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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    CHECK YOUR HELMET FOR RUST REGULARLY!

    We have had reports of substantial rust (and occasionally strap failure) on the following brands so far:

    Airoh, Leatt, Bell, Kali, Just1, Fox, Acerbis, Oneal, Suomy, Jitsie.


    AIROH OWNERS: We have been emailing Airoh for over a year about their helmet failures - the worst being David Knight who had straps come off at five months and six months on two Airoh Aviator helmets!

    Airoh head office finally responded (they didn't answer our questions though) and said anyone who finds rusted brackets, or has a chin strap fail, can contact them to have the problem resolved. Mention our video here and tell them you will keep us informed of how customer service responds. Email them at info@airoh.com

    SUOMY OWNERS: 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. For some reason they used flimsy alloy brackets that turn into a gray powder with time.

    After repeated emails to Suomy head office were ignored, 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. Show your dealer or distributor our videos and demand a replacement, no matter how old your helmet is. The helmet standards demand that these brackets should never corrode! Email Suomy's head office too at info@suomy.com and leave a review on their Facebook page.

    VIDEOS ABOUT THESE ISSUES
    This was our first report about Suomy corrosion and strap failures.


    This was our first report about Airoh rust and strap failures.


    An update on both brands.
    #1
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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... Super Supporter

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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.






    [​IMG]
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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
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  8. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    I've had a few emails asking where Suomy and Airoh helmets are made. Many manufacturers are outsourcing to places like China now, so I assume viewers are making a connection with helmet rust and cheap production facilities... but manufacturers are understandably shy about saying where their products are made.

    Where are Airoh helmets made? According to Cycle Torque:
    "The bulk of its helmets are made in Italy, although the base models are made in an Airoh factory in China."

    But of course being made in Italy doesn't guarantee great quality as the bracket rust and strap failures have all occurred on the premium Airoh helmets.


    Suomy? Their helmets were originally made in Italy but they went bankrupt and were bought out in 2014 by the Indonesian helmet brand, KYT. The Suomy website seems to indicate the helmets are now made in Indonesia (which would explain all the recent problems).

    "For SUOMY... the synergy will be an important source of knowing as regards project and helmets production of big quantity, that KYT can face and distribute as leader in Asian market with many millions of produced units per year."
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  9. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    A friend just had his strap pull off his Suomy Mr Jump helmet, he's been using the helmet for about three years. It has the older style alloy brackets that were very prone to failure. Suomy USA advised they changed to stainless steel at a later point.

    The annoying thing is he has contacted the Suomy Australia distributor who has said it's not his problem, the helmet was sold before he became distributor. And he's claiming the helmet is probably a fake anyway...

    I still never received a reply from Suomy head office about these failures (only from a Suomy dealer in the USA once I made the video about this public). I suspect this lack of concern is typical from the Indonesian owner... an investment hedge company that has nothing to do with motorbikes at all.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
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  10. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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    So, why not sue them? In the U.S. there is the small claims court where the average person can file a suit for some small financial issue like this. It is supposed to level the legal playing field when an issue that doesn't warrant a major suit comes up. I don't know how it works or the costs.

    There is another avenue if you know a friend who also happens to be an attorney and would like to play ball a bit. They draft a letter laying out the unsafe nature of the product and that you are considering suit for an unsafe product that can have unseen damage that could render injury or death in the exact situation where it should protect. That they sold an unsafe product and did not recall for safety. Seems a letter from an attorney may loosen up the refund/exchange process. My father did something like that with a garden hose. It was guaranteed for life when he bought it. It failed and the store refused to refund. An attorney friend and he decided to play one Sunday afternoon. Next day he shoots a letter off to the company. I forget if my father got a refund or a new hose, but either way the cost of refusal to do anything by the company would cost more than the claim. Not worth it to fight it.
    #10
  11. st3ryder

    st3ryder Long timer

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    Are these DOT approved helmets, or "off road" helmets?
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  12. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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    I can't recall ever seeing an off road motorcycle helmet that wasn't DOT approved.

