Expensive helmets are they worth it?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Expensive helmets are they worth it?

    I have a Specialized Vice ($80). It fits good, but I was thinking about getting another helmet. Are those $200 helmets really worth the price tag? I was looking at the Specialized Prevail ($230), but I'm not sure why it costs that much.

  2. #2
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    The fit is what matters to me. I would rather have a 50 dollar helmet that fits me well and is comfortable for a several-hour ride than a 230 dollar helmet that is lighter but not as comfy.

    Uvex fits me great. I have tried helmets that cost 3-2x what I paid for mine and kept coming back.

  3. #3
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    Expensive helmets are not worth it. I'd rather have 3 helmets for different terrain and temperatures than one helmet for $200+.

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    I bought a Bell for 22 bucks at wallyworld. It's comfortable, and fits great. Any helmet has to pass a set of tests and meet certain specifications, so I don't see much benefit to spending 10x what I spent on one.

  5. #5
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    I randomly bought a helmet with as only criteria fit. Got a specialized propero II. Pretty similar to the prevail I see now, but 1/3 the price.
    But bottom line,It was the only helmet in the store that had a perfect fit, and a tried a lot.

    It appears helmets have an expiration date (need to check) , in that case price becomes a serious factor if having to replace every 3 years.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the comments. Does anyone know why they cost so much though? Are they made out of better quality stuff that will protect me more in an accident?

  7. #7
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    Protection is about the same, it just takes a lot more engineering effort to get it lighter and better vented while still maintaining that same level of protection.

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  8. #8
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    Thanks!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hompie View Post
    It appears helmets have an expiration date (need to check) , in that case price becomes a serious factor if having to replace every 3 years.
    They don't expire, at least not before 8 years or so. There was another thread about this. I wouldn't worry about it unless the foam is visibly degrading or the straps are busted.

  10. #10
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    Expensive helmets will probably have more R&D with regard to fit and ventilation.

    However, all helmets will have to meet your local safety standards.

  11. #11
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    In general, the more expensive helmets have better venting and fancier adjustment systems. However, I think I saw a helmet at Sports Authority that looked pretty reasonably vented and only cost about $50 or so.

  12. #12
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    I've seen a lot of these questions lately and the general consensus is that all money gets you is less weight and more vents. The happy medium seems to be the 100/$100 mark, helmets in or around this price give a good balance of weight protection and price.

    to be honest, I would rather have 3 helmets for various conditions like Kristatos said than spend 2-300 on 1 helmet.

    Most helmets now have an expiration date of between 5-8 years, it's usually marked in the little leaflet in the box that no one reads lol

  13. #13
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    the "all mountain" style helmets offer more protection in the back of the head than a typical xc helmet. prices vary.

  14. #14
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    It's all about the aero: "For instance, lowering a bike's weight by 1*lb (0.45*kg), a major effort considering it may weigh less than 15*lb (6.8*kg) to start with, will have the same effect over a 40*km time trial on flat ground as removing a protrusion into the air the size of a pencil."

    Bicycle performance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  15. #15
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    Weight and drag. The expensive helmet weighs less and has less drag. I think I recall specialized saying the prevail was the most aero non-aero helmet on the market.

    For most riders this is a non issue. The 40 dollar helmet will protect just as well as the prevail. The prevail was much harder to engineer and maintain the same safety standards, hence the cost.

    Disclaimer: I own a prevail and love it. Hands down the most comfortable helmet to have graced my noggin.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by pop_martian View Post
    Weight and drag. The expensive helmet weighs less and has less drag. I think I recall specialized saying the prevail was the most aero non-aero helmet on the market.

    For most riders this is a non issue. The 40 dollar helmet will protect just as well as the prevail. The prevail was much harder to engineer and maintain the same safety standards, hence the cost.

    Disclaimer: I own a prevail and love it. Hands down the most comfortable helmet to have graced my noggin.
    And damn it's compfy.,..................But not $230 compfy. their S3 MT for $150 fits great and the ventaltion is great.

