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Old 04-12-2012, 04:51 AM   #16
KradmelderSA
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I ride everyday all year. In addition there is the weather factor. Our sun is very strong and its a dry climate, so the helmet gets a lot of UV radiation and the foam material must erode and dry out. I have 2 helmets and use both, and both are 2 years old. They wont make 5 years.
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Old 04-12-2012, 04:51 AM   #17
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I don't know how anyone can make it to 5 years on the same helmet. After wearing, cleaning, more wearing and such, mine ususally smell so bad after 3 years that my wife is begging me to get a new one. Mind you, I don't have a sense of smell, so I can't tell you how bad they really are.

Point is, I usually put 65,000 - 75,000 Km on a helmet in 3 years. They get jostled in the shop, in my top box, carried up and down hotel stairways, left in a locker and once or twice been accidently knocked into a ditch. They also get worn in sun, rain, sleet, fog and the occasional snow squall. I would consider myself GENTLY on my lid. But after about 3 years, it looks like its been through the Boer War and is ready for retirement. That's when I start looking.

The other thing, I've never bought a $500+ helmet. I do get one that is ECE and DOT rated, Snell if I can. What's the big difference between my $300 Snell Lid and your $500+ Snell lid?

C.
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Old 04-12-2012, 05:28 AM   #18
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I found this on the Snell site.

Motorcycle Product News' Bob Jackson sat down with Snell's Gib Brown, director of test development and the foundation's West Coast lab manager, to discuss the criticism. Additionally, Brown offered a history of Snell and detailed its testing procedures.

MPN: There have been various theories over the years that motorcyclists should purchase new helmets every three years or so. Has that been a marketing ploy, or do the materials used in motorcycle helmet construction fatigue over a period of time?
Brown: I think "fatigue" is probably the wrong word to use. What happens is that many manufacturers use glues to put the liner into the shell. We've seen cases where the glues would degrade the liner. We've also seen liners degrade from perspiration and hair oils, and they become compacted through normal use. Snell finally looked at this and said there's no way we can tell an individual how long his or her helmet will be good because the user is the only one who knows how a helmet has been treated. But as a general policy, because of normal degradation and improvements in the helmet, Snell recommends that helmets be replaced every five years.

:::::


With this, I think that the 5 year rule of thumb is a catch-all........and just that a "RULE OF THUMB"...not a hard and fast requirement.


YMMV!

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Old 04-12-2012, 05:36 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C-Stain View Post
The other thing, I've never bought a $500+ helmet. I do get one that is ECE and DOT rated, Snell if I can. What's the big difference between my $300 Snell Lid and your $500+ Snell lid?
Usually just the look, feel and quality of the materials the helmet is made with and the "bells and whistles" that you are getting. When I bought my Arai XD-4 I tried on at least 10 other Snell certified helmets. Shoei was the only one that came close, IMO, to the quality and feel of the liner against my noggin'. The lesser priced Snell branded just did not feel as comfortable to me or did not fit my head shape. I am paying a premium price for a premium helmet.

From the Snell site...I think this sums it up rather nicely.

What's the difference between a $100 Snell certified helmet and a $400 Snell certified helmet?
While helmets are primarily a protective device, the true protective capabilities of a helmet, if needed will only come into play for about 2 to 4 milliseconds during the lifetime of the helmet. This leaves a lot of time for that helmet to be doing nothing more than sitting around on a user's head. Producing a product that meets the standards is not really very difficult. Producing a helmet that people will buy and wear, and will consistently meet the standards is significantly more difficult. The Snell Standards do not measure factors like comfort, ventilation, brand recognition or style, and only indirectly look at fit, weight, materials and workmanship. These are factors that frequently drive helmet cost.
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Old 04-12-2012, 05:36 AM   #20
Joey Stalin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbhawley View Post

This sorta takes me back to my OP and the main question that I have...is 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...
Yes. The answer to those questions is yes. So again, do as thou wilt, anyone on here who tells anyone else that they need to replace a helmet after 5 years is talking out their ass. Snell pretty much admitted it in the post above mine - it's impossible to know for sure, so 5 years seems like a good catch-all number.
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Old 04-12-2012, 05:44 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bomber60015 View Post
a great deal of typing and a fair amount of opinions . . . not bad, mind you, but light on facts, data, and information ;-}

I have no idea, and I'm guessing you don't either --

If you want to look for a conspiricy, ask yourself why the instructions on a bottle of shampoo tells you to do the whole thing twice.
You got it correct Captain...I have no idea...thus the reason for my post. It also seems that the helmet mfgs do not have any idea as well. See my follow up investigation.

