Helmet "life" expectancy?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Helmet "life" expectancy?

    A local bike shop posted this

    Your thoughts?


  2. #2
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    Kind of like infant car seats... makes you wonder if maybe foam does change over time and become brittle, harder, less effective at absorbing impacts, and the small expense of replacing it is worth not "finding out the hard way".


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  3. #3
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    Pretty much BS. If your helmet has not been crashed or otherwise damaged, it's fine to use. DOT motorcycle helmets have a similar 5-year replacement rule but the manufacturers admit the part that degrades is the liner, not the shell (the part that absorbs impact). I think bike helmet companies are going by this rule, forgetting that bike helmets don't really have a liner like a DOT helmet.

    I mean, the whole point of using plastics, styrofoam, etc is that it does not really degrade over time. If it won't degrade in a landfill over 100 years, it won't degrade on your head in 3-5. And if it did degrade, doesn't it start doing so on day one? 2years, 11months old helmet is safe to use but 3 years is not? My helmet does not know how old it is.

    Check out this study on the issue : Age Does Not Affect the Material Properties of Expanded Polystyrene Liners in Field-Used Bicycle Helmets | Journal of Biomechanical Engineering | ASME DC

  5. #5
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    Plastics do degrade to various degrees. Depends on what type and conditions, UV is prob the most damaging. If you work on equipment repair you see this in particular with parts become brittle and crack. The packaging foam a lot of electronics come in (not eps but that open cell stuff) with exposure fairly quickly becomes crumbly, but its probably designed that way. The 3 to 5 years im sure is conservative, just like lots of other things they can be used beyond the spec. The eps foam might still be good but theres also the buckles, straps, shell to consider.

  6. #6
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    Never gone 5 years without my helmet hitting a branch or something else hard but I subscribe to the 5 year or one fall rule (regardless of what the helmet looks like afterwards). I figure (regardless of the cost) a new helmet is cheaper than a concussion.

  7. #7
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    Replacing my helmet every few years seems like cheap insurance.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forster View Post
    Never gone 5 years without my helmet hitting a branch or something else hard but I subscribe to the 5 year or one fall rule (regardless of what the helmet looks like afterwards). I figure (regardless of the cost) a new helmet is cheaper than a concussion.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fairbanks007 View Post
    Replacing my helmet every few years seems like cheap insurance.
    I'm with these guys. I also sweat like Jabba the Hutt, so I've never had a helmet retain functional padding after 3 years anyway.

  9. #9
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    New pads are like $7 or so.
    If you haven't hit it in a crash, no worries.

  10. #10
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    Missing velcro and bad smell forces me to change every 3 years or so. I have now started to power rinse my helmet insides after long sweaty rides and hope the current full face lasts longer.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    New pads are like $7 or so.
    If you haven't hit it in a crash, no worries.
    Yeah, but the velcro pads on the helmet itself fall off. I haven't found any decent stick on pads that stay.

  12. #12
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    The dark grey double sided tape by 3M and then 1/8-1/4" closed cell foam cut to shape and stuck in there works very well. A side benefit of the closed cell foam is that it really doesn't get as funky as the cloth covered open stuff most manufacturers use.
    Quote Originally Posted by car_nut View Post
    Yeah, but the velcro pads on the helmet itself fall off. I haven't found any decent stick on pads that stay.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold
    You're doing mtbr wrong, you're supposed to get increasingly offended by the implications that you're doing ANYTHING wrong.

  13. #13
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    You can wash helmets to get rid of the funk.
    Do the math.

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