Why one-hit helmets? Going skateboard style?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Why one-hit helmets? Going skateboard style?

    I wonder why MTB helmets can't be made for more than one hit like skateboard helmets. I know, I know, ventilation, right? Well, why can't a strong helmet be made with some vents. I am not talking about racing here, but I have started riding a local trail that is just kicking my rear, but I love it. The problem is that the first time out I broke my standard bicycle helmet (Trek Speed 2), and so now I am riding with a cheap Bell "all sports" helmet. I endoed a few more times and could have ruined at least 2 more $70 helmets were I wearing them.

    So, first, why can't they do something here? We aren't going 40 mhp on concrete here. Second, who uses a skateboard style helmet for these reasons and what do you use?

  2. #2
    Now with flavor!!
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    I use a pro-tec skate helmet for xc and dirtjumping and a full face for dh. I got sick of breaking the hard foam ones as well. There's quite a bit of argument on the side of helmet manufacturers that claims in true catastrophic type crashes, the breakaway foam will provide more protection. I've gotten at least one concussion with each, but who knows......

  3. #3
    hands up who wants to die
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    I have a ProTec Ace Dig. It's made for BMX/MTB. It is hardshell and has the proper inner foam for highspeed use (unlike real skate helmets). It looks just like a skate helmet basically.
    Plus it has a removeable visor, which is nice for trail riding in the sun or when the bushes and trees are slapping your face.
    It doesn't breathe like a regular expensive bike helmet, but IMHO air vents aren't as effective for MTBing, since you're often going kinda slow (climbing or technical trails).

    check it out. $40.
    -rob

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys. Pro-tec seems to be the lid to go with from some of the things I have seen in my searches. I am going to look around the local shops and put some on my head. I have this Bell now, but it is huge and heavy and doesn't fit great. At least I am in no hurry.

  5. #5
    "Ride Lots" - Eddie Mercx
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    it's not just the hard shell

    that's important. The issue is that expanded polystyrene (foam) is springy. But, once you compress it, it doesn't spring back. So, when you hit the noggin on something the foam compresses to distribute the load rather than focus the force on your melon. When the foam has done it's job, it can not do it again since there is no spring left.

    Even a skateboard helmet is made out of polystyrene so althought he harder shell may absorb more impact than the foam does, the foam still is perofrming a fucntion and it sacrifices itself every time it takes a hit.

    Full face motocross helmets and racing helmets are not supposed to be used after an impact either.

    For most XC riding, the one hit rule is fine since I don't generally crash on my head that often. For DH and dirt jumping, I can see why you'd want something with more durability but remember it's not the shell that's doing the protecting, it'st he foam inner.

    YR

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by 24601
    Thanks guys. Pro-tec seems to be the lid to go with from some of the things I have seen in my searches. I am going to look around the local shops and put some on my head. I have this Bell now, but it is huge and heavy and doesn't fit great. At least I am in no hurry.

    I just purchased a Pro-Tech Ace Dig from JensonUSA. Love it. It's cold out now, so I can wear a thin hat underneath the helmet. Looks sweet, price was right $45 bucks, and it fits great. Its the gloss dark silver one. It looks like a skate helmet with a visor, but has more and larger vents than a true skate helmet. Plus it has a goggle keeper on back and the sides contour to hold a google strap correctly.

    It also has "multiple impact foam" where the foam has a memory of sorts. It will take the hit, then go back to the original shape to take successive impacts. The theory is that if you tumble, your head will hit the ground multiple times. It is not designed for multiple catastophic crashes, though.

    As I look back on it, its funny that my sportbike helmet cost $500 bux new, and I get more satisfaction/fun from my mountain bike trails than my CBR600 F3 at 140mph on an expressway.

  7. #7
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Exactly right, Y_R.
    mtbtires.com
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  8. #8

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    What about those helmets that come with a crash replacement policies? I've never had experience with a claim or anythign so I cant comment on how well those work. But maybe thats something to look into?

  9. #9
    zod
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    Quote Originally Posted by LBguy
    What about those helmets that come with a crash replacement policies? I've never had experience with a claim or anythign so I cant comment on how well those work. But maybe thats something to look into?
    Most helmet crash replacement policies are a joke......... Giro for instance wants you to send them the helmet at your expense and they want a detailed letter describing the incident. In turn they will give you 30% off the MSRP on a new Giro helmet of your choice (+ shipping cost).

    You can buy a new Giro from any of the .coms for less than 30% of MSRP so how is Giro doing you any favors?

