, so I'm suddenly cursing down hill trying to get the visor out of my line of sight, while navigating the wet road, and I finally just jammed it all the way back, hearing "snaps" and other nasty stuff as I did it.

When I got back home, and removed the helmet, the visor was stuck between straight back and 12 o'clock, it wouldn't move forward. I tried forcing it past whatever obstruction in the gears might be hanging it up, to the point where the front flip-up bar was bending. At that point, I stopped. I needed some technical support, to figure out how to fix this without breaking it.

So, I wrote to LS2 USA for technical support assistance, e.g. directions on how to disassemble and "unjam" a jammed flip bar. They replied with a library link with marketing video's. I replied to them that I'd already bought the helmet, I didn't need more advertising, or a video on how to replace the pinlock visor, I needed technical support. They replied, "no can do; send in for warranty support." I wasn't happy, but decided I'd play their game and send it in, if that's what they wanted. Only three days later, they replied "Sorry, we're LS2 USA, and we distribute and provide warranty support for helmets purchased in the USA only. You bought yours in Europe, go ask your retailer for help." Which, I have. (In fact, I've asked Motocard if they have any relationship with LS2, or if their products are unsupported "black market", or "gray market" products. It's one or the other.)

If I buy a BMW motorcycle in the USA, as an example, USA dealers will provide warranty service. If I buy one direct from Germany, and I take it to a USA dealer, they'll honor BMW's warranty, because the warranty is by BMW, not Amazon, or the motorcycle dealer I bought it from. That's how warranties work.

I had some crazy idea that LS2 helmets were manufactured in Europe, Spain to be precise, and I'm not usually lazy in doing that research. Low and behold, what I fool I was. This is a Chinese outfit, selling their product via international distributors, and they apparently provide warranty service ONLY through the distributor from which you purchased their products.
LS2 Helmets : the History

Moral of the story: You have a large number of helmet manufacturers to purchase your helmet from. By all means, avoid fly-by-night LS2. Their helmets are potentially dangerous, unsupported technically, and without warranty support (regardless of what their promotional literature may state). Most other manufacturers would WANT to offer technical support, to figure out WHY their helmet failed, if it's a unique problem or systemic problem, and if it requires a design change to prevent similar problems in the future. Particularly so, when the problem causes a dangerous, safety related event. Not so, evidently, with LS2.

This is what a stuck LS2 helmet looks like:
Automotive parking light Automotive lighting Hood Helmet Sports gear



Here's your comic relief for the day. (LS2's marketing people must STILL be laughing at this one, for anyone who believes their crap.)
馃ぃ馃ぃ馃ぃ馃檮馃槶馃槨

Automotive design Sports gear Motor vehicle Input device Font
 

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2018 R1200RT
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I鈥檓 sorry to hear of the problems you鈥檙e having with your helmet. I bought a LS2 Valiant last year and I鈥檓 finding it superb, with no hint of any problems. Generally speaking goods manufactured in China are very high quality (iPhone for example) but it inevitably supplies the odd defective unit. It鈥檚 disappointing that your own LS2 distributor isn鈥檛 helping out though. Not exactly great for their image.
I certainly liked my LS2, as well. As I said, I bought one for my wife. I've got a backup helmet, and the riding season in Idaho is nearing an end, so I'm in no hurry with this. I will pursue warranty support, i.e. piss off enough people until someone gets tired of trying to save a buck, and just fixes it. If not, I'll take it apart this winter, and try to fix it myself. I just hate to start trying to open up a new helmet where there are no screws, or other obvious access points to get to the gear mechanism. If I find the gears are irrevocably compromised, I'll just trash it and call it a $250 lesson learned. My last helmet was a Nolan, so I may go back to that. I've got all winter to look for a replacement, if need be. Again, look at LS2's little logo, "The most stable mechanism in the world." Why? Because either the Chinese, or their guys in US marketing said so, and slapped that decal on the helmet.

