Helmet Replacment after 5 years...WHY?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by jbhawley, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. jbhawley

    jbhawley WTF- Gus?

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    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?
    #21
  2. bomber60015

    bomber60015 Anatomically Correct

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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 ;-}
    #22
  3. GSWayne

    GSWayne Old Guy nOOb

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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 :D.

    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.
    #23
  4. Motomantra

    Motomantra Registered Lurker

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    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.
    #24
  5. boxerkuh

    boxerkuh Been here awhile

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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.
    #25
  6. mhevezi

    mhevezi Adventurer

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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):lol3
    #26
  7. jbhawley

    jbhawley WTF- Gus?

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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.
    #27
  8. TallRob

    TallRob Long timer

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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.
    #28
  9. Bullwinkle58

    Bullwinkle58 Adventurer

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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.
    #29
  10. jbhawley

    jbhawley WTF- Gus?

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    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.
    #30
  11. GSWayne

    GSWayne Old Guy nOOb

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    If they discovered their helmet lasted 10 years, it would mean other brands would also last 10 years because they all use EPS as the "active ingredient" in their helmets. They might discover some outer shells hold up better than others though, they make those from several different materials.
    #31
  12. moggi1964

    moggi1964 Tiger Keeper

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    Because the history of each helmet is different and therefore the data would be essentially worthless.

    The particular test sample may be from a guy who sits his helmet on the fuel tank when he stops. The breather hole in the fuel cap will release fuel vapor inside the helmet. Not a huge amount of course but fuel vapor will degrade the foam cell. Imagine that this rider does that three times a week over five years; that is a lot if degradation though likely not visible to the naked eye. This particular helmet may fail the Snell test badly and then the manufacturer might then say we have to change the advice to every four years.

    I've seen people use their helmets like shopping baskets. Some people never clean the liner and are users of hair gels and waxes.

    If you don't want to change your helmet after five years then don't. If you crash and it saves your head then you can smile and get a new one. If you crash and it doesn't then you don't have anything to worry about anyway. I think this thread only becomes an issue when a goverment mandates that you have to change your helmet and you can look to Europe first for that to happen.
    #32
  13. Schlug

    Schlug JockeyfullofBourbon

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    put something on and stay in that position.

    Not to mention the foam padding wears out, the thing gets louder, looser.


    FFS, it's a helmet. They're not suggesting you go buy a new bike every 5 years. \

    I had two hockey helmet (new style with polystyrene type foam) go to shit in 2 and 2 1/2 years. That's only 220 games or so.
    #33
  14. Transient

    Transient Adventurer

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    My opinion, based on the Arai Corsair that I just replaced. FYI, Arai's 5 year warranty begins at date of purchase, not manufacture.

    My Arai was on year 3.5 of the warranty when it started to feel very loose. I bought a full set of replacement pads ad it felt good again. Just a few months later, when the pads broke in, it felt loose again. I asked my Arai rep and he said the EPS will compress over time from normal use - particularly because one layer of Arai's liner is extra soft.

    It may be a load of crap, but I can't think of another explanation for my experience.
    #34
  15. LBourque

    LBourque G/S nut

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    I had an old helmet and used it for target practice. Shot it with a 22 long and it seemed to hold up pretty well for an old helmet. So if my options are old helmet,new helmet or no helmet I will continue to use my old helmet until I can afford a new one,
    #35
  16. moggi1964

    moggi1964 Tiger Keeper

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    A wise choice :thumb
    #36
  17. Alton

    Alton Been here awhile

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    I'm trying to figure out what you are expecting. A 200 page report with data for 50 different head types and 1000 different usage patterns? Maybe a 100 question form where you add up the points at the end and that determines how long your helmet will last?

    It would be inane or useless, and most likely would only open the manufacturers up to lawsuits, and that would hurt all of us. I think Snell said it well. Only YOU know what your helmet has been through. THERE ARE NO HARD AND FAST RULES, yet you seem to want to pretend there are.


    What is an "average rider"?
    Does this average rider have oily hair or dry hair?
    Does the rider sweat much? How much is "much"?
    What was the average length of continuous helmet usage?
    What was the longest length of continuous helmet usage?
    How many hours was the helmet used annually?
    How tight was the helmet initially? (exact head size vs helmet size)
    What temperature was the helmet stored at (usually)?
    What humidity was the helmet stored at (usually)?
    What part of the world did the rider live in?

    Given the VERY LARGE number of variables in the above answers, how would any testing be useful for ANYONE except that "average rider"?
    #37
  18. Precis

    Precis Maladroit malcontent

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    Why change a helmet at 5 years?

    This is a bit like asking why it takes two premenstrual women to change a light bulb.












    It just Fckn does, OK?
    You should change your helmet. Just live with it and move on.
    #38
  19. Tsotsie

    Tsotsie Semi-reformed Tsotsi

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    Not so. Arai's Warranty start with their date of manufacture - the one on the chin strap. As soon as you register the new helmet for warranty with them it will indicate that. I bought a new helmet last year on a sale, registered it and it came up with the shortened warranty. I returned the helmet to the store and bought a newer model.

    My previous Arai was 7 years- and 100,000 miles and the chin strap was worn so respecting the universal guidence of replace after 5 years- that is what I did. I understand their reasoning ito of chemistry and my head is worth more than to argue with it.
    #39
  20. lucas123

    lucas123 Been here awhile

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    From Arai's warranty card..

    "All Arai helmets are warranted against defects in materials and workmanship, and as serviceable only for the properly fitted user for 5 years of use, but no more than 7 years from date of manufacture. It should be replaced within 5 years of first use.

    Any Arai helmet found by the factory to be defective in materials and/or workmanship within five years from the date of purchase will be repaired or replaced at the option or Arai, free of charge to the original purchaser, when returned freight prepaid to the address advised by Arai on its Return Goods Authorization form."
    #40