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Helmets(32 posts)

Jun 18, 2001 10:53 AM
Couple questions: 1. How long do helmets typically last? 2. Should I spend more money for a better helmet than I need upfront, or go cheaper till I can appreciate a nice/expensive helmet? 3. Recommendations??? I've had a couple now and they seem to fit okay when I get them and slowly break in. Eventually, they end up feeling too loose and I replace them. I'm trying to determine what to buy next. I purhcased a Giro Helios 2 months ago and it has completely fallen apart. I'm working out some kinda deal with Giro now, so I imagine they'll want me to replace it with another Giro, but I'm not sure. Some of the GT helmets look sharp! I also like the RocLock 4.
A couple of yearsmr_spin
Jun 18, 2001 11:05 AM
It depends on how much you ride and where you store it. The more sun, weather, salt, etc. you apply to your helmet, the faster it will break down. Leaving it in sunlight in a hot car is a bad thing to do. Basically the foam stuff that is supposed to protect you will become more brittle (less soft) and won't work as well on impact.

I'd say get a Giro Boreas. Recently I've seen them on sale everywhere, so I they are either ending the line or clearing space for next year's models. In either case, it's a nice helmet, and a step up from the Helios.
agree - also try a Giro StelvioHank
Jun 18, 2001 11:18 AM
I tend to replace mine every 3-4 years. I think the Stelvio at $50 retail is the best value in the Giro line. Weighs about the same as the higher end models, just not quite as well vented - but it also seems to offer more protection (has more material). But of course, fit is issue #1.

For more than you want to know about helmets, go here:
thanks for the articleKristin
Jun 18, 2001 12:46 PM
That was an interesting read. The article seems to tout that the helmet industry is solely market driven--i.e. into creating a "dissatisfied consumer"--and that there are no benefits to purchasing a more costly helmet outside of the "snob factor". They even indicate that some of the more trendy designs are counter-protective. (the aero design "shelf").

I happen to have an XS head and don't sweat excessively, so I'm trying to find a reasons not to buy a kids helmet for $20. The only reason I came up with, is to avoid being called Wilma by the occasional Fred. Any other benefits to buying a "snootier" helmet??
thanks for the articleHank
Jun 18, 2001 1:12 PM
I think fit and comfort are the main issues. If it's comfortable, you're more likely to wear it, and the better the helmet fits, the more likely it is to stay in place when you need it the most.
anti-cool is cool!Jiggy
Jun 18, 2001 1:47 PM
Get the one YOU like that fits well, whether it means covered with flowers, butterflies, ladybugs, or is pink or purple or whatever. The only advantage of expensive helmets is better fit options (Roc-loc, etc.) and better ventilation (not necessarily 'cooler' though, if you know what I mean). Expensive helmets are NOT any safer than cheaper helmets if adjusted properly and worn (although I don't know if this is the case for the ultra-cool chrome skate/bmx helmets).
Interesting observation/opinion...PsyDoc
Jun 18, 2001 12:47 PM
To my knowledge no one has conducted a study examining the effect that numerous vents have on protecting a cyclist's noggin. Because the larger number of vents (less material), I think there could be a chance that a blow to the head would concentrate the force of the blow to one specific area rather than impact being distributed more equally. Anyone have any thoughts on this issue? Although the helmet would protect the cyclist, I am interested if, because of the numerous vents, the energy generated by a fall would be localized.
Interesting observation/opinion...Hank
Jun 18, 2001 1:06 PM
well, that's what the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute seems to be saying - essentially more vents = less protection. If you look at the new Giro Pneumo, there just doesn't seem to be much beef. I've always been a big Giro fan because they made the first helmet I actually didn't mind wearing (the first model they introduced in the mid-80s) and they seem to fit a lot of people right out of the box. My beef is that once they got bought by Bell, they stopped submitting their helmets to Snell testing, which is the toughest. Would the new Pneumo meet Snell standards? I don't know. My 5 year old Giro has a Snell sticker in it, and my new Giro Stelvio looks very similar.
I think Physics says otherwisemr_spin
Jun 18, 2001 5:01 PM
I don't buy the theory that more vents = less protection. I also think that theory can work against helmets, because less vents = less likely to be worn!