Conspiracy theory. HMM Maybe? But not really am I posing a conspiracy, but questioning the status quo. Its the helmet mfg, Snell etc that should post hard-cold data and not some friggin' "CONSENSUS". Do you agree?
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Old 04-12-2012, 07:14 AM   #22
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While it would be great if there was data, the manufacturers are not going to do the research unless it somehow benefits them . . . . ..

Ditto Snell . . . . .

While it may grip your balls for consumers to blindly accept the word of manufacturers and testing organizations (I don't disagree, btw), one of the things I've come to ask myself is the following: "Is thig hill worth dying on?"

In other words, there are manny more things I could be doing with the time and mental horsepower required to worry about this . . . . like arguing on the internet ;-}
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:40 AM   #23
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So far nobody has dug up a single data point indicating there is any degradation in the protective ability of old helmets. The only issues are related to the liner which is related to comfort, not protection. I would assume that at some time in the past someone did some kind of test, but the details are lost in history. It was probably some test of army helmets during the Crimean war and the 5 year number lives on through the centuries .

From a website talking about Expanded Polystyrene: Ageing resistance
All of the properties listed above are retained over the whole of the
material’s life and will last as long as the building itself. EPS is not
altered by external agents such as fungi or parasites as they find no
nutritional value in the material.


Another quote about EPS: Core specimens of EPS removed from freezer walls in place for twenty years have demonstrated no deterioration in the structural integrity or physical properties.
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:00 AM   #24
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Well covered guys

I lost a dear friend to a single motorcycle accident. He was drunk, missed an easy corner & ran into the curb (No helmet, no helmet law). I talked to the shift commander about the accident the next day. He informed my that sometimes, like in this case, a helmet would not have saved him because of the severe deceleration of the brain matter inside the skull.
So whether there is a difference or not on the ability of an older helmet to absorb the impact may not matter. I'm not so sure it's going to make a difference if my six year old helmet will save me from the big one. Each situation must be judged individually.
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:25 AM   #25
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Interest posted question, interesting answers.

My 2 cents... I generally go by the 5 year rule of thumb. I only have one current helmet and it is about 5 years old. I am researching replacement, why? It is showing it's age, the liner is getting worn. I usually replace the face shield every 1 1/2 years to 2 years. It now needs replacing too. I always wear a head a neck liner, which is much easier to wash than the removeal of the helmet liner. Now, I have my old helmet on the shelf. It is now 10 years old. I keep it, just in case I need to replace a part on my current lid and have to wait on a part. The 10 year old helmet I can tell you the liner is wearing out and the foam has given up life, it is hard as hell and uncomfortable to wear, but still better than nothing. And yes I am a rounder, ride about 25K on a bike a year in all kind of weather.

I am also wear a Stich and they say that the suit is good for 10 years or 100K. I have more miles on the suit and it still holds up.

All relative.... just my opinion....not that it makes a difference, but my current helmet is a Shoei X-11 and my old helmet is a AGV modular.
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Old 04-12-2012, 10:23 AM   #26
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Helmets- ask 100 different people, get 100 different answers. Guess I'll throw my hat into the ring.

UV degredation. How may of you take your EPS liner out and let it sit in the sun? I can see the shell being compromised in time from UV exposure, but not the energy-absorbing liner. Interesting note.

I think the "5 Year Rule" is more advice, than a rule. I doubt that a well cared for and not used often helmet needs to be replaced every 5 years, but one that get's daily use in all types of weather may not hold up in 2. Everyone and every situation is different- Take it for what it's worth.

I have a gorgeous Shoei, Troy Lee, Kurtis Roberts Replica and I still use it, even though the "born on date" is 11/02. It's not my 'everyday' helmet, but it's still in the rotation.

Now, there is A LOT of validity to the technology of helmets improving over time, and I will happily retire my helmets that have a lot of life left in them, if there is a large leap in safety advancements. The Snell Rating was recently updated after a huge controversy over the old Snell Rating. I think it was Snell 2005 vs. Snell 2010 or something like that. The old rating required helmets to absorb a certain amount of energy that if that were to happen in a real-world-crash, the rider would likely not survive, so what's the point? The new rating is based on protecting your mellon, in a crash that you and I will have a reasonable shot at survival. This gives me thought on buying a new lid, based on that alone.

