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  1. #1
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    helmet question

    Hi Guys

    i know this is a dumb question but im quite new to cycling.so please excuse.

    i have seen 2 types of helmets in the market and wanted to know which one sells best in the market.

    one is the nutcase type of helmet.
    http://www.rcrg.co.uk/wp-content/upl...03/nutcase.jpg

    the other is the bellhelmet type
    http://freemotorcycle.net/wp-content...ike-helmet.jpg

    i know the latter one seems more breathable but are there any drawbacks in the first type?

    whats the difference and which one do you guys use?


    i wanted 3 helmets for the family.

    thanks
    sam

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    Oh, good question, I've been meaning to ask this as well. Would love to get some input!

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Breathable is good.

    When I started cycling seriously 22 years ago, I got a pretty basic helmet, without a lot of ventilation, and it was hot and felt heavy. A few years later I got a helmet with lots of vents and it made a big difference.

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    I use a CCM hard shell helmet. It is made for bicycling but is a bit like the helmets in your first link. It does have more ventilation than they do. It weighs about a pound and looks like it will stop the first couple of bullets that hit it.

    The thin plastic outer layer on the super light racing type helmets used to annoy me. In about a year most of them would have a crack from bumping something. This one is 3 years old and has a couple of scuffs, but still looks good.

    It's the best helmet I have ever had.
    mainlytext.com/bike.html Bicycling in winter, the entertainment version

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Closed Office View Post
    I use a CCM hard shell helmet. It is made for bicycling but is a bit like the helmets in your first link. It does have more ventilation than they do. It weighs about a pound and looks like it will stop the first couple of bullets that hit it.

    The thin plastic outer layer on the super light racing type helmets used to annoy me. In about a year most of them would have a crack from bumping something. This one is 3 years old and has a couple of scuffs, but still looks good.

    It's the best helmet I have ever had.
    It's the styrofoam inside that's the important part for protecting the head, not the plastic outer layer. The plastic outer layer is just decorative. It can crack, fall off, or whatever and your helmet will still be fine.

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    That 'nutshell' design was originally introduced for roller-bladers and BMX cyclists in cycle parks. It has a much heavier external plastic shell, which is much more resistant to the abrasion and dings that are common in a concrete playground. Yeah - it has less ventilation, which isn't an issue to people who spend half there time seated watching their friends do tricks. Its also a better choice in cooler or rainy weather than a heavily vented helmet. During thecwinter I use a downhill ski helmet - which has NO ventilation.

    All of them offer the same level of head injury protection against impacts - thats what the CPSC sticker inside says. So there's no problem if someone wants to pick one over the other - it can be a personal comfort preference or fashion statement that doesn't compromise actual protection.
    Last edited by Burton; 09-23-12 at 11:29 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    It's the styrofoam inside that's the important part for protecting the head, not the plastic outer layer. The plastic outer layer is just decorative. It can crack, fall off, or whatever and your helmet will still be fine.
    IIRC the liner does offer some UV protection to the foam. It won't got bad immediately without the shell, but eventually the foam will break down and loose its absorbtion effectiveness.

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    Senior Member SPiN 360's Avatar
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    I am a bell helmet loyalist for sure because I have extremely thick hair. Ventilation is a must!

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    Main difference the shell is an injection mold on the Bike/Skate helmets.
    they have less ventilation holes, in a thicker shell.. will take more banging around,
    say locked up with the bike..

    the micro-shell helmets use a thinner Vacuum molded plastic shell which is then
    placed , like its other , in the next mold then the EPS liner materials are injected.

    they have additional reinforcing skeletons in the EPS Foam as the % of holes to helmet,
    favors the holes for summer airflow over your head.
    It is a feature added as the price goes Up.

    Bell also Owns Giro brand, these days.

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    I started with Giro helmets with lots of cutouts for ventilation in 1999. Gotta have plenty of air to keep my head cool.
    Switched to Lazer helmets with lots of cutouts in 2010 -- O2 model -- because of the great fit system. Just got a new Lazer helmet 2 weeks ago -- O2 model again.

