Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 34
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OldManBike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    679

    Whether to replace a crashed helmet

    The official advice is to replace your helmet after any crash where your head hit, or if there are any cracks in the foam or any other visible damage, blah blah blah. Specialized, for example, says to replace your helmet after "any impact or blow." Does any mountain biker do that? That would be about 3 helmets a week for me. That just seems like empty sales- or lawyer-speak. Even every time your head hits dirt or you see a crack in the foam still sounds like a lotta helmets. If my helmet's doing it's job, I don't want to toss it just because some marketing genius or lawyer scared me into it.

    But, on the other hand, I don't want to be a moron. I wear a helmet to protect my head. If my helmet's not doing it's job, I want one that will, period.

    So, generally, I'm interested in hearing real-world views on when to replace a helmet that's had some sort of impact or shows some sort of wear.

    And, specifically, I'm interested in opinions on whether my helmet is trash. I had a crash. Now my helmet has a visible crack in the foam and a visible ding in the side.
    Whether to replace a crashed helmet-dsc_0149.jpgWhether to replace a crashed helmet-dsc_0149-001.jpg
    Whether to replace a crashed helmet-dsc_0145.jpgWhether to replace a crashed helmet-dsc_0141.jpgWhether to replace a crashed helmet-dsc_0144.jpg
    Last edited by OldManBike; 04-29-2013 at 02:29 PM.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Mark in Baltimore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    153
    If that were my helmet, I'd replace it in a heartbeat. The helmet did its job once but can't be expected to do its job again since the helmet already absorbed a lot of the energy by cracking. If you crash a lot, maybe it's better to get a super cheap helmet. They're all Snell rated, so you're not giving up safety.

    Specialized has a helmet crash replacement coupon. I think it's 20% off.
    '12 S-Works Stumpjumper carbon HT
    '13 Specialized Carve Comp
    '94 S-Works M2

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    171
    Replace... No doubt if it were mine.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    69
    That helmet is shot, time for a new one. MTB helmets are really only designed to take one significant impact, then they're done. Any impact that cracks the foam or deforms the shell is significant. No, I don't work for a helmet company or a law firm; I just have a strongly held belief that my brain is worth protecting to the best of my ability.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OldManBike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    679

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: tartosuc's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    621
    Get yourself a skate style protec ace helmet
    It is design for multi impact
    expensive cars are a waste of money. Expensive bikes...not so much!

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    33
    Good God, OldManBike, you've done some damage to that helmet... I can see several helmet-killing impacts, including the cracked inside liner and the dented outer shell. This helmet definitely did it's job, but I'm sorry to say it's time to replace it. The replacement decision has to do with two issues - structural integrity of the shell/liner, and compression of the liner. In both cases, your helmet looks compromised. The liner is cracked, and the interior foam is clearly compressed. Replace it.

    I wouldn't necessarily recommend a skate style helmet with a hard ABS shell, as they are hot and heavy.
    Jim B
    XSportsProtective
    (800)930-4084
    www.XSportsProtective.com
    info@XSportsProtective.com

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OldManBike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    679
    What makes these decisions harder is that most of the info out there now on when to replace a helmet comes from folks who are trying to sell helmets. No one asks a car salesperson whether their current car is a keeper.

    Sure, my helmet shows damage. It's less safe than it was. But is it 1% less safe (which I think is entirely possible), or 50% less safe? I guess the real answer is "no one has any idea."

    Still, I hope one day there's more info available than "if something hit your helmet, buy another."

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: d365's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    1,311
    this one's a no-brainer..... pun intended.

  10. #10
    Trailhead Poseur
    Reputation: jjaguar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    454
    I know I probably hold on to helmets longer than I should, and I would still replace that helmet. When the foam is cracked then the helmet no longer has the structural integrity to do it's job.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    23
    As a neurologist specializing in head injury, I'd weigh in on replacing the helmet. Safety gear is always seen as inexpensive in retrospect.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Orthoguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    268
    It's your noggin brother... replace it.
    I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals, I just hate vegetables.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    403
    I've posted this before, here it is again from the Bicycle Helmet safety Institute.....

