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  1. #1
    Senior Member Trucker_JDub's Avatar
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    Are are all helmets created equal?

    Like the topic says will one helmet protect you better then the other or are you just buying style and air flow when you dig a little deeper in the pocket. I'm not counting air flow or style just coconut protection. Are there some brands that can take a bigger hit or are all around better then others? Or do companies just hit the D.O.T. standards and stop there?

  2. #2
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I have never seen a bicycle helmet with a DOT sticker. I can recall seeing ANSI and SNELL, but not recently. AFAIK the only standard is the CSPC one. IMHO helmets are suspect anyway due to lack of comprehensive testing.

    Aaron
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    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
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  3. #3
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    I recently bought a Pryme8 helmet (less than $20 at Mountain Equipment coop (www.mec.ca) which is billed as a "multisport" helmet, more commonly used by BMXers and skateboarders than commuters like me, but I was looking for something warmer ands larger that I could fit a beanie/toque under for cold morning rides and this was comfortable and rugged. Now that I am using it I am sold on it.. its a hard shell with lots of rigid foam inside. Lots of bang for the buck (but pretty sketchy/urban warrior looking... my wife said she wouldn't be seen with me in it). only snag is no visor.. oh well..

  4. #4
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    Now you got me thinking so I did a quick search.. The Snell standard appears alive and well www.smf.org and their web page include helmet listings that meet their standard.

  5. #5
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    all hemets sold in america are required to pass CPSC testing standards.

    the SNELL designation used to carry more weight; the current bicycle helmet SNELL standards are very close to the CPSC standards.

    SNELL is voluntary, however, and helmets subject to this scrutiny are still considered to be the better, 'stronger' helmets. Specialized helmets are some, even their 40 dollar helmets are SNELL certified.l

  6. #6
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    Yes. All helmets meeting the same safety standard, Snell, etc are the same as far as protection goes. Now, you can pay $15 or $300 for different helmets that provide the same protection. Only difference is the bling.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

    1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
    Only difference is the bling
    ..., weight, ventilation, and comfort.

  8. #8
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    IIRC helmet manufacturers have to pay for the Snell label, and Snell pulls a certain number of helmets for testing to make sure the meet the standard. CSPC is nothing more than a guideline and it is up to the manufacturer to make sure it meets the standard.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by darksiderising View Post
    ..., weight, ventilation, and comfort.
    Not necessarily... My Giro remedy is only 4.9oz. heavier than the Spec'd Deviant carbon. No difference in comfort. BIG price difference.
    Last edited by WrenchDevil6; 05-15-08 at 04:25 PM.

  10. #10
    Junior Member fluke's Avatar
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    No. Not all helmets are equal. Some helmets are not to be used again after an impact, others are designed for multiple impacts. It's not just about bling. You DO have to consider the comfort of the helmet as well because it's going to be on your head all the time (not just when you are falling and need it...). Weight is also a concern, the lighter with the same amount of protection the better; if this wasn't a factor you would be riding around with a DOT approved motorcycle helmet now wouldn't you? To say different kinds of helmets are just 'bling factor' isn't well researched and clearly not true.

  11. #11
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fluke View Post
    No. Not all helmets are equal. Some helmets are not to be used again after an impact, others are designed for multiple impacts. It's not just about bling. You DO have to consider the comfort of the helmet as well because it's going to be on your head all the time (not just when you are falling and need it...). Weight is also a concern, the lighter with the same amount of protection the better; if this wasn't a factor you would be riding around with a DOT approved motorcycle helmet now wouldn't you? To say different kinds of helmets are just 'bling factor' isn't well researched and clearly not true.
    Do you have link for this? I have never heard of ANY helmet that recommends reuse after an accident.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  12. #12
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Not just bling....but still mostly bling. $$$
    --
    -=- '05 Jamis Nova -=- '04 Fuji Absolute -=- '94 Trek 820 -=- '77 Schwinn Scrambler 36/36 -=-
    Friends don't let friends use brifters.

  13. #13
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    the 'skate style' helmets seen on more and more riders these days are both CPSC qualified for bicyclings' single impact protection standard, as well as rated to a different CPSC multiple impact 'skate and snowsport' ratings. in very early bike helmet days, some trad looking helmets also had multiple impact standards, i seem to remember.

    generally speaking, however, all modern 'microshell' bicycling helmets are required to hold up to a one impact test, the modern 'hard shell' skate style helmets sold in the USA should also hold a multiple impact multi-sports rating by the CPSC.

    i cant' endorse these for general cycling unless you are a winter rider or a park grinder.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 05-15-08 at 06:06 PM.

