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Old 02-13-13, 11:36 AM   #1
GrouchoWretch
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A better brain bucket?

I've been wondering if cyclists ever avail themselves of something more protective than the vented Styrofoam bowl with thin plastic eggshell.

I've seen expensive helmets, but I haven't noticed any indication that it's possible to buy more than the standard amount of security by spending up on anything marketed specifically as a bike helmet.

Are multisport helmets better?

Or something?
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Old 02-13-13, 11:46 AM   #2
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BSNYC/RTMS/WCRM posted about this one,
http://coyledesignandbuild.com/

I cannot recall the name, but I remember reading about an alternative helment that a graduate student was working on. Blah, I'll try to find it.
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Old 02-13-13, 12:26 PM   #3
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Won't all the salad dressing leak out of the holes?
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Old 02-13-13, 01:00 PM   #4
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I don't think there is any helmet that can stop the brain from slushing around at impact. Witness football brain injury and look at the helmets that are worn there. The plastic and foam seem to be good enough to stop abrasions and perhaps some fractures. I wonder how thick of liner would be needed to create deceleration rates that would prevent TBI?
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Old 02-13-13, 01:22 PM   #5
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I wonder if the "invisible helment" works,

http://vimeo.com/43038579
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Old 02-13-13, 01:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrouchoWretch View Post
I've been wondering if cyclists ever avail themselves of something more protective than the vented Styrofoam bowl with thin plastic eggshell.

I've seen expensive helmets, but I haven't noticed any indication that it's possible to buy more than the standard amount of security by spending up on anything marketed specifically as a bike helmet.

Are multisport helmets better?

Or something?
It's the 'styrofoam' (expanded polystyrene) that does all the 'work' in protecting your head. Motorcycle helmets use the same thing, primarily, so I'm guessing that it's about the best we've got that provides a good level of safety, decent cost, and just as important, easy to shape to something rather irregularly shaped, like a human head.

The thin plastic is only really there for 1) decoration, and 2) protection from sun/UV damage that can degrade the polystyrene. My first bicycle helmet was just the polystyrene, with a changeable, washable, cloth cover.

You want a helmet that will absorb energy on impact. Absorbing energy means compressing, breaking up, or otherwise deforming, so your head doesn't. Polystyrene fits all those requirements.

In the aircraft industry, the few bits that we design to be crushable and energy absorbing are similar, but usually use some kind expanded honeycomb core material, like thin aluminum, or Nomex (which is similar to thick waxed paper in feel).
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Old 02-13-13, 01:57 PM   #7
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I heard some good things about POC helmets.
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Old 02-13-13, 02:08 PM   #8
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This reminds me of an old poster that we had at the shop where I worked decades ago. I wish I had a copy to post here... it was a joke back then, but now... technology is catching up, maybe it's a possibility for "building a better helmet".

The poster had a series of photos... the first showed a cyclist wearing an old "hairnet" helmet. In the next photo, he had tipped his head to the side. (A caption explained that gyroscopes mounted in the helmet monitor head postion, and deploy protective airbags when needed.) The remaining pictures showed ballons inflating between the spaces in the hairnet, until in the last picture the riders head is completely surrounded by inflated balloons.

Hey, they're putting airbags in motorcycles now, why not helmets!
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Old 02-13-13, 02:27 PM   #9
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I like the POC helmets.

How about this groovy riot helmet?

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Old 02-13-13, 04:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmv2 View Post
I wonder if the "invisible helment" works,

http://vimeo.com/43038579
It passes the European safety standards and they take cycling much more seriously than Americans.
I'll be buying one for myself as soon as they produce the larger size later this year. I have fallen on my head and the helmet, although it may have saved me from a horrible injury, was not as great as an air bag could be.

Marc
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Old 02-13-13, 06:21 PM   #11
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If you are concerned about safety, you would be far, far wiser investing your money in a LAB Road I course than a helmet. Helmets are, for all intents and purposes, useless.
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Old 02-13-13, 06:40 PM   #12
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Can't remember if it was Kickstarter or indiegogo, but someone was raising funds to manufacture helmets made of wood.
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Old 02-13-13, 10:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post

