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Old 03-26-02, 05:29 AM   #1
ledhead69
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difference in helmets

What is the difference between a basic, $25 dollar Bell helmet, and the $135 Giro helmet? Is there any noteworthy difference? I was rather surprised to see that helmets can get THAT expensive. What is y'alls take on this? Does an expensive helmet really make any difference?

Yes, I've heard the saying 'You got a cheap head, get a cheap helmet'
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Old 03-26-02, 05:35 AM   #2
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Old 03-26-02, 06:18 AM   #3
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They're still showing it over here! :confused:
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Old 03-26-02, 07:02 AM   #4
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Expensive models have less helmet and more air.
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Old 03-26-02, 08:48 AM   #5
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...and fit better, and look less dorky.
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Old 03-26-02, 09:02 AM   #6
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Cheap Helmets: Taped-on shells that have a tendency to peel off.

Pricier helmets: Bonded shells that won't even peel off the polystyrene in a crash.
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Old 03-26-02, 09:13 AM   #7
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Figure about $50 USD for a decent helmet. Cheapo helmets (around $25) are like stated above taped on and are not as protective!

A decent $50.00 helmet is made well (Bell, Giro, Briko,....) had multiple strap adjustments and fit o.k. Usually have 8-15 vents. Usually has a cranium strap, (fits around the back and bottom of your head).

A super expensive helmet is super light and has a lot of vents and even more micro fit adjustments. Will it protect you better? Not really! Will it feel better? Yes, it'll be cooler, it'll be lighter, and it'll be more comfortable.

L8R
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Old 03-26-02, 09:19 AM   #8
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I think the other respondents hit the answer (on the head, so to speak). The "cheap head ... cheap helmet" theory may work up to about $40 or 50, but beyond that one is paying for more ventilation, classier finishing, better appearance, improved durability, and enhanced construction details, rather than greater protection against concussion. However, how well a given helmet fits your specific head shape is arguably its most important specification. For some people, a more expensive helmet will be somewhat safer because of its more elaborate, more adaptable retention system.
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Old 03-26-02, 09:23 AM   #9
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My personal shopping motto (applied to everything, not just helmets) is:

"You get what you pay for - but the best is not always the most expensive."


In other words:

The best buys are mostly mid-priced items.

cheap = junk;
most expensive = sometimes the best but usually just overpriced;
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Old 03-26-02, 12:41 PM   #10
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You won't get any more protection from an expensive helmet (unless the expensive helmet fits better and doesn't move around on your head, which could be the case with a better retention system than a cheap helmet might have).

What you're paying for with expensive helmets:
  • Lower weight
  • Better ventilation
  • Style points

If you spend a lot of time riding, a helmet that's so light and that fits so well you keep forgetting you're wearing it is worth a lot. And in hot weather, a helmet that actually makes you feel cooler (excellent ventilation plus protection from direct rays) is also a Very Good Thing.

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Old 03-26-02, 03:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rich Clark
If you spend a lot of time riding, a helmet that's so light and that fits so well you keep forgetting you're wearing it is worth a lot. And in hot weather, a helmet that actually makes you feel cooler (excellent ventilation plus protection from direct rays) is also a Very Good Thing.

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Old 03-26-02, 04:06 PM   #12
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My road riding helmet is a $60 Giro (don't remember the model).
I found my commuter helmet (also a Giro - different model) on sale at Nashbar for $14.95.
I haven't found a lot of difference between the two other than the number of holes. :confused:
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Old 03-29-02, 06:23 AM   #13
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This site has an area discussing the differences in helmet standards, and how helmets are made :

www.bhsi.org

The outer shell is not a safety feature, other than making the helmet smooth so it does'nt drag on the ground.

Helmet ventilation is strictly regulated by the standards.

You cannot say that a more expensive helmet is safer. The Bell standard is higher than the mandatory CSPC standard, though.

It's basically only a question of styling.
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Old 03-29-02, 12:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by velocipedio
Cheap Helmets: Taped-on shells that have a tendency to peel off.

Pricier helmets: Bonded shells that won't even peel off the polystyrene in a crash.
hmm in the event of a crash shouldn't the helmet be replaced?


you can pick up one of those nice super expensive helmets made by Giro if you buy a model that is a year old or so, they look better then a $50 model and will only cost about $60-75.
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Old 03-29-02, 03:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by cycletourist
The best buys are mostly mid-priced items.

cheap = junk;
most expensive = sometimes the best but usually just overpriced;
Unless one is a well-sponsored racer, this certaiinly applies to bicycles. It also seems to work well for cars and clothes.

