Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Classic & Vintage
Reload this Page >

Replace a helmet solely based on age?

Notices
Classic & Vintage This forum is to discuss the many aspects of classic and vintage bicycles, including musclebikes, lightweights, middleweights, hi-wheelers, bone-shakers, safety bikes and much more.

Replace a helmet solely based on age?

Old 06-06-11, 09:44 PM
  #1  
CV-6 
If I own it, I ride it
Thread Starter
 
CV-6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Cardinal Country
Posts: 5,195

Bikes: Lejeune, Raleigh, Raysport, Jan De Reus, Gazelle, Masi, B. Carré, Springfield, Motobecane, John Howard, Greg Lemond, Andre Bertin

Mentioned: 53 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 467 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 279 Times in 152 Posts
Replace a helmet solely based on age?

The question arose in my mind while reading a post in another thread.

Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
Giro and Bell (owns Giro) will supply pads, many times free, even though they know your helmets are outdated and should be replaced.

Since I had a similar experience with Giro as Julian did, I've bought a new Giro (Livestrong) helmet. I have one about to be "retired" and will go Giro.
re: bold italic statement. And not picking on RobbieTunes.

I find this an interesting statement and wonder on what this is based. I have heard others say the same thing. Why would a helmet that has not been crashed and has been well cared for need to be replaced solely due to age?
__________________
Please do not "like" my posts. This isn't Facebook.

Lynn Travers

Photos

CV-6 is offline  
Old 06-06-11, 09:51 PM
  #2  
shopgirl
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: california
Posts: 421

Bikes: a heavy old steel Frankenbike Gitane, a cruiser (not something I'd buy for myself, but it was a gift, what can you do?), a Greg Lemond, a Specialized Stumpjumper(old, steel, fully rigid), and a Specialized Safire

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Something about UV exposure breaks them down over time. I've heard they should be replaced every 3-7 years even if you haven't crashed it.
shopgirl is offline  
Old 06-06-11, 09:58 PM
  #3  
scozim 
Ellensburg, WA
 
scozim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Ellensburg, WA
Posts: 3,643

Bikes: See my signature

Mentioned: 70 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 274 Post(s)
Liked 230 Times in 100 Posts
Originally Posted by shopgirl View Post
Something about UV exposure breaks them down over time. I've heard they should be replaced every 3-7 years even if you haven't crashed it.
I've heard it too - but quite frankly as long as you take care of the helmet and it's stored inside I'm not sure why you would. I have one where the outer plastic has started to crack and I've thought about replacing. I just replaced a Garneau last week but that's because I had a spectacular dismount on my night lap in a 24 hr race and hit my head on a rock cracking the helmet all the way through.

We've got a couple that are over 10 yrs old that kids have worn and other than some fading I don't see anything wrong with them.
__________________
1984 Gitane Sprint; 1984 Gitane Tour de France; 1982 Trek 610; 1968 Peugeot PL8; 1982 Nishiki Marina 12; 1972 Peugeot PX-10; 1984 Peugeot PSV; 1993 Trek 950 mtb; 1997 Klein Pulse Comp mtb; 1989 Peugeot Limestone hybrid (for touring); 1975 Gitane Olympic; 1982 Nishiki Maxima, 1983 Vitus 979; Custom late-80's Rodriguez


scozim is offline  
Old 06-06-11, 10:18 PM
  #4  
shopgirl
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: california
Posts: 421

Bikes: a heavy old steel Frankenbike Gitane, a cruiser (not something I'd buy for myself, but it was a gift, what can you do?), a Greg Lemond, a Specialized Stumpjumper(old, steel, fully rigid), and a Specialized Safire

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The 3-7 year figure is probably based on how an average person uses the helmet, how often they ride, and whether they'd notice when the helmet starts to degrade.
I don't think you can actually tell just by looking at it whether the material is breaking down, but they all get UV exposure when you ride outside even if you're storing the helmet indoors. What that does exactly, I'm not sure. In any case, I haven't thought much about it since I've never used a helmet longer than for about 4 years. Usually I crash and break it sometime around when I would have probably had to replace it anyway.
shopgirl is offline  
Old 06-06-11, 10:19 PM
  #5  
CV-6 
If I own it, I ride it
Thread Starter
 
CV-6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Cardinal Country
Posts: 5,195

Bikes: Lejeune, Raleigh, Raysport, Jan De Reus, Gazelle, Masi, B. Carré, Springfield, Motobecane, John Howard, Greg Lemond, Andre Bertin

Mentioned: 53 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 467 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 279 Times in 152 Posts
My helmet, sad to say, does not have all that much head time. It is wiped clean when necessary and stored inside. The only problem is the pads and rather than get new ones, my sweat band that I wear anyway serves the purpose. It seems to me the helmet manufacturers are just trying to make it seem necessary. If they were to come up with something better, that's different. But all I see is lighter, maybe better ventilation, but no greater protection.
__________________
Please do not "like" my posts. This isn't Facebook.