The thin plastic is only really there for 1) decoration, and 2) protection from sun/UV damage that can degrade the polystyrene. My first bicycle helmet was just the polystyrene, with a changeable, washable, cloth cover.
This is not true. The thin plastic shell on a bicycle helmet is designed to spread out the impact of a small dense object, like a curb, onto a wider area of foam. This is a major criticism of bicycle helmet design because the plastic is sooooo thin it is unlikely that much spreading is going on. In motorcycle helmets the plastic shell is quite thick and far more effective.
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Old 02-13-13, 10:41 PM   #14
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If you are concerned about safety, you would be far, far wiser investing your money in a LAB Road I course than a helmet. Helmets are, for all intents and purposes, useless.
This is like if I asked what's the best bike and someone answered that bikes suck.
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Old 02-13-13, 10:47 PM   #15
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More like if you asked whats the best bike helmet and somebody replied helmets suck.
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Old 02-13-13, 10:48 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
This is not true. The thin plastic shell on a bicycle helmet is designed to spread out the impact of a small dense object, like a curb, onto a wider area of foam. This is a major criticism of bicycle helmet design because the plastic is sooooo thin it is unlikely that much spreading is going on. In motorcycle helmets the plastic shell is quite thick and far more effective.
Both of you are right. The thin plastic shell doesn't accomplish much, if anything. That's one reason I asked this question. I'm wondering if anyone is using something with a harder shell.

I understand how the Styrofoam is supposed to work. Don't need that explained. Just wondering if anyone here rides with a helmet other than the typical bike helmet, or if something better exists.
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Old 02-13-13, 10:50 PM   #17
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More like if you asked whats the best bike helmet and somebody replied helmets suck.
Well, it's virtually identical to that.
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Old 02-13-13, 11:15 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Notso_fastLane View Post
The thin plastic is only really there for 1) decoration, and 2) protection from sun/UV damage that can degrade the polystyrene. My first bicycle helmet was just the polystyrene, with a changeable, washable, cloth cover.
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This is not true. The thin plastic shell on a bicycle helmet is designed to spread out the impact of a small dense object, like a curb, onto a wider area of foam. This is a major criticism of bicycle helmet design because the plastic is sooooo thin it is unlikely that much spreading is going on. In motorcycle helmets the plastic shell is quite thick and far more effective.
Both are not true. Although the UV protection would be a side benefit.

Bell made the first US bicycle helmets and they had a very hard shell on them (white helmet with red strips).

Then after many years, helmet manufacturers started making the polystyrene with changeable, washable, cloth covers. Partly to make them lighter but mostly because they were cheaper to manufacture.

Helmet manufacturers quickly learned that the polystyrene with cloth cover helmets caused significantly greater rotational brain injuries and neck injuries, due to the uncoated polystyrene holding to the concrete/asphalt when the helmet hit the ground with the rider still moving laterally. Helmet manufacturers then had a problem where their helmets were causing injuries.

To fix this huge liability problem, helmet manufacturers put the thin plastic coating on so the helmet would skid along the ground rather than catching. And to get rid of the evidence, helmet manufacturers offered free helmet exchanges of a new helmet for your old helmet that had been in an accident. Helmet manufacturers never notified the public of the danger and never did a costly recall.
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Old 02-13-13, 11:25 PM   #19
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Bell did not make the *first* US bicycle helmets.
Wore a Kucharik (made in US) hairnet leather helmet for years before Bell came out with their styrofoam cooler helmet.
If you are that concerned about protecting your head buy a motorcyle full face or BMX/downhill helmet and see if your neck snaps when you crash . . .
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Old 02-14-13, 09:42 AM   #20
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Styrofoam is not there to spread the area of the impact, but to decrease peak acceleration of the head by spreading the impact over time.
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Old 02-14-13, 11:06 AM   #21
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Styrofoam is not there to spread the area of the impact, but to decrease peak acceleration of the head by spreading the impact over time.
Yes, I'm familiar with the principle.

But I guess the thread could always use one more message saying what the Styrofoam does.
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Old 02-14-13, 11:07 AM   #22
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If you are that concerned about protecting your head buy a motorcyle full face or BMX/downhill helmet and see if your neck snaps when you crash . . .

Incredibly useful suggestion! THANKS!!
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Old 02-14-13, 11:09 AM   #23
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Can't remember if it was Kickstarter or indiegogo, but someone was raising funds to manufacture helmets made of wood.
Look at message number 2 in this thread.
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Old 02-14-13, 11:14 AM   #24
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I heard some good things about POC helmets.
The Receptor+ looks interesting, but for $200, it better be!
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Old 02-14-13, 11:29 AM   #25
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I don't think any helmet is going to realistically affect TBI. As pointed out, even motorcycle helmets use styrofoam inside them. Skateboarding helmets seem fairly common, and to me would seem like a better choice than the average bike helmet, due to the added coverage. This should give better protection from abrasions. A full-face mountain biking helmet should also give good protection, but might be considered overkill for road riding. Personally I believe that for a competent cyclist on a good road, the drawbacks of helmets outweigh their benefits and are no substitute for riding properly. YMMV.
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