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Old 04-12-2012, 04:45 AM   #15
jbhawley OP
WTF- Gus?
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Joined: Apr 2008
Location: Kenly NC
Oddometer: 425
I am the OP

I am the OP and have found some more information from various places that sheds some light on the 5 year helmet plan...or does it.

After scouring the interweb (meaning I did a google search ) I found that not only do motorcycle helmet mfg recommend the 5 year replacement plan but also bicycle helmet mfgs, horse rider helmet mfgs, skateboard helmet mfgs, etc, etc. Virtually all helmet mfg recommend replacement after 5 years. I guess this is the "consensus" that Snell references.

Now here is where it gets interesting. I found a web site that discussed this same issue but about Horse rider helmets. Here are a few snippets I pulled from the site. Read the entire page if you wish. It appears that the same question was posed to several helmet mfg and, believe it or not, there were different answers amongst all.
I only shortened each response to gather the relevant parts...not to cherry pick to prove my point. I do not ride horses so I cannot comment on these mfgs as to which offers the highest quality. i.e. Samshield may be an Arai equivalent and GPA may be a AFX equivalent...I just do not know.


Samshield Helmets: The 5 year rule applies, starting at the date of manufacture.

Troxel Helmets: Troxel recommends replacing a helmet 5 years from the date of purchase from a retail store.

GPA: We do recommend to change the helmet every 5 years if it has been properly used and taken care of. The helmet materials do not get affected until it starts to be worn

Charles Owen: Your questioner is correct that it is recommended to replace your helmet after 5 years of use, not manufacturing date. It is the sweat and the occasional drop that reduces a helmets safety level. I would equate that to 2000 hours of riding. So a helmet that is worn regularly will deteriorate faster than one used only an hour a week. A helmet kept in air conditioned storage would be ideal as it will be kept cool and dry. Helmets will degrade in very warm conditions, that is above 170 deg F and will rust and grow mold in damp conditions.

Neither is inherently wrong but we do go by date of purchase. Our stock has a very quick turn around but I could imagine a scenario where a helmet is in a store for some time and is perfectly fine, although it was purchased when already a year or two old. Once a helmet leaves our facility (which is a climate controlled environment) it is assumed that all retailers take the same care in storage and handling the helmet until a customer purchased it.


As you can see five different mfgs. Five different answers. It seems that the "consensus" is not across the board, so to speak, within the mfg community.

This sorta takes me back to my OP and the main question that I the 5 year plan a marketing ploy, a safety concern from the mfg to the customers, or a way for the mfg to CYA in the event of litigation. Which opens another can of worms...

What if you are in a crash and you hire an ambulance chasing lawyer that sues the helmet mfg. Will the potential outcome and rebuttal of the mfg be based on the age of the helmet? If so, from what perspective? See above as the mfg seem to be all over the place on what they recommend as the "starting" point on the 5 year count down. Will the mfg argue that the helmet was made more than 5 years ago? Will you rebut by saying you only purchased new 3 years ago? Will you then have to sue the dealer to prove the helmet was not stored in a climate controlled environment for the 2 years it sat on a shelf before being purchased?

See my point? I know I am making way too much of this...but it really grips my balls that we, as consumers, take a blanket statement "replace after 5 years" and blindly follow like lemmings the mfgs recommendations. Let's see Snell take a 10 year old helmet and test it, or one that has been dropped 10 times, or one that has been in a crash, or...hell I could go on and on. Again...too many variables to say "You gotta replace in 5 years!"

I think I need to send a challenge to Myth Busters or maybe Consumer Reports.

Lemmings non sumus

"All the inconvenience and sweat and discomfort of body armor suddenly pales when you're sliding comfortably down the highway on all fours." -ghostdncr
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