    Never cared for the nutcase style helmets.
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    Wow, fancy looking helmet! Mind if I ask how much you spent on it? Also, does it have a visor?

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhii View Post
    IIRC the liner does offer some UV protection to the foam. It won't got bad immediately without the shell, but eventually the foam will break down and loose its absorbtion effectiveness.
    'Eventually' is a really vague word thats up for a lot of interpretation. I think that there was a big stir by environmentalists when McDonalds was using styrofoam packaging because the foam would take about 100 years to disintigrate. That same foam is used in residential construction as insulation and as forms for concrete construction with integrated insulation. Yeah - we can say those items might not be directly exposed to sunlight, but neither is the foam in helmets - its protected by the plastic top coat.

    Yeah - I'm aware that helmet manufacturers and safety organizations recommend changing helmets every five to seven years, (or on some cases 3 to 5) but if you dig deep enough - you'll fond that recommendation is based on an expected degradation of the glues used to hold everythig together, the foam padding used to ensure a good fit, and expected wear and tear on anything used regularly. If the foam is still intact - it'll still offer the protection that you need.

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    I bought a Nutcase crossover helmet because Nutcase is a local company. (Didn't matter as it turns out because they're still manufactured in China.) I got black because I saw a girl in Portland wearing one and Army boots- which I already had from Goodwill- and thought she looked supercool. First time I tried it on, my family said I looked like a tail-gunner. Last week I attended a commuter workshop and the speaker said "Whatever you do, buy brightly colored biking gear. Above all, don't buy a black helmet because it matches the asphalt." I still think it will look supercool with the Army boots but maybe I should add a reflector somewhere on it?

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramona_W View Post
    I bought a Nutcase crossover helmet because Nutcase is a local company. (Didn't matter as it turns out because they're still manufactured in China.) I got black because I saw a girl in Portland wearing one and Army boots- which I already had from Goodwill- and thought she looked supercool. First time I tried it on, my family said I looked like a tail-gunner. Last week I attended a commuter workshop and the speaker said "Whatever you do, buy brightly colored biking gear. Above all, don't buy a black helmet because it matches the asphalt." I still think it will look supercool with the Army boots but maybe I should add a reflector somewhere on it?
    Yeah reflective tape os a good idea. There'se actuslly black reflective tape on the market.And most cucling clothing is black with reflective striping.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramona_W View Post
    I got black because I saw a girl in Portland wearing one and Army boots- which I already had from Goodwill- and thought she looked supercool....Last week I attended a commuter workshop and the speaker said "Whatever you do, buy brightly colored biking gear. Above all, don't buy a black helmet because it matches the asphalt." I still think it will look supercool with the Army boots but maybe I should add a reflector somewhere on it?
    Unless you want to be... Ninja on a Bike!
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    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    There'se actuslly black reflective tape on the market.
    3M Scotchlite. Almost disappears on gloss black paint.....shines like a white light when car lights hit it.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-down-the-road

    It works on helmets also. I've only got it on my visor but that's just do to lack of time.

    You can get Scothlite off eBay from several different sellers in small quantities with out having to buy much more than you need.

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    Senior Member Cookiemonsta's Avatar
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    I think there are a couple of things to take into consideration here. These helmets both excel at different things. Knowing this may influence you decision.

    -Impact.
    A lot of the "nutcase" style helmets that skaters/bmx-ers etc. use are made in a way that one fall does not immediately mean you will have to replace the helmet. This makes sense, as crashes are much more common in those sports. The helmets you see roadies wear with the ventilation holes typically need to be replaced after a fall or every 3 to 5 years as the material it is made of is much more sensitive (and actually meant to give under impact).

    -Weight/Aerodynamics
    Related to the previous point. The "road" or "race" helmets are usually a lot lighter because they are used in sports where reducing weight is important for performance. Even for amateurs, being able to reduce weight without sacrificing safety is something people look for.