    Did you crash in it?
    For starters, most people are aware that you must replace a helmet after any crash where your head hit. The foam part of a helmet is made for one-time use, and after crushing once it is no longer as protective as it was, even if it still looks intact. Bear in mind that if the helmet did its job most people would tell you that they did not even hit their head, or did not hit their head that hard. And the thin shells on most helmets now tend to hide any dents in the foam. But if you can see marks on the shell or measure any foam crush at all, replace the helmet. (Helmets made of EPP foam do recover, but there are few EPP helmets on the market. Yours is EPS or EPU unless otherwise labeled.)
    You can also crack the helmet foam or damage it by dropping the helmet on a hard surface. The cracks may be small and hard to see, so you need to look carefully. Cracks in the foam always require replacement of the helmet.

    You may be reluctant to replace a helmet that looks almost as good as new, but if you did hit, you don't want to take chances on where you will hit next time. If the foam is cracked under the thin shell, it will be more likely to fly apart in your next crash. Many manufacturers will replace crashed helmets for a nominal fee, and most will also inspect crashed helmets to see if they need replacement. Call them if you are in doubt. For contact info check our list of manufacturers. (You can also ask them if they think the advice on this page is valid!}


    Is it from the 70's?
    If you still have a helmet from the 70's without a styrofoam liner, replace it immediately. That would include the Skidlid (with spongy foam), 1970's Pro-tec (spongy foam), Brancale (no foam) and all leather "hairnets." They just did not have the protection of helmets made after 1984 when the ANSI standard swept the junk off the market.
    The better 1970's helmets were reasonably good ones, but were not quite up to current standards. It is probably time to replace that old Bell Biker, Bailen, MSR, Supergo or similar model from the 70's or early 80's. (We have a page up on replacing the Bell Biker.) The hard shells were great, but the foam liners were not thick enough to meet today's ASTM or Snell standard. The Bell V-1 Pro was designed to today's standards, but the foam is very stiff, and if you are over 65 you probably should replace that too. If you have one of the 1980's all-foam helmets with perhaps a cloth cover, we would recommend replacing that one. Lab tests showed some years ago that bare foam doesn't skid well on pavement, and could jerk your neck in a crash. The cloth doesn't help much. In addition, some of them had no internal reinforcing, and they tend to break up in a crash. That's not serious if you just fall, but if you are hit by a car the helmet can fly apart in the initial contact and leave you bare-headed for the crack on the pavement.

  14. #14
    Trailhead Poseur
    Reputation: jjaguar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    454
    If you really don't want to replace the helmet, then don't.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OldManBike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    679
    Quote Originally Posted by jjaguar View Post
    If you really don't want to replace the helmet, then don't.
    No, I'm fine with replacing my helmet. I appreciate all the feedback on that. The point that I'm still hung up on is that I don't buy the party line.

    Let's say I own a helmet. I bought it because I just liked the shiny color, but it turns out it's 10% safer than the typical MTB helmet -- better coverage, whatever. I have a crash that makes that helmet 2% less safe than it was. Now my helmet is only 8% safer than the average helmet. Should I replace it? Everyone seems confident that the answer to that is yes yes yes. But the rational answer would be no, because my helmet's still safer than the other safe-enough helmets and 2% less safer isn't worth the cost of a new helmet to me.

    Of course, in reality, there's no info available to tell me whether my helmet was 10% safer when I bought it or 2% less safe when I crashed it. But that's my point. Everyone seems so sure that such information doesn't matter because crash=trash and it's your noggin and gosh! it's less safe now! and all the rest. But it does matter.

    The same logic that says you need to replace your helmet any time it's less safe than the day you bought it might also say you need to ride XC in a fullface, or that every rider needs to toss their current helmet for a new $220 MIPS helmet, or whatever. "Replace it if it's less safe" proves too much.