  10. #10
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    Trek replaces the helmet for free, and my LBS is even taking care of that for me. I don't have to send it in at all. The problem with that helmet though is the plastic straps that go across the back of the head are held on by only a very small nub to the helmet, like the diameter of a sewing needle, and they brake with only the slightest jar. Great for the road, sucks off road. I didn't realize that when I bought it, it just fit great.

  11. #11
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    Have any of you tried the Giro Semi MX helmet?

    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/product.aspx?i=HE603A07

  12. #12
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    Does the "foam" of a bike helmet break up when impacted. I'm not sure how to word this, I suppose I mean does it shatter? I know it doesn't actually break apart, it stays together. But the energy that would normally break open your skull is used up by breaking up the foam. I'm a big fan of helmets. I fractured my skull falling off a porch. I don't mean a hairline fracture either. This was a 1x1x1 inch piece of triangular displaced bone. I spent a couple years in rehab. So, I like helmets. I'm actually shopping for a new one this year. My current helmet is a bit old and the material breaks down with age.
    I like to ride bikes.

  13. #13
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    OK, like football helmets. Those things take hit after hit after hit, and you can't tell me those aren't as hard as what you would take on a normal cross coutry ride. I am not talking about road riding or super downhill or extreme jumping, I am just talking the normal spills you take time after time, especially when learning.

    I am glad I had my helmet for my big crash, I just wish I could have finished the ride instead of pushing the bike out.

  14. #14
    hands up who wants to die
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    I have a Semi MX. Basically it's an XC-type thin-shell helmet with very little venting and a skate-style design.
    I like the slight amount of additional coverage on the low back of the head it has compared with a standard XC helmet.
    I would just get a Pro Tec Ace Dig instead of the Semi. Tougher (hardshell), cheaper, only a bit heavier and just as much airflow (very little, that is.)

    -r

  15. #15
    its just a mountain
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yeti_Rider
    Full face motocross helmets and racing helmets are not supposed to be used after an impact either.
    I'm pretty sure they say it because of legality. I've been racing hare scrambles(cross country dirt bikes) competitively for 6 years and riding for 10 and have yet to meet a single person that has replaces helmets after impacts. I've been using the same helmet for over a year now with some brutal crashes and I've even had someone hit me in the head after I crashed on a double. With those foam mtb helmets, thats something idk about b/c all they are is foam. I ride a protec w/ the foam inside the hard shell and I've hit trees head on and it doesnt bother me one bit putting the same helmet back on the next day.

    my 2 cents

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by MxFlyer43
    I'm pretty sure they say it because of legality. I've been racing hare scrambles(cross country dirt bikes) competitively for 6 years and riding for 10 and have yet to meet a single person that has replaces helmets after impacts. I've been using the same helmet for over a year now with some brutal crashes and I've even had someone hit me in the head after I crashed on a double. With those foam mtb helmets, thats something idk about b/c all they are is foam. I ride a protec w/ the foam inside the hard shell and I've hit trees head on and it doesnt bother me one bit putting the same helmet back on the next day.

    my 2 cents
    From Protec's website:
    Surface activated eXpanded Polypropylene, a patented, multi-impact helmet technology that is ideal for the aggressive riding style of action sports athletes. When conventional helmets take a hard hit, the foam liner compresses and stays compressed, losing most of its impact absorbing properties. Due to the advanced chemical structure and sophisticated processes used to create SXP helmet liners, Pro-tec pushes beyond the norm by offering multiple impact protection that far exceeds the competition.

    So what’s the secret? MEMORY!

    Rebound Properties
    Because SXP has built in rebound control, once the helmet liner has been compressed, SXP memory kicks in and the liner rebounds to its original shape, maintaining its impact absorbing qualities.

    SXP was developed by the same group of scientists who, through advances in moldable foam, made automotive steel bumpers obsolete in the ’80s. Exclusively licensed by Pro-tec, SXP technology uses a patented Surface Activation Process to create a pure form of Polypropylene that is at least 20% stronger than other Polypropylene foams. With SXP, Pro-tec is able to offer consumers unprecedented multiple impact protection in a lightweight helmet.
    Pro-tec SXP helmets are the only lightweight, multiple impact helmets to be CPSC approved and deliver the style and fit the market demands.

    I don't care how it works, but it is nice to see the manufacturer stating they can take mulitple hits.

  17. #17
    It's about showing up.
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    If it is strong enough to hold up through crashes

    it may be too strong. What that says is that all the force goes into your neck, vertibrae, and bounces your brain around more in the skull. Just l as with modern auto bumpers, their exhaustion is a sign that they have absorbed and dissipated impact force, not just bounced off of it.
    I can hear the cries "I'm okay." Yeah, right. Has anyone seen the studies on Soccer players with their heading the ball. Can you say Mohammed Ali?
    At the same time I don't expect anyone to listen to reason. You can't tell some people some things, they have to learn it on their own. And then it is too late.

