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Helmets don't bounce


Kitsap

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How far can a helmet drop before it's structurally compromised?

A rhetorical question of course, but the helmet is less than a year old :P

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Afternoon Wade

 

We could guess at it for you based on no test data and no drop force measurements or you could call the company that made your helmet & ask them if they have a database of drop info to give you something useful.

 

My best guess is it could drop 30+ feet onto a mattress or something soft before any signs of compromise but maybe only drop a foot or two onto a hard sharp pointed object & sustain damage.

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Interesting question. Assuming your head is not inside of it when it dropped and there was no apparent damage/scratching/cracking of the shell, both inside and out, then you should be OK to go. The foam liner, which provides the protection to your brain sould not have been affected in any way.

 

And I didn't just make this up, here is what SNELL says on that subject.

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Just my opinion, but if a helmet's protection was compromised in anyway buy a gas station type drop, or even a few of them, then the helmet was worthless the day you bought it.

 

Think about what might happen during an accident. The helmet might sustain multiple severe impacts as the rider tumbles, striking the ground or other objects. The helmet is designed to protect the rider's head from these types of stresses. Your three foot drop might scratch the paint, and it will definitely make you cringe, but that is about the extent of it.

 

I responded to many motorcycle accidents during my years in the fire/rescue service. I saw some really scratched up helmets, but all were still intact.

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It rolled off the top box at the gas station. I normally don't remove my helmet when fuelling but needed to blow my nose. It looks like I'll be getting a flip up to prevent this from happening again. Oh well it's just money.

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I do believe the manufacturers have done testing on that.

One rep from a good company told me the drop from waist high onto the ground does not mean you need to replace it.

I'm sure they like to sell helmets. If it's 5 years old replace it.

Otherwise, after inspection to assure no defect appears, it's still good.

dc

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Don't worry

I purchased a Schuberth C3 with SRC system and managed to drop it 3 times LOL

Never ever dropped a any of my previous (read cheaper) helmets.

I am not replacing it.....now it looks like as it should...USED ;-)

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markgoodrich

Take your pick: urban legend or myth

 

While you're on the site, read the foundations reasons for replacing every five years.

 

Whoops, just noticed Bud posted the same thing earlier. I'll leave this up anyway.

 

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RussInParis

Love this quote: "The Foundation recommends that if you are participating in an activity that requires that you wear a helmet, you avoid hitting stuff with your head."

 

I'd actually go so far as to say that as a general life rule you should avoid hitting stuff with your head.

 

But that's just me.

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From what I understand, a helmet is toast after a get off for a few reasons, not least of which is that the materials meant to shield my head from the impact have been used, compressed, and may no longer provide me the same level of protection.

 

I've dropped a helmet from my hands to the roadway and still considered it good. Any helmet that had my head in it when it hit the pavement is going in the trash with the strap cut off. Or, as is the case, is proudly displayed like a fine piece of artwork in my home, as a reminder of how well it did it's job. :thumbsup:

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... as is the case, is proudly displayed like a fine piece of artwork in my home, as a reminder of how well it did it's job. :thumbsup:

 

I did that with my old X-11, drilled a hole in the top for the lamp fittings and a base inside for my alarm clock. I see it every morning on my night stand. I have a pic somewhere......

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Most helmets have a polystyrene inner and that is what provides most of the impact protection. The foam liner helps but is mainly for comfort

 

This Polystyrene once compressed is set and does not reform. There is more damaged caused to helmets caused by hanging them on Mirrors or handle bars as this will compress the polystyrene from inside the helmet.

 

We have a cut down demo helmet in our motorcycle school that we use to show students and this gets dropped regularly to show how a helmet flexes and deforms in an impact.

 

The rest of the helmet shows very little damage but the polystyrene has loosened and compressed. I would probably continue to use a helmet if it dropped onto a softer surface or from a low height but if that was onto a sharp edge such as kerb or other pointed or edged surface i would bin it.

 

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Love this quote: "The Foundation recommends that if you are participating in an activity that requires that you wear a helmet, you avoid hitting stuff with your head."

 

I'd actually go so far as to say that as a general life rule you should avoid hitting stuff with your head.

 

But that's just me.

