Helmets from LBS or Academy?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Helmets from LBS or Academy?

    Please don't flame me for the following question. I know there is no price for my head.

    Is there any real difference between a helmet purchased at Walmart/Academy/Cabelas than one at a LBS? Bell, Giro, and others sell at both but typically the LBS is considerably more. I understand they have to make money to remain open. The LBS may have the newest 2011 model where as the box stores have older models. How long do most of you keep your helmets? I plan on keeping mine a few years (assuming no damage from use). I am not trying to be a smartass, just asking a legit question.

    Scott

  2. #2
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    I tried on a specific lid at the LBS,..then found the exact thing at Walmart, Sports Authority, Academy, a local skate boarder shop, and again on-line. Color, maker, size,..everything was the same EXCEPT the price. The lowest price was Sports Authority. A total of $11 cheaper than the highest place priced.

    Get what fits correctly and what is comfortable. Don't worry about the model year. And when it's cracked or you can't get anymore replacment inside pads, (cuz it may stink too much)...then buy another helmet.

  3. #3
    Old man on a bike
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    As long as it's certified it'll do the job well enough, the rest is weight, vents, fashion/latest and greatest graphics/color schemes. Just make sure it fits.

    PS What's Academy?
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
    suum quique

  4. #4
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    Not all helmets HAVE TO pass any tests. Protec has a model that is 100% about comfort and doesn't do much else.

    That said, my general thinking is this: Skip buying a special shirt, pedals, shoes and special shorts for biking and spend that money on a good, comfy helmet first. The shirt and shorts do nothing for you. The helmet saves your brain.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikinfoolferlife

    PS What's Academy?
    Academy is the closest thing we have to Dick's Sporting goods.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikinfoolferlife
    As long as it's certifiedit'll do the job well enough, the rest is weight, vents, fashion/latest and greatest graphics/color schemes. Just make sure it fits.

    PS What's Academy?
    Who certifies a helmet and what should I look for?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by smackay
    Academy is the closest thing we have to Dick's Sporting goods.

    Consider yourself lucky. Dick's is the suck, especially compared to Academy.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocAltie
    Not all helmets HAVE TO pass any tests. Protec has a model that is 100% about comfort and doesn't do much else.

    That said, my general thinking is this: Skip buying a special shirt, pedals, shoes and special shorts for biking and spend that money on a good, comfy helmet first. The shirt and shorts do nothing for you. The helmet saves your brain.
    Any bicycle helmet sold in the US has to be CPSC certified and meet their standards. Protec makes helmets for a wide range of sports, many/most don't need to be certified. However, if it says bicycle anywhere on the package or marketing info it has to be certified.

  9. #9
    Old man on a bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by smackay
    Academy is the closest thing we have to Dick's Sporting goods.
    I'd never heard of Academy. Have never seen a Dick's, just have seen it referred to on the forums.

    Here's some info on helmet certification http://www.helmets.org/standard.htm and here http://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/regsumbicyclehelmets.pdf
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
    suum quique

  10. #10
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    I prefer to try it on in the store then find it online. I found my Bell Variant on Amazon with free shipping for $30 less than my LBS.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by smackay
    Who certifies a helmet and what should I look for?

    http://www.bhsi.org/quick.htm

    There's a section on certifications, plus a bunch of other helmet info.

  12. #12
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    Be careful on those "older model" helmets. The foam in them breaks down over time, especially from exposure to sunlight. The foam gets brittle over time. I hear that bicycle helmets generally last about 5yrs before you SHOULD replace them (even if they've never been in a crash). I "violated" this rule of thumb with my last helmet, and while I never crashed it, it still looked like crap when I did replace it at about the 7yr mark, and I would not be the least bit surprised if it was less protective than when I first bought it.

    I bought my current Giro at REI. I used my dividend and 20% coupon on it, and got it for about $10-$15 (it was a ~$60 model).

    I do agree that Academy is better than Dick's...but only marginally. They do okay for team sports, but I would not shop there for anything in their "outdoor sports" departments. I have not been impressed. However, if they've got what you're looking for, then why not?

    I will only shop in LBSes that are worth my business (and that would usually be due to employees who really know their stuff, or great customer service, or whatever). I just visited the shop where I originally bought my biike after several years, and I wasn't impressed. The shop looked nice and clean, and they had lots of stock...but the dude I asked to show me their tire stock, specifically their UST tubeless tires, thought I was looking for road tubulars. Um...not the same, dude. I spent $20 on some odds & ends they have but my current local shop does not (and I refuse to shop at my local shop anymore except in a dire emergency because they suck on all fronts), but did not buy any tires.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk
    Be careful on those "older model" helmets. The foam in them breaks down over time, especially from exposure to sunlight. The foam gets brittle over time. I hear that bicycle helmets generally last about 5yrs before you SHOULD replace them (even if they've never been in a crash). I "violated" this rule of thumb with my last helmet, and while I never crashed it, it still looked like crap when I did replace it at about the 7yr mark, and I would not be the least bit surprised if it was less protective than when I first bought it.
    Are you sure about that? The helmets.org site says that foam is highly stable over time, and any info that I could find quickly on foam via Google said the same.

  14. #14
    since 4/10/2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by womble
    Are you sure about that? The helmets.org site says that foam is highly stable over time, and any info that I could find quickly on foam via Google said the same.
    it's what I've always heard about bike helmets, and based on how I saw my old uncrashed Bell Nemesis age, I didn't doubt those statements. Plastics contain "plasticizers" which are chemicals that keep the plastics flexible. BPA is an example of one of these chemicals, and it's well-known to off-gas or leach out.

    I've never doubted what I've heard over the years about replacing your helmets on an interval. But I do believe it's logic that's been promoted by the helmet companies. I guess I wouldn't be so surprised that helmet companies would want to sell more helmets.

    But I'm not too upset about replacing my helmets every few years. I did just spend $90 on new tires today, and if I'm going to complain about replacing my $60 helmet every 5yrs, I ought to be complaining about the tires. But I just can't bring myself to do that right now.

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