Remember also that there is no such thing as a cheap tool. Screwdrivers, wrenches, etc. from grocery-store bargain bins will damage bolts, screwheads, knuckles, patience, themselves, etc., offsetting the low initial investment and rendering a "cheap" tool quite expensive.
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Old 03-29-02, 07:46 PM   #16
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Howdy John,

I agree with you completely. Buying tools is one occassion where I usually break my own rule. Good tools are very expensive but they usually pay for themselves after only a few uses.
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Old 03-30-02, 01:18 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by a2psyklnut



A super expensive helmet is super light and has a lot of vents and even more micro fit adjustments. Will it protect you better? Not really! Will it feel better? Yes, it'll be cooler, it'll be lighter, and it'll be more comfortable.

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Old 04-02-02, 07:43 AM   #18
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Just spent the lunchtime looking at helmets and can't emphasise how important fit is enough.

I was going to order a Specialized Allez over the internet (they seem to be discounted heavily) but trying both the Allez and Airwave on convinced me that Specialized has a completely different head shapein mind... A couple of MET helmets fitted fairly well, but I ended up with a Giro Targa - reasonably priced, but well ventilated.

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Old 04-03-02, 01:22 PM   #19
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Living here in New Orleans where the temperature and humidity are regularly in the 90s F 7-8 months out of the year, I sprang for a Giro Pneumo purely for ventilation. I have not regretted a penny. The ventilation is wonderful, and the RocLoc 4 suspension system allows a wonderful fit. FWIW, a few months ago, Bicycling had a little blurb about one of the less expensive ($70-80 range) Giro models that they said was so close to the Pneumo as to make it a better bargain. I got my wife, who doesn't ride much, a Giro Stelvio on sale at a great price. It is a good looking helmet that I'm sure is as good as any. The fit system on it is very good, too. All helmets are pretty good.
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Old 04-04-02, 11:07 PM   #20
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Cheaper helmets tend to look bulkier, they aren't as aero looing as the more expensive helmets. I purchased a Mett helmet because it had 28 vents, my previous helmet was purchased in 94' and had about 8 vents, so the new one is fantastic for summertime. It also has a removable visor, so it's good for road riding also. Like people have said: the more you pay the less helmet you get.

CHEERS.

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Old 04-07-02, 10:47 AM   #21
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Part of what you pay for with brands like Giro that tend to be more expensive is R&D. When I was still working at a bike store that sold helmets I heard that Giro spent something like 150K on various realistic headforms to measure air flow, potential skull damage, etc. I do agree with earlier posters that the greatest difference is made in the lower price jumps--$20 helmets being most certainly less protection than $75 helmets. Another factor is that different brands and even different models within brands fit differently; for instance, I have a Trek/Giro/L.Garneau shaped head! Also, whatever helmet you're looking at BUY IT IN A BICYCLE STORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The fishing reel salespeople at Dork Mart who don't ride bikes haven't got a clue about how to fit a helmet. It's really, really stupid to buy a helmet from a salesperson who does not wear a helmet or ride a bike--right down there with taking sex advice from a senile, celibate old Polish guy.
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Old 04-07-02, 01:37 PM   #22
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$20 helmets being most certainly less protection than $75 helmets.
Surprisingly, this is not always so. 5 or 6 years ago, Consumer Reports tested bike helmets. The helmet that provided the best coverage was a $25 Bell. In fact, all the cheaper Bells were better than the most expensive Giros, etc. Advertising is all that makes them cost more.
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Old 04-07-02, 05:25 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by cycletourist
"You get what you pay for - but the best is not always the most expensive."
This is the ultimate shoppers mantra when it comes to bike stuff, and it depends on your personal definition of best. The most expensive is usually the lightest. It does not imply the best engineering, best quality, long life expectency, or maintainability.
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Old 04-07-02, 08:39 PM   #24
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Again, it comes down to finding the point just below that of diminishing returns--my dad used to talk about "rather have a cheap Mercedes than an expensive Ford!"
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Old 04-07-02, 08:49 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by D*Alex

5 or 6 years ago, Consumer Reports tested bike helmets. The helmet that provided the best coverage was a $25 Bell.
I wish they would repeat the test soon. One or both of my Bell Image helmets really should be replaced, due to age-related deterioration of the styrofoam. (Yes, I have only one head, but I keep a helmet at work, one at home, and have a third for days I bike to work and ride the train home, or vice-versa.)
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