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helmet types?

Old 07-22-10, 10:41 PM
  #1  
Mandelbrot
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helmet types?

so I plan on getting a helmet that I will wear in certain biking situations...
we will leave it at that to avoid the yes or no helmet debate...

my question is.... can someone suggest a helmet that is not strange and misshapen.
I understand the aerodynamic and ventilation principles at play with most helmet shapes...
but much of my riding will be done in blue jeans and boots with a jacket on so im not going
for the tour de france or land speed record here.

also,-? whats up with the cheap-o styrofoam and bike helmets?
it seems like every other kind of helmet made is made from a durable shell over dense foam rubber... again this might make sense for someone in a race on a $5000 carbon bike....
but not so much someone looking for durability.

are the styles of most helmets sort-of fad inspired by racers and pros?
are there other options?

thanks!
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Old 07-22-10, 11:27 PM
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Well, there's always park helmets, AKA skate helmets. They're usually just round, with minimal venting. They'll hold up to more abuse than the typical cycling helmet. They've got rigid ABS shells, so they don't instantly crush, the first time you hit your head on something. Bonus, they're generally cheaper than typical cycling helmets, too.
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Old 07-23-10, 06:21 AM
  #3  
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cool, yeah, i looked at some of those as well as some smaller moped helmets.
its not like i plan on hitting my head alot or something.... but i was just curious as to why there
is such a quality difference. nice to know they are cheaper as well.

I saw the thread on older bike helmets and they are much more like a park helmet...in shape and material
it would seem.

also some thing like this would seem to cut back on alot of the "target size/ rotational" concerns of some
since they are a bit thinner between skin and surface and dont have unnecessary protrusions.
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Old 07-23-10, 09:10 AM
  #4  
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My brother went with a "skate" helmet after toasting two Bell Solar helmets in two wrecks in a month.

The idea behind the styrofoam is to absorb impact as much as possible, to do that, the helmet either needs to be heavy like a football or hockey helmet, or it needs to give so much that it can be used once. For longer rides, the skate helmets are impractical because they are heavy, and will lead to neck pain when your hunched over the handlebars. Also, if you're in a warm climate the skate helmets don't provide much ventilation, whereas the standard road helmets do. The difference in comfort is substantial. On the other hand, the skate helmets are "reusable" and are probably a better value.
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Old 07-23-10, 10:57 PM
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My Pryme 8 hasn't been causing me any neck pain.

The thing with the foam absorbing the impact is that without something to spread the force out over a larger area, the foam won't absorb much if any of the impact. Foam crushes very easily, when force is focused on it. Expanded foam, like they use in helmets, is even worse, because it tears easily. The thin flexible plastic that most cycling helmets have as an outer skin doesn't have a chance to spread the forces out. The thicker ABS shell of a skate helmet gives the foam its best chance to do its job.
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Old 07-23-10, 11:00 PM
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If skate helmets are so much better why do so few cyclists wear them?
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Old 07-23-10, 11:08 PM
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Because, most cyclists want their helmets light and airy. I certainly wish mine had better cooling, but I don't trust a helmet that I can dent with my finger, especially with my tendency to occasionally ride MTB trails just a little faster than my skills can keep up with.
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Old 07-24-10, 04:21 PM
  #8  
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I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that only inferior helmets are made of styrofoam. That's what motorcycle helmets are made of, even the best ones. Of course they don't have all the vent holes and the shell is stronger, but the foam is the same material. That said, most bicycle helmets are pretty flimsy, and I think the designers have probably sacrificed effectiveness for lightness and ventilation.

My choice is a full-face downhill MTB helmet, which does have quite a few vents, but also has a much stronger shell and more coverage than a typical bike helmet. In wet weather I switch to a motocross helmet with no vents so my head stays dry. The only downside I've experienced is that people tend to laugh at me.
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Old 07-24-10, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ro-monster View Post
I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that only inferior helmets are made of styrofoam. That's what motorcycle helmets are made of, even the best ones. Of course they don't have all the vent holes and the shell is stronger, but the foam is the same material. That said, most bicycle helmets are pretty flimsy, and I think the designers have probably sacrificed effectiveness for lightness and ventilation.

