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Do you replace your helmets?

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Do you replace your helmets?

Old 06-02-24, 05:47 PM
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Do you replace your helmets?

I bought my helmet about 8 years ago. It was a good helmet at the time. I assume these things don't "expire" but I know materials and safety standards change. Any reason I should look at buying a new one?

I'll have to do some digging to figure out exactly what helmet I'm running
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Old 06-02-24, 06:07 PM
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They say you should because the material degrades over time and the protection is compromised. I usually get a new every 3-4 years because I get tired of the color or style.
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Old 06-02-24, 06:18 PM
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The plastic tension adjuster usually seems to fail in mine after about 8-10 years. Barring a crash, that's when I replace.
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Old 06-02-24, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Bmach
They say you should because the material degrades over time and the protection is compromised. I usually get a new every 3-4 years because I get tired of the color or style.
Ditto, except I wait a few more years.
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Old 06-02-24, 08:02 PM
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Given that mine was 8 years old and I couldn't find much safety information I went ahead and replaced mine with a Specialized Align II, the helmet did also have a "replace by" date on it of like sometime in 2020. It still felt solid honestly, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.
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Old 06-03-24, 06:09 AM
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The conventional "wisdom" to replace your helmet every five years is mainly marketing to goad people into buying more often. If there is a good reason to replace an older helmet, it might be to take advantage of MIPS technology.

https://asmedigitalcollection.asme.o...dFrom=fulltext

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28462479/
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Old 06-03-24, 07:27 AM
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I figure that they last pretty well unless parts wear or it gets crashed, but new innovations do come along. Also shiny new things in colors that match can be fun. Suspension and adjusters tend to wear or break at some point

That said being a mountain biker I usually crash hard enough to replace mine at least every few years. If I see cracks after a crash I definitely replace right away and if I thump my head pretty hard I know I should replace it, but am not always as diligent about that.
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Old 06-03-24, 07:34 AM
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Probably OBE since OP already replaced his helmet.

I view a helmet as a lawyer repellent device. If someone runs me down, I want to make sure that when they're hauled into court their lawyer doesn't play the "Despite the fact that my client crossed three lanes of oncoming traffic to hit him head-on, if he'd only been wearing a helmet, he wouldn't have been hurt!" card.

I replace my helmets when things start breaking. The outer plastic shell came off one helmet (that was a heckuva downhill run, though!). Several more have been replaced when the parts that attach the straps to the helmet, well, don't attach any more. Printing on the outside can fade, but the inner polystyrene and nylon parts -- the parts that really do the work -- seem to last forever.
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Old 06-03-24, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by JW Fas
The conventional "wisdom" to replace your helmet every five years is mainly marketing to goad people into buying more often. If there is a good reason to replace an older helmet, it might be to take advantage of MIPS technology.

https://asmedigitalcollection.asme.o...dFrom=fulltext

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28462479/
Yeah I saw those studies. Like I said if I could've found some testing information or impact rating or something for the one I had, I would've just kept it. New one has MIPS hopefully I never need the added protection of that feature.
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Old 06-03-24, 12:04 PM
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replace my helmet when the pads or straps become too deteriorated / nasty / whatever from sweat / salt
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Old 06-03-24, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
I view a helmet as a lawyer repellent device. If someone runs me down, I want to make sure that when they're hauled into court their lawyer doesn't play the "Despite the fact that my client crossed three lanes of oncoming traffic to hit him head-on, if he'd only been wearing a helmet, he wouldn't have been hurt!" card.
Is this view based on any evidence that any lawyer anywhere ever had any success playing that "card" in a legal procedure? If so, maybe helmet manufactures might suggest that older helmets with an alleged/suggested expired shelf life are lawyer attractive devices in case of collision since they presumably are worn by people who are risking their health by wearing such allegedly less safe helmets.

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Old 06-03-24, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
Probably OBE since OP already replaced his helmet.

I view a helmet as a lawyer repellent device. If someone runs me down, I want to make sure that when they're hauled into court their lawyer doesn't play the "Despite the fact that my client crossed three lanes of oncoming traffic to hit him head-on, if he'd only been wearing a helmet, he wouldn't have been hurt!" card.

I replace my helmets when things start breaking. The outer plastic shell came off one helmet (that was a heckuva downhill run, though!). Several more have been replaced when the parts that attach the straps to the helmet, well, don't attach any more. Printing on the outside can fade, but the inner polystyrene and nylon parts -- the parts that really do the work -- seem to last forever.
Absolutely, this. I've only had two helmets in my life. The first was bought in 2005, and the second one, just this year. The first one is still serviceable but it was getting terribly funky and harder and harder to keep sanitary. Also my SO lost hers and a good portion of my riding time is on our various tandems (she is blind). Matching helmets is a good look on a tandem I think. But, for us, helmets are a mainly way of appeasing the general public. They are not legally required for adults. Mine also serves as a handy place for a mirror. TBH my SO never wore one even after I started using one. Drivers would get so irate about it and one day we came home to find a helmet on our welcome mat. It was way too small, but even if it could fit ... eww. So that's how we became helmet users. So, no, heaping insult on injury and buying them on any kind of schedule is a non-starter.
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Old 06-03-24, 12:54 PM
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Replace your helmet when you feel like you want to replace it. If it's hit the ground once with your head in it, then I'd probably lean toward replacing it now. Even if it was just a light scratch.