    That's why I hope better information about helmet safety eventually leads to more nuanced advice about crash replacement.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    171
    I'm absolutely flabbergasted by this thread. The only sure way to know how much damage your helmet has actually sustained after an impact is by x-ray. Even then, you would need a pretty astute radiologist experienced in NDT(non-destructive testing) to really tell what the extent of the damage is.

    The EPS material that that helmet's core is made from is not intented for multi-impact. It's meant to deform, crack and disintegrate in an effort to dissipate impact forces and slow the decelleration of your noggin so that your brain doesn't smash into the inside of your skull.

    If you don't like that FACT. Then you need to buy a helmet designed for multiple impacts as was suggested above.

    Your helmet is the classic compromise.

    When it comes to helmets, with current technology, you have to choose one of these combinations. Light-weight and safe or durable and safe.

    What you are asking for, "more nuanced advice", is currently far, far more expensive than a new helmet.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OldManBike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    679
    Informative response, even if you're absolutely flabbergasted. My premise was that more info about helmet safety is feasible, but no one cares enough to provide that info because the folks in the best position to know (helmet makers) have an economic incentive to just keep telling people to buy new helmets every time. You say my premise is wrong because there's nothing more we can cost-effectively know about a particular helmet's post-crash protectiveness.

    You may very well be right. Maybe the problem is unsolvable as long as helmets continue to be made out of foam.

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    171
    When you say more info about helmet safety is feasable, what do you propose? I was always taught that if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. What is your suggestion for solving this issue? Portable x-ray machines attached to your multi tool?

    Aside from my sarcasm, if you will research a little further, you'll see that it's not just the helmet manufacturers that tell you to replace the helmets. The certifying safety agencies are the largest advocate for replacing the helmets after a crash. "Snell exceededs the standards established by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)."

    Snell says replace the helmet. They are a non-profit, memorial foundation dedicated to saving lives. They have YOUR best interest in mind. You obviously have your wallet's best interest in mind. That's your choice.

    EDIT: I just saw your last sentence about helmets being made of foam. You're avoiding a statement made in this thread more than once. If you want a multi-impact helmet, buy one. As stated earlier, the current safety tech gives you two options. Light-weight and safe, durable and safe. Either or...

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OldManBike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    679
    Look, if discussing whether the current situation is imperfect agitates you, maybe this thread isn't for you. I just said you may well be right that, given current helmet construction, the kind of info I'm wishing for is impractical. If no more info is available, then crash=trash is all anyone can say.

  20. #20
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
    Reputation: shiggy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 1998
    Posts
    48,028

    Whether to replace a crashed helmet

    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    Look, if discussing whether the current situation is imperfect agitates you, maybe this thread isn't for you. I just said you may well be right that, given current helmet construction, the kind of info I'm wishing for is impractical. If no more info is available, then crash=trash is all anyone can say.
    Three times a week? You you really crash and hit your head that frequently?

    Read this: http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/...d-d-laboratory
    Since day-one of EPS foam helmets, they have worked by crushing. Once crushed, the foam is not effective.

    If you are OK about wearing a compromised helmet, go for it, and just hope you do not land on the damaged area again.
    mtbtires.com
    The trouble with common sense is it is no longer common

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OldManBike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    679
    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Three times a week? You you really crash and hit your head that frequently?
    I didn't say that. I quoted Specialized's "any impact or blow" language (Helmet owner's manual: "WARNING: In the event of any impact or blow, do not use this helmet") and said that happens ~3 times a week.