Anyway, I think more vents can actually mean MORE protection, because the vents function as a "crumple zone." Essentially, they collapse into each other in a cascading fashion, dissapating energy with each separate collapse. Contrast this with only a few vents, which can't collapse as well, meaning more energy will end up going directly into your head. And that's bad. As an extreme, imagine NO vents--the helmet can barely collapse, if at all. You might as well wear a salad bowl on your head. Or one of those worthless foam rubber Rudy Project "helmets."

There is a limit on how many vents you can put in before you start losing strength, so the trick is not only determining how many, but where the vents are located and how thick they are. I think that's part of the reason why these helmets are so expensive--research costs money ($160 for the Pneumo is still outrageous!).
well all we can do is theorize...Hank
Jun 18, 2001 6:00 PM
because Giro doesn't submit their helmets to Snell and we don't really know how the different helmets stack up in terms of protection. I think it might be better if there was some sort of independant body that could test and score each helmet. Of course, there are lots of real world variables that are hard to account for in any one test, but it would be better than what we have now.
Have to disagree w/your analysis...RhodyRider
Jun 19, 2001 6:48 AM
Take a look at any motorcycle helmet - no vents! Following your arguement, this would indicate that such a helmet will not "collapse" well and is thus unsafe. Sorry, but I think this is not the case. Expanded PolyStyrene (EPS) is designed to collapse or compress on itself, thereby absorbing impact & shock. I'm pretty sure EPS does not need spacing to perform properly, and subsequently the wearer is not punished if no such spacing exists. FWIW.
Have to disagree w/your analysis...mr_spin
Jun 19, 2001 9:20 AM
Good point about motorcycle helmets, but I think my theory is still valid. I don't think bike helmets are designed to take the kinds of forces possible in a motorcycle accident.

Also, I didn't mean to say that helmets without vents won't collapse. I'm just saying that helmets with lots of vents can be specifically designed to collapse in such a way as to dissapate more energy. Therefore, less vents does not necessarily mean less protection.

NASCAR has horrible accidents all the time, but rarely does anyone get hurt. That's because most of the energy caused by the impact is spent rolling or spinning or launching the car into the air. There can still be an impact, but the roll cage and other safety devices dissapate most of the rest. But if you run a car head on into a wall at 180mph, like what happened to Dale Earnhardt, the car stops dead and the energy has no chance to dissapate, and that is really going to hurt.

So when your head hits the ground and your helmet doesn't absorb energy by essentially folding up, where does the energy go? It's certainly something to consider when buying a helmet.
I think Physics says otherwiseDrD
Jun 20, 2001 8:30 AM
The arguments which are typically made against "Pneumo-esque" helmets are either:

1. large vents let things pass through the helmet and smack your head directly (probably more of a big deal for mtb riding)

2. the contact area between your head and the helmet is reduced - as a result, in an impact the force which is transferred to your head is focussed onto a smaller area, which may be more damaging.

The foam used to make helmets has a pretty open structure and crushes on it's own - I think any effects of the structure of the helmet failing would be pretty negligable