  18. #18
    Jm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 24601
    Have any of you tried the Giro Semi MX helmet?

    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/product.aspx?i=HE603A07
    Yeah, hated it. It looked kind of cool, but it was way too hot, black, and sweat would just pour down my face and glasses at random times, rather than weeping a little all the time. IMO it's not a great helmet, it's just not ventilated enough. There's that new xgen type helmet that Giro makes that is supposed to be the "higher end" semi-mx type helmet, with much better venting and not black. I wouldn't mind trying that one, it's expensive but if it works it would be worth it.

    And yeah, because a helmet may break on impact, it can absorb a lot more energy compared to if it stays in one peice and imparts that energy directly to your head. Think about the physics of motorcycle and road helmets. These are not meant to slam stuff at a few mph, these are meant to slam stuff really hard at high speeds. This can be good or bad, and I don't think anyone can conclusively say one way or the other.

  19. #19
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    I just wish I could find a shop that carries these kinds of helmets so I could try them on. No one around here seems to have them.

  20. #20
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    Cost benefit analysis

    Quote Originally Posted by 24601
    OK, like football helmets. Those things take hit after hit after hit, and you can't tell me those aren't as hard as what you would take on a normal cross coutry ride. I am not talking about road riding or super downhill or extreme jumping, I am just talking the normal spills you take time after time, especially when learning.

    I am glad I had my helmet for my big crash, I just wish I could have finished the ride instead of pushing the bike out.
    Weight. You can design a reusable helmet (like a football helmet) but the weight would limit the effectiveness.

  21. #21
    suck it trebeK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike
    it may be too strong. What that says is that all the force goes into your neck, vertibrae, and bounces your brain around more in the skull. Just l as with modern auto bumpers, their exhaustion is a sign that they have absorbed and dissipated impact force, not just bounced off of it.
    I can hear the cries "I'm okay." Yeah, right. Has anyone seen the studies on Soccer players with their heading the ball. Can you say Mohammed Ali?
    At the same time I don't expect anyone to listen to reason. You can't tell some people some things, they have to learn it on their own. And then it is too late.
    I tend to agree with this. The energy has to go somewhere, so it's either causing damage to the helmet or being absorbed by your head/neck. The easier the helmet damages with a hit, the more energy it should absorb from the impact.

  22. #22
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    I guess with my wreck was the fact that while the foam wasn't really damaged, the strap is what broke. I am not talking about big hits. I am just saying if I fall over sideways on my bike moving 0 mph, I would like my helmet to survive that.

  23. #23
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    From the sound of Pro Tec's info the polypropylene does deform and absorb the impact, however, unlike styrofoam it rebounds to it's original shape and can take more impacts. I think the key is how fast it rebounds. I assume from their info it rebounds slowly, therefore not transfering the shock of the impact back to the head. They also say it provides protection while maintaining a light weight. Does anyone know what the weight is? I gotta believe they are significantly heavier than, say, a Bell Influx because the shell is thicker and heavier and the polypropylene liner is heavier than foam. Lastly they are hot, by any measure. Virtually no vents guarantees no air flow.

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by meloh1
    From the sound of Pro Tec's info the polypropylene does deform and absorb the impact, however, unlike styrofoam it rebounds to it's original shape and can take more impacts. I think the key is how fast it rebounds. I assume from their info it rebounds slowly, therefore not transfering the shock of the impact back to the head. They also say it provides protection while maintaining a light weight. Does anyone know what the weight is? I gotta believe they are significantly heavier than, say, a Bell Influx because the shell is thicker and heavier and the polypropylene liner is heavier than foam. Lastly they are hot, by any measure. Virtually no vents guarantees no air flow.
    The helmet's claimed weight is 500 grams, whereas the claimed weight of the Giro Semi-MX is 355 grams. Obviously the polypropylene foam is much heavier than just regular foam. The shell must be thicker, because the helmet is made for multiple hits, and it is not designed to split upon one impact. The helmet (surprize) has 15 vents, which is more than the Semi-MX (12).

    As far as fit, I didn't try on the Semi, but I wear a large Arai for the CBR and I went with a large Pro-Tec. I wish the Pro-Tec used different lasts for all helmet sizes, like the Arai, but I cannot compare a $600 helmet to a $50 dollar helmet. I therefore can fit half a finger-width in between the helmet and my forehead and between the sides by each ear. Still the helmet is very firm, and doesn't more than 1/2 inch on my head in any direction. I'm thinking about adding some felt padding to firm up some locations where I can feel excess space. Not much, but 1/16inch of felt would probably do wonders to customize the fit.

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