 

I, for one, found it pretty funny but a very good general life rule! :grin:

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Danny caddyshack Noonan

Making exceedingly expensive composite "pressure vessels", we use ultrasonic inspection anytime there is any indication of an impact. We look for any delamination in the structural layers. We don't design for external forces though.

If that happens on a helmet, then the lower energy forces can, unintentionally, work on the foam which is likely intended only for higher energy events. Impact damage causing a delam to a helmet shell may be readily apparent visually by paint damage or discernable by tactile means. Using a knuckle to push on the area to the point of pain may work to look for deformation. Another means would be tapping a knuckle, or round headed end of a screwdriver handle, as well to look for a deadened sound.

If you can't see any circular paint cracking or find or hear a soft spot, you are in all likelihood good to go and have done most everything that joe public can do to validate the integrity of the helmet.

 

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... as is the case, is proudly displayed like a fine piece of artwork in my home, as a reminder of how well it did it's job. :thumbsup:

 

I did that with my old X-11, drilled a hole in the top for the lamp fittings and a base inside for my alarm clock. I see it every morning on my night stand. I have a pic somewhere......

 

Wade, that is just fabulous!

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Thanks for the photo, Wade! :thumbsup: That is just extraordinary!!!!

 

Mine is sitting on the fireplace hearth. So far the cat has not climbed inside....

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I'm of the opinion (yes, it's an opinion, I don't have data), that helmets are much more robust than most folks give them credit for. Otherwise, I think they'd be useless in a real world crash at any speed. So a drop from a height that you can reach standing on solid ground, with no head in it, and I say it's fine. As I said, this is merely my opinion.

 

I recently read in the manual or on the label in my shoei that they have an inspection service. Drop your brain bucket, wonder about it, send it in and get an answer from experts. easy, and I think it said it was free.

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I'm of the opinion (yes, it's an opinion, I don't have data), that helmets are much more robust than most folks give them credit for. Otherwise, I think they'd be useless in a real world crash at any speed. So a drop from a height that you can reach standing on solid ground, with no head in it, and I say it's fine. As I said, this is merely my opinion...

 

 

I'm in this camp as well.

 

I'd also like to see any scientific proof that a helmet over five years old failed in an accident due to age degradation. Without such proof it would seem that the five year rule is little more than someone's opinion.

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Age is dependent on storage conditions.

Inside, no garage fume, UV, etc, yes.

Exposure to the above will deteriorate the innards and substantially degrade protection level.

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I'm of the opinion (yes, it's an opinion, I don't have data), that helmets are much more robust than most folks give them credit for. Otherwise, I think they'd be useless in a real world crash at any speed. So a drop from a height that you can reach standing on solid ground, with no head in it, and I say it's fine. As I said, this is merely my opinion...

 

 

I'm in this camp as well.

 

I'd also like to see any scientific proof that a helmet over five years old failed in an accident due to age degradation. Without such proof it would seem that the five year rule is little more than someone's opinion.

 

Almost bought an Arai that was on sale cheap, brand new, in box at dealer. Build date was in 2008. I passed. Was it as good as new and offer just as good of protection on the day it was made? Dunno

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I'm in this camp as well.

 

I'd also like to see any scientific proof that a helmet over five years old failed in an accident due to age degradation. Without such proof it would seem that the five year rule is little more than someone's opinion.

 

I agree that the 5 year rule is likely way conservative. I will say that I had an early Shoei RF series helmet form '86 that literally sat on the shelf for about 16-17 years during my riding hiatus. The foam and liner crumbled and fell apart from the shell when I finally got it down. I'd like to think they are using better materials today, but they must have a shelf life.

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I agree that the 5 year rule is likely way conservative. I will say that I had an early Shoei RF series helmet form '86 that literally sat on the shelf for about 16-17 years during my riding hiatus. The foam and liner crumbled and fell apart from the shell when I finally got it down. I'd like to think they are using better materials today, but they must have a shelf life.

 

The foam in the padding of my 40+ year old Bell Super Magnum has crumbled but the liner and the styrofoam and the shell still seem to be OK. I wore it often for several years (on my CB350) but it's sat in the closet since about 1975. No, I don't wear it anymore, I just keep if around for old time sake...I prefer my year-old Shoei. I guess the Super Magnums are collector items now going for several hundred $...I think I paid $50 for it new in 1971...serious money then (for me anyway).

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