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Old 12-25-13, 10:32 PM   #1
jhglaw
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Safest Helmut

I don't care how many vents my helmet has or whether it is a little heavier. I want a helmet that protects my brain. If a harder outer shell and more crush material will give me more protection, I want it. Does anyone know if there is a manufacturer that builds a sturdier bike helmet? Jim
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Old 12-25-13, 11:28 PM   #2
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I have mentioned before that many years ago I owned a Bell Tourlite helmet. It had Lexan shell that was quite thick. Without a doubt it was the safest helmet I ever owned, and wish Bell still made it.
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Old 12-26-13, 12:08 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by jhglaw View Post
I don't care how many vents my helmet has or whether it is a little heavier. I want a helmet that protects my brain. If a harder outer shell and more crush material will give me more protection, I want it. Does anyone know if there is a manufacturer that builds a sturdier bike helmet? Jim
A helmet is only as good as, the quality of the helmet itself, and the cyclist using the helmet. Yes, I do support the use of a bike helmet but, if you wear a bike helmet like you might wear a baseball cap. Then forget it doing you any good in a crash. A helmet won't protect you if, the inertia in the forward momentum, is greater than the quality of the helmet.

But here is a website I use, before I get a helmet:http://www.helmets.org/index.htm

Last edited by Chris516; 12-26-13 at 09:59 AM. Reason: Included link to helmet ratings I use before I buy a helmet
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Old 12-26-13, 12:10 AM   #4
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Sadly, I don't think there's any real information on this. Helmet manufacturers don't cater to the safety market.
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Old 12-26-13, 05:11 AM   #5
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If a non-vented helmet wouldn't bother you, you might think about a motorcycle helmet, most are stouter than bicycle helmets and have a D.O.T (Dept. of Transportation) rating. Go to a motorcycle shop, look around, try on a few. Some of the classic designs with no face shield are pretty cool looking. Just a thought.
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Old 12-26-13, 07:36 AM   #6
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Oh please do *NOT* take the advice to use a motorsports helmet on a bicycle. (Or visa-versa.) They are designed for different purposes.
(And just an aside - the D.O.T. is a minimum performance requirement for motorsports helmets. There are other ratings systems that you should be looking for in a motorsports helmet.)

If you really want a hard shell helmet, there are plenty of bicycle helmets to choose from. Pick any of the multisport hard shell helmets that also have a CPSC Bicycle stamp.
You can start browsing at
http://www.bellhelmets.com/cycling/helmets/ .


One last note. Lots of folks (including me) have fond memories of the Bell Tourlite bicycle helmet, and for good reasons. It was quite good for its day. But please do not be tempted to buy a used one on ebay, unless you'd like a collectible to put on a shelf. The foam and shells of those vintage helmets have all aged out of service.

(And since this is A&S if you are a gray beard who is still using your Bell Tourlite - good for you. Mine is retired, what you do with yours is up to you.)

-mr. bill

Last edited by mr_bill; 12-26-13 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 12-26-13, 07:52 AM   #7
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A motorcycle helmet is probably a little much for bike riding. But you could go halfway and get a skater's helmet. They're built stronger, but the tradeoff you'd make is having to put up with less ventilation.

Here's the model that I use: http://www.amazon.com/Protec-Adult-H...=skater+helmet

Some reviews for that particular helmet say that it isn't certified to adequately protect you, so you may need to look around.

Last edited by commodorefork; 12-26-13 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 12-26-13, 08:15 AM   #8
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If I were looking for the safest helmet, I'd be looking at the POC Receptor Backcountry MIPS.

Dual density foam, addressing low and high force impacts, multiple impact use; hard shell construction with advanced penetration protection; MIPS to mitigate oblique/rotational forces.

Next best in my opinion would be POC Trabec Race MIPS, which I'd consider if venting and a visor were more of a priority.
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Old 12-26-13, 09:57 AM   #9
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The concept of "safest" helmet is undefinable. The efficiency of any helmet depends on the impact speed. Impact speed is assumed when helmets are designed, and the design is optimized for that speed, with performance falling off on either side.

Helmets work by increasing the "baking distance" for your head from the impact sped to zero. The greater the braking distance the lower the G forces inside the head. So the key is a thicker crush zone, and crush rate matched for the impact speed. If
designed perfectly the foam will begin to crush at impact and bring your head's speed to zero just as it's crushed to the max.

If the crush rate is too high for the speed and thickness, your head will slow to zero before using the full thickness. If the rate is too low, you'll crush to the end before lowing to zero.