    It is probably an automatic because the helmet can easily be used on the road by the customer, and I doubt the manufacturer would take a chance with the DOT jumping on their case saying they should have known that was possible.
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  13. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    If they are sold in the USA I assume they must be DOT approved. In Australia they come with the highly regarded ECE standard which clearly states any metal brackets must NOT corrode.

    ECE reg 6.12
    The characteristics of the materials used in the manufacture of helmets shall be known not to undergo appreciable alteration under the influence of ageing, or of the circumstances of use to which the helmet is normally subjected, such as exposure to sun, extremes of temperature and rain. For those parts of the helmet coming into contact with the skin, the materials used shall be known not to undergo appreciable alteration through the effect of perspiration or of toilet preparations. The manufacturer shall not use materials known to cause skin troubles. The suitability of a proposed new material shall be established by the manufacturer.
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  14. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    Over the past 15 months we have been trying to get Airoh to answer our questions by leaving messages on their Facebook page, website and direct email. They have finally responded... but not answered the questions at all.

    Instead they have asked for contact details of everyone with rusted Airoh helmets and they will contact them - which of course I can't do for privacy reasons. I will ask Airoh again if they can answer the questions, and I will personally contact everyone with faulty helmets suggesting they contact Airoh directly.

    Here are the unanswered questions:
    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?
    #14
  15. st3ryder

    st3ryder Long timer

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    The reason I asked about DOT stickers/approval *is* that some helmets are sold, (as novelties or for "off road" use...i.e. DOT is for road use) that do not have that sticker/approval.

    According to that Aussy law/ECE standard no helmet should ever degrade. That's not the case though is it? They all do over time and for the very reasons that law outlaws.

    I agree that the D rings should not corrode to the point of failure but if the helmet was not approved for road use, no DOT /ECE sticker, then safety standards don't apply and you get what you pay for.
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  16. Rider2

    Rider2 Been here awhile Supporter

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    ISTR helmets do not have an unlimited life, I've heard various recommendations but the one that sticks in my head is 5 years. Maybe they're just as good after 10 years as they were the day they were sold but still it's a 10+ year old design and you lose the benefits of any improvements in the interim. For example, the Snell 2005 (?) standard was felt to transmit too much shock load to the brain in the interest of maintaining physical integrity, so it was revised.
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  17. farqhuar

    farqhuar Human guinea pig

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    It's interesting to note that both Suomy and Airoh are Italian brands.

    I've owned many different brands of helmets over the last 50 years and the only brand I've ever had problems with was another Italian brand - Nolan. Three Nolan helmets have had the internal foam lining crumble to dust 4 years after the manufacturing date. I can't understand it - these were not cheap helmets and I still have a 25 year old Korean and a 22 year old Chinese helmet sitting in my garage with no signs of deterioration (yes, yes, I know they are ostensibly beyond their use by dates but I haven't worn them for a good decade and they are only there for emergency use).

    Very disappointing, I honestly think the Italians chose to make a product that is designed to deteriorate sooner, in order that they can sell more product.
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  18. spokester

    spokester Long timer

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    Helmet company named Sue-me (Suomy) :rofl
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  19. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    Yes the five year lifespan has become well known. It began years ago as a suggestion by Snell that they came up with in conjunction with helmet manufacturers... who of course were keen to get riders scrapping old helmets to keep sales up.

    The Aussie helmet specialists I've worked with say that if the inner EPS liner is not exposed to chemicals, sunlight or major impacts, there's no real limit to a helmet's lifespan. BUT as you say, it makes sense to buy a new helmet eventually as they are steadily improving over time.
    #19
  20. st3ryder

    st3ryder Long timer

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    That 5 year recommendation comes from the helmet industry and is not based on any empirical research/data, but rather based on "prudence", EG data points don't exist that a helmet with a certain type of shell and liner is for example 50% less safe after X amount of exposure to sun and scalp oils etc.. So if anybody thinks there are those in the helmet industry who think in terms of obsolescence, they may be on to something. :-)

    The only reason I buy a new helmet is the fit degrades over time as the liner slowly becomes compressed after cinching the helmet down thousands of times.
    #20
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