My choice is a full-face downhill MTB helmet, which does have quite a few vents, but also has a much stronger shell and more coverage than a typical bike helmet. In wet weather I switch to a motocross helmet with no vents so my head stays dry. The only downside I've experienced is that people tend to laugh at me.
Shell strength is the key. When a helmet hits it only functions if the shell survives its initial impact. If the foam isn't braced by an intact shell then it doesn't compress properly when the head inside hits it a few milliseconds later - instead you get very localized compression at best, absorbing very little energy:

https://www.cyclehelmets.org/papers/c2023.pdf

Last edited by meanwhile; 07-24-10 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 07-24-10, 11:41 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
Shell strength is the key.
That is why I choose to wear more substantial helmets with stronger shells. But the OP was saying expanded polystyrene itself is an inferior material that isn't used in other types of helmets, and I was trying to point out that this is not the case.
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Old 07-25-10, 12:53 AM
  #11  
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Go to the store.. try on some helmets.. find the one that is comfortable and affordable for you. Pretty simple.

Originally Posted by Kneez View Post
If skate helmets are so much better why do so few cyclists wear them?
For me, it's ventilation. I have a skate helmet. I would rather wear it than a big pointy "regular" bike helmet, and I do in the winter, but during the summer i'm roasting with it on.
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Old 07-25-10, 01:37 AM
  #12  
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I recall reading on here that a sun viser is a good thing, but I find it totally useless. I just bought a bogstand Bell helmet, with not too many curves n bumps. I would have prefered something more rounded, but ventilation is important.

S
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Old 07-25-10, 05:17 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by ro-monster View Post
That is why I choose to wear more substantial helmets with stronger shells. But the OP was saying expanded polystyrene itself is an inferior material that isn't used in other types of helmets, and I was trying to point out that this is not the case.
Well, different types of helmet do sometime use different foams. But there's nothing wrong with the foam used in cycling helmets for the job they are trying to do. And the same type of foam (EPS = expand polystyrene) is used in motorcycle helmets.

Very boring technical article:

https://www.grantadesign.com/resource...ies/helmet.htm

Btw - the best cycling helmets are the world are probably from these guys:

https://www.pocski.com/index.asp

https://ridetsg.com/

Most serious brain damage comes from rotation, not the linear impacts normal helmets try to protect against. These two manufacturers are both selling anti-rotation models - the first time anyone has done so. They're expensive, and I think both are skate style, so they have poor-ish venting.
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Old 07-25-10, 05:18 PM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Kneez View Post
If skate helmets are so much better why do so few cyclists wear them?
They have poor venting, so your head gets extra hot and sweaty. Plus most cyclists know nothing about helmet effectiveness - they assume that everything in the store works equally well. Many of them assume that a helmet will work if you get hit by a car - which is a pretty odd thing to think of a few hundred grams of packing foam.

Other than looking for a good shell, look for a helmet that fits you well and has a good retention system - one that will keep the helmet snugly in place and level without being uncomfortable.

Last edited by meanwhile; 07-25-10 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 07-26-10, 12:42 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
They have poor venting, so your head gets extra hot and sweaty. Plus most cyclists know nothing about helmet effectiveness - they assume that everything in the store works equally well. Many of them assume that a helmet will work if you get hit by a car - which is a pretty odd thing to think of a few hundred grams of packing foam.

Other than looking for a good shell, look for a helmet that fits you well and has a good retention system - one that will keep the helmet snugly in place and level without being uncomfortable.
I see.
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Old 07-26-10, 01:17 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
...they assume that everything in the store works equally well.
Given that all helmets conform to the same safety standards, I'm not entirely sure that this is false - with the exception of the anti-rotational ones.
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Old 07-26-10, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Davidxvx View Post
Given that all helmets conform to the same safety standards, I'm not entirely sure that this is false - with the exception of the anti-rotational ones.
You're making the mistake of assuming that all helmets are built to pass the standard - which is very low - and no more.* In fact, it's easy to analyze helmet design and ro-monster has done so correctly: other than rotation, the main source of failure is a too weak shell. Shells that are thicker and have fewer vents and protrusions are stronger. So it is reasonable to assume that a skate style helmet will protect more - oh, it's not a certainty, but it is likely. And remember that manufacturers expect users of road helmets never to need them, but skaters and BMXers are pretty likely to crash and test a helmet out, so making a skate helmet stronger makes sense.

