Check your helmet for rusted strap brackets (especially Airoh & Suomy)

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by B1, Mar 4, 2019.

  1. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    I recently went to put on my three year old Suomy helmet and the strap came off in my hand due to a completely corroded bracket. :( I did email Suomy about this and seven months later I still had not heard from their head office but a concerned Suomy dealer did report that that the issue was confined to 2013 and 2014 models that used an alloy bracket and a very small number of these corroded and broke. They have used 303 stainless since 2015 according to his report (see further post below).....

    A quick search found other riders with the same rust problem (within one to three years), and also quite a few with older Airoh helmets doing the same thing due to rusted brackets (within three months to three years).

    Both brands did change to proper stainless steel brackets at some point in recent years and I can't find any failures since then - Airoh may have changed as far back as 2012, trying to confirm this with the manufacturer).

    Whatever I buy next I'll be checking those brackets for rust at least annually! Ideally any decent manufacturer will use marine grade stainless steel to avoid this issue... even my retired $40 Aldi helmet had this and was fine after years of sub tropics dirt riding.

    But this is just a heads up that even mid to premium priced helmets can use poor quality alloy or mild steel when it comes to these brackets and risk the chin strap failing.



    EDIT Early days but it looks as though both Suomy and Airoh did change over to proper stainless steel brackets at some point. I've been discussing this on Facebook for a few days and I've had a reasonable number of riders say they've checked their helmets, the brackets have been stainless steel, and there has been no rust. I'll keep you posted if this changes....

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  2. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

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    Wow, that's incredible to see happening today.
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  3. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    I've done a quick check and it seems that none of the motorbike helmet standards insist on stainless steel brackets (let alone marine grade) so the problem probably starts there.

    My Suomy used alloy brackets that eventually just turned into a gray powder then finally broke, so I suspect Suomy was trying to minimize weight but never tested the alloy for its corrosion resistance?

    The photos of earlier Airohs indicate levels of rust that look as though mild steel was used! I can't back that up, but if mild steel was used surely it would have had some kind of anti-rust coating - perhaps the coating was inferior and allowed that much rust to develop? At least there are no reported failures on Airohs for some time now, so I think they changed to stainless steel quite a while back.

    There are suggestions that both manufacturers DID swap to stainless steel brackets eventually... I've emailed questions about this to Airoh and Suomy head offices but never received a reply.

    The bad news is there were never any recalls made, or alerts put out to customers who bought the earlier helmets with dodgy brackets. :(
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  4. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Never in over 45 years have I EVER seen that! Now I gotta check my stuff when I get home!
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  5. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    I strongly urge everyone to check these brackets on any brand of helmet, no matter how you spent!

    One of our guys checked his 18 month old Leatt helmet. It appears to be just mild steel with a rustproof coating and on one side the coating wore through and a fair bit of rust had started already. He refuses to wear the helmet now, and Leatt Australia won't fix it, saying he should have been washing the helmet carefully and applying something to stop the rust!
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  6. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    After reporting on some cases of Airoh helmet straps coming off due to rust on older models, I was contacted by the Australian distributor for Airoh and offered a brand new Airoh for inspection and testing. The plan was to apply a saline solution to all the metal brackets, use for the helmet for several months and see if any corrosion occurred. This never arrived and so I sent this list of questions to the Australian distributor which were passed on to Airoh's head office.

    What was the original metal used for earlier helmets and in certain cases why did this rust so quickly?
    "(e.g. David Knight stated two helmets failed at three months and six months respectively)

    Was a recall issued, or any public advisory notice published? If not, why not?

    When was the change to quality stainless steel brackets made?
    And which specific grade has been used?

    Does Airoh only cover failure of these brackets for the two year warranty period?
    Or for the lifetime of the helmet?

    Oded Mazor from Israel contacted your head office when his Aviator 2.1 (purchased new 2015) failed recently due to corroded brackets. He was told to send the helmet for inspection. He says nobody claimed it from the post office, and it was returned with no communication since. Could you comment on any action taken in this case?


    Unfortunately after three months no response has been received. Nonetheless we have not been able to find any cases of rusted brackets leading to strap failure since 2015 so hopefully it has been rectified in recent years.

    To put everything in perspective though, I think the failure rate of Airoh helmet brackets has been very low. But it would be good to know if the problem was definitely fixed and when this occurred. And in the meantime I've had people reporting cases with helmets from Suomy, Leatt, Just1 and others. So I think the main lesson is no matter what brand of helmet you are using, check your helmet brackets at least annually for corrosion.