    Fit is the first and foremost consideration
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  17. #17
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    you will get more chicks with the expensive one

  18. #18
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    The cheapo helmets (I have a $80 Fox helmet) come in white. In any location where the sun beats down on you, I'd rather have white helmet than black, which seems to be the common color for the pricey ones...

    Plus the LBS usually don't carry $200 helmets, and buying one online isn't worth the hassle of trying them on and returning them...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mazukea View Post
    I have a Specialized Vice ($80). It fits good, but I was thinking about getting another helmet. Are those $200 helmets really worth the price tag? I was looking at the Specialized Prevail ($230), but I'm not sure why it costs that much.
    I would hope for the extra $$ you pay and R&D they do on the more expenseve helmets that you not only get lighter and better venting but it has to be more safer.

    I spend the money cause i don't think there is a price you can put on your head

  20. #20
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    Thanks for all the responses guys. yeah the Vice fits me good and I have no issues with it.

    I think I might go with a POC helmet cause I'm already running their elbow and long knee pads. Their pads are awesome so I bet their helmets gotta be just as awesome.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mazukea View Post
    I think I might go with a POC helmet cause I'm already running their elbow and long knee pads. Their pads are awesome so I bet their helmets gotta be just as awesome.
    I can't speak for the other models but I really like the POC Trabec Race that I have been running for about a month. I picked it up from huck n roll in July when they had the 15% off code going so the damage to the wallet wasn't quite as bad.

    I had been running a Fox Flux which fit me pretty well but the POC has much more secure feeling fit and the ventilation is better, it also noticeably lighter in the hand. Overall it has a much nicer fit and finish that the Fox and just looks like a higher quality piece.

  22. #22
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    I bought a roadie Giro Aeon after wearing a 50 dollar one for 4 years. After soling using the expensive Giro for all my road and mtn riding and training, I'd never wear anything else. You don't even know you have it on.

    But thats just me, I like nice stuff for my passionate hobbies

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  23. #23
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    I stressed over this same issue recently so what i did was went to my lbs and had my wife hand me a bunch paying no attention to price and the one I settled on was only $49.99 then she said " it's funny but I thought your head would be worth less money "

  24. #24
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    Do the same with her when she goes buy shoes

  25. #25
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    It's all about the aero: "For instance, lowering a bike's weight by 1*lb (0.45*kg), a major effort considering it may weigh less than 15*lb (6.8*kg) to start with, will have the same effect over a 40*km time trial on flat ground as removing a protrusion into the air the size of a pencil."

    Bicycle performance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    this applies to road biking on flat ground. Your major expenditure in this condition is drag = why roadiees have separate bikes for time trial vs riding in peloton. Any one who has done road and mountain riding, it's obvious how much more air resistance plays in road.

    Mountain bike, totally different physical factors are at play. Tend to do more climbing and energy is spend at slower maneuvering speeds.
    I would hope for the extra $$ you pay and R&D they do on the more expenseve helmets that you not only get lighter and better venting but it has to be more safer.

    I spend the money cause i don't think there is a price you can put on your head
    I doubt this. I bet cheaper helmets are actually safer than $$ ones. The reason is weight, not cost. They don't need to shave off helmet for weight and ventilation reasons. A cheap helmet with no vents will be cheap to manufacturer and safer than a helmet with holes in it. Structure/material do not get safery by having more holes in it. Think bout light weight XC carbon parts vs heavy ones. Metal parts are cheaper, heavier, and less fragile.

    For me, the question is: is it safe enough to minimize risks for the riding I do? If i'm doing lift riding, I will sacrifice more weight and ventilation for extra safety (arm pads, full finger gloves, maybe full face helmet, etc). For XC, I will wear less gear, but I wouldn't go so light and ventilated as the $250 helmets with huge gaps. Those gaps will protect fine against flat road asphault (road helmets,), but is not safe enough for me in mtn riding with rock corners that might hit between those gaps.

