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  1. #1
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Seeking bucket for my 50 y/o brain

    I have been thinking about getting a new helmet.

    The make "POC" has been getting some attention lately. They have two new helmets (Octal and Octal Aero) coming, and a line of existing helmets. The marketing message seems to be Volvo-esque: "we're homely but super safe."

    Know anything about these? Personal experience? Any reason to think they are different, better, or worse than other helmets?
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  2. #2
    tcs
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    In before the thread is sent to A&S!

    POC has some great ad copy. What I can't find is any credible third party testing proving that their expensive helmets actually protect better. POC helmets are certified to the same minimum standards that everybody else's helmets are said to meet.

    Hours of reading about helmets, from the bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, a non-profit consumer advocacy group that doesn't take money from the industry.

    Cannondale's Teramo uses an innovative two density foam. As you can see, it has two fashionable snag points on the rear and a fair bit of unshelled foam.

    Protec makes some models, like their B2 SXP-CPSC, that have reboundable foam that makes them 'multi-impact'.

    The Protec Cyphon has a hard shell, extended rear coverage, a rounded exterior and reasonable venting.

    FWIW, Specialized tests their helmets to the Snell B90 standard (which is almost identical to the CPSC standard). In the May 2012 Consumer Reports bike helmet test, their Echelon II received a "Very Good" rating for impact protection. The Echelon II has a small ducktail snag point in the rear and just a little unshelled foam.

    Since so much of helmet design is about 'appeal' rather than 'protect': The Abus Cyclonaut and Lazer Cityzen look like hats. Their cute cloth covers are more likely to drag rather than slide on the pavement. The Lazer Street Deluxe comes in a faux wood finish. Nutcase has a model that looks like it was carved out of a watermelon shell. Nutcase is a Portland Oregon startup whose helmets 1) have been featured at an art museum and 2) found by two different independent testers to provide sub-standard impact protection.

    I picked up a new helmet last month - a Bell Impulse. Well built; comfortable (with Bell's True Fit system that more expensive models don't have); rounded shape; same "meets CPSC requirements" as everybody else. 280gm*, $23.


    * As a reference, my 1980 Bell Biker weighs 463 gm.
    Last edited by tcs; 07-27-13 at 11:50 AM.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcs View Post
    same "meets CPSC requirements" as everybody else. $23.
    1. Just because all meet some standard, does not mean some are not better (not saying they are, just saying).
    2. It seems like more money buys less weight, more ventilation, and, in many cases, a more convenient and flexible fit adjustment system.

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    There was an article about helmets in Bicycling magazine recently, withiin the past three months. You might want to give it a read before you purchase a lid.
    If you don't know the way, you shouldn't be going there.

  5. #5
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    more hours of reading about helmets, this time not paid for by the manufacturers.

    The Snell standards for helmets are higher than those that all helmets pass. Whether that makes any difference in terms of their effectiveness in the real world is moot. Feel free to join the enthusiasts in the helmet thread in A&S if you really want to dive into the question of how effectively helmets protect you from injury.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bikey Mikey's Avatar
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    Consumer Reports did a write up on helmets about a year ago. Some helmets did better in the CR tests than others. I believe all met the minimal safety standards set by law. I have the Echelon, Specialized, which did better than nearly all the helmets tested(Echelon meets Snell standards).
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  7. #7
    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    I have an old white Nashbar helmet that I bought in the mid '90s to ride centuries with. Washington state has passed a helmet law since then so I have to ride with it when I ride in Washington (I live on the WA - Idaho border). It's so dated looking that a cop pulled me over a couple of weeks ago and asked me if it met standards. I told him it was Snell rated (which it was in the mid 90s). He said he didn't notice that it was hard-shell until he saw it closer, actually apologized for stopping me, and went on his way.
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  8. #8
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zinger View Post
    I have an old white Nashbar helmet that I bought in the mid '90s.....
    Most folks I know replace their helmets every 3 to 5 years. Sun and other environmental factors can really degrade a helmet's integrity.
    I replace mine every 3-4 years. Picked up one of these (white/silver) in the late spring. I liked it so much I bought a second one to rotate helmets. Gives them a chance to air out.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member VaultGuru's Avatar
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    If you can find one that will do for a year or so, and won't break your wallet, a whole new concept of helmets is coming out. The current helmet technology has not changed for years. Here is an interesting read on the current and future state of helmets.
    http://www.bicycling.com/senseless/

  10. #10
    tcs
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    Quote Originally Posted by leob1 View Post
    There was an article about helmets in Bicycling magazine recently...
    Bicycling, you gotta love 'em. Here's BHSI's response.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  11. #11
    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonH View Post
    Most folks I know replace their helmets every 3 to 5 years. Sun and other environmental factors can really degrade a helmet's integrity.
    I replace mine every 3-4 years.
    Well since I only wore this one once before I stopped riding for 11 years that means I have at least 5 years left of riding with it. Since I ride half the time in Idaho, where they don't have a helmet law, we'll make it 10 years. Once I heard a guy remark "That guy's riding in a time warp." when I passed by, lol.

    Since I haven't cracked my noggin since I started riding in earnest in 1978 I might just make it 20 years (If I'm around that long) just to give the local cops something to do when they pull me over to check it out anyway. It will keep them from hiding out and giving seatbelt tickets to people on their way back to work from lunch break.
    "I never lost a race because my bike was too heavy".......George Mount

  12. #12
    Senior Member Mountain Mitch's Avatar
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    Poc and I believe Scott are making helmets in compliance with MIPS standards which were recently developed to better protect the brain,. However, the Scotts are virtually unavailable yet in North America and there is only obe POC helmet that is MIPS compliant (their top of the line - of course).