    -Ventilation
    Due to the differences in intended use, ventilation is given a much bigger priority in the "race" type helmets. This is because typically, people on road bikes will go out in the heat (the season is usually when it gets warm) and stay on the bike for hours. The "nutcase" helmets that you mentioned do not really take ventilation into account that much.

    -Style.
    Both helmets have very different styles to them and this is possibly a reason why some people get either one or the other. For example, in bike messenger culture, even though people technically ride road bikes they will often prefer the more urban look of a "skater" helmet like the ones that Bern offers, while doing their best not to look like a roadie. Roadies on the other hand, would not be caught dead with those kind of helmets, and it would probably look odd in combination with the skintight lycra and whatnot.

    I have a Giro Atmos, and have used this model for some time now. Things I look for are comfort, ventilation, light weight, and something that looks good/low profile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    Unless you want to be... Ninja on a Bike!
    Which would be amazing if I had those flashing lights on my spokes that make changing patterns.

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    Just a note: the "plastic" shell is not just decorative. It decreases the stress on the neck as the helmet impacts and slides across the tarmac. I suspect it may also hold things together a bit after initial impact decreasing head abrasions.
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    Senior Member metabike's Avatar
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    +1 on what rdtompki said. (Many years ago when Giro helmets first came out, they used a lycra cover on their helmets which wasn't the best way to address the snagging issue of your head skidding along the pavement.) Also, ALL helmet foam is subject to degradation over time, not just "racing" helmets. No matter what style you go with, you ought to replace it every 3 years or so (maybe sooner if you sweat a lot).

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by metabike View Post
    +1 on what rdtompki said. (Many years ago when Giro helmets first came out, they used a lycra cover on their helmets which wasn't the best way to address the snagging issue of your head skidding along the pavement.) Also, ALL helmet foam is subject to degradation over time, not just "racing" helmets. No matter what style you go with, you ought to replace it every 3 years or so (maybe sooner if you sweat a lot).
    The amount of degradation of styrofoam over time isn't a reason to replace any helmet I'm aware of. Current projections are that its takes about 500 YEARS for one styrofoam cup to dissolve when exposed to the elements.

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    helmet question

    I'm a new rider, so don't know much about helmets. That being said, the one my LBS recommended has been very comfortable, relatively light weight (doesn't make my head tired on long rides), and the ventilation is great.

    I have super thick, long hair and really appreciate how the air flows through the helmet, keeping my head drier and fresher during the rise. My husband (who has much less hair) uses the same make/model and also recommends it. Hope this helps.

    Louis Garneau Atlantis Helmet http://amzn.com/B006QG4TKO
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  23. #23
    Senior Member metabike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    The amount of degradation of styrofoam over time isn't a reason to replace any helmet I'm aware of. Current projections are that its takes about 500 YEARS for one styrofoam cup to dissolve when exposed to the elements.
    I know I won't convince you, but...EPS is not the same as Styrofoam:

    "The useful life of a bike helmet with an EPS liner varies based on use. Not just how often you use it, but how you use it (and how and where you keep it when you’re not using it). Some big factors that can affect a helmet’s protective capacity:

    Exposure to chemicals found in skin lotions, sunscreen, or insect repellent
    Temperature cycles from leaving it in a cold garage all winter or a hot car trunk for extended periods during the summer
    How much ozone exposure it has had from the sun or from being stored near an electric motor
    How many dings and dents it has received

    A number of helmet manufacturers recommend replacing helmets every three to five years. For instance, the VP of Corporate Affairs at Easton Bell Sports recommends replacing helmets after three years of use. He acknowledges that this is a conservative approach but notes: “True, many or most helmets ten years old may work fine. What we can’t say is that any particular helmet of that age will perform properly.”"

    From the Snell Foundation's website:

    "Why should you replace your helmet every five years?

