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How do you know if a helmet is good?

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How do you know if a helmet is good?

Old 05-17-19, 12:00 PM
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riverdrifter 
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How do you know if a helmet is good?

I've been a recreational rider, small town commuter for many years. I've never owned a helmet. I've never really rode in traffic or on a highway. I just bought a road bike and do intend to ride on highways, so I bought a helmet.

I searched Amazon and saw hundreds of brands I've never heard of, some very cheap, some super expensive. I googled brands and looked for articles, and didn't find many recommendations for any helmets under $100. Despite the fact that the cheaper helmets had good reviews and certifications.

I ended up buying a Lazer Blade. It had several great reviews and I believe an editors award from one of the cycling mags a couple years ago. It was on clearance at Sierra Trading post in my size for $29. Seems like a bargain. Any reason to think it might be unsafe? I know it's a couple year old model now, and I think it was replaced with the MIPS version of the same model. It arrived in the packaging, brand new and looking factory fresh.

Thanks!
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Old 05-17-19, 12:28 PM
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No, as long as it fits you properly and you wear it properly.

If I had a dollar for every person I have seen wearing a helmet that is so ill fitted it's mind boggling I would have a lot more dollars. I usually assume they bought their helmets on line and set them up themselves without any assistance from a LBS or friend knowledgeable about proper helmet fit. There was even a neurologist in my local club whose helmet left almost his entire, large forehead exposed. You would expect something different from someone is his profession.
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Old 05-17-19, 12:58 PM
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When you're on the ground and a semi runs over your helmeted head, then you get up and wonder why it didn't break? *That's* a good helmet.
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Old 05-17-19, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by riverdrifter View Post
I've been a recreational rider, small town commuter for many years. I've never owned a helmet. I've never really rode in traffic or on a highway. I just bought a road bike and do intend to ride on highways, so I bought a helmet.

I searched Amazon and saw hundreds of brands I've never heard of, some very cheap, some super expensive. I googled brands and looked for articles, and didn't find many recommendations for any helmets under $100. Despite the fact that the cheaper helmets had good reviews and certifications.

I ended up buying a Lazer Blade. It had several great reviews and I believe an editors award from one of the cycling mags a couple years ago. It was on clearance at Sierra Trading post in my size for $29. Seems like a bargain. Any reason to think it might be unsafe? I know it's a couple year old model now, and I think it was replaced with the MIPS version of the same model. It arrived in the packaging, brand new and looking factory fresh.

Thanks!
I have a non-MIPS Blade and it's a fine helmet. I keep it as a backup because it's been replaced by a Z1, which is a little lighter and better vented. $29 for a Blade is a great price.
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Old 05-17-19, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I have a non-MIPS Blade and it's a fine helmet. I keep it as a backup because it's been replaced by a Z1, which is a little lighter and better vented. $29 for a Blade is a great price.
Thank you.
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Old 05-17-19, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
No, as long as it fits you properly and you wear it properly.
^^^ This, and if the helmet meets whatever safety standard is applicable to your region, e.g. EN 1078 in the EU.

It's much like motorcycle helmets: all helmets, regardless of price, must meet the same safety standards - so poor people get the same level of safety protection as rich people.

You pay extra for better padding, vision, fit, ventilation, lighter weight, color, shape, etc. How those factors affect "safety" is debatable; what should not be debatable is a standard level of impact protection (g-forces transmitted to the head in the event of an impact), which should be controlled with the relevant safety standard.
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Old 05-17-19, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by riverdrifter View Post
I've been a recreational rider, small town commuter for many years. I've never owned a helmet. I've never really rode in traffic or on a highway. I just bought a road bike and do intend to ride on highways, so I bought a helmet.

I searched Amazon and saw hundreds of brands I've never heard of, some very cheap, some super expensive. I googled brands and looked for articles, and didn't find many recommendations for any helmets under $100. Despite the fact that the cheaper helmets had good reviews and certifications.

I ended up buying a Lazer Blade. It had several great reviews and I believe an editors award from one of the cycling mags a couple years ago. It was on clearance at Sierra Trading post in my size for $29. Seems like a bargain. Any reason to think it might be unsafe? I know it's a couple year old model now, and I think it was replaced with the MIPS version of the same model. It arrived in the packaging, brand new and looking factory fresh.