Don't get me wrong, I think the Pneumo looks pretty cool (aesthetically and literally) - I'd probably be wearing one if it were shaped like my head!
Giro offers 20% off a Pneumo?Kristin
Jun 18, 2001 2:45 PM
Okay, I'm trying to do the math here. In April I purchased a left over Helios for $60 (perhaps that was my first mistake). Now, after 2 months, most of the velcro has lost its grip, been replaced and lost its grip again. Finally, the RocLoc strap broke in two (the helmet is not tight either). Giro just offerrf me 20% off on a Pneumo. The selling point is the $32 discount. In my eyes there getting me to spend another $118 on their products, even though the last product I purchased from them completely failed (in 2 months time). I don't like this deal. Am I being overly harsh?
Giro offers 20% off a Pneumo?haesook
Jun 18, 2001 2:51 PM
just get the Eclipse (provided it fits well)- these can be found for about $60 and/or ask if they would cut you a deal on one of these
You are notGregJ
Jun 18, 2001 6:03 PM
IMO you should get a new helmet from Giro at no charge. Helmets should hold up well for years. If they do not replace it, buy another brand. My wife has a Specialized Airwave that retails for around 30-35 bucks, I think it is an excellent helmet for the money.
Tough one there, but...boy nigel
Jun 18, 2001 6:19 PM
I would--as someone else suggested--work on them to either replace the helmet with an equally priced one gratis (free), or for them to give you the amount you paid ($60) for your Helios towards any other of their higher-priced lids. I have a Boreas which I'm very happy with, but their Pneumo does look delicious. I just checked one out at a store recently (but not to buy, just out of curiosity): their vents are HUGE, like put-your-hand-through-each-one huge. I loved that. They're really expensive, though. Then again, helmets SHOULD last a few years (or until you want a change in fashion/function).

I'd stay away from a child's helmet. They may be rated differently than adult's models. A child that weighs 65 pounds won't stress a helmet like an adult that weighs 250 pounds will (not that you're close to that weight or anything), and I can't see a child's helmet being tough enough for adults.

Good luck with dealing with Giro; not that I think they'll give you a tough time, but I do wish you good luck. You may be better off dealing with the shop you bought the helmet from; they probably shouldn't have sold anyone a helmet in that condition! Shame shame!

Tell us what goes down, eh?

I don't think so.look271
Jun 18, 2001 8:15 PM
Seems to me that they owe you alot more than that. I imagine that if you look around, you could get a new Pneumo for less than that. They're trying to s#$@w you over. Demand more; if they don't do better, buy something else.
Giro offers 20% off a Pneumo?El Cheapo
Jun 18, 2001 10:31 PM
LBSs around here are selling the Pneumo for $99. I bought a couple Boreaus for $59 on a closeout a couple years ago. I'm still using the first one which has held up really well. The closeout Boreaus are the ugly Lime Green. Unless I repaint them, I'll have live with the color a few more years. If I bought a new helmet, I would get the Briko Twinner since everyone on my training rides are showing up with the new Pneumos.
re: HelmetsDaveG
Jun 18, 2001 6:32 PM
I usually replace my helmet every two years. They tend to get beat up and stinky pretty fast. I personally think mid-price helmets ($50-$80) are the best deal. The super hi-end >$100 helmets seem to me to be mostly hype and don't seem to offer much except style points. (How many more vents can you possible make on one helmet?) All the good innovations seem to rapidly trickle down the price range anyway.
Buy one of those cool Rudy Project Stratosphere's. Yeah baby!Ron Jeremy
Jun 18, 2001 6:39 PM
re: HelmetsMel Erickson
Jun 19, 2001 7:33 AM
They can last for years. Damage from an accident or just banging around is the most common cause of replacement. If kept out of the sun, not attacked by chemicals or damaged, the EPS foam is good for a long time. More money does not equal more protection or a better fit. It MIGHT mean better ventilation, but not necessarily so. Better ventilation can mean poorer protection. Larger vents can allow objects to penetrate the vent holes more easily in the event of a crash. I recommend you try and get GIRO to give you a reasonable deal on a new helmet. Reasonable does not mean free. You did get some use from the old helmet. But, reasonable does not mean a few dollars off the suggested retail price of their most expensive helmet. I would think half off a similarly priced GIRO would be reasonable (similar model and half off the price you paid, not their suggested retail). If they won't deal, don't give them your business. There are many helmet brands and lots of good prices for good helmets. A good fit is most important, as you already know.
re: Helmetsvoitto
Jun 19, 2001 6:58 PM
please take the pneumo and be glad yuo wasnt hungry today , or yuo havent suffered violence so much , yuors humbly , at
Ima Moron...Kristin
Jun 20, 2001 6:18 AM
Wait! I have proof even. :-) (Pleeeze smile when you read this)

When the strap broke (that's what I call it anyway), I figured pretty quickly that the helmet was toast. Perhaps this was wishful thinking--I've had so many issues with this thing already and it doesn't match my bike. I never really sat down and looked to determine if it could be repaired. Yesterday it occured to me that I should do this. Well, of course, the RocLoc unit (called the Stabalizer, not the strap) can be replaced. Giro is sending one. I jumped to a conclusion and you know where that leads! Could someone point me towards the RBR doghouse?

