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Old 12-08-04, 02:45 PM   #1
LilNole
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why are helmets so expensive?

I just bought a helmet for my gf. we shopped around some and she tried on lots of different helmets, mostly Bell and Giro's. She ended up getting a Giro Havoc like mine....the price $44.95 from Nashbar. I paid about that for mine. the new ones are $69.99 ....thats more than what I paid for my bike. there were some Bell helmets for around $20 but they didnt fit well and she said they made her head hot. plus they were just all around uncomfortable, bulky and heavy.
I saw some on Nashbar.com that were over $100...is a $100 helmet worth it?
Could it be that most people dont wear helmets because that a comfortable good looking helmet costs well over $40?
I saw that most kids helmets were pretty cheap. we even saw a nice one for only $15. I wish my Havoc only costed $15. i'm hard on helmets, and i like lots of ventilation...if its not comfortable and light, i wont wear it. so for now, i'll pay out the $45 and up for a good helmet....but why so much for some foam and plastic?
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Old 12-08-04, 02:57 PM   #2
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hey some are cool aerodynamic dont forget that

i can see what your saying my helmet the Giro Encinal cost 50.00$ around there. OH and so you know helmets go over 150$
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Old 12-08-04, 03:19 PM   #3
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a lot of money goes into research, development and testing. they need to recoup that cost somehow. your not just paying for the foam and plastic.
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Old 12-08-04, 03:52 PM   #4
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and the head if left unprotected, is much more than a cheapy helmet,
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Old 12-08-04, 03:53 PM   #5
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Ahh, stop your whining I just bought a $120 dollar helmet today.
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Old 12-08-04, 03:55 PM   #6
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"If you have a $10 head, buy a $10 helmet."
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Old 12-08-04, 04:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiyn
"If you have a $10 head, buy a $10 helmet."
AMEN brotha!
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Old 12-08-04, 04:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiyn
"If you have a $10 head, buy a $10 helmet."
Excellent point!
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Old 12-08-04, 04:24 PM   #9
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well actually when you pay more for a helmet you are paying for weight loss and air holes not safety. a $110 helmet like my own is no safer than a $35 as long as that helmet is certified and if it's being sold in a store or is made my bell or giro it most definitely is.
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Old 12-08-04, 04:41 PM   #10
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well actually when you pay more for a helmet you are paying for weight loss and air holes not safety. a $110 helmet like my own is no safer than a $35 as long as that helmet is certified and if it's being sold in a store or is made my bell or giro it most definitely is.
Exactly....
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Old 12-08-04, 05:04 PM   #11
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I've been all over the manufacturers websites and, aside from the number of vents, I can't find any difference between the cheap helmets and the high end models.

Quite honestly I think they've identified their markets and priced helmets to fit what they believe cyclists are willing to spend. Those who want a basic helmet can get one for $20 to $40. Those who want something with more ventilation, or don't want a "cheap" helmet can pay in the $50 to $100 range. Of course if you want a helmet like Lance, you get to pay for that too. They already know parents aren't going to pay a whole lot of a helmet that could be outgrown in a few months.

My $5 flea market special has 9 non-functional vents. The advantage is, it's warmer in the winter and I don't get the sound of air rushing through the vents

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Old 12-08-04, 05:12 PM   #12
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Marketing and hype (like much of cycling gear) based on erronious belief that:

1. A more pricey helmet works better for protection
2. That $80 of extra engineering goes into a $100 helmet over a $20 one. (If this was true why do they keep re-engineering the top of the lines models. Why not sell last years design, etc. - (OK, not a good example, but gets you thinking)
3. That is costs 5x more in materials and manufacture. These are mass produced and use the same materials (in fact less on the expensive models) maufacturing/materials costs are probably in the sub $5-10 range.

Al
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Old 12-08-04, 05:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stacy

My $5 flea market special has 9 non-functional vents. The advantage is, it's warmer in the winter and I don't get the sound of air rushing through the vents

Stacy
I presume (hope) that it's not a used helmet.
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Old 12-08-04, 05:17 PM   #14
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why are helmets so expensive? because people are willing to pay that much for them.
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Old 12-08-04, 05:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmhaan
a lot of money goes into research, development and testing. they need to recoup that cost somehow. your not just paying for the foam and plastic.
This is a misconception, at least the scale of the impact is.

A $20 helmet needs research, development and testing.
A $100 helment needs it too - in fact the same level of safety testing.
Having worked on product development there is no way that there is $80 or even $40 of development going into each helmet sold. These are fairly high quantity commodities. Research and development is not cutting edge and there is lots of reuse year over year of learnings.
Perhaps the $100 helmets are subsidizing some of the development that goes into the $20 helmet, but its still not that large.

Al
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Old 12-08-04, 05:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
Marketing and hype (like much of cycling gear) based on erronious belief that:

1. A more pricey helmet works better for protection
2. That $80 of extra engineering goes into a $100 helmet over a $20 one. (If this was true why do they keep re-engineering the top of the lines models. Why not sell last years design, etc. - (OK, not a good example, but gets you thinking)
3. That is costs 5x more in materials and manufacture. These are mass produced and use the same materials (in fact less on the expensive models) maufacturing/materials costs are probably in the sub $5-10 range.