Thanks!
There is no reason to think your helmet is unsafe. I do have to wonder out loud though about reasonable expectations, given that there are helmets out there for ~$500.00. Apprehension and/or inexperience are bigger factors in a cyclists safety than the presence of a helmet on their head or its quality level. Lucky for me I was a very, very experienced cyclist long before there was such a thing as the Internet. By the time Bike Forums and all the safety concerns that get raised in an echo chamber reached present levels I was as safe as I was going to be. You, not so much. You will just have to trust me when I tell you that on the street, in traffic ... there is little a helmet can do for you. That other poster that was run over by a semi? Ignore that. You will NOT be run over by a semi and live. So don't. Don't get run over by a semi. Don't get run over by anything. It's easier than you think. Good luck.
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Old 05-17-19, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
You will NOT be run over by a semi and live. So don't. Don't get run over by a semi.
What about getting t-boned? I met a guy in a local club who was t-boned by a semi in TX while riding across the country during a supported trip. Long day. He was very tired. Saw that night's motel on the other side of the highway and turned left into traffic to cross the road without looking. Don't know if he was technically run over, but he got severely messed up. But he lived.
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Old 05-17-19, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
You will NOT be run over by a semi and live. So don't. Don't get run over by a semi. Don't get run over by anything.
That's good advice. I try to live by those words. But I would like that helmet.
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Old 05-19-19, 06:11 PM
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For all of that, motorcyclists either wear the full head thing or what looks like a WW II German Army helmet...they die more from getting swiped by passing cars and T-boned, internal injuries IMO. Wear a helmet, of COURSE but it's not The Force. You are as likely as the next Stormtrooper to take blaster fire.
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Old 05-24-19, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
No, as long as it fits you properly and you wear it properly.

If I had a dollar for every person I have seen wearing a helmet that is so ill fitted it's mind boggling I would have a lot more dollars. I usually assume they bought their helmets on line and set them up themselves without any assistance from a LBS or friend knowledgeable about proper helmet fit. There was even a neurologist in my local club whose helmet left almost his entire, large forehead exposed. You would expect something different from someone is his profession.
DITTO!!

It is jaw-dropping, how many wear a bike helmet, as if they were wearing a baseball cap.
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Old 05-27-19, 11:43 AM
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If it's a Bell helmet, you're good. I've crash-tested two of them. Lots of road rash in both cases, but my noggin was fine. Bell will replace any of their helmets, regardless of the model or when you bought it, for a flat price of $35. Incidentally, if your helmet hits the pavement or any other solid surface, replace it whether or not there is any visible damage. It's a good idea to buy a new helmet every 3-4 years anyway, as the EPS foam starts to deteriorate with time.
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Old 05-28-19, 07:09 AM
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As mentioned. A properly adjusted helmet is a key factor in its effectiveness.
My wife and I are in the market for new matching helmets (We ride our tandems a lot) and the next ones will be MIPS.

Good guide here.
https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/8019_fitting-a-helmet.pdf


I've only been in one crash and my helmet came through it unscathed. I hit a pothole doing 25 mph, the handlebar twisted and I was airborne and face planted into the pavement. Helmet??? Not a scratch. Me??? broken wrist, elbow, cracked ribs and a year of dealing with the injuries.
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Old 06-03-19, 01:54 AM
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Originally Posted by riverdrifter View Post
I've been a recreational rider, small town commuter for many years. I've never owned a helmet. I've never really rode in traffic or on a highway. I just bought a road bike and do intend to ride on highways, so I bought a helmet.

I searched Amazon and saw hundreds of brands I've never heard of, some very cheap, some super expensive. I googled brands and looked for articles, and didn't find many recommendations for any helmets under $100. Despite the fact that the cheaper helmets had good reviews and certifications.

I ended up buying a Lazer Blade. It had several great reviews and I believe an editors award from one of the cycling mags a couple years ago. It was on clearance at Sierra Trading post in my size for $29. Seems like a bargain. Any reason to think it might be unsafe? I know it's a couple year old model now, and I think it was replaced with the MIPS version of the same model. It arrived in the packaging, brand new and looking factory fresh.