    My wife had a fall whlle riding with her Giro Atmos the other day. I'm convinced it saved her from a depressed skull fracture. The loss of the helmet in the crash was unfortunate - but it saved us from a disaster! So I have to say look at Giro, especially the Atmos.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Mountain Mitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zinger View Post
    Well since I only wore this one once before I stopped riding for 11 years that means I have at least 5 years left of riding with it. Since I ride half the time in Idaho, where they don't have a helmet law, we'll make it 10 years. Once I heard a guy remark "That guy's riding in a time warp." when I passed by, lol.

    Since I haven't cracked my noggin since I started riding in earnest in 1978 I might just make it 20 years (If I'm around that long) just to give the local cops something to do when they pull me over to check it out anyway. It will keep them from hiding out and giving seatbelt tickets to people on their way back to work from lunch break.
    Is it one of those slightly modified styrofoam coolers?

  14. #14
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonH View Post
    Most folks I know replace their helmets every 3 to 5 years. Sun and other environmental factors can really degrade a helmet's integrity.
    I replace mine every 3-4 years. Picked up one of these (white/silver) in the late spring. I liked it so much I bought a second one to rotate helmets. Gives them a chance to air out.
    BHSI thoughts on "degrading."

    "Occasionally somebody spreads rumors that sweat and ultraviolet (UV) exposure will cause your helmet to degrade. Sweat will not do that. The standards do not permit manufacturers to make a helmet that degrades from sweat, and the EPS, EPP or EPU foam is remarkably unaffected by salt water. Your helmet will get a terminal case of grunge before it dies of sweat. Sunlight can affect the strength of the shell material, though. Since helmets spend a lot of time in the sun, manufacturers usually put UV inhibitors in the plastic for their shells that control UV degradation. If your helmet is fading or showing small cracks around the vents, the UV inhibitors may be failing, so you probably should replace it. Chances are it has seen an awful lot of sun to have that happen. Otherwise, try another brand next time and let us know what brand faded on you."
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 07-26-13 at 09:12 PM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    POC Trabec Race MIPS, $145 (when on sale), very impressed and satisfied. My wife and I both have these.



    Scott MIPS -- sent it back, not enough coverage.



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  16. #16
    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Mitch View Post
    Is it one of those slightly modified styrofoam coolers?
    Yes. Like the ones in the late '80s but with a hard (but thin) outer shell.
    "I never lost a race because my bike was too heavy".......George Mount

  17. #17
    Senior Member catonec's Avatar
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    I think the octal has too many HUGE vents. they look squared off and seem as if it would add drag.

    the octal aero has virtually no vents.

    Both are pretty ugly but thats just my opinion.

    193 grams is nice but $270- $300 usd!! no thanks

    I use a bell furio it was $45 and it weighs 260 grams which is not heavy and I think looks better.
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    I will only ride with a Specialized lid. They are as far as I know testing to Snell standards. I know that Snell motorcycle helmets are the way to go. And all racing sanctioning bodys (NASCAR, SCCA ect) require the most recent Snell standards in you're helmet or you don't go on the track.

    I just trust Snell testing over any other form of testing. My own 2 cents worth.

    Mark Shuman

  19. #19
    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    .
    Speaking of Specialized helmets I came across this review for their new aero road helmet

    It's still kinda butt ugly but not as bad as most of the modern ones....imho. It's only $250.

    Here's the POC Octal that the OP mentioned

    That's not such a bad looking helmet and it looks well ventilated.

    I like that Octal and the Giro Air Attack myself but I'm waiting for Walmart to copy them and have them made in Pakistan for about $30. I'm not in a hurry. My '90s Nashbar lid has 20 years of riding in the sun left in it.
    Last edited by Zinger; 07-27-13 at 02:45 AM.
    "I never lost a race because my bike was too heavy".......George Mount

  20. #20
    tcs
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    Quote Originally Posted by phread59 View Post
    I will only ride with a Specialized lid. They are as far as I know testing to Snell standards.
    Specialized tests to the old B90 standard, which is almost identical to the CPSC standard in impacts and drops. The test regime is much more exacting, however: with CPSC, you take some helmets to your choice of test lab, they test 'em, and you slap the stickers inside - it's practically an honor system. With Snell, they do the tests and as a follow up, snag the occasional random helmet from a retail outlet and retest.
    Last edited by tcs; 07-27-13 at 06:10 PM.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  21. #21
    Senior Member Bikey Mikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcs View Post
    Specialized tests to the old B90 standard, which is almost identical to the CPSC standard in impacts and drops. The test regime is much more exacting, however: with CPSC, you take some helmets to your choice of test lab, they test 'em, and you slap the stickers inside. With Snell, they do the tests and as a follow up, snag the occasional random helmet from a retail outlet and retest.
    Can they put a sticker on that lists Snell B90A if it isn't tested by Snell? BTW, the Specialized Echelon that was tested by Consumer Reports, surpassed most other helmets that CR tested in both drop and impact. The CR tests were more rigorous that the minimum.
    Please support diabetics like myself, a red rider, by supporting the American Diabetes Association.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member gforeman's Avatar
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    After I went down last year, and my helmet was cracked clear through, I decided I to get a really nice helmet. I picked up an S-Works Prevail. I love this helmet, light, and so much I picked up a second one recently. My LHS gave a good price ($210).

    I keep the cracked one on the wall just as a reminder
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  23. #23
    tcs
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikey Mikey View Post
    Can they put a sticker on that lists Snell B90A if it isn't tested by Snell?
    My understanding is that to get 'Snell certified' and be allowed to put Snell stickers in a helmets, Snell has to do all testing in their own labs.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

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