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How much abuse can a helmet take?

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How much abuse can a helmet take?

Old 06-14-14, 12:47 PM
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mathwiz
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How much abuse can a helmet take?

I've bumped it a few times (like hitting my head while bending over to unlock my bike, or hitting it on the ceiling as I'm walking in a short corridor). I've never been in a crash, and visually it looks fine.

Am I correct in assuming that a bike helmet should be able to take these kinds of bumps?
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Old 06-14-14, 01:05 PM
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The rule of thumb is "crash once (or drop hard) throw helmet away" due to micro-cracks that can cause the helmet to weaken/fail .
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Old 06-14-14, 01:09 PM
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The way a helmet works is that the styrofoam pellets that make up the body of the helmet crush when you hit something hard. That softens the blow to your head. Once they are deformed by hitting something, then they are useless for that function. If you haven't hit the helmet hard enough to deform the styrofoam, then you are OK.
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Old 06-14-14, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
The way a helmet works is that the styrofoam pellets that make up the body of the helmet crush when you hit something hard. That softens the blow to your head. Once they are deformed by hitting something, then they are useless for that function. If you haven't hit the helmet hard enough to deform the styrofoam, then you are OK.

My question is how hard is "hard enough". I assume normal bumps are fine? Is there an easy way to inspect it?
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Old 06-14-14, 05:26 PM
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Youre the math whiz , bring an accelerometer to put numbers on the concept.
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Old 06-14-14, 05:49 PM
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@VegasTriker has already stated the following:

To deform Styrofoam you must change its original shape in some manner. If your helmet's Styrofoam does not appear to have changed it's shape, then it is NOT deformed. As long as it has not been deformed, it is in quite operable condition and you need not worry.
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Old 06-14-14, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by mathwiz View Post
My question is how hard is "hard enough". I assume normal bumps are fine? Is there an easy way to inspect it?
Low-impact bumps like in your OP are to be expected. Here's a link to the standards if you want real numbers: Bicycle Helmet Standards
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Old 06-15-14, 07:20 AM
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In my own case I replace helmets because they get raunchy from being worn a lot, not simply because I have dropped them on the ground a few times. It is hot here and so you sweat in the helmet and the pads that make them comfortable pick up the sweat. Even if you wash the helmet the pads eventually get crummy so I toss the helmet and buy a new one. I have seen recommendations to replace the helmet after a couple years no matter what because sunlight and heat eventually make them less effective.
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Old 06-15-14, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
In my own case I replace helmets because they get raunchy from being worn a lot, not simply because I have dropped them on the ground a few times. It is hot here and so you sweat in the helmet and the pads that make them comfortable pick up the sweat. Even if you wash the helmet the pads eventually get crummy so I toss the helmet and buy a new one. I have seen recommendations to replace the helmet after a couple years no matter what because sunlight and heat eventually make them less effective.
Yes, UV light/heat does a number on the plastics that all helmets are made from.
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Old 06-21-14, 08:05 AM
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If you are shot out of a cannon straight into the rear end of an elephant then you might want to replace it.

There.. I said it.
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Old 06-21-14, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by AdrianFly View Post
If you are shot out of a cannon straight into the rear end of an elephant then you might want to replace it.

There.. I said it.
The imagery is ... disturbing. I might wait a while now before I have breakfast.
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Old 06-21-14, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by RoadTire View Post
The imagery is ... disturbing. I might wait a while now before I have breakfast.
My apologies, I simply meant it hypothetically.
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Old 06-21-14, 09:10 AM
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AdrianFly: If you are shot out of a cannon straight into the rear end of an elephant then you might want to replace it. There.. I said it. - RoadTire: The imagery is ... disturbing. I might wait a while now before I have breakfast. - AdrianFly : My apologies, I simply meant it hypothetically.

It was funny until I just googled it so I could be a smart a$$ and post a comic picture. Now I am disturbed.
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Old 06-21-14, 09:16 AM
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After a crash, get a new helmet, After a few minor bumps as you've described , IMO it's is still good as new.
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Old 06-21-14, 09:27 AM
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Just a matter of time .. the usual recommendation is 'dont get attached to your helmet' , the plastics are unstable ,

and you will be advised to rerplace the helmet , after a while , anyhow.
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Old 06-21-14, 08:25 PM
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If your momentum carries you all the way into the elephant do not panic. Just run around until you're "pooped out!"
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Old 06-22-14, 12:38 PM
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I doubt you'll ever get a factual answer to that question.

1. The people who have done the research and who know for sure all want to sell you a new helmet.
2. After you get an owie, nobody wants to be the one who said that your helmet was perfectly safe.
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Old 06-22-14, 02:56 PM
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In the past, they recommended replacement after a crash or 5 years of normal use. With kids helmets, replace after one year because they tend to drop them. If you tend to bump and nick things, I would replace after 1 year.
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Old 06-26-14, 12:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
I doubt you'll ever get a factual answer to that question.

1. The people who have done the research and who know for sure all want to sell you a new helmet.
2. After you get an owie, nobody wants to be the one who said that your helmet was perfectly safe.

^What he said.
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Old 06-26-14, 01:22 AM
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Quit wearing the PIA's and you won't have to worry about it.Jmho.
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Old 06-26-14, 06:06 AM
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I had a quality helmet for about 5 years. It got the usual bumps and drops. One day I saw a crack and the helmet just fell apart in my hands.
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Old 06-26-14, 09:19 AM
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I have split one, cracked one and dented one. They can take a lot. All have served their purpose well. No concussion or major bleeding. I love my mt bikes. It's just those damn trees jumping into the middle of the trail.
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Old 06-26-14, 09:20 AM
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I'd just patch it up with pieces from a beer cooler and duct tape. But then again, I'm an idiot.
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Old 06-26-14, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by danmc View Post
I'd just patch it up with pieces from a beer cooler and duct tape. But then again, I'm an idiot.
That looks tacky with duct tape. Elmers glue works great and no one can tell
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Old 06-26-14, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
That looks tacky with duct tape. Elmers glue works great and no one can tell
Elmers won't work. You need to go to RCGroups.com and read the forums there in the electric airplane section. You use specific foam glue from Michael's craft store. Heck, when you crash a foam RC electric airplane, the repairs usually come out stronger than brand new condition. A 2nd crash of an RC airplane always results in a 2nd fracture somewhere to glue together rather than reglueing the same fracture again.
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