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Are all Helmets equal?

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Old 05-08-04, 01:24 PM
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GeorgiaBlue
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Are all Helmets equal?

Allright - so the wife and I have bought bikes - Trek 7300 for me the 7100 for her. She doesn't want to wear a helmet - I'm going to every time out and going to buy her one - even if she doesn't wear it.

My question is why the big difference in helmet pricing? I have seen some starting at 19.99 going up to 99.99 - and I'm sure they get more expensive than that. We really aren't planning anything at all off-road - or high speed (well maybe me).

What should I get?
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Old 05-08-04, 01:35 PM
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Helmets sold for biking in the US all have to pass the same safety regulations. However, a helmet is only as good as it's fit (and, of course, only works if you wear it!)... More expensive helmets generally have more adjustable fit systems, so that you can adjust the helmet to fit your head closely but comfortably, and also often have better ventilation systems / lighter weights, which make them more comfortable to wear, especially in the summer heat. So, from a pure safety perspective, a cheap helmet that's properly fitted will offer all the protection of a more expensive one, but you may find that paying a little more will get you a helmet that's easier and more comfortable to wear.

-chris
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Old 05-08-04, 01:52 PM
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Buy a helmet that fits well and meets your budget. You'll find plenty to threads out there about helmet usage. I am confident that the vast majority recommends wearing a helmet. My personal experience is that a helmet saved me from a severe concussion or worse.
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Old 05-08-04, 02:22 PM
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brokenrobot
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Originally Posted by fujibike
My personal experience is that a helmet saved me from a severe concussion or worse.
Me too! I commuted for six months without one, but have been saved twice - most recently last night - in the four months since then, and I'm continually grateful that I talked myself into buying one!

-chris
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Old 05-08-04, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by brokenrobot
Helmets sold for biking in the US all have to pass the same safety regulations. However, a helmet is only as good as it's fit (and, of course, only works if you wear it!)... More expensive helmets generally have more adjustable fit systems, so that you can adjust the helmet to fit your head closely but comfortably, and also often have better ventilation systems / lighter weights, which make them more comfortable to wear, especially in the summer heat. So, from a pure safety perspective, a cheap helmet that's properly fitted will offer all the protection of a more expensive one, but you may find that paying a little more will get you a helmet that's easier and more comfortable to wear.

-chris
All technically true, but I still disagree - at least to a point.

For a helmet to do any good, it has to stay on your head while you are in the process of falling. When they test helmets, they get to have somebody who has a PHD in helmets adjust the straps just before the headform meets the road. Obviously everything is going to be buckled up just right. Real life isn't like that. While there is some trickle down from the upper end helmets, the cheaper strap retention systems don't seem to stay adjusted nearly as well. My wife is the BEST helmet fitter that I know. I can't go anywhere with her without her finding three or four people who are in serious need of helmet strap adjustments. It's embarassing!

My second point is somewhat related. For a helmet to do any good, it has to be on your head. If she refuses to wear it, you've accomplished nothing. Never underestimate the "dork" factor because that's what we are really fighting against. The helmet manufacturers don't, that's why the $100.00 helmets are so much more stylish-looking than the $30.00 helmets. If you seriously want your wife to wear a helmet, let her pick out the one that she thinks might be OK "if only it wasn't so expensive."
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Old 05-08-04, 04:39 PM
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It might be helpful to give this document a quick read:

http://www.helmets.org/history.htm

I can't vouch for the authori-tay of the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, but they do make some interesting arguments against spending a fortune on a helmet.

I hope this helps,
BK
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Old 05-08-04, 05:09 PM
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For what it's worth a Bell helmet feels odd on my noggin, but a Giro fits perfectly. I'd recommend that you try some helmets on before you buy one.

I hate the "sizing" pads and have never had to use them since I am particular about the helmet I buy.
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Old 05-08-04, 09:29 PM
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I wear a "dorky" helmet. It was inexpensive. But it fits very well on my head. After seeing numerous people wearing a helmet improperly, mainly because of the "dork factor", I've come to the conclusion that if you don't wear it properly, why bother to wear one at all?
So, get one you and she will wear. The price of a helmet no matter how expensive is still cheap compared to an injury.
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Old 05-09-04, 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by brokenrobot
Helmets sold for biking in the US all have to pass the same safety regulations.
It's worth making sure that the helmet you are looking for actually did pass the safety test. It's not beyond the realms of possibility that someone might try a little scam here.
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Old 05-09-04, 10:05 PM
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I purchased a new helmet a couple of weeks ago. I tried different ones in prices ranging from $30 to $55. The one that was most comfortable to me was the $30 one. A Giro Transit. Try a bunch of them on at the LBS and get the one that feels the best.
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