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Helmets. Here we go again... with my apologies....

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Helmets. Here we go again... with my apologies....

Old 04-20-18, 10:26 AM
  #1  
stuart1865
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Helmets. Here we go again... with my apologies....

Well, as I am resuscitating my vintage bike, overhaul, upgrades, etc, etc, I arrive at the helmet question. I'm a Bike Forum newbie and an "Old School" cyclist from last century.

It appears that the once-stickied Helmet Thread was shut down. Too much politicking, rabbit trails, whatever.

So, here is where I am after 3 days of online investigative exhaustion.

In my estimation, "Budget" helmets and pricey helmets are functionally not drastically different in terms of real-life protection. Cyclists generally don't suffer anvil drops on their heads. Foam deterioration is pretty much a marketing myth.

I'm somewhat of a pragmatist. I am not convinced that MIPS is substantially better than non-MIPS. I am not convinced that a $250.00 helmet is ten-times better than a $25 Amazon helmet. Nor is the premium "fit" or ventilation worth THAT much more. Fit is important, but THAT can be accomplished at MANY price points. (I do suppose that if it IS a brand-name, "status-meeting helmet"....it keeps a club cyclist from avoiding psychiatric help in the face of subtle or not-so-subtle group mockery....well, it might be cost-justified!

Then I wonder why the "low end" often provides rear helmet lighting, but the mainstream "brands" do not.

Fit, ventilation, status. That's what I am observing.

That being said, can I get some chimes here on the Amazon "no-names" versus the LBS-type, big name entry-standard and premium noggin protection.

And what's with the low-end having lighting.... and the upscale does not? Profitability?

BTW...I don't buy the angle that there is a substantial correlation between the value of the helmet and the value of one's head....

My apologies for these neo-novice questions.

Last edited by stuart1865; 04-20-18 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 04-20-18, 10:41 AM
  #2  
tagaproject6
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Too much hand wringing. Get a helmet that meets the standard, according to your budget, fits your head and relatively in line with your aesthetic values. Trying to garner the approval of total strangers through your auspcious helmet purchase is optional.
Ride!
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Old 04-20-18, 10:47 AM
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Nope
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Old 04-20-18, 10:55 AM
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lots of options I'm assuming

quality vs. perceived quality comes to mind. some will only buy the best or most expensive because they have the cash, and they perceive the high priced item as higher quality

don't have to sell many $250 dollar helmets to be profitable

lights? I don't know

probably should get what fits and is comfortable regardless of the cost
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Old 04-20-18, 11:09 AM
  #5  
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Heck my helmet is a Schwinn helmet purchased at Walmart. And yes, it does have a red rear light.

I think you're probably over thinking this. When I've been on group rides, I don't think I've ever checked out everyone else's brand of helmet.
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Old 04-20-18, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by hillyman View Post
Nope
Well said.
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Old 04-20-18, 11:15 AM
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Pick one that is comfortable on your head and that you will actually wear, and be done with it. It really is that simple.

As far as MIPS, I get whacked on the head more in a single hockey game than I have ever been on a bike, so I'm not really sold on the necessity of MIPS for the application. If the helmet was otherwise to my liking, I wouldn't let the presence of MIPS dissuade me from buying it, and vice versa.

Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
Heck my helmet is a Schwinn helmet purchased at Walmart. And yes, it does have a red rear light.
My last one was as well. Got three years out of it before buying a new one this spring, due to general grossness of the straps and pads, and the shell getting chipped up from rough handling and tossing the trunk and etc. Functionally, I'd still trust it to protect me in a crash, but I found a Bell at Sierra Trading for $15 and bought it a few weeks back.
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Old 04-20-18, 11:34 AM
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I've had mine for not quite 3 years yet, but every so often, especially during the heat of summer, I'll pull the pads out and throw them in the washing machine inside a nylon mesh bag. The straps get washed in the kitchen sink.

