Helmet question.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Meatbomb
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    Helmet question.

    A buddy told me he bought a new helmet because his had reached it's " UV degradation date "... Is he yanking my leg? Should I try to track down the expiration date on my helmet or would the time be better spent changing out the blinker fluid or muffler bearing on my truck ?

  2. #2
    AKA shitbird
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillbo
    A buddy told me he bought a new helmet because his had reached it's " UV degradation date "... Is he yanking my leg? Should I try to track down the expiration date on my helmet or would the time be better spent changing out the blinker fluid or muffler bearing on my truck ?
    Sounds like BS to me. BUT, any excuse to buy new bike stuff is OK in my book
    JRA

  3. #3
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    I've heard that due to the high heat and UV exposure here, it's best to change out your lid every couple of years. Don't remember where I heard it, though. I've never seen it marked on a helmet.
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  4. #4
    Fragile - must be Italian
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    I've heard this nonsense before and it's totally BS.

    Yes, the sun can degrade styrofroam (harden or make brittle) with thousands of hours of exposure. And, if your helmet is anything like mine, plastic covers the foam part of the helmet...meaning the foam itself doesn't get sun, even in the sun. What little foam is exposed (if any) is on the lower portion of the helmet usually out of the way from direct sunlight. So the sun is not going to degrade your helmet.

    OTOH -- I replace my helmets every 3-4 years, not because of the sun, but because of all the bumps/bruises that helmets take (i.e. accidentally dropping it on the floor)...and I figure all of those little bumps accumulate over time and lessen the impact ability of the foam.

    Thx...Doug

  5. #5
    Kathleen in AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgangi
    I've heard this nonsense before and it's totally BS.

    Yes, the sun can degrade styrofroam (harden or make brittle) with thousands of hours of exposure. And, if your helmet is anything like mine, plastic covers the foam part of the helmet...meaning the foam itself doesn't get sun, even in the sun. What little foam is exposed (if any) is on the lower portion of the helmet usually out of the way from direct sunlight. So the sun is not going to degrade your helmet.

    OTOH -- I replace my helmets every 3-4 years, not because of the sun, but because of all the bumps/bruises that helmets take (i.e. accidentally dropping it on the floor)...and I figure all of those little bumps accumulate over time and lessen the impact ability of the foam.

    Thx...Doug
    I disagree.... everything in my garage wears so much faster due to the heat. Anything plastic - it'll become brittle in a few years. Bike stands have crumbled, zip ties become brittle, tires start cracking, Don't buy plastic ladders and expect them to last 10 years if stored in your garage! It's not just UV exposure but heat exposure that does a number on plastic. It is of no consequence to me as far as helmets since I seem to go thru them at a rate of several per year due to high-impact catastrophic failure, but I would definitely not trust a lid that has spent 2 sitting years in my garage. And I need my lids more than most!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DurtGurl
    I disagree.... everything in my garage wears so much faster due to the heat. Anything plastic - it'll become brittle in a few years. Bike stands have crumbled, zip ties become brittle, tires start cracking, Don't buy plastic ladders and expect them to last 10 years if stored in your garage! It's not just UV exposure but heat exposure that does a number on plastic. It is of no consequence to me as far as helmets since I seem to go thru them at a rate of several per year due to high-impact catastrophic failure, but I would definitely not trust a lid that has spent 2 sitting years in my garage. And I need my lids more than most!

    What is the average lifespan of your helmets DG? Does it depend on how often you do GC rides?

  7. #7
    Pivotal figure
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    5 yrs is about the max you can expect from a helmet if you want it to actually do it's job and save your brain. Even if you go high dollar that only averages out to under $40 a year. Helmets are the last thing to get stingy with IMO.
    Desert Sunset Calls/Upward, Pain, Perseverance/Welcome Solitude

  8. #8
    I think I need to Upgrade
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    Helmets have a life span of about 3 years or 1 impact. The Mfgrs. have done a lot of testing and they used to reccomend every 2 years, but with advancements in materials and such they have changed it to 3 years. As DG said heat will destroy stuff, also keep in mind that SunScreen will have an effect on the helmet as well as all of the other crap in the air.

    It really is up to you, how much is your head worth? You could spend $65 every 3 years or crash and fair quite well, or you could spend $65 every 5-10 and you might be fine, or you may just throw away your whole life, education, or ability to function in any way. Personaly I will spend the money to maintain a safe up to date helmet.