Al
  1. They may not work better, but they are lighter with better venting, and still provide the same protection.
  2. Usually they do they just come out with a new top of the line and the older styles "trickle down"
  3. There is much to be said in the engineering that goes on. Take for instance co-molding as opposed to taped shells. http://www.bhsi.org/molded.htm Stuctural force analysis to determine exactly how much material they can shave and where etc etc.
Personally I'd rather have a light well vented helmet that I'll wear as opposed to a heavy, poorly vented brain bucket that's too uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.
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Old 12-08-04, 05:33 PM   #17
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It's just marketing.

The first step is to create a need, the second is to provide what everyone thinks they need, the third step is to make it trendy so people will pay more than they otherwise would if it weren't so trendy.

I'm grown up enough so that I can make up my own mind what I need and what I don't.
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Old 12-08-04, 05:35 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiyn
  1. They may not work better, but they are lighter with better venting, and still provide the same protection.
  2. Usually they do they just come out with a new top of the line and the older styles "trickle down"
  3. There is much to be said in the engineering that goes on. Take for instance co-molding as opposed to taped shells. http://www.bhsi.org/molded.htm Stuctural force analysis to determine exactly how much material they can shave and where etc etc.
Personally I'd rather have a light well vented helmet that I'll wear as opposed to a heavy, poorly vented brain bucket that's too uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.
I agree the results of more expensive helmets can be worth it (hence the market) but I disagree that the engineering and manufacturing cost are 5x. I am familiar with the different manufacturing methods and also of the use of structural analysis to optimize design. These are not 5x price differences. I've seen and participated in extensive structual analysis for parts that sell for sub $5 and sell in quantities of less than 200k and that eng. cost is a minimal component. Retooling a factory needs to be done for a $20 or a $100 helmet.
If helmet designs trickle down, how come I can't buy a 2001 Pneumo design called perhaps something else for $20.
Al
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Old 12-08-04, 05:41 PM   #19
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Venting

I own a $20 Schwinn helmet I bought at Target and a $100 Giro E2.

In the summer when it is 100degF I can not tell that one is hotter than the other. Seriously - my head is hot not matter what. This is true at 90deg too.
In the winter and cooler months the Giro feels cooler, because I can feel the cool air on parts of my scalp. But I don't really need the cooling as it is cooler out.

The Giro is a bit lighter, but no more comfortable.
The Giro looks better.

I am glad I have the Giro. I do feel a bit bad though because of buying such a marked up product.

Al
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Old 12-08-04, 06:15 PM   #20
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Also, how many US $ per helmet is a manufacturer or importer paying in product liability insurance?
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Old 12-08-04, 06:20 PM   #21
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I have a friend who works sublimation, and his kidding motto is

"Make a mug for 1 or 2$ and sell it for 8$" thats pretty much how our economy works in the good ole US (at least not forgetting the other counrys in world) Thats how it is with the Lance helmet (or giro in general) People think hmmm if lance wears it then it must be the best or at least really really good. catch my drift dudes and dudettes (wow that is the second time i have used "dudette")
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Old 12-08-04, 06:27 PM   #22
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It's this "buy-more-crap" economy of ours. I think most cycling clothing (and the lights!) are outrageously expensive. Helmets included.
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Old 12-08-04, 06:34 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by closetbiker
It's just marketing.
The funny thing is that there are so many people on this forum tripping over themselves to rationalize why they paid $100+ for $15 worth of stryofoam hat, when they could have got a functionally equivalent one for $35 or less if they had shopped more carefully. If you decided you HAD to have the "cool" helmet "just because", then admit it like a man, it's OK. We all treat ourselves to a fancy overpriced toy every so often. The guy who blamed "research and development" is hilarious.
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Old 12-08-04, 06:41 PM   #24
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Oh yeah I bought my helmet "just because" and to have something different than everyone else around here. But I bought it for $50 when it usually goes for $110. It's once again going for that price if anyone is interested http://http://www.nashbar.com/profil...eid=&pagename=
I've also tried Bell and Giro and personally found Lazer's fitting system more comfortable.
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Old 12-08-04, 06:45 PM   #25
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It is the nature of "retail" to get what you can get. You can buy a nice tie for $20, for $200, or for $2,000 (at least I've heard).

My favorite helmet, the Trek Vapor II, is currently "on sale" at an LBS in Houston for $29. Light weight, comfortable, and easy to "dial in" for a custom fit. It comes with a "crash exchange" policy.

A friend of my broke his arm falling off his bike. The hospital charged him $14,000 to put his arm back together. I suspect putting his head back in one piece might have cost a bit more.

I have cracked two or three helmets over the past several years. Two of my riding partners have gotten their hemets wedged between their hair and the concrete. None of us came home with more than a headache. A good helmet seem like a bargain to me.
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