If I ever need to replace my helmet, I'm likely to go back to Walmart or a sporting goods store where I can actually try them on first. I have a big head so I want to make sure the fit is right before buying one. Can't try them on over Amazon.
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Old 04-20-18, 11:41 AM
  #9  
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My cheap helmets worked just fine. However, the quality of the pads and straps was lower, and the ability to fine tune the fit was also not as good. The pads usually wore out within 2 years, and you could not buy replacements. I've upgraded to the lowest end Kask helmet (the Rapido) which has replacement pads for purchase, better quality straps and buckle, and more options to fine tune the fit. I still only spent about 75 bucks. Worth it IMO, but I don't think I'd pay more than 100.
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Old 04-20-18, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by PdalPowr View Post
Well said.
But I may watch
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Old 04-20-18, 11:48 AM
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I love a good expensive helmet. Not because I have money to throw away, I don't. But because depending on the type of riding you do, certain helmets are more comfortable imo.

If I do a 30 or 40 mile flat ride, yeah a $40 helmet is fine.

Do a June summer ride timed event climbing a mountain with 12,000 ft of elevation gain, yeah a lighter more ventilated helmet is appreciated.

I started with a Wally World Bell helmet when I started riding. As the rides got more intense, I bought a better helmet and noticed a difference in ventilation and fit (Giro Pneumo). Then after that, the rides got even more intense and I found an even better helmet that worked even better as far as ventilation and fit (Giro Ionos).

I find helmets that are on sale, maybe a $250 helmet for $150 or so.

Like I said, if you do a ride to the local cafe, to the farmer's market, a flat 40 mile ride, any helmet works. Do an intense ride in the summer up a mountain with 12,000 ft of climbing is when I feel the difference.
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Old 04-20-18, 01:17 PM
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I've been thinking of getting a used street motorcycle helmet with fully enclosed visor as a more simple way to deal with the wind. Not sure a bicycle helmet really does anything for a cyclist to be honest. It doesn't even protect your teeth and face for god's sake. I am sure there is some case where it will help but I doubt it comes up often. I can say from experience otoh motocycle helmests actually do protect you from serious falls.
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Old 04-20-18, 01:26 PM
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if i were you, I would visit Nashbar.com's closeout/markdown pages.

You can get brand-name helmets---not cheap helmets, but obviously not the $300 top-of-the-line stuff, but perfectly decent mid-range big-name helmets, for $25 or $40. They always have models that didn't sell or whatever.

I wouldn't bother with an Alibaba helmet ... if you are going to pay $20 to some Chinese company why not pay $30 to a u.S. company, and most important, get a helmet you know was actually made by a reputable manufacturer.

I wouldn't bother with a helmet, but if you are going that route, get one that works ... it doesn't need to cost more than $25-$50 anyway .... and the delivery time is a lot shorter.

I am sure the Bell helmets Walmart sells are as good as any other Bell helmet ... but i don't like to recommend Walmart so much.
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Old 04-20-18, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by stuart1865 View Post
Foam deterioration is pretty much a marketing myth.
I have a large head, 62 cm in European measurement. I also skied for most of my life. It was impossible to find a skiing helmet for my size (believe me I looked in Austria and France in multiple trips).

Eventually I found one (actually special ordered it) in ...Greece!

I kept the helmet for 7 years, until the foam structure started (and eventually completely) separated from the outer plastic shell. It also became brittle. Thankfully, by that stage I was back in the US and managed to find a new helmet that fit.

Foam does deteriorate. If you choose to believe otherwise... heck.. it's your head
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Old 04-20-18, 02:19 PM
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You folks are great. Keep 'em comin', but I get the idea! THANK YOU!
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Old 04-20-18, 02:46 PM
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Let’s remember, this thread is about purchasing a helmet and is not a pro/con helmet thread.
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Old 04-20-18, 02:54 PM
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If you accept that there isn't much difference in protection, then select based on style. It's only logical.

Regarding the lights on cheap helmets, my theory is that the target demographic has an overly optimistic opinion about the protective value of the helmet, and will have a correspondingly favorable impression of the utility of a light behind it. So given a choice, they're more likely to choose the one with a blinkie.

BTW, I'm not much of one for helmets, but if I wanted to ensure the best protection I'd definitely go with something with MIPS.
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Old 04-20-18, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Oneder View Post
I've been thinking of getting a used street motorcycle helmet with fully enclosed visor as a more simple way to deal with the wind.
I'm not sure protection from the wind is necessary or desirable in most cases. Ventilation and airflow are generally a good thing in a bicycle helmet.

