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Thread: Helmet Shelf Life

  1. #1
    alcopaulic
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    Helmet Shelf Life

    I searched the forums a bit and never found anyone discussing this so i decided to bring it up. What do you guys think about helmet shelf life? I think dealers and manufacturers say replace a helmet every 3 years do to the core material breaking down. Alot of people say 5 years. And other people say just keep on using it until it's dropped, crashed, or the chin strap falls off.

  2. #2
    Grover130
    Guest

    Re: Helmet Shelf Life

    I need a new helmet now. I think 5 years is the max. When you buy one it's usually already over a year old. It's your head - don't think twice before you go too long on an old helmet.
    Last edited by Grover130; 06-04-2008 at 8:33 PM.

  3. #3
    Doomwitha929
    Guest

    Re: Helmet Shelf Life

    The reality of the situation is this. Even if you take exceptional care of it yes the foam degrades and the shell degrades from UV, scratches, impacts etc. Although it may still protect you to some extent its ability to absorb impact and spare your knowledge keeper is lessening. Do you really want sub standard protection for your lil ol bean just to save some money? Lets say you have a helmet for 5 years and lets just assume no matter how unlikley that it never sustained any impacts or other shell damage and is structurely sound. In a 5 year period really what is the likely hood it never got bumped around in your car, had something band against it with force while being moved , carried etc, never got a deep scratch, gouge or was exposed to UV for a long time (unlikely since unless you ride in the dark all the time it is bound to see the sun). When you crash in this helmet it will most likely protect you but how well? The foam energy absorbing interior being degraded (and NO you cant tell by looking at it or mooshing it with your finger as a test) will transmitt more energy to your head then it should. It could be the diff between walking away and rolling away in a chair. I always heard 5 years was the limit and would stick to that. Most of the people who ride with busted rashed helmets arent the most reliable source of safty information anyway. If the helmet gets a hard strike, gets any chemical on it that may attack the shell or is scratched deeply you should toss it or at least send it to be tested. The LAST thing involved in riding a bike that you should neglect or skimp on is the helmet. Find the best fitting one you can afford and use it.

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  5. #4
    alcopaulic
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    Re: Helmet Shelf Life

    I guess the reason i asked is not because i want to be cheap and not buy a helmet after 5 years, since i almost always want to change helmets every couple years anyways, for the cool factor. But more or less was asking if anyone had any hard specific facts and results, if there was ever a company who maybe took a brand new shoei and some ancient one and did impact tests on it. and i brought this up because just the other day i rode over to my dads house to pay him a visit and his old man neighbor comes up to me offering me this helmet that has the color of my bike on it, but this thing had a date of 1986! So obviously the old timers have never heard of helmets breaking down or this guy was just trying to clear out some garage space.

  6. #5
    Doomwitha929
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    Re: Helmet Shelf Life

    Never take a used helmet and never use one from the 80s. Not because it wont work but geeze its from the 80s!

  7. #6
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    Re: Helmet Shelf Life

    born on date on my helmet is 2004, bought it last june. High sided at the track today now I need a new one. $650 but my head is fine.
    "let's face it when you went into that voting booth you had a choice between 2 bowls of sh!t. the only difference was the smell"

  8. #7
    Torch
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    Re: Helmet Shelf Life

    Just a few months ago I bonked my head of the road wearing an old Bieffe made in 97, knocked my ays out for a few and gave me a concussion. My fault for not buying a newer helmet, but I've never liked wearing them and I moved to a state that doesn't have a helmet law. For some reason I decided to wear it, and I'm glad I had something on.

    I just bought a new Suomy. Hopefully I never have to test it. By the way, the Bieffe was a race replica and was in very good shape, just too old.

  9. #8
    jrocket
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    Re: Helmet Shelf Life

    I'd be interested to see some raw data as well. I get the degradation issue and from first-hand experience have noticed mine isn't as "snug" as it was when I bought it. Logically thinking, this would result in "some" movement should I ever end up in a crash.
    I would think there has to be some study or testing to come up with these numbers and not just some random shelf-life chosen by helmet manufacturers.
    Thanks, alcopaulic for starting this post.

    J

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    Re: Helmet Shelf Life

    Race orgs requirement = 5 years from made on date.

    Replace earlier if dropped

  11. #10
    FB1000inPA
    Guest

    Re: Helmet Shelf Life

    I hear different from other orgs. A 2 year max on a helmet is suggested. However, an earlier replacement might be needed.

    Just on the side. We always focus on having an accident or dropping the helmet but what about some of our goofy habits? For example, how many of you put their helmets over the mirror or back rest for storage? Just wondering because the little contact area between mirror/back rest and inside of the helmet causes a nice indent which is a safety concern if you really do go down with your bike.

  12. #11
    XXTC
    Guest

    Re: Helmet Shelf Life

    I can go along with the interior foam degrading over time. I think five years should be a standard time frame. As for the shell of the helmet, if it is fiberglass or a composite, I find it hard to believe that it will degrade over time and/or getting chemicals on it. If that were the case, then there are a bunch of fiberglass and Kevlar boats out there that are in danger of breaking up. I have used everything from Acetone to MEK to clean fiberglass and it does not affect strength. I worked on a race boat (first Kevlar Cigarette, it was a 38 Top Gun) that took a hell of a beating and showed no signs of delamination or crazing. I honestly think the "dropped lid scenario" is to cover somebodies ass, or maybe it's good for PolyCarbonate shells, but I really doubt it will really affect a Fiberglass/Kevlar/Carbon Matrix. Not saying I would not replace my lid if it drops, but I honestly think we are not getting the facts in regards to composites and damage of todays helmets. To say it again, just to be safe, I would replace a dropped or crash tested helmet, but I would really like to see an independent test of what a drop or scratch really does to a helmet. JMHO so let the flames fly (BTW - I have worked in the Marine Industry for 30 years and have worked with Fiberglass, Carbon Fiber and Kelvar as well as Epoxies and other Resins)

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