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  7. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    Seven months later and I still have not heard from Airoh.

    However Suomy has finally replied and it looks like good news... A Suomy dealer says he worked with the USA distributor and found out the corroded brackets only occurred in 2013 and 2014 models (it is a pity the manufacturer never bothered to reply and it took a dedicated dealer to approach his distributor for answers to this issue). Read their answers to my questions below.

    In collaboration with the US master importer of Suomy helmets, Speed Addicts has completed a inquiry into Suomy off road helmet anchor plates. Our findings thus far corroborate with earlier statements provided by the Suomy factory. Those statements were previously shared with you via email and on your YouTube comments section.

    2011-2012 - Bell Shape, Flat, Material Unknown, 0 Failures Reported in the USA
    This first production run used a flat bell shaped anchor. No failures have been reported on helmets from 2011-2012. Testing was not possible.

    2013 - Nov 2014 - Triangle Shape, Flat, Aluminium, 3 Failures Reported and Replaced in the USA
    We have obtained and tested the flat triangle shaped anchors plates from helmets between 2013 - Nov 2014. The XRF Analyzer produced a clear match for Aluminum (see photos attached). Three failures were reported and replaced in the USA.

    2015+ - Bell Shape, Stepped, 303 Stainless Steel, 0 Failures Reported in the USA
    According to Suomy the change from aluminium to the bell shaped 303 stainless plates took place between Nov and Dec of 2014. The helmet closest to the change date we could obtain was June 2015, this helmet did in fact have the bell shaped 303 stainless anchors; confirmed by XRF Analyzer (photos attached). We checked many helmets between the June 2015 helmet and our most recent shipments in 2019. All helmets checked beyond the June 2015 helmet were fitted with the new 303 stainless anchors. This included the new MX Speed model.

    Barry's Questions:
    What was the original metal used for earlier helmets? And in certain cases why did this rust so quickly?

    The corrosion seems isolated to helmets produced between 2013 - 2014 with the aluminium anchor plates. The three helmets affected and collected in the USA showed signs of heavy use. To date it is estimated 15,000 Suomy MX Jumps were sold in the USA and only three failures reported.

    Was a recall issued, or any public advisory notice published? If not, why not?
    To our knowledge no advisory was published. If I had to speculate as to why it would be a timing issue as Suomy was in transition. It seems the aluminium plates started being used before Suomy was sold and production moved to the KYT factory in Indonesia. The change to 303 stainless plates came after the sale and production was moved.

    Any customer in the USA whom is still using a Suomy off road helmet produced between 2013 - 2014 is welcome to contact Speed Addicts to arrange and inspection (cs@speedaddicts.com or 866-573-2820). If they are outside the USA they should contact their local dealer or distributor.

    When was the change to quality stainless steel brackets made, and which specific grade has been used?
    Suomy changed to 303 stainless steel between Nov-Dec 2014. Speed Addicts has verified this change and material through XRF testing.

    Does Suomy only cover failure of these brackets for the warranty period? Or for the lifetime of the helmet?
    Speed Addicts and Suomy do not want anyone wearing a helmet they think might be affected by this issue. If you're currently wearing a Suomy off road helmet produced between 2013-2014 please contact Speed Addicts to arrange an inspection. Despite being past the warranty period and perhaps useful life we will assist any customer whom is currently riding in a Suomy helmet with the triangle shaped aluminium anchor plates.

    Per my answers above Speed Addicts is willing to field any questions or concerns from customers inside the USA. International customers should reach out to their local dealers for assistance. If they do not receive the proper attention Speed Addicts can assist them with contacting their local distributor.

    If you should have more questions or require clarification by email or phone I'm at your service. Please accept my apologies for the delay in providing these answers. Although Speed Addicts deeply cares about our customers we are a small operation with limited resources.

    Suomy MX Speed
    The Suomy MX Speed is now in stock. Suomy's added MIPS while keeping the same weight as the Jump at 2.6 lbs for a size large. At $400 we find it a very solid offering for someone interested in a light weight enduro or motocross helmet. In 2019 Suomy sponsored the Rock River Yamaha Supercross Team. The tree man team used the Jump and MX Speed for the duration of the 2019 indoor and outdoor season, rider feedback was very positive.

    The fit is similar to the Jump, with that in mind please provide me with the size you or your test rider requires along with your shipping address. Our distributor is going to cover the cost, you may consider it a warranty replacement for your Jump that failed.

    Best Regards,
    Schad VanLeeuwen
    Speed Addicts
    #7