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New Helmet - Not Crashed?!?!

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New Helmet - Not Crashed?!?!

Old 03-23-16, 04:20 AM
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New Helmet - Not Crashed?!?!

Yesterday I stopped by Trek store, just to look what is new and on sale.
I stopped by helmets and tried some of them. The new helmets seems lighter than mine. Not that I need one, never crashed.
However, the Trek person told me that helmets need to be replaced every 3-4-5 years, regardless of crashes.
They explained that some materials are loosing their "qualities" overtime and will not protect as good as new ones.
I never heard of it.


Should I buy a new helmet?!?!?!
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Old 03-23-16, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Gege-Bubu
Yesterday I stopped by Trek store, just to look what is new and on sale.
I stopped by helmets and tried some of them. The new helmets seems lighter than mine. Not that I need one, never crashed.
However, the Trek person told me that helmets need to be replaced every 3-4-5 years, regardless of crashes.
They explained that some materials are loosing their "qualities" overtime and will not protect as good as new ones.
I never heard of it.


Should I buy a new helmet?!?!?!
The Trek person is a Salesperson their job is to sell.
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Old 03-23-16, 05:19 AM
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A helmet can be trashed in and instant in crash or by exposure to the wrong solvent or can live nearly indefinitely in an appropriately benign environment. 3-5 years is only a rough guideline. Only you can know what your helmet has been exposed to, and it's your head, so it's up to you when to get a new helmet.
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Old 03-23-16, 05:40 AM
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What condition is your current helmet? I've always heard 3-5 seasons (dirt/MX motorcycle riding) but in that time, even with great care, the insides become ratted out and they taken some hits. I would think a road cycling helmet to be different. The only thing I could see structurally that would change with an uncrashed road helmet would be UV exposure, and to that I would ask if it's faded much. Inside, if all the padding and straps are in good shape I'd say it's fine. With that being said, my current helmet is months old and I've already started looking at new ones. There is nothing wrong with it and it fits fine but I'm wanting a Lazer (either Helium or Z1, haven't fully decided yet). If you want a new helmet, then by all means yes but if it's a case do you need to replace your old one? You will be able to access that than anyone.

On another note, a helmet that's a few ounces lighter can be felt at the end of several hours.
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Old 03-23-16, 06:43 AM
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....Not that I need one, never crashed.....--always a reason for having a helmet is "Murphy's Law" ......


....Should I buy a new helmet?!?!?!----sure, help the ECONOMY out
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Old 03-23-16, 06:58 AM
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FWIW they recommend replacing motorcycle helmets periodically too. There is probably some science to support that the foam loses some of its integrity over time.
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Old 03-23-16, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy
....Not that I need one, never crashed.....--always a reason for having a helmet is "Murphy's Law" ......

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think he meant he didn't need a new helmet as he has not crashed with his current one.
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Old 03-23-16, 07:28 AM
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Buy a new one if you want a lighter, more ventilated and more fashionable helmet but not from fear that the materials are "losing their quality". If the straps and padding are holding up and the plastic cover is still secure, then it's probably fine. Styrene (and Polystyrene) does not degrade over time. UV damage is insignificant.
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Old 03-23-16, 07:31 AM
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I would say 5 years is reasonable. I'll use that as proof to show my wife I need a new one 3 years from now.

From SNELL FOUNDATION
Snell Foundation - Helmet FAQ

[h=4]Why should you replace your helmet every five years?[/h] The five-year replacement recommendation is based on a consensus by both helmet manufacturers and the Snell Foundation. Glues, resins and other materials used in helmet production can affect liner materials. Hair oils, body fluids and cosmetics, as well as normal "wear and tear" all contribute to helmet degradation. Petroleum based products present in cleaners, paints, fuels and other commonly encountered materials may also degrade materials used in many helmets possibly degrading performance. Additionally, experience indicates there will be a noticeable improvement in the protective characteristic of helmets over a five-year period due to advances in materials, designs, production methods and the standards. Thus, the recommendation for five-year helmet replacement is a judgment call stemming from a prudent safety philosophy.
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Old 03-23-16, 07:32 AM
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Buy a New helmet..

You are going to crash sometime.

You may or may not crash on your head.

When I crashed I had on my newest helmet.
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Old 03-23-16, 07:36 AM
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The foam will degrade over time, though probably longer than 5 years.

Still, the way I see it is that I figure my head is worth spending a couple hundred bucks every few years.
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Old 03-23-16, 07:37 AM
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I'll leave this little gem from the construction industry here and let others make their own judgements:

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that hard hats worn by construction workers are stamped with an expiration date, and that they are replaced accordingly upon expiration. This isn't due to any manufacturers reasoning or causes. It's because UV rays cause the structure of plastic to degrade over time, making them less capable at doing their job. Expected life span of a hardhat: 3 years.

Not marketing, not sales... science. UV Damage to Polymers
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Old 03-23-16, 07:43 AM
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Aren't most helmets primary protecting agent Styrofoam? Aren't environmentalists telling us that stuff never degrades and last forever? Uh oh may be time to upgrade my original giro helmet.
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Old 03-23-16, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Gege-Bubu
Yesterday I stopped by Trek store, just to look what is new and on sale.
I stopped by helmets and tried some of them. The new helmets seems lighter than mine. Not that I need one, never crashed.
However, the Trek person told me that helmets need to be replaced every 3-4-5 years, regardless of crashes.
They explained that some materials are loosing their "qualities" overtime and will not protect as good as new ones.
I never heard of it.


