What's up with Bell Helmets?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    What's up with Bell Helmets?

    First let me say, I'm a cheap helmet junkie. I typically get a new helmet every other year or even every year, and I don't like spending more than $30 on a helmet.

    I just got my wife a new helmet, and I really like it and want to find one for myself, but they don't even list it on their website, and I just bought it this week at the store.

    Its a Bell Shifter helmet. The foam is injection molded directly into the plastic shell, rather than having the plastic shell taped on like with my Bell Adrenaline. It fits her really well too.

    I bought it at Fred Meyer for $25 and it was the last one in the store.

    Oh-well... I guess I'll just have to look around for something similar.

  2. #2
    The Martian
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    Might want to check the "Manufactured on" date inside the helmet. Just because you just bought it does not mean it's this, or even last, year's model.

    I always check this before I buy a helmet, and yes I've found some that were "out of date" (more than 5 years old) sitting on the shelf with no mention that they are older (you are led to assume they are this year's).

  3. #3
    SS Pusher Man
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    Because some of the helmets that are sold at department stores are just that super cheap....not worth the money....some may not meet satety requirements. Goes along with cheap Motiv, Huffy or Next full suspension bike that has a safety sticker on the top tube that says "bike not intended for off road use".

    I imagine that most of these cheap department store helmets are bought by individuals who need a cheap helmet for one ride and then never get used again, so they don't care about spec's, testing requirements, etc.

    There is a reason most bikeshops will not sell these department store helmets.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikej
    Because some of the helmets that are sold at department stores are just that super cheap....not worth the money....some may not meet satety requirements. Goes along with cheap Motiv, Huffy or Next full suspension bike that has a safety sticker on the top tube that says "bike not intended for off road use".

    I imagine that most of these cheap department store helmets are bought by individuals who need a cheap helmet for one ride and then never get used again, so they don't care about spec's, testing requirements, etc.

    There is a reason most bikeshops will not sell these department store helmets.
    Where did you get that info that Dept. store helmets are inferior to LBS helmets??

    -or did you just imagine it?
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbikej
    Because some of the helmets that are sold at department stores are just that super cheap....not worth the money....some may not meet satety requirements. Goes along with cheap Motiv, Huffy or Next full suspension bike that has a safety sticker on the top tube that says "bike not intended for off road use".

    I imagine that most of these cheap department store helmets are bought by individuals who need a cheap helmet for one ride and then never get used again, so they don't care about spec's, testing requirements, etc.

    There is a reason most bikeshops will not sell these department store helmets.
    http://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/regsumbicyclehelmets.pdf

    Any helmet marketed as a safety device or that someone could reasonably believe is one, must meet the standards. So unless there is a "this is a toy, not intended for safety" sticker on the helmet, its just as safe.
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  6. #6
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    They decidedly ARE inferior. Maybe they meet safety certifying standards, but seriously, try one on sometime. The fit, quality, looks, feel etc is just plain wrong.

    Pick up a Bell Volt or Giro E2 on EBay for a big discount and ride with a quality helmet.


    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    Where did you get that info that Dept. store helmets are inferior to LBS helmets??

    -or did you just imagine it?

  7. #7
    govt kontrakt projkt mgr
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    No all helmets are not just as safe as one another. NO!!!! Even if they have ANSI and/or CPSC stickers. Even all LBS quality level helmets ARE NOT the same. NOT THE SAME!!!!
    As an example there are helmets out there with visors that do not break away easily---go ahead and endo with one and let me know whether the ground or the visor causes the most injury (if you land on your noggin of course). I have first hand esperience here with a Trek Vapor lid a number of years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keatan
    http://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/regsumbicyclehelmets.pdf

    Any helmet marketed as a safety device or that someone could reasonably believe is one, must meet the standards. So unless there is a "this is a toy, not intended for safety" sticker on the helmet, its just as safe.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmySlowRdr
    No all helmets are not just as safe as one another. NO!!!! Even if they have ANSI and/or CPSC stickers. Even all LBS quality level helmets ARE NOT the same. NOT THE SAME!!!!
    As an example there are helmets out there with visors that do not break away easily---go ahead and endo with one and let me know whether the ground or the visor causes the most injury (if you land on your noggin of course). I have first hand esperience here with a Trek Vapor lid a number of years ago.
    So what standards do these safer helmets meet? Or do we just get the most expensive one we can afford, because it will be safer?