Another thing I'd look for for MTBing is a helmet with good shell strength and foam depth at the side of the helmet. The current certs ignore the danger of side impacts, but if you're going to wear a helmet for MTBing they are worth considering.

Final piece of advice (based on reading nearly everything available on line while fighting The Helmet Wars): do NOT assume that a helmet will protect you against concussion! Even the main pro-helmet site says that they won't - the foam would have be at least 3 inches deep to do so. So a helmet won't much reduce the possibility of an injury that will leave you unconscious on the trail. Plan for this and leave details of where you will be riding and when you should be back if you are riding a lonely and risky trail solo.

*Also, tests have shown that most random samples of helmets taken from stores will fail the cert level they are supposed to pass.

Last edited by meanwhile; 07-26-10 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 07-26-10, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Davidxvx View Post
Given that all helmets conform to the same safety standards...
There are actually different standards for different types of helmets, though. Plus there are additional non-mandatory standards certifications (such as Snell) that helmets can get. And some are certified to European standards as well as US standards.
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Old 07-26-10, 12:50 PM
  #19  
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You'll be looking to stay cool, especially wearing blue jeans. Don't underestimate the importance of good ventilation. Even a casual rider creates a lot of heat, and probably places *more* importance on getting less sweaty.

I'm not saying you're gonna overheat. I'm saying you may arrive a little less sweaty if you get one with decent ventilation (about $40).
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Old 07-26-10, 02:49 PM
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Since cycling isnt dangerous, look for a helmet that is comfortable and easy to adjust for a good fit. What sort of helmet do you wear when walking up or down the stairs - there are a lot more brain injuries due to stairway falls than bike accidents.
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Old 07-26-10, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
Since cycling isnt dangerous, look for a helmet that is comfortable and easy to adjust for a good fit. What sort of helmet do you wear when walking up or down the stairs - there are a lot more brain injuries due to stairway falls than bike accidents.
This is entirely true. And helmets are almost useless in countering the main source of serious brain injuries on the road - collisions with cars. I just got obsessed with MTBing because Greyryder mentioned it and I mostly ride off road at the moment,
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Old 08-01-10, 06:08 PM
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Other than those expensive anti-rotation helmets, this could be the most interesting helmet on the market:

https://www.bikeradar.com/gear/catego...elmet-10-39520

They’ve achieved this by using an EPS structure, which is slotted and joined with thermoplastic segments that allow the helmet to change from a rounder profile to an oval shape around your head – it’s the comfiest fit we’ve tried of any helmet, although it's weighty at 533g.The sturdy high-density ABS shell also takes repeated knocks before it needs replacing, and the overall build quality is of usual TSG spec. It’s a great investment if you have an odd shaped or sized noggin and usually find it difficult to find helmets that fit you properly.
So - fit and shell strength are crucial, and this helmet should be superior in both. Despite being a skate style helmet that maker claims that it has reasonable cooling:

https://www.bikerumor.com/2009/09/17/...-wearers-head/

superiorĀ ventilation. Heat travels up the vertical air channels between theĀ EPS zones and is drawn out of the helmet shell through Active Shell Venting. Fresh air enters the helmet via 14 aerodynamic vents
If I fit 2" tyres to my crosser and start doing more MTBish rides this autumn, this may be the helmet I buy.
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Old 08-01-10, 06:12 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by DArthurBrown View Post
My brother went with a "skate" helmet after toasting two Bell Solar helmets in two wrecks in a month.

The idea behind the styrofoam is to absorb impact as much as possible, to do that, the helmet either needs to be heavy like a football or hockey helmet, or it needs to give so much that it can be used once.
This is PR the helmet makers hand out. In fact a helmet shell needs to be strong to support foam compression. The foam should be one-shot, yes, but it could easily be replaced if the shell was strong. The problem is that foam is too cheap for this to be a good business model.
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