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  1. #1
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Talk to me about helmets?

    I've done some fairly extensive searches on helmets for track racing. I haven't found what I'm looking for. I haven't found any helmets for sale specifically designed for track racing except for some very high end stuff. I suspect I don't need anything fancy. Will any ANSI- or Snell-certified helmet do? I have a few. Does it have to be new? Is there a style that would be a faux-pas to wear on the track? I'm known to look dorky or eccentric at times, and I don't want to ruffle feathers as a newcomer.

    Thanks.

    (My incorrect punctuation is deliberate.)
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
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  2. #2
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Any standard helmet will do. You're right, the only ones specially designed for track racing are very high-end helmets. Some people use those. Most people use normal helmets.

    It doesn't have to be new, but a good rule of thumb with helmets is buy a new one every three or four years. Exposure to sunlight and air can cause the material to break down to the point where it may not protect you in a crash.

    There are no faux-pas to worry about.

    You don't need a helmet with a visor, or with an integrated light.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  3. #3
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Ha, an integrated light! Not likely. How about a built-in stereo and a rear-view camera!?

    Thanks for confirming what I was suspecting.

    Oh, and as far as break-down from UV and air, has anyone observed or measured this? I wonder how much of it is urban legend. Cycling has lots of urban legends. I know better safe than sorry, and I agree, but I still want to know what we know.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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  4. #4
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    Helmets are good, you should wear one.

    But for real, any helmet you see at your local crit you will see at your track. No need for any different until you get to a nationals level.
    If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him

  5. #5
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    I've done some fairly extensive searches on helmets for track racing. I haven't found what I'm looking for. I haven't found any helmets for sale specifically designed for track racing except for some very high end stuff. I suspect I don't need anything fancy. Will any ANSI- or Snell-certified helmet do? I have a few. Does it have to be new? Is there a style that would be a faux-pas to wear on the track? I'm known to look dorky or eccentric at times, and I don't want to ruffle feathers as a newcomer.

    Thanks.

    (My incorrect punctuation is deliberate.)
    For USA Cycling races, the helmet has to be CPSC Bike certified. That being said, I've never seen an official check for the sticker. I've only heard of it happening at national championships. I've participated in a few national championships and my helmets were never checked for the sticker.

    It doesn't have to be new.

    99.99% of local, regional, national, and international level racers use the road helmet of their choosing (and budget).

    Because some track races are so short and fast, racers have taken to using TT helmets for track races to get an advantage. But this is usually in conjunction with fancy wheels, skin suits, aero booties, etc. in match sprints, keirin, or short scratch race. This is relatively rare and shouldn't be looked at as an example. TT helmets get HOT.

    Also, you don't want to be the guy in the beginner 5 lap scratch race with a Casco on




    That's kinda like wearing a speed suit to a beginner foot race:



    It's not gonna make a difference in the outcome of the race. Beginner races are won and lost by dozens of seconds.

  6. #6
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Time Trials are a different story.

    When you start doing time trials, do the first few in your normal helmet. Your times will go down significantly as you learn various techniques and settle into your favorite gears for the events. Become a data nerd. When you stop seeing progress, that's when equipment will help. Aero bars ($50-infinity $), Skinsuits ($100-200), Aero Booties ($25), Aero Helmet ($100-200), Aero front wheel ($$$) are where the big gains from equipment choices come for time trials.

  7. #7
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Funny and informative, carleton. Thank you. I understand the principle of overstressing equipment. As you may remember, the bike I'm building for myself will not be high-end. Still, I appreciate the way you put it so well. And those pictures are amazing. I think I'll have them printed and hang them up.

    I don't follow sport much, so I hadn't heard of Baugé. Gorgeous. (So is that woman.) The Bauge picture reminds me that I used to know Nelson Vails. I was head mechanic way back when he was training for the Olympics. I fixed his bike. He was a funny guy with a big personality.
    Last edited by noglider; 02-11-14 at 12:29 PM.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
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    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  8. #8
    VeloSIRraptor
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    For USA Cycling races, the helmet has to be CPSC Bike certified. That being said, I've never seen an official check for the sticker. I've only heard of it happening at national championships.
    At Coll Nats this last year quite a few helmets were checked.
    I don't believe anyone was DQd for it, even though there were some illegal ones that the refs saw.... dunno how/why, but it happened right in front of me, so it is at least 1st hand.

    edit~
    all helmets checked were ones that are mostly euro-distributed, and that have non-legal variants. So I assume refs were targeting the checks, no "normal" helmets that are common in the US got checked that I saw.

    also of note- just use any old thing, it doesn't really matter.
    Last edited by Hida Yanra; 02-11-14 at 12:29 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    If it comes down to a field sprint, you probably won't win, so don't let it.

  9. #9
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    Funny and informative, carleton. Thank you. I understand the principle of overstressing equipment. As you may remember, the bike I'm building for myself will not be high-end. Still, I appreciate the way you put it so well. And those pictures are amazing. I think I'll have them printed and hang them up.