Since you ask, it also makes me feel like you want a excuse to buy a new helmet. So do so.
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Old 06-03-24, 02:40 PM
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Yes you want to replace it with some regularity. Generally either after a crash or significant drop or after 5 years is what I would reccomend. You can clean your helmet with some frequency or do what I do is use a cycling cap and wash that more often.
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Old 06-03-24, 03:09 PM
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I don't doubt the industry errs on the side of replacing sooner rather than later for several reasons. Obviously, it is to their advantage to encourage the sale of more helmets, but they have skin in the game as far as liability too. They have no way of knowing how a helmet has been used. I'm sure a lot has to do with the conditions the helmet is stored in.

Big difference between bringing your helmet inside your house after a ride and letting it sit in a sweltering shed, car or garage during the summer, or the reverse in freezing cold in the winter.

Some common sense needs to be applied. My wife has a helmet that is now 5 years old. The first 3 years it essentially went unused, but was stored inside the house. The last two years, 1,300 miles and about 124 hours of riding, still kept inside when not being used. And still light use. I believe safe to use.

My primary helmet is 2.5 years old, with about 800+ hours of riding on it. No crashes. I'll probably replace it in about a year. Though more to get a style change and get MIPS. What I have has Wave Cell and it's fine except you can't slide glasses into. And it will serve as a backup helmet or a loaner.

I went looking for some info on helmet replacement, and found this article. Here's a a key quote from the article:
"That recommendation is largely based on research conducted by engineering firm MEA Forensic, which found in tests of hundreds of helmets that age did not significantly affect the performance of the protective foam in helmets up to 26 years old."

When You Really Need to Replace Your Bike Helmet- Consumer Reports

As others have mentioned, other parts of the helmet may wear and there can be improved features. So, isn't just about age. But it does seem that a lightly used helmet, stored inside, could be as good as it was when new for 10, 20 or more years.

Looking at the Virginia Tech helmet testing, I see they tested the Giant Relay MIPS helmet and it has a 5 star rating (all the stars) and manufacturer's list price is $50. So, price is really no excuse. For the price of two Starbucks coffee drinks a year for 5 years, you could have a new helmet. Certainly not so expensive it is worth taking a risk.

5 years ago when I got seriously into cycling, I showed up at a local bike shop with my 20+ year old, dad-bike helmet and the guy wasn't going to let me leave without buying a new helmet. Or rather was going to do everything he could to get me to buy a new helmet. Which I did, Something like $80 with MIPS. No regrets and that helmet did it's job in a serious accident involving a car. Helmet cracked, my head not a scratch. Other parts of my body weren't so lucky.

I don't care if I might be getting duped by "big helmet" to buy a new helmet every 3-5 years. I typically spend more on tires in one year than a higher end helmet costs.
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Old 06-03-24, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
Yes you want to replace it with some regularity. Generally either after a crash or significant drop or after 5 years is what I would reccomend.
Given a recommendation to regularly replace helmets in the absence of any visual damage or "significant" drops, what is special about 5 years, or any other number presumably arbitrarily selected by individuals or organizations promoting replacement of undamaged helmets?
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Old 06-03-24, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Given a recommendation to regularly replace helmets in the absence of any visual damage or "significant" drops, what is special about 5 years, or any other number presumably arbitrarily selected by individuals or organizations promoting replacement of undamaged helmets?
Generally it is a number recognized by The Snell Memorial Foundation, CSPC, MIPS, Consumer Reports, various Helmet manufacturers...
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Old 06-03-24, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
Generally it is a number recognized by The Snell Memorial Foundation, CSPC, MIPS, Consumer Reports, various Helmet manufacturers...
But an arbitrary shelf life date nonetheless and not based on any credible evidence other than well it couldn't hurt and why not it won't set the individual consumer back too much, eh? And besides it is more than a one year shelf life.
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Old 06-03-24, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
But an arbitrary shelf life date nonetheless and not based on any credible evidence other than well it couldn't hurt and why not it won't set the individual consumer back too much, eh? And besides it is more than a one year shelf life.
Sure if that is what you wish to believe. That is fine, wear your helmet as long or as little as you want.
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Old 06-03-24, 07:22 PM
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Is there a trophy for starting the most threads?
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Old 06-03-24, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Is there a trophy for starting the most threads?
Is there a trophy for being passive aggressive with nothing to contribute to the conversation?
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Old 06-04-24, 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by TheBlackPumpkin
Is there a trophy for being passive aggressive with nothing to contribute to the conversation?
Nope. At least not with such a well-worn subject.

E.g., How often do you replace your helmet?

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Old 06-04-24, 08:06 AM
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Not as a matter of routine. Replace only when necessary.
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Old 06-04-24, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by TheBlackPumpkin
Is there a trophy for being passive aggressive with nothing to contribute to the conversation?

If there is, I want to know. I don't normally compete well for trophies, but should be able to make a good showing in this category.
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Old 06-04-24, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Nope. At least not with such a well-worn subject.

E.g., How often do you replace your helmet?
Not a great example to use. In the 11 years since that thread was last touched it's reasonable to think that things may have changed enough (MIPS, etc) to be worth having the conversation again. And god forbid OP post any followup there, the accusations of reviving a zombie thread would be sure to follow immediately.

For the record, this is exactly why I have no problem with zombie threads being revived — I think it's great to keep the conversation going rather than restarting it altogether — but many here seem to feel otherwise.
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