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Old 06-10-07, 09:26 AM   #1
Rozinante
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Helmet questions

I very much understand the differences in my motorcycle helmets - why the off-road helmet is so very different from the road helmet. But I just do not understand the differences in bicycle helmets. What IS the difference between my $30 Trek and a $200 Giro? It seems they are both just styrofoam covered in tin foil. What am I missing?

I know why I paid over $500 for my motorcycle helmet. Why don't I see the same differences in bicycle helmets? They all seem light weight and well ventilated. What should I be looking for?

I would appreciate input and opinions. I don't want to be penny-wise and pound-foolish here. If there are cogent reasons to spend the bucks I'd just like to know them.
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Old 06-10-07, 09:57 AM   #2
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The more expensive bicycle helmets are cooler in every sense of the word.
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Old 06-10-07, 11:39 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rozinante
....I would appreciate input and opinions. I don't want to be penny-wise and pound-foolish here. If there are cogent reasons to spend the bucks I'd just like to know them.
Simply put, because people will pay more for them.
-----
For what it's worth, the bicycle helmets that offer the best protection are generally the hard-shell types, and downhill helmets.

Motorcycle helmets are still built way stronger but they don't have enough ventilation for most styles of bicycling.
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Old 06-10-07, 11:42 AM   #4
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I got me sweep xc, latest model on eBay for $99, shipping included. I got it because it looks cool, and styling is everything.
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Old 06-10-07, 01:14 PM   #5
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The more expensive helmets will have more vents & more adjustment tabs - better fit, cooler on your head, and they generally have "cooler" looks. The $30 helmet WILL protect your head just as well as the $200 one.
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Old 06-10-07, 01:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
The more expensive bicycle helmets are cooler in every sense of the word.
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Originally Posted by apclassic9
The more expensive helmets will have more vents & more adjustment tabs - better fit, cooler on your head, and they generally have "cooler" looks.
Acording to Consumer Reports (http://www.helmets.org/cu_2006.htm) the cheaper helmets ventilate as well as the more expensive: "CU rated only six adult helmets Excellent in ventilation: Bell Citi, Bell Slant, Bell X-ray, Giro Atmos, Giro Havoc and Specialized Air-8." I don't take what Consumer Reports says as gospel, but is it your experience that the ventilation is better on the more expensive helmets? Or just marketing hype that you've bought into. I could care less about the "cool" factor, but I would very much be interested in better ventilation.
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Old 06-10-07, 01:40 PM   #7
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The chief difference I've seen besides bling in helmets is the weight and whether or not it looks like a mushroom on your head or not. I use a relatively inexpensive visored Bell, personally and it does me fine and is among the highest rated helmets for safety, coming in ahead of a LOT of helmets 5-6 times the cost.
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Old 06-10-07, 01:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rozinante
Acording to Consumer Reports (http://www.helmets.org/cu_2006.htm) the cheaper helmets ventilate as well as the more expensive: "CU rated only six adult helmets Excellent in ventilation: Bell Citi, Bell Slant, Bell X-ray, Giro Atmos, Giro Havoc and Specialized Air-8." I don't take what Consumer Reports says as gospel, but is it your experience that the ventilation is better on the more expensive helmets? Or just marketing hype that you've bought into. I could care less about the "cool" factor, but I would very much be interested in better ventilation.
I'm thinking that the good folks at Consumer Reports don't understand "cool".
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Old 06-10-07, 03:09 PM   #9
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I'm thinking that the good folks at Consumer Reports don't understand "cool".
+1

additionally, CU doesn't check these helmets with different hair styles - a $30 helmet that is a well vented ride for someone with a buzz cut is a long-hair's sauna.
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Old 06-10-07, 03:17 PM   #10
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It's all in the marketing and the 'coolness' factor.....plus, it generally costs more for the manufacturer not put visors on road helmets.
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Old 06-10-07, 03:24 PM   #11
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There is very little if any differnce. Weight difference is within grams, if that. Many (most ) mountain helmets have detachable visors. The "road" helmits are somewhat more elegant (I can't vouch for that either). The main difference is in demographics. One type of product marketed and targeted at TWO very different types of clientel. Mountain bike riders are more apt to up-grade to hi-tech items, performance enhancing items other things,a helmit though gear adds nothing toperformace in their realm and because most helmits are safe anyway,companies can only squeeze so much out of mountain bike cyclists. Roadies seem to hold aestetics in higher reguard, willing to spend more on a hemit than tires for example,relative, not equal to cost of course . Funtionally the two "types" are identical. So in the final analysis, I'd say the OP is 100 % correct in his evaluation.
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Old 06-10-07, 06:29 PM   #12
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The only difference of any importance I have found in helmets is the fit. My favorite helmet that I spent $90 (sale from $130) is the most comfortable one I have ever worn. I was tired of crappy fitting $30-$40 helmets. I have found the nape gripping mechanisms to be shoddy, and the padding to be cheap and flimsy. That is the only reason I paid that much for the helmet, it felt far and stayed in place better than any of the 15 others I tried on. The parts that make it do this add maybe $3 to the cost. I don't really care about the styling or color.

On the other hand, I only wear a helmet about 50% of the time. But when I choose to wear one, I want it to be comfortable. I neither have nor want a kit. It is very hard to find highly comfortable race type wear that is devoid of advertisement.
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Old 07-14-07, 11:30 AM   #13
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Okay. I broke down and bought a new Giro Atmos. Much to my surprise the ventilation is noticeably better than my old Trek! Even with a full head of hair, I can now feel the breeze. And of course to those designer-logo addicts I look cooler too. Dunno if it's really worth what I had to pay for it, but I do like the ventilation. Since the fit was fine with the Trek, I can't say I feel any improvement there.
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Old 07-14-07, 05:45 PM   #14
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LOL - Salsa (formerly he of WAY long curls, now just another short haired boy) loved his ATMOS, but hit a tree with it in NC last year. This year he's been sporting a Bell Sweep, which he likes almost as much.
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Old 07-14-07, 06:17 PM   #15
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Trek, Bell and Specialized have some very well made models that sell for $30 to $50. But, most of the models in that price range are kinda bland looking. If you want to look "flash", you need to spend more money.

But, a $30 helmet from one of the top brands that is comfortable, and fits snuggly will protect your head just as well as a $200 helmet...but you lose style points.
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