  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GpzGuy
    First let me say, I'm a cheap helmet junkie. I typically get a new helmet every other year or even every year, and I don't like spending more than $30 on a helmet.

    I just got my wife a new helmet, and I really like it and want to find one for myself, but they don't even list it on their website, and I just bought it this week at the store.

    Its a Bell Shifter helmet. The foam is injection molded directly into the plastic shell, rather than having the plastic shell taped on like with my Bell Adrenaline. It fits her really well too.

    I bought it at Fred Meyer for $25 and it was the last one in the store.

    Oh-well... I guess I'll just have to look around for something similar.
    The Bell helmets you find at the mass market stores (like Freddies) are usually models that have been discontinued from the bike shop line. You will not find them on the web site. As such they are good helmets, just older styles.

    They can be sold cheaply because the toolings have long been payed for and there is little marketing cost.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmySlowRdr
    No all helmets are not just as safe as one another. NO!!!! Even if they have ANSI and/or CPSC stickers. Even all LBS quality level helmets ARE NOT the same. NOT THE SAME!!!!
    As an example there are helmets out there with visors that do not break away easily---go ahead and endo with one and let me know whether the ground or the visor causes the most injury (if you land on your noggin of course). I have first hand esperience here with a Trek Vapor lid a number of years ago.
    Of course they are not all the same, but they all need to at least meet the same minimum standards.

    I would contented that some of the high end helmets that are designed for minimum weight and maximum venting may offer LESS actual protection in a crash even though they pass the standardized, controlled testing requirements. They are just too minimalist in their coverage.
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  11. #11
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    Hey, I know all about helmet safety standards. My strettbike helmet is a $500 Arai that meets Snell Safety Foundation standards...(and there is a lot of controversy over Snell standards versus CE standards versus DOT standards in the motorcycle community.) But I didn't buy that lid for the Snell sticker, I bought it for the comfortable fit, light weight, and exceptional ventilation and defogging.

    With my bike helmets, I wouldn't buy it if it didn't fit right. I used to buy more expensive bike helmets, but I've found it just didn't make any difference. I'll probably drop and scratch it up within a year, so I'll pitch it and get another. The only real differences I've found between cheap helmets and more expensive helmets are weight and ventilation.

    And BTW, I found the helmet at another store. Fits well, weighs 270g, decent vents, and like I said, the foam is injectection molded into the plastic shell. I'm going to take it for a ride this afternoon after it starts cooling off some.

    Regards

  12. #12
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    Nashbar still has the Bell Influx for $30.

    Helluva deal.

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmySlowRdr
    ... The fit, quality, looks, feel etc is just plain wrong.
    Yup...Personal Opinions ...
    I'm not sayin I like them, but someone else might ( I have worn one that did fit me just fine - years ago... can't remember the kind - probably a bell.)
    I also don't like all the LBS ones either.
    The biggest factors...IMO - YMMV
    1-Fit
    2-Feel (venting)
    3-Quality (straps?)
    4-Price
    5-Looks

    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    I would contented that some of the high end helmets that are designed for minimum weight and maximum venting may offer LESS actual protection in a crash even though they pass the standardized, controlled testing requirements. They are just too minimalist in their coverage.
    I was just thinking this myself -
    less vented 'cheap' helmets may actually be safer
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finch Platte
    Nashbar still has the Bell Influx for $30.

    Helluva deal.

    Thanks! Nice looking helmet, looks like good venting too. But it says it weighs 309 grams, compared to the 270 grams of the helmet I just got...40 grams heavier?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by GpzGuy
    Thanks! Nice looking helmet, looks like good venting too. But it says it weighs 309 grams, compared to the 270 grams of the helmet I just got...40 grams heavier?
    40 grams ain't that much - I think I have atleast that in sweat in my hair after a ride (.088 lbs.)