And, I love to buy new shit. That's just me, so I currently have about 8 or 9 helmets, both road and off-road that are in the garage- none are 'crash tested'. I let passengers and people use my old helmets, because even if they are not "fresh & new", I personally believe any helmet is better than no helmet.

Ride on and be safe brothers! (and sisters)
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:10 PM   #27
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Want to really make your head spin from too much information? Read this write up on Snell M2010 from webBikeWorld.

I read it twice and still cannot completely comprehend the overall analysis. However, it seems to me that M2010 may be a bit lesser degree of protection on certain criteria than M2005.

From the write up:
For street riders in North America, the differences between M2010 and M2005 should be of little significance. M2010 does not exceed M2005 but it does demand comparable protection. But for street riders in Europe, M2010 may make a considerable difference.

Remember that motorcycle helmets must also meet local requirements (DOT in U.S.A., ECE 22-05 in Europe and the UK, etc.). The differences for European motorcyclists is that the Snell 2010 standard requires more impact management than ECE 22-05 and lower G force transmission for sizes 60 cm and up. Differences for North American motorcyclists include lower G forces transmitted but less impact management than Snell 2005 for sizes 59 cm and less. Snell 2010 still provides more impact management than the DOT standard, however.

Hmm. It does seem that M2010 was created so that the European helmets could come under the M2010 certification and so that all helmet mfgs could build a helmet that would meet all criteria (DOT, Snell and ECE) without having to make a separate model for Europeans. Probably a good thing for our Across-the-Pond riding brothers and especially good for the helmet mfgs.

But according to this article a US M2005 and a US M2010 are not much to sneeze at and aren't worth a nickel's difference. No need to not buy a M2005 just to spend 100$ more to get a M2010 certified helmet of the same mfg, style, etc...IMO!

More food for thought.
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:58 PM   #28
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Oxygen (air) is corrosive to most of the glues and foam cells used in helmets. Thus, they lose their structual integrity over time. Even helmets in a box will lose their ability over time. The foam and glue outgasses and loses molecules. Ever see an old styofoam cup and see how the cell edges have contracted? The the same thing happens in your helmet and glue keeping all in place.
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Old 04-12-2012, 03:36 PM   #29
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A helmet manufacturer/snell cant determine how often a helmet is going to be used. The 5yr rule of thumb takes into account someone who takes care of it per instructions, but wears it A LOT. They're saying at up to 5 yrs old, they can guarantee that this well used helmet will pass the tests it was designed to pass when it was new. After 5 yrs they cant guarantee it. Its kind of a wierd issue because the helmet would perform pretty good & protect your head post 5yrs, but its not guaranteed to be as good. I understand the deterioration factor, but I dont believe at 6 yrs old its going to fall apart if you hit your head on the ground. Everything here is the extreme case scenerio for safety reasons. Extreme impact, extreme amount of wear. I dont believe the 5yr rule applies to everyone. It is a worst case scenerio (as far as wear is concerned) replacement interval.
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Old 04-12-2012, 05:24 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullwinkle58 View Post
... They're saying at up to 5 yrs old, they can guarantee that this well used helmet will pass the tests it was designed to pass when it was new. After 5 yrs they cant guarantee it. ...

This sort of post usage testing is what I would like to see from Snell. Take a helmet that has actually been worn by an average rider that is 2, 5, 7 etc years old and see if it still hold to the initial testing criteria. Data such as this would (or could) prove the 5 year rule or may debunk it altogether. Who knows? I am sure there have been some go-getter at Snell that was just a curious as I and decided to test a helmet after a few years of use. I wonder why helmet mfgs don't pay for the Snell testing on an old helmet just to see the results. If nothing else it could be a selling point. "Our helmets have been tested to last up to 7+ years with normal usage." It may make the helmet worth more on the initial sale, as you are getting more bang for the buck, so to speak...and would sure make it worth more in the used market.

Would the motorcycling community pay 10-25% more for a helmet that is Guaranteed for 5 years from defects but will last (according to the mfg and Snell) up to 8, 9, or more years? I doubt it...I guess the mfg would rather sell 100$ skid lids with 25$ worth of materials and 50$ worth of paint and graphics. It is all market driven...same reason Black is the best selling helmet color. I digress...........now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
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