How Long Do Helmets Last

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by fried tofu, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. fried tofu

    fried tofu currently bikeless

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    Not in the "how many crashes can I survive", but do they have a shelf-life of sorts?

    I've got a Shoei RF1100 from early 2011 that I wore for about five months (not that often) sitting in my closet. I went back to school, and thought I'd be able to grab a bike again after I finished, but it looks like it will be quite some time. I'd like to sell the helmet if possible, as it's doing me no good and that cash could be put to use (student loans), but I don't know if it should be okay to sell/use.

    I'm thinking it should be fine, but I figured I would ask.

    Thanks for any advice.

    Kyle
    #1
  2. doxiedog

    doxiedog Been here awhile

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    3 to 5 years,in excelent shape,say the helment companys.
    #2
  3. going south

    going south hero & Zero...

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    I have wondered that myself? my helmet spends lots of hours in 90+ temps & direct sunlight, and at the same time my hot sweaty head keeps up the temp and humidity on the inside!
    Do they breakdown after time? get soft? just turn to crap??

    Thanks in ADVance...
    #3
  4. max384

    max384 Bandaided

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    Five years is what I've always heard, assuming nothing else happened to it.
    #4
  5. pschuyler

    pschuyler Adventurer

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    I put $50K into educating my melon, I think $200-$300 every five years to protect it from hitting the pavement at 50-60 mph is worth it. I do not look down on people who do not wear helmets, Im assuming they just have not invested as much as me.
    #5
  6. going south

    going south hero & Zero...

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    Thats good news for me!! I have been looking to buy a new helmet, the one I have now is quite tired, I am just such a cheap skate... but I do like my head the way it is.... sooo its new Helmet time...:clap:clap

    Thanks...
    #6
  7. mhevezi

    mhevezi Adventurer

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    Funny how environmentalists clammor about styrofoam cups and food containers in landfills lasting thousands of years and mucking up the planet...

    Yet, the EPS foam in our helmets break down in 3-5 years.

    Things that make you go, "Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm............"

    Why don't we make the EPS energy absorbing liners out of the same foam we use for cups and food containers?:hmmmmm

    Ha ha! Just love to point out stuff like that.
    #7
  8. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

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    Maybe. But people that make silly political points at every opportunity are irritating. Motor oil loses its viscosity within a short period of time, yet remains a pollutant for a much longer period of time. Presumably styrofoam in helmets and coffee cups would follow a similar pattern.
    #8
  9. SCQTT

    SCQTT Zwei Kolben

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    The EPS in helmets is pretty much the same stuff that is in coffee cups. Ever try, as a kid, to transfer gasoline from one mini bike to another mini bike in a styrofoam coffee cup? It almost just pours straight through!

    Where do your store your helmets? I bet in the garage, there are lost of gasoline fumes in there. See that brown on the sidewall of your tires? That is called blooming, more chemicals in your garage "air".

    As mentioned earlier, heat, sun, sweat, body oils, compressing the comforrt liner pulling it on and off hundreds of times. Ever sit it on your mirror? That makes tiny impressions in the EPS.

    EPS does not have a memory, it does not spring back. It is very simple and seemingly very robust, but remember what its job is. It is basically a shock absorber that works one time.

    Your choice, but your observation is not valid.

    I run street helmets longer & tend to buy expensive ones. I buy cheaper off-road helmets and replace them more often.

    So really cost is about the same. I run a $500 or so street helmet for 5-6 years & a $150 off-road helmet for 1-1.5 years.
    #9
  10. dasrider

    dasrider Been here awhile

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    If you don't need it I would absolutely sell it. Nothing wrong with buying/selling used helmets - happens every day! Just be prepared to ship it properly. RF1100s are what's up right now and you should have no trouble getting rid of it as long as your price is reasonable. Most helmet mfg's state a 5 year shelf life. They would never, ever say something like that to encourage you to buy another helmet, now would they?
    #10
  11. KingOfFleece

    KingOfFleece SplitWeight(tm) waterproof seat covers

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    Maybe, and maybe not. It just might have something to do with keeping the uneducated from using a helmet 20 years old and then starting a lawsuit when their head gets smashed 'cause the lid's old. Maybe they try to design the best possible protection with a known set of parameters so the engineers and designers know what the design goal is. And maybe, just maybe, a helmet is different from a coffee cup. Not sure, but maybe. However, it could very well be just a plot to take our money. Good thing we get to decide for ourselves every 5 years, no?
    #11
  12. Armbar

    Armbar n00b

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    5 years is the norm but the rule is to hang it up and buy a new one if you are in an accident or incident and hit the helmet.
    #12
  13. AdrianB1

    AdrianB1 Adventurer

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    If you use the helmet often you can expect a lifetime of around 3-4 years, after that it will be larger and larger and not stay seated properly on your head.