    Plus your helmet cost $500!!!!! WTF??

    FWIW my Giro Havoc (reportedly) weighs 298 grams and I barely notice it - I notice the chin-strap, the most, when I don't shave
    Last edited by highdelll; 05-30-2009 at 04:16 PM.
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  16. #16
    I'm SUCH a square....
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    I've been wearing a Bell Slant to ride for two years now; the online info says it weighs as much (sometimes more, depends on the website) as the Influx, which I had before the Slant (also for two years). But I could feel a noticeable difference in the weight of the two -- the Slant was WAY lighter! Comfort was comparable between the two. Paid less than $40 for each. My next one will also be in that range.

    My kids wear dept. store helmets ($20-24 each), and they work well. I just prefer the added adjustability the higher-end(?) helmets have.

    That said, there is NO WAY I would spend $70+ on a bike helmet! The extra ventilation doesn't make up for the price difference! And, BTW, the cheaper helmets are as safe, get over the mythology.
    A bike is the only drug with no bad side effects....

  17. #17
    Suffers From Binge Biking
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    I agree that cheaper big box helmets may actually be safer. They are cheap because it's just a chunk of styrofoam with a hole punched in here and there and a rope to strap it on... it probably passes the safety tests with flying colors. Crude, but effective.

    The more expensive ones are the result of actual engineering and design work as well as the comfort and adjustability that comes with them. I think people spend more money on helmets to get one that's comfortable, lets the air flow, and looks good, which is going to cost more to design and get to pass safety tests.

    BTW: I rode with a $30 helmet from my lbs for the first four years until just recently when I got a $100+ helmet. I only upgraded because it was on sale for $40.
    If it ain't broke, fix it 'till it is.

  18. #18
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    IT'S STYROFOAM!!!! - do not put all your $$ into that!!
    (yes, I know, how much is your life worth? - bla, bla bla - it's still the same sh!t - Styrofoam dough w/ a glaze coating - no sprinkles)
    Put your $$ into some pads or something (if you want more safety)
    or BRAKES!!
    or TIRES!!
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    Plus your helmet cost $500!!!!! WTF??
    Arai Quantum-2 (w/ graphics). Best fitting, most comfortable, lightest helmet I've ever owned. I'm on my 3rd Arai helmet, and even though I've tried on just about every motorcycle helmet ever made and available on the US market, I've yet to find one that's better.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by GpzGuy
    Arai Quantum-2 (w/ graphics). Best fitting, most comfortable, lightest helmet I've ever owned. I'm on my 3rd Arai helmet, and even though I've tried on just about every motorcycle helmet ever made and available on the US market, I've yet to find one that's better.

    Exactly there is a serious difference between price points, I own a $200 hockey helmet (top of the line) and it is the best fitting, most comfortable one for me out there. That being said I have been struggling to find a bike helmet that fits me, no matter the price point. The ones available in my area all fit like crap. Ive tried the cheapie box store ones, and my LBSs that carry the more expensive ones. I wanna hit some serious trails soon, but not without a helmet.

  21. #21
    The Martian
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    IT'S STYROFOAM!!!! - do not put all your $$ into that!!
    (yes, I know, how much is your life worth? - bla, bla bla - it's still the same sh!t - Styrofoam dough w/ a glaze coating - no sprinkles)
    Put your $$ into some pads or something (if you want more safety)
    or BRAKES!!
    or TIRES!!

    I don't see how material in and of itself devalues protection. I don't care if my helmet is made out of horse manure so long as it protects my head and is reasonably comfortable to wear.

    Besides that styrofoam, while technically correct, is not an entirely accurate description of helmet material anyway. It is NOT the same stuff crappy cups and coolers are made out of.

    How other padding is going to protect my HEAD, which is the goal of a helmet, is beyond me, but yea, if you want to protect other parts of your body as well then get pads, not a bad idea.

    A properly functioning bike is also a safety requirement, doesn't replace the function of a helmet though.