So it's the crush rate that determines the G-force your brain is subjected to, and helmet designers stay short of the maximum the average head will tolerate. Then they decide on a protection level and calculate the needed thickness.

You'd think that the answer would then be thicker crush zones, and it would be but for practical considerations. More foam means more weight, and a larger shell creates new problems, such as greater torque on impact, which increases neck twisting.
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Old 12-26-13, 10:42 AM   #10
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POC Trabec Race MIPS. I bought one after reading up on the research a few months ago. You have to import them, they're around $200, but I can afford it easily, and I can't justify not spending money if it gives me even a slightly improved chance of not having a brain injury.

MIPS is the important bit. If there are new helmets on the market that use MIPS, check those out too. When I bought mine, the Trabec Race was about it.
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Old 12-26-13, 05:18 PM   #11
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A motorcycle helmet while overkill on the safety spectrum for a cyclist. It can actually throw a cyclist off balance. Except in the case of a cyclist on a recumbent, or a four-wheel bike.

Last edited by Chris516; 12-26-13 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 12-26-13, 06:23 PM   #12
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MET and POC both make good helmets. The MET Parachute is a full face bike helmet designed for downhill or extreme mountain biking. There are also other brands of full face helmets designed for MTB and BMX. And as mentioned, multi-sport helmets commonly seen on snowboarders and skateboarders.
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Old 12-26-13, 08:06 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
The concept of "safest" helmet is undefinable. The efficiency of any helmet depends on the impact speed. Impact speed is assumed when helmets are designed, and the design is optimized for that speed, with performance falling off on either side.
If the crush rate is too high for the speed and thickness, your head will slow to zero before using the full thickness. If the rate is too low, you'll crush to the end before lowing to zero.

So it's the crush rate that determines the G-force your brain is subjected to, and helmet designers stay short of the maximum the average head will tolerate. Then they decide on a protection level and calculate the needed thickness.
That's all very true. Those are all measurable quantities, such as G-forces vs impact speed, etc. The data isn't published anywhere. Its not clear that helmet manufacturers are really optimizing around a range of impacts other than meeting relevant standards.
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Old 12-28-13, 04:23 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by LordMarv View Post
If a non-vented helmet wouldn't bother you, you might think about a motorcycle helmet, most are stouter than bicycle helmets and have a D.O.T (Dept. of Transportation) rating. Go to a motorcycle shop, look around, try on a few. Some of the classic designs with no face shield are pretty cool looking. Just a thought.


+1

The contruction of a motorcycle helmet is night and day compared to a bicycle helmet. In fact, it is illegal to wear a bicycle helmet on a motorcycle. Why? Because a motorcycle helmet is better constructed and safer than a bicycle helmet. Yet, a cyclist travels with the same cars and trucks and hits motorcycle speed at times but is protected with a much inferior helmet.

Go and buy a bicycle helmet and then go check out a real motocycle helmet. See for yourself who has better protection.

Last edited by Dahon.Steve; 01-01-14 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 12-28-13, 08:23 AM   #15
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Motorcycle helmets on a bike are definitely overkill. They add a lot of weight to the head, increasing the chances of rotational injuries to the neck. On a motorcycle it's an additional hazard worth taking because you need the extra protection, but on a bike I'm pretty sure you'd be more likely to be injured wearing a motorcycle helmet than a bike helmet.

Also, motorcycle helmets are almost exclusively designed to minimize the risk of skull fracture, which is a significant threat when falling on a motorcycle. I don't think they do a thing to minimize the risk of rotational brain injuries and concussion, which are the main source of injury on bicycles. They're two different tools because they are two different problem spaces.

Also, on a bicycle, you're working a lot harder. My head is already a sweaty, dripping mess with a bike helmet, I don't think I could even bear wearing a motorcycle helmet on a bike.
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Old 12-28-13, 05:58 PM   #16
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The safest Helmut is my buddy down the street who always follows the rules of the road and rides defensively. I don't recall how many vents he has, though.
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Old 12-28-13, 08:20 PM   #17
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No, sorry, the correct answer is Helmut Kohl. Helmut Kohl is, in fact, the safest Helmut.
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Old 01-01-14, 12:05 AM   #18
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No, sorry, the correct answer is Helmut Kohl. Helmut Kohl is, in fact, the safest Helmut.
Depends on your political leanings as to whether or not there is agreement on that one. But Helmut was, in my mind, a safe Helmut.
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