What really turns me off is their total disinterest in a potentially serious problem with their helmet. If it's never happened before (does anyone believe I'm the first LS2 victim?), wouldn't they want to PAY me to get the helmet back to figure out what went wrong? If they're a quality helmet manufacturer, you bet. If they are a Chinese trash manufacturer, well, no, 'cause that's how they roll. That's their business plan. Take Logitech, for example. I bought three used, surplus, "marble mouse" track balls for my kids computers, maybe somewhere in the late 90's, early 2000. They worked great. The kids beat on them from junior high school thru college, and I also used them every day, everywhere I want on business while consulting. We beat them to death, these USED computer mouse devices, for a decade. I finally bought new one's off Amazon, maybe around 2010. They were different colored. Logitech had turned their operation over to a company in China. They seemed to work just fine, for about six months. Then the most used "left clicker" malfunctioned. I just tossed it in the trash, and bought another (business expense, ya know?). Five months later, same thing. After about the third replacement, I got ticked, and took one of the old and new ones apart, to figure out what was going on. The old one had copper contact points, the new one replace all of those with plastic and tin parts, which of course, were the parts wearing out. It was a simple, effective product, with over two decades of loyal customers, but when the Chinese started making it, it LOOKED the same, but wasn't made the same. I see this across a range of products from China. For example, I'll buy a product from Costco, which is a great deal, good functionality for the money. It's so popular, that it becomes a staple. After a couple of years, that "same" product, doesn't work the same, because while it looks the same, the product that the Chinese originally sold the Costco purchaser, has changed, and not for the better. The Chinese are kind of like the NY Mafia, i.e. they would take over a business through some sort of graft (i.e. gambling debt by the owner, etc.), and become a "partner". Then they would run up bills to vendors, unpaid, and gut the business of any business or merchandise, and the owner would go bankrupt. The Chinese take over a company, buy a company "name", start pumping out the same wares, but then gradually start pumping out cheaper, lower cost, lower quality merchandise under that same original name, as long as that name has any value. Then they shut down that company, and start doing business - same factories, same entity, under some other name.

Post-war Japan used to have a similar reputation. My uncles used to call their stuff "Jap crap". That reputation offended the collective pride of the Japanese, so much so, that they brought in the famed Edward Deming into all of their major corporations to teach his principles of quality management. The Japanese went from "Jap crap" to producing some of the finest products in the world. I doubt that will ever happen with the Chinese, because they led and controlled by people who are rotten to the core. The average Chinese man or woman works as hard, and as well, as anyone else in the world, of that, I'm confident. However, the CCP's overall business plan, their way of doing business with the West, is predicated upon fraud. /end rant
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Not unusual re warranty and distributor. Even Rukka follow the same model in Europe. Buy from a UK supplier, if you have issues the UK importer will handle. Buy from a Europe retailer and have it shipped to the UK, then if you have an issue, it has to go back to the country you bought it from, the UK distributor won't help at all.
Well, if it's not unusual, then who's responsible for quality control, and defects with these products? That may not matter much when it comes to motorcycle clothing, but a helmet is just not a piece of cloth for a person's head. As I mentioned in my last post, if the distributors are the one's servicing the product, how does LS2 (i.e. the Chinese manufacturer) receive feedback on their defective products. I can guarantee you, ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEE that LS2 USA has no one in "technical support" fixing these helmets. More than likely, they don't even bother shipping them back to China for repair or evaluation. Their business model is to trash the defective helmet, and send out a new one, because it isn't worth the shipping costs to send it back. That's cheaper than maintaining a competent technical support staff.
That's also recipe for trash, unsafe helmets, IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I was looking at Daniel's recommended Snark Evo helmets on Amazon, and the Valiant II popped up on the search. That led me to look at feedback, particularly the 1 and 2 star views. There were numerous complaints regarding the front bar, including the hinge pin separating from the bar, and the bar literally breaking like a piece of plastic (so, how is it going to protect anyone in a crash?!). Even if I can fix this thing, I'm no longer sure I want to wear it.

The negative reviews were instructive. So was Amazon's "WARNING".