Lynn Travers

Photos

CV-6 is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 03:24 AM
  #6  
randyjawa 
Senior Member
 
randyjawa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada - burrrrr!
Posts: 10,662

Bikes: 1958 Rabeneick 120D, 1968 Legnano Gran Premio, 196? Torpado Professional, 2000 Marinoni Piuma

Mentioned: 184 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1058 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 808 Times in 493 Posts
I found this explanation on another forum. I like the answer and it might help shed light on the OPs question...

1. Exposure to ultra violet radiation (sunlight) and heat in storage.
2. Expulsion of stored gases in the expanded polystyrene material that is designed to absorb the energy of an impact by deforming upon impact. E.P.S. (Expanded Poly Styrene) is the "styrofoam" like material used in bicycle helmets. The helmet is then usually covered with an injection molded polystyrene (not expanded with gas, just regular hard plastic) shell. Increasingly some lightweight, high performance helmets such as the Giro Ionos used an intergrated, molded-in skeletal structure of polystyrene for increased structural integrity. These interior components do not assist in energy absorption during impacts. E.P.S. is basically plastic infused with gases to "puff it up" forming gas voids that compress upon impact. The gas leeches out of the polystyrene over time, reducing the helmet's ability to absorb impact and making it less protective- hence the three year replacement necessity with some models and brands.
3. Overall wear of suspension components such as chin straps, buckles, sizing pads and adjustable hat band sizing components. These things just wear out, especially with frequent use, adjustment, buckling and unbuckling and perspiration residue.

Bottom line: Replacing your helmet in compliance with manufacturer's recommendations is not marketing or some veiled attempt at selling you a new helmet every three years. It is good common sense based on independent engineering tests performed by scientific testing agencies not involved in the helmet sales industry. Generally, they are the ones imposing the recommendations for replacement to reduce liability insurance costs for manufacturers- it isn't the manufactuer necessarily making the recommendations.
__________________
"98% of the bikes I buy are projects".
randyjawa is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 03:31 AM
  #7  
frantik
Chainstay Brake Mafia
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: California
Posts: 6,026
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
#2 sounds like it could actually be reasonable there
frantik is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 05:05 AM
  #8  
sonatageek
Senior Member
 
sonatageek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Cleveland,Ohio
Posts: 2,784
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
I would think that the UV would degrade a helmet over time and a 5-7 year replacement cycle sounds reasonable to me. I kept my first helmet for what seemed like an eternity, and then the replacement one got crashed and replaced. Since I have taken a few spills (car and pedestrian and other bike rider caused) having a known fully functional helmet is a pretty high priority to me so I choose to think of the helmet as a consumable like a set of tires or brake pads.
sonatageek is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 05:23 AM
  #9  
nlerner
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 14,269
Mentioned: 343 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2198 Post(s)
Liked 1,788 Times in 925 Posts
I replace mine about every five years, usually when I have a decent REI dividend to spend. Seems like cheap insurance to me.

Neal
nlerner is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 05:43 AM
  #10  
Northwestrider
Senior Member
 
Northwestrider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Gig Harbor, WA
Posts: 2,466

Bikes: Surly Long Haul Trucker, Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo, Dahon Mu P 24 , Ritchey Breakaway Cross, Rodriguez Tandem, Wheeler MTB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have a tendency to not trust company advice to purchase their products due to time constraints, but I believe if one rides regularly, swapping a helmet after 5 or so years is likely going to happen in any case. And as nlerner suggested, its fairly cheap insurance.
Northwestrider is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 06:15 AM
  #11  
Beach Comber
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Forked River, NJ
Posts: 715

Bikes: 1973 Peugeot UE-8, 1985 Schwinn Voyageur, 2010 Trek 1.2, 2012 Bianchi Siempre