In the process, I discovered that the helmet I (JUST) purchased was a model from 1997!!! I'm pretty peeved to have been sold a 4 year old helmet (and for $60), but that's what I get for not researching first.

I feel badly that I waisted your time. Though I'm still glad I posted this. Useful knowledge was exchanged and I've found my next helmet. The safety commission(??) article raved about Louis Garneau helmets and they are amazingly well priced. A work of art as well.
How would you choose the design....Len J
Jun 20, 2001 7:32 AM
Today I feel like a Ladybug.
Today I feel like a cow.


Would one of these make you a Wilma? Or perhaps someone laughing at the Fred's.
Listen here Ima...Lazy
Jun 20, 2001 10:18 AM
You deserve everything you get for buying a helmet that doesn't match your bike!!! What were you thinking?

Anywho, glad it worked out for you. ;-)
Ima Moron...Lone Gunman
Jun 20, 2001 7:30 PM
Sure they raved about it, but does it fit? I have owned several brands of helmets over the years, none fit like the Giro. I had tried Bell, Specialized Sub6, Headway...Giro doesn't fool with the different size pads to conform the helmet to your head, they use the rock loc thingmabob. If you have a round pumpkin head try Bell. If oval shaped Giro. As for others like Linmar? or Garneau, try them before buying. If the glue in your Giro for the velcro failed, try a glue called Goop on the velcro and let it sit overnight. My Giro fit well enough that I will buy another, I have had enough uncomfortable helmets. $.02.
Sixty Bucks is a GOOD deal!Stickers
Jun 20, 2001 9:45 PM
Kirstin, I paid around $130 for that helmet in '96, loved it, so breezy and comfortable. Have a Boreas now, like it better, lighter and breezier. Bonked my head last month, was'nt looking where I was going, helmet saved me.
re: Sixty Bucks is a GOOD deal!Kristin
Jun 21, 2001 11:43 AM
Wow... really? I thought that helmet had retailed for $80. Thanks for the info, I feel better now.

Interesting trivia: Did you know that a special task force of The Mattress Police operates within the Bell/Giro organization? They do, they do! They beat and interogated me for having removed the serial number stickers from inside my hemet. NEVER DO THIS!! :-)
So, which one are you getting?look271
Jun 21, 2001 10:06 AM
And where? The Poseidon looks really good and one of the color matches my bike.:-) Currently, my Specialized Sub-zero doesn't match (although this is my 2nd one and I really like them.), and,well, you know; can't have clashing helmet/bike colors!
Um....I think the ladybugs...Kristin
Jun 21, 2001 11:28 AM
The Poseidon was actually the pic I posted, but what appeared was funnier. The yellow and black Poseidon would go perfectly with my bike! Cool looking helmet.

The point about helmet fit is well taken. I discovered difference between Bell (round noggins) and Giro (oval noggins) last year. My first helmet (Bell Jumpstart..yeah haha) was too big cuz of the shape. Giro's fit me better. So, yeah, I'll definately try it on first. I might go ahead and buy a second helmet now, keeping the Helios as my backup. Do most of you keep a backup helmet laying around???

Another Tangent: Are their any custom helmet designers out there that will mold a helmet to fit your head? (getting the plaster out of your hair could take weeks, eh?)
Um....I think the ladybugs...Lone Gunman
Jun 21, 2001 7:49 PM
I usually end up with a new helmet before one wears out. True story, I was on a ride across the state of NC last year and discovered half way through the ride that my Helios was cracked between one of the vents, with no explanation why (no crash or smash). The covering was still intact, so I super glued the crack and put goop glue on the failing velcro strips as I believe sweat breaks down the glue and I am still wearing that helmet although I am thinking replacement soon. I do wish I had a replacement on that trip, I think I would have worn it, just to be safe.