  26. #26
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    I'm not an expert but folk I think are right the more expensive means lighter weight in most cases. However don't confuse this with get a cheap helmet!! Get a good make prob spend 50-80 or $100-$150. It's your only head and it's what is most valuable to you.


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  27. #27
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    I always wear a top line helmet. Yes they are expesnive but as a proprotion of total gear cost (bike, shoes, clothing, etc) its not that much different. I had to borrow a cheap helmet not long ago that fit really well but i really knew it was there and it was a lot hotter. With the better helmets you tend to forget you are even wearing one.

  28. #28
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    No i dont think they are. spend a reasonable amount on your helmet and don expects to get a supper light one,

  29. #29
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    The answer to this question will be as unique to each individual as helmet fit is to a rider (which is what saves your noggin). Everyone's sense of value (and actual means) are different. The bottom line is, get the best fitting helmet that your wallet/purse and conscience will allow that best meets your other desires (be it comfort, weight, or style).

    Personally, I don't have the mindset to spend $200 on a helmet that will be trashed as easily as a $60 helmet; all the while providing little to no added protection. I have never owned a higher priced (> $80) helmet, but have found very inexpensive helmets (on clearance) that I "don't even know its there" when riding.

  30. #30
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    I think it is all marketing. They are all certified. Its like having a carbon fiber water bottle holder. The water will weigh 50 times the difference between a metal and carbon fiber water bottle holder. That is my rant. All in all, you pay for the sexier looking helmet. IMHO.

  31. #31
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    I tried on helmets of many different brands and prices. Fit is different for everyone. Any weight or aerodynamic difference was slim. As far as ventilation goes, I didn't field test them, so I only know that mine stays cool! I ended up with a Giro Feature for $45 and loving it.

  32. #32
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    I just received my new Uvex XP CC that I won from MTBR.com. It is my third helmet, and has more rear head protection than my prior two helmets. It was actually one of the helmets I was looking to buy. At retail of $90, I would not hesitate to purchase. Also, I like the clasp feature of the UVEX helmet, a little different than the Bell and Giro helmets. Overall, a great helmet for xc/trail riding.

  33. #33
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    only thing I found when I was shopping for a new lid was the weight and fit..just like my street bike helmet I spent alot of money for one that fit & was light..Plus, This is really the only thing to protect your head..no reason to skimp..its like buying **** shoes when you walk all day...you will feel it in the end..Just my .02
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  34. #34
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    wondering the same thing...I have a 10 year old helmet and think it's probably not safe anymore....wasn't sure if more $$$ meant better safety...

  35. #35
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    Quality, Design, Materials,Fit are main things don't worry about cost. As what value do you put on an injury say permanent brain damage etc as you $20 helmet fails and to the cost to you family.

    As for me I buy the best I can afford safety at any cost. I need a new one in Feb this year after being take out by a 4X4 on a training ride my helmet save my head on the asphalt.

    Bought a Casco Viper MX Cycling Helmet for AU $178 with face guard for bombing down those runs at 60Kmh

    Australian standards do not apply for MTB riding, or rear head protection safety. The only test for Mums, Dads and the kid riding around the park

  36. #36
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    I'm still using my $80 Vice. It fits well and has protected me well. 'I've taken 2 or 3 pretty good spills in the past couple of months.
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  37. #37
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    Fit is king in helmet choice. I have currently 3 helmets in use and they are all bought based on their fit on my head.
    I usually wear helmets for 3-4 years (oops, road helmet is 7 years old), meaning several hundred hours in each brain bucket so for me the differences in price are not as important

  38. #38
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    For me, its all about ventilation and I find it totally worth it..

    When I wear my Giro Hex sweat drips directly into my eyes

    When I wear my Specialized S3, sweat never does..

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    I like to compare this with motorbike helmets...you get what you pay for. Bell helmets back in the 70's had the best ad ever,"if you have a $10.00 head, wear a $10.00 helmet" no truer words were ever written. My current helmets are a Rudy Project Windmax (road), Bell Volt (mtn), Arai Corsair-V (motorbike).