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Good advice. I believe I'll adopt the 5 year policy. You don't want to find out your helmet isn't at 100% when you're going 10mph over the handlebars!
Beach Comber is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 07:22 AM
  #12  
CV-6 
If I own it, I ride it
Thread Starter
 
CV-6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Cardinal Country
Posts: 5,195

Bikes: Lejeune, Raleigh, Raysport, Jan De Reus, Gazelle, Masi, B. Carré, Springfield, Motobecane, John Howard, Greg Lemond, Andre Bertin

Mentioned: 53 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 467 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 279 Times in 152 Posts
Originally Posted by frantik View Post
#2 sounds like it could actually be reasonable there
Indeed. And for me looking at #1 and the fact my helmet is often left in the car during the summer, then I guess I will invest in a new brain bucket.
__________________
Please do not "like" my posts. This isn't Facebook.

Lynn Travers

Photos

CV-6 is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 07:38 AM
  #13  
martl
Strong Walker
 
martl's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Munich, Germany
Posts: 985

Bikes: too many

Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 179 Post(s)
Liked 159 Times in 100 Posts
I always replace my headgear based on age. if it is too new for the bike i want to ride, i replace it with one of proper vintage.
martl is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 08:08 AM
  #14  
RobbieTunes
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 27,297
Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 378 Post(s)
Liked 1,371 Times in 885 Posts
First thing they asked me was the model and year sticker in the helmets.
Of course, one had a sticker that said it needed replacing after X time.
For a second, I realized they may have a liability problem supporting what they consider an "out of date" helmet.

I admitted they were both pretty old, but in good shape, fit, and I liked them.
They sent the pads for newer helmets, but they worked.

I tend to think the real stress is on the straps, connectors, and clips, over time.
I know the straps on one of mine are stretched out, from use and repeated washings to get the salt off.
When the adjustment mechanism on the back gets slippery, and the straps start to go, I simply get rid of it when the pads go.

If it weren't for liability, I'd donate them, but we've been through that around here, and it's best to cut them in half and dispose of them.

I flipped a bike last summer and broke my arm, cracked the helmet a bit in the back. It went to the landfill.
RobbieTunes is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 08:20 AM
  #15  
seypat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 5,582
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1745 Post(s)
Liked 629 Times in 449 Posts
Would that UV exposure break down CF frames and parts as well?
seypat is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 09:38 AM
  #16  
crazyb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Hills of Iowa
Posts: 1,248

Bikes: all diamond frames

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by seypat View Post
Would that UV exposure break down CF frames and parts as well?
You guys never give up, do you?
crazyb is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 10:07 AM
  #17  
prathmann
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Bay Area, Calif.
Posts: 7,239
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 659 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
I found this explanation on another forum. I like the answer and it might help shed light on the OPs question...
"...It is good common sense based on independent engineering tests performed by scientific testing agencies not involved in the helmet sales industry. Generally, they are the ones imposing the recommendations for replacement to reduce liability insurance costs for manufacturers- it isn't the manufactuer necessarily making the recommendations."
So has anyone seen a report from one of these 'independent engineering tests' that supports this conclusion? The only report with which I'm familiar is one at the BHSI website. They cite a test by Snell of a 10 year old Bell Biker which had been well-used and was yellowed due to UV exposure. When tested it performed the same as that model did when brand new. But they still recommend replacement based on some design improvements made in the interim.
https://www.bhsi.org/biker.htm
prathmann is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 10:14 AM
  #18  
knoregs
Senior Member
 
knoregs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Vermont
Posts: 601
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Just did some quick math and figure my helmet has about 3000 hours on it. Or rather on me. Probably couldn't hurt to replace it. I've actually been meaning to for a few years. Every time it gets hot and my head feels like it's frying, I say 'I need something more vented'.

~kn
knoregs is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 10:24 AM
  #19  
seypat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 5,582
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1745 Post(s)
Liked 629 Times in 449 Posts
Originally Posted by crazyb View Post
You guys never give up, do you?
I would think that IF there were legitimate tests out there proving that something like this were true then CF riders (myself included) would take notice and at least get educated on the pros and cons. However, judging by your response I guess I would be wrong. It seems there would be a contingent that would stick their head in the sand.

