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When to Replace a Helmet?

Discussion in '24-7 Lounge' started by DanPez, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. DanPez

    DanPez Cruisin' Guzzisti

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    I have a general question about helmet replacements.

    My Arai Quantum e liner feels like its becoming compressed, so I may look into replacing the liner (if I find one?)
    I know that helmet technology, styling and comfort features change fairly regularly over time .....
    The one I have is over 10 years old and even though it has never been dropped or damaged it looks fairly new.

    How do you go about a helmet inspection to determine if it is time to replace it?
    By the year manufactured?
    What signs should I look for that would suggest I need to start shopping for a new helmet?

    Thanks
     
  2. Mi_ka

    Mi_ka High Miler

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    It used to be 5 years for polycarbonate helmets and 10 years top for fiberglass helmets or so or after whatever crash it made contact with the tarmac at whatever force.
    This was supposed to be a helmet's lifetime If it has been in top condition, never dropped etc
    For regular use, 2-3 years for a polycarbonate one and 5 years for the higher spec materials.
     
  3. john zibell

    john zibell Moderator Staff Member GT di Razza Pura

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    Actually, the composition of the outer shell doesn't matter. What does matter is the rate of degradation of the Styrofoam liner. The Styrofoam is what slows the rapid acceleration of the brain in an impact. Exposure to air and sweat will cause the foam to stiffen. Hard foam does you no good. It must give to absorb energy. A helmet in use that hasn't been dropped should be replaced in the 5 year span. That said, a helmet that has sat unused for ten or more years in a closet would be good to use for 5 years once put into use.
     
  4. Will

    Will Cruisin' Guzzisti GT Contributor

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    I happened across a bit of Arai publicity on this subject recently. They say to change a helmet after 5 years and in Europe they offer free checks at their trade stands at major bike shows, race meetings, IoM TT etc.
     
  5. DanPez

    DanPez Cruisin' Guzzisti

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    I think I'll be looking for a replacement shortly :oops:

    I've worn Shoei and Arai most of my rides,
    I made a mistake by purchased a KBC VR-2 through the web 2 year ago .... doesn't fit as well (too tight) and the finishing also needs some finesse. (I still use it as a spare)

    Does Arai take back the old ones?
     
  6. IBA 270

    IBA 270 Tuned and Synch'ed

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    I'm offering this opinion as board member and not a professional;

    The answer is...depends...on a lot of factors. Where the helmet was stored when not worn, how often it was worn (and in what conditions). It's difficult to tell how protective it will be in a crash as they do certainly break down.

    I'm not as concerned about the helmet "condition" as much as something you stated however:

    "My Arai Quantum e liner feels like its becoming compressed..."

    My experience tells me that you might not have a helmet that fits you properly. While a helmet may "loosen" a bit, it shouldn't feel loose as it ages. If it does, it may mean that areas that were tight are now loose, and the loose areas are...for lack of a better term...looser.

    You really want to get fitted by a professional if you haven't. I don't know if you have or haven't, but I do know of a statistic that states that up to 80% of riders are wearing the wrong helmet. Let me give you a quick example of what I mean; if you get a tape measurer and come up with say 62CM which corresponds to a (for arguments sake) Large in brand "S". You try brand "S" on, but it's too tight. However the XL in brand "S" feels better. The fact is (fortunately or unfortunately) brand "S" doesn't fit your head. It's likely the wrong shape (your head or the helmet, however you want to look at it).

    The vast majority of retailers have you try a helmet on and as long as you can't pull it off your head, and it doesn't hurt for a few minutes of wearing it around, they call it "good". I call it dumb...(not you, them) but hey, what do I know? :whistle:
     
  7. Series4

    Series4 Cruisin' Guzzisti

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    Dan, you can't tell by looking. Replacement every five years is a good rule of thumb even if the hemet still looks good. In motorsport (from memory) it's five years from the date of manufacture. Even if the helmet's been kept in a dark cupboard the solvents in the foam still gas off, not as fast as in the hot sun but the liner will still harden over time.

    Think of what you're protecting. Buy a new one.
     
  8. mickyvee_2010

    mickyvee_2010 Tuned and Synch'ed

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    :D I recently bought a new Arai Quantum, and the lady at the shop spent a lot of time measuring me and making damn sure that I got the best fitting helmet possible. If left to my own devices, I'd have picked a helmet that was too big. My new one, which was tight to begin with, is now wonderfully snug. Go to a good shop, that sells a lot of helmets, and who know what they are doing.
     
  9. DanPez

    DanPez Cruisin' Guzzisti

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    Well I guess the KBC I bought is not tight after all. :lol:

    On the same subject of helmets ..... any opinions on Open-Face or Flip-Flop?
     
  10. john zibell

    john zibell Moderator Staff Member GT di Razza Pura

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    Flip front only certify as an open face. The question is do you want to look good, or keep your looks? I'm of the full face helmet persuasion.
     