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    171
    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    The official advice is to replace your helmet after any crash where your head hit, or if there are any cracks in the foam or any other visible damage. Specialized, for example, says to replace your helmet after "any impact or blow." Does any mountain biker do that? That would be about 3 helmets a week for me. That just seems like empty sales- or lawyer-speak. Even every time your head hits dirt or you see a crack in the foam still sounds like a lotta helmets. If my helmet's doing it's job, I don't want to toss it just because some marketing genius or lawyer scared me into it.
    It wasn't a lawyer or marketing genius. It was a world recognized, not-for-profit safety standards testing institute.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    But, on the other hand, I don't want to be a moron. I wear a helmet to protect my head. If my helmet's not doing it's job, I want one that will, period.
    The current state of the art in light-weight bicycle helmets which meet Snell standards are good for one crash.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    So, generally, I'm interested in hearing real-world views on when to replace a helmet that's had some sort of impact or shows some sort of wear.
    Real world, I wrecked two Saturdays ago. Went endo going down a section that was more techical than I was. As is evidenced by the epic bruise on my thigh, I did not land on my head. I took my helmet off anyway and checked to see if it was damaged. It was not. So I kept riding and will not be replacing my helmet.

    Real world. When I was a teenager and got my very first MTB, a Schwinn High Plains, I had a car right hook me. I hit him at the trunk and went all the way over and on the road on the other side. My hands hit the ground first and I flipped end over end. I did hit my head that time. I had a Bell styrofoam helmet which had a slick but very thin plastic cover. There were only very faint scratches on the plastic, but I could feel a very slight soft spot in the foam under the scratched area. I replaced that helmet. No easy feat for a kid from a poor family washing dishes while in high school. I had the good sense to suck it up and fork over the cash even at 15 years old. My LBS was really awesome and trued my front wheel for free. The driver fled the scene and I was too spun to get a plate. No other witnesses.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    And, specifically, I'm interested in opinions on whether my helmet is trash. I had a crash. Now my helmet has a visible crack in the foam and a visible ding in the side.
    What is agitating, is that someone self named "OldManBike" would even remotely question the state of the helmet in your pics. It did its job and is now fully entitled to retire.

    I think it's possible that you are frustrated that you forked over serious dough for a flashy carbon fiber shelled single impact brain bucket. If a helmet has the Snell sticker inside, it will work.

    I'm really beginning to think that what happened here is that a marketing genius and a slick salesman teamed up and took you for a ride by selling you a piece of foam with a superflous carbon fiber shell, when a dramatically cheaper plastic shelled piece of foam would have done the same job just as well, and been much easier on the wallet to replace.

    Instead of admitting that, you appear to have come in and demanded a post crash damage assesment system for something designed to break or improved technology.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation: OldManBike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    679
    Tough day? Slow day?

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation: d365's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    1,311
    good god man, what happened to common sense.

    The company statement about not riding a helmet that has suffered an impact - is about liability (as well as your personal well being). Advising to replace a helmet after an impact, no matter how minor.... is 100% safe advice.

    You asking whether or not you should replace your cracked, and dented helmet is hilarious, and probably the exact reason no helmet manufacturer is ever going to tell you it's Ok to ride helmet that's had a prior impact.

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    192
    Quote Originally Posted by tartosuc View Post
    Get yourself a skate style protec ace helmet
    It is design for multi impact
    Do not get a skate helmet!
    They are not designed for Cycling speeds.
    They are "muli impact" because they don't absorb impact.
    Bike helmets break like this for a reason.... to dissipate energy.

    Also the helmet pictured did its job be thankful and replace it.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replace Helmet?
    By Kabob King in forum Apparel and Protection
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 07-26-2012, 02:00 PM
  2. Balm Boyette today, you crashed, I've got your helmet...
    By natzx7 in forum Southeast - GA, TN, AL, FL
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 07-02-2012, 07:30 PM
  3. Replace the Padding in my Helmet
    By Klurejr in forum Apparel and Protection
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 05-11-2012, 04:35 PM
  4. When to replace a helmet?
    By apfroggy0408 in forum Beginner's Corner
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 11-12-2011, 10:22 PM
  5. Had wreck, replace helmet?
    By Jason B in forum Downhill - Freeride
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 02-06-2011, 05:54 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •