What makes a helmet so damn expensive?- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 41 of 41
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    50

    What makes a helmet so damn expensive?

    So I own a cheapo Bell helmet (25 bucks new). It has nice padding, adjustable back strap and chin straps, a visor, and the design looks almost identical to other helmets pricing around 80-150 bucks. Are those expensive helmets made of something better able to protect you in a crash? Or is it just a bling factor? I've tried them on and I don't really feel any sort of difference in fit/comfort.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: iamtylerdurden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    503
    not sure if this is why or not, but.......
    better helmets = more sales
    more sales = more bike riders wearing their helmets
    more riders wearing helmets = more crashes while wearing their helmets
    more crashes while wearing their helmets = more lawsuits
    more lawsuits = higher insurance premiums and settlement fees

    Higher costs are then passed on to the purchaser.

    I saw this in a popular ladder manufacturing facility. The material and labor costs to make a ladder is fairly insignificant to the sales price. So the price is jacked up due to super high lawyer retainers they keep on staff and insurance.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    373
    The company that makes it is what makes it so damn expensive.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    50
    Ah I suppose it may be the same as a lot of things. Brands + silly people = price etc.
    I would really hope the $150 helmets offer some advantage (they usually claim ventilation etc) I guess I cannot really comment as how great they ventilate because I have never owned an uber expensive helmet and worn it for a full days ride.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,172
    I find a quite a big relationship with the appearance and the price of the helmet. All the 'cheap' helmets looks pretty ugly to me, and the ones that look really 'cool' are much more expensive. I'm sure the more expensive ones are more comfy, but don't know if it would cost twice or triple that much to make it so.

    As for appearance (if i had to be superficial about it), why can't they make the more affordable ones look good? I own a Bell Ukon, which is affordable and protects my head well as far as i know (cost maybe 50 AUD at the most, can't remember). But i lust for the Bell Sweep, such a rad looking helmet but i saw it at a shop for 360 AUD! That's a rip obviously, but even when looking at online shops, it's still about 150-200 AUD.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    373
    Well think of it this way; The new Corvette ZR1 holds the current record lap time on the legendary Nurburgring car test course in Germany for ANY production car in the world and it costs $120,000, so you would think that a $200,000 Lamborghini or Ferrari could outperform it, but they don"t. It's all about that status,prestige,and name.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    373
    If you buy a $40 helmet its going to be about as good as any helmet gets. I worked in as a bike tech for ten years, so I assure you, its true.

  8. #8

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    2,903
    theres tons of good helmets for 40-50 bucks. if you dont want the more expensive ones just dont buy them. i feel the same way about xtr and simply dont own it. if theres a market for it, someones gonna make it. some people really want a 200 dollar helmet!

  9. #9
    i also unicycle
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2,043
    ventilation and lighter weight are the two big things you get as you spend more money on a helmet. go into a shop and lift a top end roadie helmet, hardly weighs anything. lift a $40 generic helmet, heavy by comparison. they both have to pass the same impact/safety standards, it takes lots more engineering to make the one that's full of holes as safe as a big brick of foam. if you've never ridden in a nice helmet, try it sometime. i thought my $60 helmet was pretty nice (and it was) until i borrowed a friend's $140 helmet. incredible difference. the way i look at spending money on a helmet vs other stuff is this: the helmet is one thing you're going to use on every ride and it'll last 3-5 years barring a crash, so why scrimp on it?
    mtbr says you should know: i work in a bike shop.
    bikes & beers (on my blog) http://idontrideenough.blogspot.com/

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,172
    Quote Originally Posted by markf
    the way i look at spending money on a helmet vs other stuff is this: the helmet is one thing you're going to use on every ride and it'll last 3-5 years barring a crash, so why scrimp on it?
    I can see what you mean. At the moment, i feel that, when you do crash, there goes your 200 dollar helmet. Providing that a budget helmet is just as safe as a top end helmet, i cannot yet justify spending a lot on a helmet. But, i am as you were before you tried your friends helmet - that is i have not experienced and light/comfy helmet on the trails, so who knows, if i did, my mindset might change.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: PainCake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    56
    Easy answer, R&D.
    2010 Specialized Epic Expert Carbon
    2008 SL2
    2005 S-Works E5
    and the patience of a 2 yr old.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: sponger's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    466
    The expensive ones look shinier to me.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    278
    Quote Originally Posted by blumarvel
    Well think of it this way; The new Corvette ZR1 holds the current record lap time on the legendary Nurburgring car test course in Germany for ANY production car in the world and it costs $120,000, so you would think that a $200,000 Lamborghini or Ferrari could outperform it, but they don"t. It's all about that status,prestige,and name.
    Yes but the more expensive euro cars(expensive helmets) look better and no doubt are of higher quality.
    Plus more expensive helmets will have better ventilation, will fit better and are lighter whilst being just as safe.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: monstertiki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    710
    All helmets have to pass safety standards and the funny thing about it is some budget helmets protect you better than the more expensive helmets. Yes it is about the perceptible coolness factor, but the important thing is to find a comfortable helmet you don't mind wearing that will offer the level of protection you need.

    This is a good website for helmet info.
    http://www.bhsi.org/helmet09.htm

    This is a link to helmet standards
    http://www.bhsi.org/standard.htm

  15. #15
    Underskilled
    Reputation: CaveGiant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    4,391
    The simpler answer is consumer demand.
    If we are willing to pay $150 for a helmet, the companies will make them.
    It's all profit margin baby.

  16. #16
    too cold to ride
    Reputation: BigSharks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    1,130
    Quote Originally Posted by PainCake
    Easy answer, R&D.
    I agree with this to a certain extent. I might be totally wrong, but a company like Fox or Giro puts all the money into testing different designs for effectiveness and comes up with a tested, safe helmet. Then Bell buys one of those helmets, reverse engineers it, and sells it a lot cheaper.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jahkneefive's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    330
    building on what monster said the main difference is a combination of the materials (the expensive helmets are often lighter and have better airflow) and the name. They'll all protect your noggin the same, well according to the standards all helmets have to pass. My policy is always to spend just enough to get a comfy fit. All the aerodynamics and weight savings in the world isn't going to help my slow ass. Too bad I broke that rule last month and got a Giro that was twice the price of my bell and half as comfortable.

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    2,534
    I spend for whatever helmet is comfortable and fits good. However, even the most expensive helmets are less than an ER visit or a ride in an ambulance.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation: steve47co1's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    982

    Good job! Bingo!

    Quote Originally Posted by fop1
    Yes but the more expensive euro cars(expensive helmets) look better and no doubt are of higher quality.
    Plus more expensive helmets will have better ventilation, will fit better and are lighter whilst being just as safe.
    I manage a bike shop and I tell customers that the 3 differences between a $200 helmet and a $40 helmet are more vents, better fit, and lighter - safety is the same.

    In general, in the bike world, the more you spend, the less you get (weight).
    The reason dogs have so many friends is that they wag their tail instead of their tongues.

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation: nachomc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    6,787
    Quote Originally Posted by sponger
    The expensive ones look shinier to me.
    My helmet has carbon fiber in it
    :wq

  21. #21
    meow meow
    Reputation: b-kul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    10,621
    imo if your spending over $60 your just spending money to spent money.

  22. #22
    Hail Satin!
    Reputation: chewymilk99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    245
    This is like buying a seat. Don't shop with your wallet on this item, shop with the body part that is going ot be touching it.
    You don't want to be 6 hours into a ride and finnally notice that some part of it is digging into your temple and giving you a migrane.
    I love the look of Giro helmets (well some of them) but my misshapen head dosent fit into them.
    Go spend some time (a few hours if you have them) and try on helmets. Wear each one for a minimum of say 20mins.
    You nogging will tell you what to buy.
    Oh and this may make you feel like a tool, bit when you do get one (or a new one from the sounds of it) wear it around you home for a few hours to see if it has long term comfort.
    In the great Ford vs Chevy debate, I choose Porsche.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    373
    Quote Originally Posted by fop1
    Yes but the more expensive euro cars(expensive helmets) look better and no doubt are of higher quality.
    Plus more expensive helmets will have better ventilation, will fit better and are lighter whilst being just as safe.
    Yeah, thats what I was saying-- by "status,prestige,and name", but as far as the euro cars being of higher quality?----that could be highly arguable. Which looks better is totally personal opinion. For example: I think a traditional steel hardtail with good parts on it looks way better than any full suspension bike any day! Some of the really expensive state of the art helmets look hideous!

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    189
    Quote Originally Posted by BigSharks
    I agree with this to a certain extent. I might be totally wrong, but a company like Fox or Giro puts all the money into testing different designs for effectiveness and comes up with a tested, safe helmet. Then Bell buys one of those helmets, reverse engineers it, and sells it a lot cheaper.
    Giro is owned by Bell and are both Easton divisions.

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    373
    I guess my point is; bike helmets are a prime example of feature and information overload. If you buy a $40 helmet it wieghs a gram or three more than a$200 helmet, has 1% less airflow and fits almost exactly the same. So, the origional question was; "What makes a helmet so damn expensive?" Answer: 1% more airflow, unnoticably lighter, might fit better, depending on your head. --So, who cares, except for the people who want the status,prestige,and name. Seriousely, think about it!

  26. #26
    mtbr member
    Reputation: nagatahawk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    1,188
    I believe that the better fit and finish will ad to the price of the helmet. Check out the lower bell, etc to a fox flux, Giro Atmos etc. Giro spends more mone marketing, and funding teams, so up goes the price

    I prefer Giro and Fox for fit, protection and quality of build. For instance I had a S brand helmet which didn't give me coverage over my eyebrow. when I crashed the edge of the helmet cut me above the brow. The Giro and Fox give me more coverage and fit my head better.

    All that being said about the plastic helmets, they aren't close the a full face helmet made up from any comosite material. I have a 661 full face that will absorb more impact and provide full protection for the same price as the plastic ones. How do I know the above, unfortunately Ive been down wearing both types. i quicky overcame most of my issues about wearin a FF helmet after I experienced the diffence upon impact.. I will look into a Deviant for my next all around cross country/ All Mountain helmet.

    Keep the shiney side up!
    wn

  27. #27
    mtbr member
    Reputation: nachomc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    6,787
    Quote Originally Posted by blumarvel
    I guess my point is; bike helmets are a prime example of feature and information overload. If you buy a $40 helmet it wieghs a gram or three more than a$200 helmet, has 1% less airflow and fits almost exactly the same. So, the origional question was; "What makes a helmet so damn expensive?" Answer: 1% more airflow, unnoticably lighter, might fit better, depending on your head. --So, who cares, except for the people who want the status,prestige,and name. Seriousely, think about it!
    I'd like to see your data.

    I know which helmet I'd rather be wearing on a hot day, 3 miles in to a climb..



    vs.

    :wq

  28. #28
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    373
    Yeah, and I'll drive the Corvette and still kick your ass in your Lamborghini!

  29. #29
    mtbr member
    Reputation: monstertiki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    710
    Quote Originally Posted by blumarvel
    Yeah, and I'll drive the Corvette and still kick your ass in your Lamborghini!
    Between a 2010 lambo and a 2010 vette if I had to choose one to have if someone gave me one. It would be the lambo. Than I would sell the lambo, buy a ford econoline van with a diesel, get the 4x4 quigley conversion, build a few sweet bikes, and go on a long surf/bike trip. And still have money left over for a nice boat.

    van would be something like this.


  30. #30
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    373
    Yeah man! That's bad-ass!!

  31. #31
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    373

    Helmet Overload!

    Have I mentioned anything about helmets being the perfect example of feature and information overload?!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. #32
    mtbr member
    Reputation: sanjuro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    2,005
    I've used 10 dollar bmx helmets and I recently purchased a S-Works helmet.

    I don't notice the weight difference, although a bmx helmet is not well ventilated when it gets hot.

    The two biggest differences is quality and sizing. I noticed the better helmets are much better constructed, although it has little to do with safety and there is always the possiblity of buying an expensive helmet and crashing it on the first ride.

    The better helmets come S-M-L where the cheapos are one size fits most. I suppose the back strap is important for fit.

    I'm a bit of a helmet snob, which is why I have mostly nice helmets. I think it is a princess-and-the-pea situation: if you notice a small difference in weight or venting, you need the better helmet.