  11. Mark111

    Mark111 Cruisin' Guzzisti GT Contributor

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    Daniel,
    I have both with my open face mainly used in the city/high traffic areas due to it's better peripheral vision.
    I have a Shoei open face which I must say is probably the most comfortable helmet I have ever worn although it plays havoc with my youthful complexion due to wind and sun burn. You also need good quality googles/glasses.
    My flip up full face is a Shark model which is also very comfortable and is really handy when you need to stop briefly and don't want to go through the ritual of taking your full face off. The only trade off is that it is a bit noisy at higher speeds but nothing that can't be resolved with some earplugs.
    It is really a matter of what you find comfortable as in my opinion there is nothing that can ruin a good ride more easily than an crap helmet. Of course an open face isn't going to be as good at providing protection but some people reckon that car drivers are less likely to run you down if they can see your face as you don't look like an anonymous drone.
    I don't know how you would test this theory but it sounds like it could have some truth to it.
    This might be a load of crap but it has seemed to work for me on plenty of occasions.

    Mark
     
  12. IBA 270

    IBA 270 Tuned and Synch'ed

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    While it is true that Snell does not certify (or did not certify) modular or "flip face" helmets, they aren't neccesarily less safe. I wore one for many years (Nolan N100) but in the end, decided that the trade off's in weight, fit (not many manufacturers, so fit was a compromise) and wind noise didn't outweigh the advantages of having a flip face.

    Your results may vary, but I'm a full face only. FWIW...I DO coach in a half "skull skid", but that's primarily because it's on and off many times during a day and I find it the best compromise to hear what's going on at the range and for speaking to students. Having said that, I personally wouldn't ride around the block wearing one. They (IMO only) are little better than no helmet at all.

    That's not what you asked though, is it? :)
     
  13. oldmanjob

    oldmanjob Cruisin' Guzzisti

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    I have a Nolan N102 modular (flip face) and this is my second one, as my first N102 gave up its life to save my face as I slid face down across the road when I totaled my Bonneville. The modular face piece stayed in place and did the job it was made to do. I always wear a full face helmet. I have also purchased a Nolan N43 Trilogy which is a full face that the chin guard is removable if a person likes a open face helmet. It is lighter in weight than the N102 and it has great peripheral vision.

    Bill
     
  14. Mi_ka

    Mi_ka High Miler

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    Snell certification usually means harder outer shell and slighty higher weight which maybe a minus point depending on the way you hit the ground as it may provoke bigger deceleration than a softer helmet...
    Even the lesser face rigidity of the flip flop may be a plus point depending on the way you go down: It is better to collapse after taking a big percentage of the hit energy and expose the face and maybe get injured there than having the back of the neck broken because the helmet's chin was too strong and forced scalp deformation by the safety strap as it held the helmet in place if you hit hard chin first. This is also a plus point for the double-D latch system over quick release hinges: Double-D provides for a bit of a slack under increasing load over the much more rigid hinges that may save your neck on a frontal crash...

    Best safety is always a "Big If" condition and there is no best for all conditions helmet configuration so you must make a choice depending on statistic approaches by educated guys like the Snell institution.
     
  15. Averb

    Averb Tuned and Synch'ed

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    FYI, Snell is not the only source of Helmet testing/certification, http://sharp.direct.gov.uk/ is also a great source of information including a guide to helmet fitting. Personally I wouldn't use an open face and I haven't enjoyed the experience of using a flip-up (noise and weight issues) and have replaced it with a Shoei full face.

    Steve
     
  16. Holt

    Holt High Miler GT Contributor

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    I've got a Shoei flip-up. Itsa nice helmet and sits very well with one exception, also OK considering noise and weight. I do like the flips better because I'm wearing glasses, but with a fresh pair of eyes I'd consider a full face. :dry:

    I won't buy a new Shoei however, but will go back to a BMW or Schubert (same manufacturer, ie Schubert) when it's time. The Shoei is a bit tight on my chin.
     
  17. Mi_ka

    Mi_ka High Miler

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    Mine too - is this because of the big mouth of ours? :side:
    Fine helmet though. And with metal latches for the chin while the Schuberths have much more fragile plastic ones I think...
     
  18. DanPez

    DanPez Cruisin' Guzzisti

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    Thats my issue also .... having the full face and wearing glasses. (Mine you my round face doesn't help either) :)

    Bill's "Nolan N43 Trilogy" or the "Shoei Multitech" looks pretty interesting and am leaning towards something similar.
    But doing some web shopping I found an Italian company OSBE that makes this wicked looking helmet but is not DOT nor Snell approved.
    They are ECE22.05 EUROPEAN APPROVED


    Has anyone heard pos/neg things about them?
     

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  19. Holt

    Holt High Miler GT Contributor

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    No. Schubert - and BMW - are metal latches. An really not in the cheapo section either.
    ECE 22.05 is quite equal to DOT, AFAK. But if safety is your primal issue, see the Sharp link as Avarp referred to.
     
  20. Series4

    Series4 Cruisin' Guzzisti

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    I'm happy with my BMW System 5. I like the flexibility of being better able to communicate with toll booth operators, shop staff etc without de-helming and it's also easier to take photos.
     

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