That is IF, there were tests out there. I know every "death stem" I have came across has quickly been replaced.
seypat is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 10:29 AM
  #20  
Chombi
Senior Member
 
Chombi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 11,138

Bikes: 1986 Alan Record Carbonio, 1985 Vitus Plus Carbone 7, 1984 Peugeot PSV, 1972 Line Seeker, 1986(est.) Medici Aerodynamic (Project), 1985(est.) Peugeot PY10FC

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 145 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 14 Times in 14 Posts
Plastics/polymers used on helmets degrade both with UV exposure and outgassing. So although I think it is a slower process, it is possible that outgassing of plasticizers can possibly affect the helmet's performance as the rigid shell parts becom more brittle and might not provide the function intended in a crash, which is to keep the crushable expanded foam components of the helemet and the whole helmet in one piece. The expanded foam portion of the helmet degenerates similarly. Anyone can remember seeing simialr expanded foam materials eposed to the lelments for long periods of time, like as found in junk on beaches turns into something that is dried out and frangible into foam dust. Now whether one can pinpoint the amount of time when a helmet degrades to uselessness is a question, but the rough estimates put out there by helemt manufacturers or around 3 to 5 years is, I suspect, well within the safe side to minimize liability/litigation.....plus maybe flavored with a bit of marketing to urge some turnover and new sales.

Chombi

Last edited by Chombi; 06-07-11 at 10:34 AM.
Chombi is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 10:39 AM
  #21  
bikingshearer 
Crawlin' up, flyin' down
 
bikingshearer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Democratic Peoples' Republic of Berkeley
Posts: 4,143

Bikes: 1967 Paramount, 1982-ish Ron Cooper,1978 Eisentraut "A," mid-1960s Cinelli Speciale Corsa, 1961 Bianchi Competizione (an Eroica bike), 1994 Trek 520, 199? Burley Bossa Nova, early-1970s Cinelli Speciale Corsa (also an Eroica bike)

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 325 Post(s)
Liked 308 Times in 166 Posts
Originally Posted by seypat View Post
Would that UV exposure break down CF frames and parts as well?
No, it causes CF frames to catch fire, burn, fall over and sink into the swamp.
__________________
"I'm in shape -- round is a shape." Andy Rooney
bikingshearer is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 10:46 AM
  #22  
Chombi
Senior Member
 
Chombi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 11,138

Bikes: 1986 Alan Record Carbonio, 1985 Vitus Plus Carbone 7, 1984 Peugeot PSV, 1972 Line Seeker, 1986(est.) Medici Aerodynamic (Project), 1985(est.) Peugeot PY10FC

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 145 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 14 Times in 14 Posts
Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post
No, it causes CF frames to catch fire, burn, fall over and sink into the swamp.
You forgot to mention "EXPLODE"!......

Chombi
Chombi is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 10:47 AM
  #23  
RobbieTunes
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 27,297
Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 378 Post(s)
Liked 1,371 Times in 885 Posts
There's an old motorcycle study out there, conducted when the helmet makers wanted people to stop buying them at Kmart.

The study showed it mattered less which helmet than if there was a helmet being used. I remember one of the cycle magazines saying something like "$50,000 study shows what a $2.95 hammer can show," or something like that.

I look mine over pretty good each spring, and it seems like one of them always has to go, maybe because they look pretty bad by the end of a hot summer. I wear cycling caps under the helmet on hot days, and these tend to tear up the pads more.
RobbieTunes is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 10:56 AM
  #24  
crazyb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Hills of Iowa
Posts: 1,248

Bikes: all diamond frames

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by seypat View Post
I would think that IF there were legitimate tests out there proving that something like this were true then CF riders (myself included) would take notice and at least get educated on the pros and cons. However, judging by your response I guess I would be wrong. It seems there would be a contingent that would stick their head in the sand.

That is IF, there were tests out there. I know every "death stem" I have came across has quickly been replaced.
I think you misunderstood my post, The GUYS I was talking about are the carbon fiber will explode guys. I'm on your side lol
crazyb is offline  
Old 06-07-11, 12:25 PM
  #25  
seypat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 5,582
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1745 Post(s)
Liked 629 Times in 449 Posts
I must have misunderstood so I apologize!

So what I am reading is that I MUST go out and get a new helmet since mine is about 10 years old. And when my wife see me with the brand new shiny one on I can point to this study and thread? I wonder if that would work for other goodies such as bikes, parts, clothing, etc?
seypat is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.