  33. #33
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    446
    Quote Originally Posted by blumarvel
    I guess my point is; bike helmets are a prime example of feature and information overload. If you buy a $40 helmet it wieghs a gram or three more than a$200 helmet, has 1% less airflow and fits almost exactly the same. So, the origional question was; "What makes a helmet so damn expensive?" Answer: 1% more airflow, unnoticably lighter, might fit better, depending on your head. --So, who cares, except for the people who want the status,prestige,and name. Seriousely, think about it!

    You might consider trying on a nice helmet sometime. You don't need to spend $200, but the difference between $40 and $100 is significant (on my head). I've owned the whole range... I would say somewhere around $100 MSRP is the sweet spot for a comfy lid that ventilates well, but doesn't break the bank.

  34. #34
    bi-winning
    Reputation: rkj__'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    11,108
    Quote Originally Posted by peternguyen
    As for appearance (if i had to be superficial about it), why can't they make the more affordable ones look good? I own a Bell Ukon, which is affordable and protects my head well as far as i know (cost maybe 50 AUD at the most, can't remember). But i lust for the Bell Sweep, such a rad looking helmet but i saw it at a shop for 360 AUD! That's a rip obviously, but even when looking at online shops, it's still about 150-200 AUD.
    Same here! I wanted the Sweep, but I could not justify paying 5x as much, just because it looked awesome. So, I settled for the Yukon.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  35. #35
    ChiliPepper1
    Guest
    Forget the helmet.....Why the hell is everything else soooooo damn expensive. For example.....The price of fuel steadily rising for no real damn reason why!!!! The list goes on and on, on ,on, and even on again!!!

  36. #36
    mtbr member
    Reputation: smilinsteve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    8,605
    Quote Originally Posted by nachomc
    I'd like to see your data.

    I know which helmet I'd rather be wearing on a hot day, 3 miles in to a climb..



    vs.

    On a hot day, the black color might be more of a downside, despite the slightly larger vents!

  37. #37
    mtbr member
    Reputation: smilinsteve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    8,605
    I bought a Giro for around $130 back in 2002. Within a couple of years, their $40 helmets looked like mine, and the expensive ones had a new shape.
    A helmet is plastic covered foam with a nylon strap, and that's ok because that's all it needs to be. If you have a REALLY wierd shaped head, you might want the extra fit options found in more expensive helmets, but for most people, a mid priced helmet fits.

  38. #38
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    50
    Quote Originally Posted by steve47co1
    I manage a bike shop and I tell customers that the 3 differences between a $200 helmet and a $40 helmet are more vents, better fit, and lighter - safety is the same.

    In general, in the bike world, the more you spend, the less you get (weight).
    Just got back from work, surprised to see so many people as like minded as me.
    So what I am seeing is a strong feeling of people paying 100 bucks plus = rich or pros

    Maybe I'm out to lunch but I can't see more than an ounce or 2 diff in weight between my cheapo helmet vs. a high end expensive one. My ventilation is nice as well. I sure hope the safety factor is equivalent.

    I will concede that if you have an irregular shape head you may need some intense custom fit options, but I guess I'm lucky and have a standard ol' noggin

  39. #39
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    50
    Just posted but I seem to be lagging out
    fingers crossed this isn't double postage
    love the vette analogies!!
    fav vehicle in the world 68' stingray yumm
    go go my own thread high jack?
    lol

  40. #40
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    244
    Ther more expensive helmets generally offer more vents and a "cooler" paint scheme on that lexan shell that covers the foam.

    They aren't any safer or offer any real advantage, but they might match you bike better. And besides itsn't it worth $100 bucks more to match your bike?

  41. #41
    mtbr member
    Reputation: nachomc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    6,787
    Quote Originally Posted by Eastcoast Manik
    Just got back from work, surprised to see so many people as like minded as me.
    So what I am seeing is a strong feeling of people paying 100 bucks plus = rich or pros

    Maybe I'm out to lunch but I can't see more than an ounce or 2 diff in weight between my cheapo helmet vs. a high end expensive one. My ventilation is nice as well. I sure hope the safety factor is equivalent.

    I will concede that if you have an irregular shape head you may need some intense custom fit options, but I guess I'm lucky and have a standard ol' noggin


    I'M RICH, BIATCH!!!
    :wq

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2020 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.