Cheap department store helmets?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Cheap department store helmets?

    Ok here's the deal...I'm walking through a Target store and am killing time so I decided to stroll by the bicycle section and look at some of the accessories they have. I start looking at their helmets and see a Bell helmet for $29. I try it on and it feels really comfortable and light to my surprise! So with that being said, is there anything wrong with a "cheap department store helmet"? I need to get one and don't have alot to spend and I figured if it fits good then why not? It has to be better than nothing, right? Let's hear some input!!

  2. #2
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    I am pretty sure all helmets have to meet some federal safety standards to keep your skull in one place. I find that, as the price goes up, helmets get lighter, fit better, and have better ventilation. cheaper helmets are more likely to be the opposite. A cheap helmet is like running and cheap canvas velcro sneakers. sure, they get the job done, but you'll feel much better after a few miles if you're wearing some nice New Balance $100 sneakers and they will last longer.

    you get what you pay for.

  3. #3
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    If they pass the safety requirements then you are good to go. The expensive ones might be lighter or more vents but the cheaper ones are pretty light and vented already. And all the helmets I know of are basically one use only even the expensive ones. Meaning if you crash hard on it you will need to replace it. The foam is made to compress and crack on impact to save your head and once you have done that its no good and you have to get a new one. So you can crash on a $100 helmet and have to replace it or crash on a $30 and have to replace it. If it fits good and you like it I say buy it. The more expensive ones have more adjustments for fit but you said the bell already fits good so no need to pay extra for more adjustments.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent878 View Post
    If they pass the safety requirements then you are good to go. The expensive ones might be lighter or more vents but the cheaper ones are pretty light and vented already. And all the helmets I know of are basically one use only even the expensive ones. Meaning if you crash hard on it you will need to replace it. The foam is made to compress and crack on impact to save your head and once you have done that its no good and you have to get a new one. So you can crash on a $100 helmet and have to replace it or crash on a $30 and have to replace it. If it fits good and you like it I say buy it. The more expensive ones have more adjustments for fit but you said the bell already fits good so no need to pay extra for more adjustments.
    Thanks!! That's exactly what I was looking for.

  5. #5
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    You can get a $35 Giro Transfer helmet from the bike shop, good helmet and it works. I used 1 for years until a crash, now I have a new one!

  6. #6
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    ^ Thanks for the tip! I'll look into that for $5 more.

  7. #7
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    If you have a Dick's Sporting Good store they carry nicer Bell helmets and Giro helmets for a decent price.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent878 View Post
    If they pass the safety requirements then you are good to go. The expensive ones might be lighter or more vents but the cheaper ones are pretty light and vented already. And all the helmets I know of are basically one use only even the expensive ones. Meaning if you crash hard on it you will need to replace it. The foam is made to compress and crack on impact to save your head and once you have done that its no good and you have to get a new one. So you can crash on a $100 helmet and have to replace it or crash on a $30 and have to replace it. If it fits good and you like it I say buy it. The more expensive ones have more adjustments for fit but you said the bell already fits good so no need to pay extra for more adjustments.
    +1 on that.
    Hit the trails with your bike and get freaky. :cornut:

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent878 View Post
    If they pass the safety requirements then you are good to go. The expensive ones might be lighter or more vents but the cheaper ones are pretty light and vented already. And all the helmets I know of are basically one use only even the expensive ones. Meaning if you crash hard on it you will need to replace it. The foam is made to compress and crack on impact to save your head and once you have done that its no good and you have to get a new one. So you can crash on a $100 helmet and have to replace it or crash on a $30 and have to replace it. If it fits good and you like it I say buy it. The more expensive ones have more adjustments for fit but you said the bell already fits good so no need to pay extra for more adjustments.
    +2....fit and comfort are everything. They all have to pass the same safety standards.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent878 View Post
    If they pass the safety requirements then you are good to go. The expensive ones might be lighter or more vents but the cheaper ones are pretty light and vented already. And all the helmets I know of are basically one use only even the expensive ones. Meaning if you crash hard on it you will need to replace it. The foam is made to compress and crack on impact to save your head and once you have done that its no good and you have to get a new one. So you can crash on a $100 helmet and have to replace it or crash on a $30 and have to replace it. If it fits good and you like it I say buy it. The more expensive ones have more adjustments for fit but you said the bell already fits good so no need to pay extra for more adjustments.
    Spot on comment
    Most bicycle helmets are one time crash replacement. They protect you about the same, some design may cover the back more and the expensive would have more vent, color and fasten designs but they would protect you the same.

  11. #11
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    All about comfort and fit.

  12. #12
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    I've been wearing a cheap helmet I bought at Target for 2 years. No idea of the brand but it was less than $20, I think. Outer shell is thin & now has cracks n' holes from treelimbs hitting it but the inner shell is thick but lightweight. I've only bounced my head off the ground one time & the helmet did its job. I just ordered a 2011 ($40 cheaper than the '12 model)661 Recon helmet as it's nicer looking and looks like it will protect the back of my head better.

  13. #13
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    If the fit is right, go for it.

    The higher priced stuff has more options, but even the cheap helmets have come a long way.

    I read somewhere on here that helmets do have a shelf life as well. Hopefully someone else can chime in with the details about that as I can't remember exactly.

  14. #14
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    I have a schwin helmet from walmart was $20 and fits great. Sure it's hot, but anything on my head would be hot in the summer. I'd like to get a giro someday though. Was originally purchased to get me on the trails, but I see no need to replace it till necessary.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  15. #15
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    It's really about comfort on the LONG RIDE. If thats 10 or 50 miles by the end of it you'll know.
    agmtb

  16. #16
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    I had a schwinn from walmart but it wasn't very comfortable and the plastic shell eventually fell off.

    That being said, my $65 bell isn't all comfortable either.

  17. #17
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    glad we are not the only ones with this issue... we have comfort issues and will be checking Dicks soon.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronTom View Post
    If the fit is right, go for it.

    The higher priced stuff has more options, but even the cheap helmets have come a long way.

    I read somewhere on here that helmets do have a shelf life as well. Hopefully someone else can chime in with the details about that as I can't remember exactly.

    Correct. Most helmets are 5 years use / crash = replacement.

    The foam that protects your nugget will degrade quicker as well when exposed to UV rays, and or cycling in daylight.... so... use a helmet for 5 years, or crash it and crack it. Then get a new one.

    You in Oklahoma City? If yes, come ride with us.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1979chevy View Post
    glad we are not the only ones with this issue... we have comfort issues and will be checking Dicks soon.
    That's the funniest unintentional sentence I've read all day.

    "Wait, this thing doesn't have a motor?" - Socrates

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