  9. #9
    Fragile - must be Italian
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    Quote Originally Posted by DurtGurl
    I disagree.... everything in my garage wears so much faster due to the heat. Anything plastic - it'll become brittle in a few years. Bike stands have crumbled, zip ties become brittle, tires start cracking, Don't buy plastic ladders and expect them to last 10 years if stored in your garage! It's not just UV exposure but heat exposure that does a number on plastic. It is of no consequence to me as far as helmets since I seem to go thru them at a rate of several per year due to high-impact catastrophic failure, but I would definitely not trust a lid that has spent 2 sitting years in my garage. And I need my lids more than most!
    The OP mentioned sunlight (UV) degradation...which I still say is total BS. If you store your helmet in the garage, then the heat will certainly cause the plastic/foam in the helmet to become brittle. That's why my lids are all stored in my closet...along with anything else plastic (ski boots, skis, etc)...and that's why I never worry about needing to replace my helmets because of "degradation".

    Thx...Doug

  10. #10
    AKA shitbird
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    This thread explains why I'm probably destined for a darwin award. I usually keep my helmet in the back of my pickup...probably doesn't matter though since it's cracked in several places anyway.

    I'll get around to picking up a new one one of these days.
    JRA

  11. #11
    Meatbomb
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    enjoy your head wound ...

  12. #12
    Fragile - must be Italian
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzSpeedfreek
    Helmets have a life span of about 3 years or 1 impact. The Mfgrs. have done a lot of testing and they used to reccomend every 2 years, but with advancements in materials and such they have changed it to 3 years.
    I still say this is BS. Not to be an asshat...but I hate it when I hear these kinds of statements. I find it hard to believe that bike helmet manufacturers have the time/budget to conduct such a controlled test...and if they did...how was the test conducted? Who conducted it -- manufacturers, or an independent 3rd party? What were the controls (variables)? What is the degree of certainty about the conclusions?

    I have a feelng this 2yr recommendation put forth by the manufacturers is just that...a recommendation...not the result of any scientific "test". Had they conducted these "tests" themsleves, I would really have to call them into question, especially when a positive outcome essentially tells the general public to buy more of their product.

    Replacing a helmet every few years seems like a good idea to me...but more to err on the side of caution...not because there is any scientific evidence that points to the need. There is a distinct difference.

    OTOH -- I wish helmet manufacturers would devote more of their energy into designing safer helmets rather than telling us to buy them more often. Independent tests have been run on the safety of bike helmets, and many of them are not too promising. That $200 lid you just bought might be worse in a crash than the $25 model at Walmart.

    Thx...Doug

  13. #13
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    I just ruined a helmet a month ago, bought a fullface for ridin for now. A little gun shy right now and wanted to cover the front half too. I won't ride without one (helmet that is).
    Oldest daughter doesn't ride.

  14. #14
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    Have you seen any of the testing that Bell does? They've been at this for more than a couple of years and kinda know what they're doing. There are some pretty strict regulations from the CPSC for protective head gear and I'm fairly sure that's where the replacement recommendation comes in. It could certainly be said that it's more of a CYA for the manufacturer but I trust their judgment. Plus it gives me an excuse to get that latest and greatest model with the uber-cool graphics
    Desert Sunset Calls/Upward, Pain, Perseverance/Welcome Solitude

  15. #15
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    my helmet is just over 3 years old now. I can say that it looks like s**t. No crashes on it, but its falling apart. Plastic shell separating, foam pads no longer sticking, and the styrofoam feels very hard and brittle.

    I will say 3 years is clearly the lifespan of a non-crashed helmet.

    But i guess do what you want. You want 5 years go for it. I saw a guy a few weeks a go with a 1985 solid white bell helmet (that was pretty yellowed) and im sure he thinks its fine. I see guys with no helmets and think they dont need one.

    I will be buying a new helmet here soon, because I can see what 3 years has done to mine.
    A burrito is a sleeping bag for ground beef.

  16. #16
    Meatbomb
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    Why should you replace your helmet every five years?
    The five year replacement recommendation is based on a consensus by both the helmet manufacturers and the Snell Foundation. Glues, resins and other materials used in helmet production over can affect liner materials. Hair oils, body fluids and cosmetics, as well as normal "wear and tear" all contribute to helmet degradation. Petroleum based products present in cleaners, paints, fuels and other commonly encountered materials may also degrade materials used in many helmets possibly degrading performance. Additionally, experience indicates there will be a noticeable improvement in the protective characteristic of helmets over a five year period due to advances in materials, designs, production methods and the standards. Thus, the recommendation for five year helmet replacement is a judgment call stemming from a prudent safety philosophy.

  17. #17
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    I consider the helmet an insurance policy because my family depends on me. Plus the new helmets are lighter, stronger and cooler.
    www.StudioDino.com
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