    Basically, your argument is flawed.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by CougarTrek
    ...

    Basically, your argument is flawed.
    OK, I know I was maybe being over-simplistic - but my point was that just because you spend $120 instead of $30 on a helmet (given the same 'style' - vented XC for instance), it does not necessarily mean you are going to be any safer.

    I also wasn't trying to de-value 'styrofoam' either - rather that expensive and inexpensive helmets use the same material and that your $$ may be better spent on some other parts/protection (given that everything else was 'equal' except the price tag)

    so I don't really see how my argument was flawed - maybe misunderstood (unless that itself is the flaw?)

    I dunno, I'd rather have a 'cheap' helmet and good brakes rather than an expensive helmet and crappy brakes - maybe that's just me.
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmySlowRdr
    No all helmets are not just as safe as one another. NO!!!! Even if they have ANSI and/or CPSC stickers. Even all LBS quality level helmets ARE NOT the same. NOT THE SAME!!!!
    As an example there are helmets out there with visors that do not break away easily---go ahead and endo with one and let me know whether the ground or the visor causes the most injury (if you land on your noggin of course). I have first hand esperience here with a Trek Vapor lid a number of years ago.
    I got a nasty cut nose from a helmet visor. It broke in the fall (I did not) and sliced open my nose.

    FWIW, it was an inexpensive helmet. I always buy helmets less than $50 USA.

    TR

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by elder_mtber
    I got a nasty cut nose from a helmet visor. It broke in the fall (I did not) and sliced open my nose.

    FWIW, it was an inexpensive helmet. I always buy helmets less than $50 USA.

    TR
    Exactly. The helmet cut your nose, but may have saved you from splitting your head open.

    Some of this sounds like a Leatt brace argument. I might break your collar bone, but it does so while saving you from breaking your neck.

  25. #25
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    I typically use $100+ helmets, both mountain specific and road. I also have a few BMX helmets for commuting, and I have used a cheap Bell purchased from a LBS.

    The more expensive helmets fit the best since the circumference range is about 6 cm as opposed to 8 for cheaper, universal-fit helmets. They are also better constructed, which means they are slightly lighter without reducing protection. Also the buckles and the pads were better quality, so the helmet lasted longer.

    But my cheap helmets protect just as well as my better helmets. They don't fit that great and I avoid wearing them if I am riding longer than 30 minutes, but I am confident about the protection.

    The bottom line is that if I forgot my helmet, I would fine with running into a department store and buy a helmet there. I probably keep in my trunk as the backup, but I rather ride with a sweaty head and sore spots on my temples than with just a baseball cap.

  26. #26
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    I dropped a cheap Bell helmet from about 5 feet to the ground. It shattered. I tried the same thing witha giro helmet and nothing happened. Not all helmets are created equal.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by schmitty8225
    I dropped a cheap Bell helmet from about 5 feet to the ground. It shattered. I tried the same thing witha giro helmet and nothing happened. Not all helmets are created equal.
    And how much exposure to the sun and UV did the Bell have versus the Giro helmet? And why would intentionally risk ruining a perfectly good helmet, to make a point? Helmets are intended to be good for one crash only.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by schmitty8225
    I dropped a cheap Bell helmet from about 5 feet to the ground. It shattered. I tried the same thing witha giro helmet and nothing happened. Not all helmets are created equal.
    Bell is Giro, they are the same company.

    Don't believe me? Go look at their customer service numbers, addresses, fax numbers, etc.

    Like GpzGuy asked, how old/exposed was the Bell? Styrofoam isn't going to really "shatter" unless it's WAY beyond its useful lifespan.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    OK, I know I was maybe being over-simplistic - but my point was that just because you spend $120 instead of $30 on a helmet (given the same 'style' - vented XC for instance), it does not necessarily mean you are going to be any safer.

    I also wasn't trying to de-value 'styrofoam' either - rather that expensive and inexpensive helmets use the same material and that your $$ may be better spent on some other parts/protection (given that everything else was 'equal' except the price tag)

    so I don't really see how my argument was flawed - maybe misunderstood (unless that itself is the flaw?)