  14. #14
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WrenchDevil6 View Post
    Not necessarily... My Giro remedy is only 4.9oz. heavier than the Spec'd Deviant carbon. No difference in comfort. BIG price difference.
    Not that much more for the standard deviant, which vents better than the remedy for me.
    Also, I have a $50 giro that vents almost as well as my $180 atmos and $210 s-works road helmet. Except that both giro helmets don't vent enough at the brow to keep sweat on my forehead from pouring down my face when it's 90+. The s-works helmet is the only helmet out there that is completely vented at the forehead, so in that case, if you want that feature, you pretty much don't have a choice.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by fluke View Post
    No. Not all helmets are equal. Some helmets are not to be used again after an impact, others are designed for multiple impacts. It's not just about bling. You DO have to consider the comfort of the helmet as well because it's going to be on your head all the time (not just when you are falling and need it...). Weight is also a concern, the lighter with the same amount of protection the better; if this wasn't a factor you would be riding around with a DOT approved motorcycle helmet now wouldn't you? To say different kinds of helmets are just 'bling factor' isn't well researched and clearly not true.
    The Walmart Bell costs $15 and the Putana Carbone (or whatever bling "helmet du jour" is the hottest thing) costs $300, so that means the Putana is 20 times the price of the Bell. Is the $300 helmet 20 times lighter, does it fit 20 times better, is it 20 times more comfortable, 20 times better ventilation than the $15 Walmart helmet? I don't think so.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

    1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
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  16. #16
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
    The Walmart Bell costs $15 and the Putana Carbone (or whatever bling "helmet du jour" is the hottest thing) costs $300, so that means the Putana is 20 times the price of the Bell. Is the $300 helmet 20 times lighter, does it fit 20 times better, is it 20 times more comfortable, 20 times better ventilation than the $15 Walmart helmet? I don't think so.
    I guess the point was, there are some things that out of necessity, some people will have to pay for. I'm a good example, I'd love to pay less than $100 for a good well vented helmet that doesn't leave sweat dripping into my eyes off my forehead, blinding me when I'm going 30mph into a corner but as I've learned recently, the only one that offered that feature was $210.

    So while a $15 helmet has 0 venting at the location where I need it, and the $210 one does, it's infinitely better than the walmart helmet. And if not infinitely, at least a thousand times.

  17. #17
    Junior Member fluke's Avatar
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    I'm not saying an expensive helmet is the best 'bang for the buck', I'm just saying that not all helmets ARE created equal.

    Description

    SXP - Multi Impact Technology - padding inside the helmet rebounds to original shape after impact
    CPSC Certified - Consumer Product Safety Commission
    Pro Signature helmets, including sticker sheets for Pro Sponsors
    Steve Caballero Pro-Tec Ace skate helmet - red with black straps
    Bucky Lasek Pro-Tec Ace skate helmet - white with black straps
    Bob Burnquist Pro-Tec Ace skate helmet - Black with black straps
    Brian Patch Pro-Tec skate helmet - Dark blue with yellow straps
    Available in sizes Junior / Small, Medium / Large, and Large / Extra Large (XL is true XL)
    Pro-Tec Ace helmet shells also used for Pr-tec snow and water helmets, with other features.


    I'm well aware it isn't a traditional bike helmet, but it is used by BMXers as well as skateboarders (I skateboard too), this IS also a biking helmet (without all the aerodynamic jazz you rodies use ). This is the helmet I have, it's very comfortable and sturdy (not cheaply made like a bike helmet you'd find at wal-mart, Pro tec is a very nice company).. and no.. it doesn't cost $300. Can find it for less than $50 easy. I paid $35 for mine.


    (mine isn't that colour though, mines a black, matte finish one)

  18. #18
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    This is my other lid, sans stickers, it has SXP technology as well, but I'm not sure that I'd trust the shell to multiple impacts. An SXP lining doesn't mean anything if the shell is shattered.


  19. #19
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I am not sure I would trust ANY helmet after impact...I work with industrial safety equipment on a daily basis. Most of the equipment we use has some type of indicator that will show after an impact. If the indicator shows the equipment is considered unsafe and removed from service. You are also required to inspect it on a pre use basis. If there is any question about it's condition or reliability...replace it.

    Another issue I notice on a regular basis that is related but not part of the OP's question is the way helmets are worn...I would wager that over 1/3 of all helmets I see are being worn incorrectly and not providing proper if any protection. Unfortunately a high number of these are on small children which are one of the more vulnerable groups.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  20. #20
    Junior Member fluke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I am not sure I would trust ANY helmet after impact...I work with industrial safety equipment on a daily basis. Most of the equipment we use has some type of indicator that will show after an impact. If the indicator shows the equipment is considered unsafe and removed from service. You are also required to inspect it on a pre use basis. If there is any question about it's condition or reliability...replace it.