Originally Posted by Oneder View Post
Not sure a bicycle helmet really does anything for a cyclist to be honest. It doesn't even protect your teeth and face for god's sake.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Surgery, bicycle helmets reduce the chance of traumatic brain injury by over 50%, and that's really all they're designed to to. It would suck to lose some teeth, but brain damage can be permanently disabling or fatal.
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Old 04-20-18, 03:05 PM
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I don't know how good/better any of them are
but
I get a new one when I want to.

Now
I'm into being seen
so I got high vis color
with good ventilation for summer.

>>> got the one I wanted to get<<<. ::suggest everyone do the same::
Keep you happy
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Old 04-20-18, 03:10 PM
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Oneder
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75 View Post


You need protection from the wind? Ventilation and airflow are generally a good thing in a bicycle helmet.



According to a study published in the American Journal of Surgery, bicycle helmets reduce the chance of traumatic brain injury by over 50%.

It would suck to lose some teeth, but brain damage can be permanently disabling or fatal.



I dunno how well they protect... A head injury could explain some things. ;-)
You can't figure out why someone riding in freezing 50 mph winds during winter wants wind protection and accuse me of brain damage? The irony.

Of course they offer some tiny amount of protection in low speed impacts as I said already, not much though. If you are landing on the top of your head from a bicycle on the road then you are doing something very wrong or got hit by a car, which they will not protect against much.

For offroading if people wear a helmet it is usually a motorcycle helmet. They actually work for high speed collisions, though they won't save you from ramming directly into a car or tree at high speed with your skull, which will probably break your neck anyhow.

Bicycle helmet is somewhere between a joke and a scam. Better than nothing but not by much.
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Old 04-20-18, 03:21 PM
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Here, you can shield your face from the wind but still bust your teeth out if you want!
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Old 04-20-18, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Oneder View Post
You can't figure out why someone riding in freezing 50 mph winds during winter wants wind protection and accuse me of brain damage? The irony.
I rethought and edited my post, but apparently not fast enough. We may not agree on everything, but you've got my apologies for the wording.
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Old 04-20-18, 05:03 PM
  #23  
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I'm only concerned about fit and comfort, especially in our hot summers. I've worn a Bell Solar for almost three years, $20 from Nashbar. No problems.

Bell helmets seem to fit my noggin better. My skull is oval, much wider at the back than front. Kinda Frankenstein-ish. I tried other helmets but they didn't feel right.

The main compromise with lower priced helmets like mine is the manufacturers skip coating the foam with a hard plastic shell. So the foam is exposed on the back of the helmet. It feels like styrofoam, but a bit tougher. It will accumulate scuffs, chips and gouges over time.

Regarding external helmet shape, the current trend seems to be back toward rounded shapes. The theory is a helmet that's rounded in the rear is less likely to deflect on a rearward fall impact, less likely to twist the neck or deflect off the skull and compromise protection. The Kask helmets for everyday riding with adjustable vents to choose between comfort and aero advantage seem to be the current conventional wisdom.

My older Bell Solar has the formerly popular semi-pointy shape in the back. This may test better in wind tunnel tests. It's reminiscent of the early aero helmets used in time trials back in the 1980s, with a short rear point before they switched to the Alien Xenomorph type long extension.

In riding fast, especially tucked for downhills or into the wind, I can feel less drag and hear less turbulence when I tip my head forward a bit. So there may be some small aero advantage. But I wouldn't buy a helmet for everyday use based on that. A comfortable, well made helmet makes more sense. My helmet shape hasn't helped me in fast group rides. It might help a bit on my solo efforts at improving Strava times on some segments. But that's not a very good reason for choosing a helmet. I only bought the Solar because it suited my budget in 2015.
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Old 04-20-18, 05:24 PM
  #24  
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My $75 Kask Mojito just delivered.. Seems really well made (except the cheap-a$$ sticker logos) and fits well. My $.02 is look for NOS helmets from 1-2 years ago at 1/3 the original MSRP.
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Old 04-20-18, 06:49 PM
  #25  
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I need a large helmet and found the Giro Bishop at my local store for a very good price.
The adjustable "head band" works well for me.
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