    I dunno, I'd rather have a 'cheap' helmet and good brakes rather than an expensive helmet and crappy brakes - maybe that's just me.

    I totally agree with you there. There is no documented safety difference between the $30 helmet and the $130 helmet. Maybe there is one, maybe there isn't, but without more rigorous testing and graded ratings (rather than pass/fail) we'll never know.

    I do like that medium priced helmets ($50-100) fit *me* better than their cheaper counterparts and are lighter, but that's all I'm paying for when I choose to spend that much.

    I also agree it's foolish to spend a bunch on a helmet at the expense of other equipment and repairs necessary for safety.

    I never ride without a helmet and I never ride without well cared for, solid brakes. So yes, your point is taken

    I mistakenly thought that your comment was devaluing the importance of all helmets not the misconception that the more $$ you spend the safer you are.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by schmitty8225
    I dropped a cheap Bell helmet from about 5 feet to the ground. It shattered. I tried the same thing witha giro helmet and nothing happened. Not all helmets are created equal.
    But BOTH helmets were effectively destroyed.

    You are wrong in assuming that nothing happened to the Giro. It did compress, even if it didn't break, and it's integrity was compromised.

    In theory both could have effectively done their job (which is to increase impact time and thus reduce impulse and therefore force). In fact the helmet that shattered may have done a BETTER job (breaking is a good way to disperse energy). But we won't know since forces transmitted to the (no existent) heads were not objectively recorded.

    I too wonder what other different circumstances surround this "test"; as has already been stated Bell and Giro are one and the same.

  31. #31
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    well right now a middle east country's major financial arm owns church's chicken and yakima racks too.

    same company..

    ..ah that's not really a fair comparison.

    yeah bell and giros all part of bell sports group or whatever it's calling itself these days. There's el cheapo helmets in both lines.

    I really do dont see what the hububs about.

    If you can afford and want a pricy comfortable helmet go for it. If you cannot afford or just dont want a pricey helmet, step down. It will be safe in as far as protecting your brain.

    I still stand by the fact that the cheaper helmets found in places such as kmart, walmart, dicks, academy etc may have the safety stickers, but the quality IS decidedly worse, and there could well be bad looks, bad fit, and things that will cause you to go ouch anyway. And some of that can be found in the LBS line also.


    Quote Originally Posted by adam728
    Bell is Giro, they are the same company.

    Don't believe me? Go look at their customer service numbers, addresses, fax numbers, etc.

    Like GpzGuy asked, how old/exposed was the Bell? Styrofoam isn't going to really "shatter" unless it's WAY beyond its useful lifespan.

  32. #32
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    Lol bell and giro may be from the same company but they are not the same quality. How long was it exposed to sun? Give me a break that is retarded as hell. The AC moved the giro helmet and moved it .2% to the left thus causing it to not break. Dont state stupid **** that has no real affect on the test. They were right next to each other.
    And yup both helmets were effectively destroyed because you saw the damage right? Nope you didn't dont talk about **** unless you know what you are talking about and you clearly don't.
    The bell had hairline cracks all over the styrofoam and the giro had no damage. Giro was not damaged at all.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by schmitty8225
    Lol bell and giro may be from the same company but they are not the same quality. How long was it exposed to sun? Give me a break that is retarded as hell.
    Do you have any clue what age and UV exposure does to the materials used in helmets? And Bell has been building Giro's helmets for 10 years now. Same facility, location, workers, etc. http://www.bhsi.org/belg9903.htm

    The AC moved the giro helmet and moved it .2% to the left thus causing it to not break. Dont state stupid **** that has no real affect on the test. They were right next to each other.
    Sounds like you were VERY scientific in controling the variables in the test, and understanding how they can effect the outcome.


    And yup both helmets were effectively destroyed because you saw the damage right?
    Don't need to see the damage. In fact, it doesn't really matter, because your test is 100% useless anyway. It proved absolutely nothing about the safety offered by the helmets. It's like hitting 2 cars in the bumper with a tack hammer, then claiming that the car with the smaller dent or scratch will be safer in an collision.