  40. #40
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    Worth it is an opinion.

    For some, the mantra is "if you have a $40 head, buy a $40 helmet, but if you have a..."

    Goes both ways, your decision.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLMike View Post
    For me, its all about ventilation and I find it totally worth it..

    When I wear my Giro Hex sweat drips directly into my eyes

    When I wear my Specialized S3, sweat never does..
    +1. Ventilation makes a difference in hotter climates. I wear a Specialized MT most of the year but wear a Bell Slant during the Winter.
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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfruits View Post
    the "all mountain" style helmets offer more protection in the back of the head than a typical xc helmet. prices vary.
    Although a some of the helmets marketed as "AM" do have more coverage, several of them have no more than coverage than xc or road lids.

    Looks can be deceiving. Many of the AM style lids look like they come down farther in the back, but in fact they just look that way because they cover less on the sides, or because they are low profile in the back.

    I have a Xen, and have tried on the new Xar. The Xen has less overall coverage than any XC or road helmet I've owned, and the Xar was about the most minimal of any lid I tried on in the store.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  43. #43
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    I know your supposed to replace your helmet after a few crashes but really who does, but i think the $80-120.00 dollar price point is a good mix of durability and ventilation/weight (may be wrong, but i have seen 250+ helmets crack between vents on moderate crashes). I have a giro $80 and it looks like my head was run over in it, no cracks no chunks missing still in one piece.

    That being said i am looking at a few POC helmets right now for next season, and a few FOX helmets. Leaning towards the POC as i have zero complaints about their VPD pads.
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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobinGB View Post
    I know your supposed to replace your helmet after a few crashes but really who does, but i think the $80-120.00 dollar price point is a good mix of durability and ventilation/weight (may be wrong, but i have seen 250+ helmets crack between vents on moderate crashes). I have a giro $80 and it looks like my head was run over in it, no cracks no chunks missing still in one piece.

    That being said i am looking at a few POC helmets right now for next season, and a few FOX helmets. Leaning towards the POC as i have zero complaints about their VPD pads.
    Mtb helmets are single use. Not multiple use. Their entire purpose is to dissipate energy. When that's happened once in one area, its job is done.

    If you want a multiple use helmet, you'll need to buy a bmx/skate helmet. And sacrifice lower weight and ventilation.




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  45. #45
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    hey I didn't notice for a moment who the OP was...

    you need a full face helmet and a neck brace

  46. #46
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    I just noticed yesterday that my Giro Animas helmet has the clear coat peeling off. +2 on Giro helmets draining the sweat directly into my eyes. None of my other helmets have ever peeled. The helmet was around $90 new IIRC.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by ALBM View Post
    I like to compare this with motorbike helmets...you get what you pay for. Bell helmets back in the 70's had the best ad ever,"if you have a $10.00 head, wear a $10.00 helmet" no truer words were ever written. My current helmets are a Rudy Project Windmax (road), Bell Volt (mtn), Arai Corsair-V (motorbike).
    Not truer. Very good marketing, by definition = propaganda. Guys.. it's really really easy for helmet manufacturers to show increased strength. They don't because they all have incentive to sell their super premium helmets, because they know many of us assume they are safer. They could do a standardized test and drop melons with helmets on, and put that on youtube. Imagine how many $200 helmets they could sell if they had some an effective demonstration of increased safety. You know why they don't? Cuz $$ helmets are not any safer than cheap ones. Think critically about it, does reduced weight = reduced material, more vents that are larger, increase strength?

    I don't want to say $$ helmets are not worth it. Personally, I accept a helmet thats less strong for more cooling, less weight, more comfort. It's still safe enough for me. And, ii you like the look of a premium helmet, then $$ helmets are defintely safer than no helmet.

  48. #48
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    I was there in the 70's. Bell's ads weren't propaganda. A 10.00 helmet was not certified. A little different than today's bike helmet situation

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