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Helmets... does price matter?

Old 06-13-16, 04:53 PM
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morgothaod
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Helmets... does price matter?

Just curious about why helmets vary so much in price... are more expensive helmets safer?
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Old 06-13-16, 04:55 PM
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Nope. You're paying more for lighter weight, more cooling, or better aerodynamics. (Choose any two.)
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Old 06-13-16, 05:07 PM
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I use to agree with caloso, but recently MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) helmets came out. They are better at preventing concussions and, of course, cost more than a similar non-MIPS helmet.
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Old 06-13-16, 05:14 PM
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safer...? not so much...

nicer features...? highly likely.
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Old 06-13-16, 05:16 PM
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In terms of safety not really considering they will all meet the same standards set out in your national guidlines. Only real difference is that they may be lighter, have a sun visor, more comfy etc.
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Old 06-13-16, 05:16 PM
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You're also paying for better retention systems. Some are ok. Some are comfortable and do a good job of keeping the helmet in place on you head. Cheap is not the way to go.
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Old 06-13-16, 05:42 PM
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Your helmets are really designed for a single primary impact, and perhaps a secondary impact. But, beyond having the helmet in place for that primary impact, the retention systems don't do a lot.

MIPS is an interesting concept, and may be worth considering.

I've chosen a helmet that has a built in tail light. It does chew up a few batteries, but it is always there if I need it.
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Old 06-13-16, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by morgothaod View Post
Just curious about why helmets vary so much in price... are more expensive helmets safer?
The price matters, because the more you spend on a helmet, the less you have to spend on other stuff that you might actually want.
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Old 06-13-16, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by JerrySTL View Post
I use to agree with caloso, but recently MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) helmets came out. They are better at preventing concussions and, of course, cost more than a similar non-MIPS helmet.
You're right. I forgot about MIPS. Good point.
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Old 06-13-16, 07:10 PM
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There is a huge range of prices for helmets. The cheapest helmets are one-size-fits-all and a lot of people will have a hard time getting a comfortable and secure fit with these. Mid-range helmets will usually come in 2 or 3 or 4 sizes as well as as more adjustable strap system so you have a much better chance of finding a good fit. A good fit is more comfortable and more likely to stay secure on your head in a crash. Helmets above $100 do offer additional features (like lower weight or better ventilation), but these features may only be useful or noticeable to very serious riders.
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Old 06-13-16, 07:11 PM
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MIPS is usually $20 or so more than the non-MIPS version though.
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Old 06-13-16, 07:27 PM
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Mine was about $20, Schwinn brand from the big box store, with a blinky rear light on the back. It is comfortable, ventilated, fits properly, and I really doubt anything five times the cost provides any additional benefit, its a one time use compression safety system. If I ever take a spill, I chuck it and buy another.

Concussion wise, I am far more worried about playing hockey, where my head actually gets hit on a regular basis, than MIPS providing me protection the once every few years my head may actually contact the ground biking. Is there possibly a benefit? I'm not discounting it, I'm just more worried about the hits I regularly take on the ice over the rare hit I take cycling.
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Old 06-13-16, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Nope. You're paying more for lighter weight, more cooling, or better aerodynamics. (Choose any two.)
And not looking so much like a penis head.
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Old 06-13-16, 07:36 PM
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I have found pricier helmets do have better ventilation and for me that's worth the extra cost. Probably depends on your climate and your individual physiology, but I had real problems with overheating on a less ventilated helmet.
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Old 06-13-16, 08:13 PM
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I have an Airius V-10 helmet
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Old 06-14-16, 09:36 AM
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IMO you are paying more for ease of adjustability and style than safety .
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Old 06-14-16, 09:45 AM
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More expensive helmets can be safer, but not necessarily. Time trial helmets for example are great for slipping through the wind, but due to the shape I wouldn't want to have one on during a crash. Some of the gimmicky air flow systems of expensive helmets also leave me a little leery.

Objectively, dollar for dollar, I suspect that expensive tires with very good grip probably do more for safety than expensive (or cheap) helmets.
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Old 06-14-16, 11:17 AM
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Expensive helmets give you more air and less helmet.
Met seems to have the best adjustment system for cheaper helmets.
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Old 06-14-16, 11:17 AM
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I am sure as usual someone will attack me for not being cheap. However the more expensive helmets tend to be less weight, more ventilated, have better retention systems (more fine micro adjust) and sometimes will have technologies like MIPS which can keep you safer in a crash. In other cases they will have improved aerodynamics or even improved materials like the Smith Koroyd based helmets.

Wearing a cheaper helmet and a higher end helmet is like night and day. Sometimes I forget that I am wearing the helmet because of the weight difference and the ventilation and that could be a great factor in wearing a helmet. The aerodynamics I could care less about but a sleeker helmet is certainly nice for not looking like a mushroom head.

That all being said any helmet should be rated to some standards to be sold as a cycling helmet in the U.S. usually CSPC or Snell so they should all protect relatively the same except for MIPS and maybe the full face MTB helmets.
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Old 06-14-16, 11:35 AM
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Slightly off topic, but it's worth noting that like anything else that contacts your body (shoes, saddles, gloves, etc.), you really need to find what works for you. You might be comfortable in a $50 helmet or you might have to shell out $150 to get one that works for your head. And different brands may fit differently; I have teammates who say they have "Giro-shaped heads" and aren't comfortable in Specialized or Lazer helmets, or vice versa.
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Old 06-14-16, 11:45 AM
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Everybody has different comfort levels. Out of the helmets I have, the more expensive ones are better ventilated and lighter than the less expensive ones.

If you want to get a more expensive helmet yet save money at the same time, you can buy last year's or even older models online at quite a discount. Often the only change is in colors, and you can get the same helmet for 25% to 50% (or even more sometimes) off original price.
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Old 06-14-16, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Mine was about $20, Schwinn brand from the big box store, with a blinky rear light on the back.
That's probably the same helmet I've got. Since most (all?) helmets are a single-use item, that is, one hit and they need replaced, I can't see spending $100 on one. I figure a cheap helmet is better than no helmet, as many riders refuse to wear one.
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Old 06-14-16, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
And not looking so much like a penis head.
That cracks me up!!!!
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Old 06-14-16, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
That's probably the same helmet I've got. Since most (all?) helmets are a single-use item, that is, one hit and they need replaced, I can't see spending $100 on one. I figure a cheap helmet is better than no helmet, as many riders refuse to wear one.
Exactly. The only thing I'll say is I lucked upon one that fit my head shape well, something that doesn't oft happen with headgear, if it wasn't comfortable I certainly wouldn't have had an issue paying more.
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Old 06-15-16, 06:27 AM
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Lets be honest. There's more to "cool" than air vents. The more expensive helmets are way "cooler". Move up the food chain until the "coolness" factor crosses your price gag point. That's the helmet for you. The marketing people will provide you with talking points to justify the decision with yourself.
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