    Nope you didn't dont talk about **** unless you know what you are talking about and you clearly don't.
    Take your own advice, seriously.

    The bell had hairline cracks all over the styrofoam and the giro had no damage. Giro was not damaged at all.
    Again, useless test, proves nothing. It' possible that the Bell better distributed the force and increased the duration of the impact, which would mean it transmits a lower g-force to the user's head. But, there was nothing in the helmet to simulate the mass of a users hear, nor any test equipment to measure impact duration or g-force load. So again, meaningless test.

    Do you have any clue what you are talking about?
    How helmets work http://www.bhsi.org/general.htm
    Testing that actually means something, opposed to your completely useless "test" - http://www.bhsi.org/testing.htm

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by schmitty8225
    I dropped a cheap Bell helmet from about 5 feet to the ground. It shattered. I tried the same thing witha giro helmet and nothing happened. Not all helmets are created equal.
    Why you'd want to stand behind this flawed "science" or even conduct such an "experiment" is beyond me, but since you went down that road - check out my 'logic'!

    Years ago when I had that Dept. store bell (mentioned previously) and I wasn't really aware of any possible hidden damage from impacts - I was careless with it - It was dropped several times, thrown around...I think I even kicked it once - Never did it crack.

    On the other hand, just earlier this year when i was getting my gloves out of my Giro Havoc - a ~$50 LBS jobber IIRC , I must of dislodged the strap off of the handlebar from which the the helmet hanging and it fell to the ground - striking a curb. The sucker broke into 5 pieces! 1 fall.

    LBS Giros must be crappier than el cheapo Bell helmets right? I mean using YOUR scientific method...

    BTW - Since I already knew the Havoc fit me well, I was able to save some $$ and order one on-line for about $35 w/out having to have it fitted
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  35. #35
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by schmitty8225
    Lol bell and giro may be from the same company but they are not the same quality. How long was it exposed to sun? Give me a break that is retarded as hell. The AC moved the giro helmet and moved it .2% to the left thus causing it to not break. Dont state stupid **** that has no real affect on the test. They were right next to each other.
    And yup both helmets were effectively destroyed because you saw the damage right? Nope you didn't dont talk about **** unless you know what you are talking about and you clearly don't.
    The bell had hairline cracks all over the styrofoam and the giro had no damage. Giro was not damaged at all.

    OK sunnyboy... gee you got me and I don't have a clue what I'm talking about... boy I just ought to give my professional engineering license back to the states that issued it to me and all (CA, OR, WA and ID). I used to design tests for testing material quality like this for commercial nuclear power plants.... so I guess I've been putting the public at risk and all since I'm so retarded and all. what a f*&ktard

  36. #36
    ~Disc~Golf~
    Reputation: highdelll's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
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    16,492
    Quote Originally Posted by GpzGuy
    OK sunnyboy... gee you got me and I don't have a clue what I'm talking about... boy I just ought to give my professional engineering license back to the states that issued it to me and all (CA, OR, WA and ID). I used to design tests for testing material quality like this for commercial nuclear power plants.... so I guess I've been putting the public at risk and all since I'm so retarded and all. what a f*&ktard
    you mean that's NOT how you do engineering tests??
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  37. #37
    I like rocks
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    166
    Quote Originally Posted by schmitty8225
    Lol bell and giro may be from the same company but they are not the same quality. How long was it exposed to sun? Give me a break that is retarded as hell. The AC moved the giro helmet and moved it .2% to the left thus causing it to not break. Dont state stupid **** that has no real affect on the test. They were right next to each other.
    And yup both helmets were effectively destroyed because you saw the damage right? Nope you didn't dont talk about **** unless you know what you are talking about and you clearly don't.
    The bell had hairline cracks all over the styrofoam and the giro had no damage. Giro was not damaged at all.


    Well, there's certainly a new sheriff in Stupidsville
    If you go looking for trouble, you can be sure it's gaining from behind.

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