    The five-year replacement recommendation is based on a consensus by both helmet manufacturers and the Snell Foundation. Glues, resins and other materials used in helmet production can affect liner materials. Hair oils, body fluids and cosmetics, as well as normal "wear and tear" all contribute to helmet degradation. Petroleum based products present in cleaners, paints, fuels and other commonly encountered materials may also degrade materials used in many helmets possibly degrading performance. Additionally, experience indicates there will be a noticeable improvement in the protective characteristic of helmets over a five-year period due to advances in materials, designs, production methods and the standards. Thus, the recommendation for five-year helmet replacement is a judgment call stemming from a prudent safety philosophy."

    As with many issues, the lifespan of helmets is fraught with controversy. Like using a motorcycle helmet in the state I live in, it all boils down to how much you value your head - I'm fond of living without major brain trauma so I always ride my ZRX with a helmet and I am willing to spend $50 every three years to replace my bicycle helmet. I have no objection to anyone else who has a different value system and if someone thinks it's a big scam on the part of Giro & Bell & Lazer, fine, but you have to at least consider the science behind the issue.

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    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by metabike View Post
    I know I won't convince you, but...EPS is not the same as Styrofoam:

    "The useful life of a bike helmet with an EPS liner varies based on use. Not just how often you use it, but how you use it (and how and where you keep it when you’re not using it). Some big factors that can affect a helmet’s protective capacity:

    Exposure to chemicals found in skin lotions, sunscreen, or insect repellent
    Temperature cycles from leaving it in a cold garage all winter or a hot car trunk for extended periods during the summer
    How much ozone exposure it has had from the sun or from being stored near an electric motor
    How many dings and dents it has received

    A number of helmet manufacturers recommend replacing helmets every three to five years. For instance, the VP of Corporate Affairs at Easton Bell Sports recommends replacing helmets after three years of use. He acknowledges that this is a conservative approach but notes: “True, many or most helmets ten years old may work fine. What we can’t say is that any particular helmet of that age will perform properly.”"

    From the Snell Foundation's website:

    "Why should you replace your helmet every five years?

    The five-year replacement recommendation is based on a consensus by both helmet manufacturers and the Snell Foundation. Glues, resins and other materials used in helmet production can affect liner materials. Hair oils, body fluids and cosmetics, as well as normal "wear and tear" all contribute to helmet degradation. Petroleum based products present in cleaners, paints, fuels and other commonly encountered materials may also degrade materials used in many helmets possibly degrading performance. Additionally, experience indicates there will be a noticeable improvement in the protective characteristic of helmets over a five-year period due to advances in materials, designs, production methods and the standards. Thus, the recommendation for five-year helmet replacement is a judgment call stemming from a prudent safety philosophy."

    As with many issues, the lifespan of helmets is fraught with controversy. Like using a motorcycle helmet in the state I live in, it all boils down to how much you value your head - I'm fond of living without major brain trauma so I always ride my ZRX with a helmet and I am willing to spend $50 every three years to replace my bicycle helmet. I have no objection to anyone else who has a different value system and if someone thinks it's a big scam on the part of Giro & Bell & Lazer, fine, but you have to at least consider the science behind the issue.
    OK so lets consider the science behind the issue. EPS is an abbreviation for 'expanded polystyrene'. 'Styrofoam' happens to be a trademark of Dow Corning for their EPS products and since they have such a big slice of the market - its commonly used interchangably.

    An EPS helmet normally has a bonded plastic top coat and soft foam inserts for comfort. Either of those will have to get damaged before the EPS will. Chemicals will affect expanded polystyrene - some will literally melt it. I've never personally seen anything remotely resembling that happen to a bicycle helmet except for one ocassion where someone tried to spraypaint one. Yup - it partially melted the EPS.

    I can think of a number of reasons to replace a helmet - more comfort in newer models; worn out linings; a top coat that's seperating ..... an accident that resulted on the EPS being damaged. But replacing one every three years 'just because' isn't because the EPS isn't safe any more. The EPS will normally outlast the rest of the helmet. In fact if you look it up - the stuff does take 500 years to degrade.
    Last edited by Burton; 09-29-12 at 08:44 PM.

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