Font Art Circle Rectangle Paper product



That's Amazon's little hint that LS2 helmets are guaranteed only as far as the "independent authorized dealers" are willing to honor their warranties. Apparently, there is NO MANUFACTURERS warranty, or none that's worth spit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, I muscled it forward until I heard a snap, and now it's back to working normally, which I what I thought would happen.
I also found a bunch of ads like this:

Bicycle part Font Motorcycle accessories Auto part Fashion accessory



So, apparently, these units do break on occasion, and the replacement part is between $5 and $10 (depending on source and shipping), per side. I went into more detail over on the bmwrt.com site, but I'm not impressed with this helmet or the manufacturer. Now that it's working, I'll sell it off for half retail price (only 2 hours on it), and go back to Nolan or Schuberth, i.e. something more mainline. I'll still look for a modular (a.k.a. "system") helmet under 4 lbs, and under $450. I just have no confidence in LS2 or their products.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I also had that Nolan with the interchangeable chin guard, and that was many years ago!!! ;) Went from that to the original NeoTec (Shoei) and now the NeoTec 2. They are expensive, just like the Schubert, but quite comfortable and quiet. In a different class altogether from the Nolan.
Those NeoTec's look like great helmets, but just too rich for my blood (or bank account). The LS2 is a quiet helmet. I like my old Nolan, which makes my lean that direction. The Schubert's are probably too pricey, too, though there are some C4's out there at a discount, now that they are introducing C5's. I'll probably be looking around again over this coming winter, and the price I can pay will depend on what someone wants to pay for my (almost) new LS2 Valiant II.

And, yeah, the weight of those system helmets are a big factor. My wife and I had a pair that I just sold off, 7 years old and mostly unused, because they were probably 7 or 8 lbs, just WAY to heavy for her head.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If you want an interchangeable chin guard, I just picked up a Scorpion Exo930 which does just that.
(also available in non-flouro :) )
Also available stateside
It is replacing a Schubert C3 pro, and I prefer it. Chinguard locks into position, or can be taken off completely. It was 2/3 of the price of the C3 pro, and I find it quieter (on a K1200GT). I find it also vents better, but the C3pro had the edge on plushness and rigidity of the visor (which is a double-edged sword as it was very difficult to close completely one-handedly.)

And previous helmet was a Shark Evoline, which, while great and handy to flip the chinguard all the way around, my word was it heavy! , almost 2kg with comms.
That's less than 4 pounds (1720 g), that helmet is light, too. Thanks for the tip. I'll add that to my list.
(It is a bit difficult, though, translating EU helmets to the USA, as helmet manufacturers will at times use different model numbering schemes. Will have to research further.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
This place is great. Huge stock not some "distributor" that forwards products. I buy Schuberth helmets here because they are the European version. They have a complete selection of Held gloves. All sorts of stuff. The C4 has a much more open visor window than the C3 and fits more "american" head shapes. Used to be you had to compress the fore head area of Schuberth helmets to survive. not so now. And, don't worry about the DOT sticker, never had a second look with a real helmet on. The C5 is certified with the chin bar down or up. Though I would not ride on the highway with it up.
I saw that site the other day. I bought the LS2 from motocard.com, which seems to be a Spanish based web retailer. Their prices were pretty good, too. I found a Shoei Neo-tec II there for $200 USD less than anything in the USA, but looks like they have a licensing deal with Shoei not to ship to the USA. However, other helmets seem to be priced pretty well. One needs to shop around, that's for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
I have a LS2 Strobe and it's over 5 years old, so I am due for a replacement. The only issue I have had is that the cheek pads are a little tight. I bought mine off Amazon. If you are a YouTube vlogger, maybe Ruroc will send you a freebee. </sarc>
Well, there are pluses and minuses to the LS2 Valiant II. The negative is that it comes in only two shell sizes. The positive is that you can get upsized or downsized replacement cheek pads for about $20. Thus, my large size can become an extra large, and vise-versa. That works well for some, others would prefer the company make three shell sizes, to better fit their customers. It would probably solve any fitment problem you had.

As I've mentioned, I've put mine up for sale, but won't sell it here (or on my other regular forums), because from my posts, some will believe I'm selling a defective helmet. I "unstuck" the bar, and it operates properly, forward, full backwards, or at 12 o'clock, i.e. like new. However, I'm just going to get something with metal gearing on the flip up bar, i.e. something more reliable. I just don't trust it. My wife's keeping hers, because she doesn't drive the bike, the worst that can happen to her is that the flip bar breaks, can't be fixed, and we toss it, or I buy a new set of gears for $10 and fix it. If mine gets stuck at the wrong time, well, I don't ride all that well, but I ride absolutely horrible, while blindfolded. 馃檮

I originally said that this was the nicest helmet I'd ever owned, and it is, if this logo was more than a marketing gimmick:

Sports gear Automotive design Motor vehicle Font Classic car
 
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