    If you just store it in the closet: no particular lifetime; it is still good after ~ 10 years, probably, but you will need a new visor for it as plastic lose transparency over time.
    #13
  14. jesse v

    jesse v Motorcyclist

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    I read this is a book as well... Either Lee Parks' Total Control or Nick Ienatsch's Sport Riding Techniques, can't remember. But yeah, I wanna get into the habit of bringing the lid inside after rides.
    #14
  15. fried tofu

    fried tofu currently bikeless

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    Thanks guys. Thought I had hit subscribe on the thread, but I didn't so I just thought to check. Lots of good info and interesting tangents. Thankfully mines been in the closet in it's bag and box; if I had couches I'd keep them in plastic as well :)

    So two questions, how do you ship a helmet "properly" as mentioned, and what can I expect to ask for an 1100 that has little use and been kept well?

    Thanks again

    Kyle
    #15
  16. what car??

    what car?? down the road

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    I was curious about this also as I have one helmet I basically do not use anymore.

    "'I do not look down on people who do not wear helmets, Im assuming they just have not invested as much as me.'"

    Now that's funny shit right there!!

    Also I question the weight of the helmet to create much internal damage while setting it on the mirror, I'm sure if you forcefully set it on the mirror, at the risk of knocking the mirror out of adjustment, will possibly create slight damage to the inside. Sure I can create a small dent in the helmets foam inside, but at a much greater force than what the helmet weighs. I would worry more about the helmet falling off something and onto the ground or some impact like that. But again, I wonder if it's marketing and dollars that creates this "5 year" lifespan of a helmet. If it's been properly stored and not subjected to UV, impacts, or large variances in temperature (ie heat) I question how much it would degrade. I'm not an expert in helmet manufacturing so I couldn't weigh in on those things.
    #16
  17. AdrianB1

    AdrianB1 Adventurer

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    Shipping - bubble wrapping in a cardboard box is good enough. "Fragile" label on the box.
    Price? No idea, check ebay for one.
    #17
  18. fried tofu

    fried tofu currently bikeless

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    Thanks Adrian. I've still got the box, sack, etc. So throw that in a bigger box with padding around it? Fair enough.

    Thanks,

    Kyle
    #18
  19. max384

    max384 Bandaided

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    I wonder how much of the 5 year shelf life is for money as well. However, unless I see something very convincing that shows evidence to the contrary, I'd rather play it safe. Besides, five years is a long time to hold onto the same grungy helmet anyhow! :lol3
    #19
  20. tanneman

    tanneman I'm no Adventurer

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    As mentioned before, over time the EPS liner compresses, the interior material liner degrades from the excretions from your skin and the outer shell breaks down when exposed to UV light and chemicals. The lifetime is not only measured in calender time but also mileage. 3-5 years if you don't ride often enough, but if you spend a lot of time on the bike then every 30000mls or so depending on the environmental conditions. The way you care for your helmet also plays a part. Clean the helmet and visor after every ride. The bug juice is corrosive and attacks the outer shell. Wash the interior liner often. Not only does it clean the material but also expands the padding a bit for that new helmet feel. Store the helmet away for direct sunlight, chemicals and protect it from dust, extremes of temperature and moisture. After a ride leave the visor open for a while to ventilate it and help with the evaporation of the sweat before putting it away.

    Motorcycle clothing is PPE and needs looking after.

    It is all common sense stuff looking after a helmet. I do about 30000mls in 3-4 years so for me it is worth it to replace the helmet after a number of years. I now own several new helmets, some being used more than other. I keep it stored in its box in a helmet bag in a closet so it should last for a good number of years. A man can never have enough tools.
    #20