    I don't follow sport much, so I hadn't heard of Baugé. Gorgeous. (So is that woman.) The Bauge picture reminds me that I used to know Nelson Vails. I was head mechanic way back when he was training for the Olympics. I fixed his bike. He was a funny guy with a big personality.
    Nelson Vails is a legend! It's awesome that you got to meet him and even work on his bike.

  10. #10
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I fixed my link to Baugé above.

    Yeah, it is awesome that I've met quite a few cycling legends. Some bike nuts I currently know are people I consider to be legends, though they may not be widespread views. Gaylen (Lenny) Preheim (RIP) was a co-owner of the shop (my boss) and Nelson's coach. He was another legend. I met Al Toefield (RIP) once, when shopping. OK, enough name dropping for now.

    Hida Yanra, thanks for weighing in. Interesting, but I guess I'm good in that respect.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  11. #11
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    Helmets get checked for normal racing if they are unfamiliar. The Casco's sometimes get checked for the CPSC sticker since they were a focus a few years ago and a couple of BMX type helmets that were not familiar road helmets. There is a bit more attention in the beginner races where people may not be familiar with the rules.

  12. #12
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slindell View Post
    Helmets get checked for normal racing if they are unfamiliar. The Casco's sometimes get checked for the CPSC sticker since they were a focus a few years ago and a couple of BMX type helmets that were not familiar road helmets. There is a bit more attention in the beginner races where people may not be familiar with the rules.
    Speaking of BMX helmets.

    Skateboarding helmets are relatively inexpensive and are actually have "CPSC Bike" status. And they are pretty aero in the bowling ball sort of way (like the Casco). Many beginners (and some elites) use them.


    Giovanni Rey (UCI pro) vs TJ Mathieson (UCI pro, US National Team)

    These are a good option.
    Last edited by carleton; 02-11-14 at 04:05 PM.

  13. #13
    VeloSIRraptor
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    along Slindell's point, it now occurs to me that I've seen several helmets checked at RRs and Crits in the last year. I hadn't ever seen that before, so it sort of stood out to me.
    Also, at a race two years ago at the track I saw a skate-style helmet get checked- had forgotten about that until just now.

    They were legal helmets that just didn't get used much by the road racing community, so they got checked.

    Your mileage (refs) may vary.
    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    If it comes down to a field sprint, you probably won't win, so don't let it.

  14. #14
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hida Yanra View Post
    along Slindell's point, it now occurs to me that I've seen several helmets checked at RRs and Crits in the last year. I hadn't ever seen that before, so it sort of stood out to me.
    Also, at a race two years ago at the track I saw a skate-style helmet get checked- had forgotten about that until just now.

    They were legal helmets that just didn't get used much by the road racing community, so they got checked.

    Your mileage (refs) may vary.
    There were some very popular helmets that did were strong but the manufacturers intended to sell them in Europe and elsewhere but not the USA, so they did not pay to have them tested by the CPSC (or whatever the process is). These helmets didn't have normal US distribution channels either. But with the internet and international shipping and grey market vendors, people got them easily. Two that come to mind are the Casco Warp 2 or 3 and the Catlike Whisper.




    These were just as safe as any other helmet. The problem was that USA Cycling has insurance for its events. One of the stipulations set by the insurer is that all competitors must wear CPSC Bike certified helmets whenever they are on the bike. This is also why refs will yell at you for not wearing a helmet in the warmup circle or the apron at low speed.

  15. #15
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Oh, I like that tip. Excellent.

    Then again, I have a boatload of helmets already. They're dirty though, and it seems bad form to be a newbie at a race wearing dirty clothing.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  16. #16
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Speaking of BMX helmets.

    Skateboarding helmets are relatively inexpensive and are actually have "CPSC Bike" status. And they are pretty aero in the bowling ball sort of way (like the Casco). Many beginners (and some elites) use them.


    Giovanni Rey (UCI pro) vs TJ Mathieson (UCI pro, US National Team)

    These are a good option.
    sigh...I'm chatty today.


    BMX/Skate helmets are a good choice. They are light, inexpensive, and easy to find. A big plus is that they are rated for 3 crashes (meaning discard it after the 3rd crash) whereas normal road helmets are rated for only 1. Accidents happen. With a normal bike helmet, even if you hit lightly, it is suggested that you trash the helmet.

    The downside is that they can get warm.

  17. #17
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    Not to knock this too far off topic, but I was under the impression that since Nats are actually held under UCI license, the CPSC rule didn't apply. Maybe that's just elite nats and not masters nats? I remember hearing that the old warp2 was legal at nats but not elsewhere.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    Ha, an integrated light! Not likely. How about a built-in stereo and a rear-view camera!?
    I think a lot of the kissena racers would actually find that to be pretty cool.

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    Stereo, yes. But the track is too bumpy for a rear-view camera...

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