    Another issue I notice on a regular basis that is related but not part of the OP's question is the way helmets are worn...I would wager that over 1/3 of all helmets I see are being worn incorrectly and not providing proper if any protection. Unfortunately a high number of these are on small children which are one of the more vulnerable groups.

    Aaron
    I trust it, and others that have had multiple impacts on these helmets without issue. In skateboarding and BMX if you replaced your helmet after every impact you wouldn't be able to afford a helmet. I'm sure a fresh, new helmet would be the maximum protection and sure-fire way to protect yourself, but it just isn't practical for actual use and I doubt anyone could really afford to buy a new helmet that often. That's why advances in helmet technology are happening to get things like what Protec is doing. As leery as naysayers may be about these helmets, they are tested for multiple impacts and are proven to work. Does that make it indestructible? No, it can still be destroyed after time or a massive impact that clearly shows severe damage to the helmet, then you replace it.

    I gotta agree about the incorrectly worn helmets issue. I can't even count the number of times I see people with it just on their head and not strapped at all (just dangling straps). Many thinks it "looks cool" I just think it looks dangerous - why bother to even wear it if it's going to fall off in a fall? With young kids parents are to blame much of the time - kid cries about strap under chin annoying them.. parent loosens it up for them where it's hanging down now. Improper fitting is another problem too.

  21. #21
    Senior Member John C. Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fluke View Post
    I trust it, and others that have had multiple impacts on these helmets without issue. In skateboarding and BMX if you replaced your helmet after every impact you wouldn't be able to afford a helmet. I'm sure a fresh, new helmet would be the maximum protection and sure-fire way to protect yourself, but it just isn't practical for actual use and I doubt anyone could really afford to buy a new helmet that often. That's why advances in helmet technology are happening to get things like what Protec is doing. As leery as naysayers may be about these helmets, they are tested for multiple impacts and are proven to work. Does that make it indestructible? No, it can still be destroyed after time or a massive impact that clearly shows severe damage to the helmet, then you replace it.

    I gotta agree about the incorrectly worn helmets issue. I can't even count the number of times I see people with it just on their head and not strapped at all (just dangling straps). Many thinks it "looks cool" I just think it looks dangerous - why bother to even wear it if it's going to fall off in a fall? With young kids parents are to blame much of the time - kid cries about strap under chin annoying them.. parent loosens it up for them where it's hanging down now. Improper fitting is another problem too.
    I believe that the multiple impact rating has to do with a fall where there would be more than one impact. This may be incorrect, but look at the manufacturer's recommendation for this definition. I do know that if there is a significant "hit" whereby the helmet's liner or shell is damaged, it needs to be replaced.

    I completely agree about the use of the chin strap and fitting; they have to be worn correctly to provide the protection that a helmet can provide.

    John
    John Ratliff

  22. #22
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northendfixie View Post
    Now you got me thinking so I did a quick search.. The Snell standard appears alive and well www.smf.org and their web page include helmet listings that meet their standard.

    We bought 50 helmets to give away at a bike rodeo tomorrow for an unbelievably low price, and they have both the CPSC and Snell stickers on them.

  23. #23
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    For the first 38 years of my life I never wore a bike helmet without trouble, and for the last 28 years I haven't biked without one. Therefore I am not too concerned with the details of the level of protection against a miniscule chance of injury, but I am happy that a helmet will give me some protection, and it is important to me that it is comfortable for all the hours that I will be wearing it. I dont wear a helmet when I go up and down the stairs or when I get on a chair to change a light bulb.

  24. #24
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    What I haven't seen on this thread yet (and rarely discussed) is that different helmets, including different models in the same brand, are differently shaped and proportioned. I couldn't wear a Giro until about 1990, as they were shaped long and narrow instead of round--my head is more walnut shaped than pecan.
    Giro then introduced some rounder models but kept the long/narrow shape in some. If it doesn't fit it can't stay positioned correctly when you need it. And the spendiest helmet is cheaper than ambulance rides, ER's, spikes in your health insurance premium, etc.

  25. #25
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
    I am happy that a helmet will give me some protection, and it is important to me that it is comfortable for all the hours that I will be wearing it. I dont wear a helmet when I go up and down the stairs or when I get on a chair to change a light bulb.
    Why not? Won't it offer offer "some protection" during those activities too?

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