Thanks!
The Lazer Blade is being recalled: Lazer Blade recall
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Old 06-03-19, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris0516 View Post
The Lazer Blade is being recalled: Lazer Blade recall
Thanks for that link. It looks like only the size small and extra small CPSC sizes are recalled, but all sizes of the CE helmets are affected. How do I know which I have? Is mine assumed to be CPSC because I bought it in the US? I don't see anything that states which it is.
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Old 06-03-19, 06:55 AM
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I'd agree completely with what's already been posted - a good helmet is one that meets the appropriate standards, fits properly, and is adjusted properly.

The helmet I was wearing last summer when I had my accident ended up with a dent in the side of it. It wasn't an expensive helmet, it was in fact one of the cheapest my local bike shop had in stock when I bought it. I bought it there rather than online - and my childrens' helmets as well - because I could try it on and make sure it fitted properly.

I bought its replacement in the same shop (and have so far bought two replacement lids for my intrepid teenage son); I paid a bit more money this time knowing I wasn't getting better protection but a slightly lighter helmet.
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Old 06-03-19, 07:58 AM
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One could easily argue that all of our helmets are unsafe. While they provide fairly good protection against point-loading of the head and skull fractures, they are poor at mitigating the acceleration-deceleration forces that cause concussion. I wear one, but I don't kid myself about its effectiveness.

Last edited by MoAlpha; 06-04-19 at 04:39 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 06-03-19, 11:15 AM
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In addition to the above, a good helmet is comfortable and worn. If you're not wearing it when you need it you're not going to get the benefit out of it.
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Old 06-04-19, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by riverdrifter View Post
Thanks for that link. It looks like only the size small and extra small CPSC sizes are recalled, but all sizes of the CE helmets are affected. How do I know which I have? Is mine assumed to be CPSC because I bought it in the US? I don't see anything that states which it is.
Since you bought it recently. Do you still have the 'box' that it came in? That should say the size on it.
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Old 06-04-19, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris0516 View Post
Since you bought it recently. Do you still have the 'box' that it came in? That should say the size on it.
No unfortunately I don't still have the box. Mine is a medium and the sticker inside says that, but there is no CE or CPSC sticker.

I emailed Lazer but haven't heard back yet.
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Old 06-04-19, 05:28 AM
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I'm one of *those* people, horrible with not wearing my helmet. Stupid because I've had 2 concussions in the past as well! I'm now looking for a replacement helmet to actually start wearing and I'm in the same boat kind of wondering if my budget is providing me protection. Good read here, helped me out a lot!
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Old 06-04-19, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by riverdrifter View Post
No unfortunately I don't still have the box. Mine is a medium and the sticker inside says that, but there is no CE or CPSC sticker.

I emailed Lazer but haven't heard back yet.
It should have the CPSC sticker to be legally sold here. There may be others too, but that's the minimum.
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Old 06-04-19, 11:00 AM
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Ah, I found the CPSC sticker. The print was so small I didn't realize what it was. So mine is a USA model CPSC size medium, so therefore not affected by the recall.
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Old 06-04-19, 03:25 PM
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Yep I just heard back from Lazer and they verified my helmet is okay. Only the S and XS CPSC size are affected.
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Old 06-04-19, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ridelikeaturtle View Post
^^^ This, and if the helmet meets whatever safety standard is applicable to your region, e.g. EN 1078 in the EU.

all helmets, regardless of price, must meet the same safety standards - so poor people get the same level of safety protection as rich people.
Well, sorta. All helmets must meet or exceed a minimum safety standard but that doesn't mean they all offer the same level of protection. You can have one helmet that barely passed and one that could have passed even with twice the impact and they still get the same certification sticker.

The Snell Foundation is a good organization that puts helmets through rigorous tests. A Snell Foundation certification means you have a very good helmet. Before someone jumps on it . . . yes, some companies produce equivalent or better helmets but don't go through the Snell certification process, which is absolutely fine, but a Snell sticker is one way to assure that your helmet will perform well in an accident.
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