Should I buy a new helmet?!?!?!
The bike shop by me said the same thing. Replace at least every 3 years because the foam or material inside degrades over time, luckily the Tour de Bronx gave out new helmets for free. I suggest doing just buying new ones just for the sake of it, it's your skull anyways.
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Old 03-23-16, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by cderalow
I'll leave this little gem from the construction industry here and let others make their own judgements:

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that hard hats worn by construction workers are stamped with an expiration date, and that they are replaced accordingly upon expiration. This isn't due to any manufacturers reasoning or causes. It's because UV rays cause the structure of plastic to degrade over time, making them less capable at doing their job. Expected life span of a hardhat: 3 years.

Not marketing, not sales... science. UV Damage to Polymers
Well a hardhat worn by a construction worker may be exposed to UV rays 8-10 hours a day, my helmet is
exposed to UV rays maybe 10 hours every 2 weeks.

I'm thinking that environmental factors play a part in the shelf life of a bike helmet also.
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Old 03-23-16, 10:26 AM
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After several years, I find that the straps are looking pretty worn, the pads are shots, and the helmet has been tossed around in a car trunk enough that replacement is warranted. If my helmet looked basically new, I wouldn't hesitate to wear it. I keep the old ones as spares for friends, etc.
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Old 03-23-16, 10:28 AM
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When to Replace a Helmet?
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Old 03-23-16, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Gege-Bubu
Should I buy a new helmet?!?!?!
How long have you had it? How does it smell? When you sweat in one for years it can get kind of nasty.

If you believe the manufacturers about how crashing and hitting your head is bad for you, and a helmet can save your life (or your ability to spell your name and do math), you should probably trust them about how long your helmet will last, too. I mean, is your life worth more than $100 to you?
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Old 03-23-16, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
Buy a New helmet..

You are going to crash sometime.

You may or may not crash on your head.

When I crashed I had on my newest helmet.
You should have been wearing the old one.
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Old 03-23-16, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by cderalow
I'll leave this little gem from the construction industry here and let others make their own judgements:

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that hard hats worn by construction workers are stamped with an expiration date, and that they are replaced accordingly upon expiration. This isn't due to any manufacturers reasoning or causes. It's because UV rays cause the structure of plastic to degrade over time, making them less capable at doing their job. Expected life span of a hardhat: 3 years.

Not marketing, not sales... science. UV Damage to Polymers
If you could find a gem on lifespan of cycling helmets that would be great.
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Old 03-23-16, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by brn2run
Well a hardhat worn by a construction worker may be exposed to UV rays 8-10 hours a day, my helmet is
exposed to UV rays maybe 10 hours every 2 weeks.

I'm thinking that environmental factors play a part in the shelf life of a bike helmet also.
While generally I'd agree with you, I'd also put the caveat that the plastic shell of a hardhat is significantly thicker than the outer plastic of a bicycle helmet. upwards of 1/8" where as a bike helmet is closer to 1/32".

as others have stated, the primary protection in a bicycle helmet is EPS foam which per the major manufacturers of EPS (DowChem) should be covered/protected against UV light

Originally Posted by aubiecat
If you could find a gem on lifespan of cycling helmets that would be great.
There's no specific mandates from any sort of governing bodies like OSHA.... just what most of the major cycling publications say as guidelines. Interestingly, UCI is silent on it as well, and I've honestly never noticed any sort of roadside replacement of helmets even during crashes.
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Old 03-23-16, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by texaspandj
Aren't most helmets primary protecting agent Styrofoam? Aren't environmentalists telling us that stuff never degrades and last forever? Uh oh may be time to upgrade my original giro helmet.
No, they say styrofoam never decomposes. The styrofoam degrades, meaning that over time, the structural quality of the foam lessens, reducing its effectiveness as a safety element. But even after 20 years, it's till going to be a blob of styrofoam.
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Old 03-23-16, 01:59 PM
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If the EPS foam in the helmet is left in the sun 24/7, without paint or plastic covering, over a long enough period (months), the surface will begin to yellow. The second stage is "powder chalking": after another long period of time, a very thin layer of the surface will turn to powder. That powdered surface (which you could find by visual inspection if you have left your helmet out in the sun for a year or two), has literally no effect on the helmet beyond the loss of that much thickness. What faction of the helmet's thickness is a layer of dust? That's how much the helmet would have been degraded.

Although in reality, helmets have a plastic cover and paint, which eliminate UV damage to the EPS foam, so you won't even suffer that yellowing or loss of a dust layer thickness.

The glue holding the plastic on might get brittle, and the straps and lining can rot (which if you read closely, is what the manufacturors and Snell focus on). That degradation is obvious on visual inspection. The bottom line is: if it's not obviously worn out, the helmet has not degraded simply due to age. Regardless of what the helmet makers or shop salesmen might say.
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Old 03-23-16, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by HOWSER
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think he meant he didn't need a new helmet as he has not crashed with his current one.
Sorry, the bolded.....Not that I need one, never crashed and "Murphy's Law" implication is directed towards the non-helmet wearing bicycle rider's rational for not purchasing a helmet.
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Old 03-23-16, 02:10 PM
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You know those are MUCH cheaper online, right?

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