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Most people do as old helmets have usually lost much of their protection ability.  The ability of a helmet to absorb blows to the head relies on the foam lining being able to absorb in a reasonable linear fashion the blow and thereby limiting the G forces applied to your brain.  Once the foam liner has degraded the helmet will allow much higher g forces to be applied to the brain.

Having been the recipient of a concussion this year from a fall I can well appreciate the destructive possibilities from what might otherwise be a relatively benign fall.

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20 minutes ago, maddmaxx said:

Once the foam liner has degraded the helmet will allow much higher g forces to be applied to the brain.

I've yet to see a study proving/showing/explaining that a 10 tear old helmet protects less than a brand new one.  

That being said, I find newer helmets are constantly looking better, fitting better, and weighing less for the same (or more) protection.  I replace them more out of cosmetic and fashion than safety.

Tom

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2 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

I've yet to see a study proving/showing/explaining that a 10 tear old helmet protects less than a brand new one.  

That being said, I find newer helmets are constantly looking better, fitting better, and weighing less for the same (or more) protection.  I replace them more out of cosmetic and fashion than safety.

Tom

While I no longer have links, this was taught to me by Helmet reps back when I purchased some for race car use.  It's true that there are studies that show little degredation for undamaged helmets their opinion was that many if not most helmets received more damage than thought.  Every time a helmet is dropped or banged against a door frame it gets slightly damaged.  For this reason, serious and expensive race car helmets are stored in their own protective bag when not in use.

IMO it's like insurance.  Buy what you think will protect you.  

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2 minutes ago, maddmaxx said:

While I no longer have links, this was taught to me by Helmet reps back when I purchased some for race car use.  It's true that there are studies that show little degredation for undamaged helmets their opinion was that many if not most helmets received more damage than thought.  Every time a helmet is dropped or banged against a door frame it gets slightly damaged.  For this reason, serious and expensive race car helmets are stored in their own protective bag when not in use.

IMO it's like insurance.  Buy what you think will protect you.  

I'd rather be realistic and treat it like a fashion accessory that also may protect my noggin.  The "every time a helmet is dropped or banged against a door frame it gets slightly damaged" is one of those impossible to quantify sort of things. I literally ride 300+ times a year with a helmet.  Often, in the case of commuting, that helmet goes on, comes off, goes on later, and then comes off again.  I actually have a commute helmet and a ride helmet, but does my 300 uses per year, mean I should be replacing my helmet quarterly? Annually? Every couple years? Or is it time based? Or is it "I think it's time" based?

However, if I go with it as a fashion sort of decision, I feel like I buy new helmets more often.  

I would love a nice "this is when you should replace your helmet" guide.  Clearly, if there is visible damage from a crash or it looks like the foam has cracks or is unnaturally brittle, but what would the helmet guidelines actually be?  I think @goldendesign decision is more in line with my process - see a sale, check it out, see if any look good and are in my size, and buy/don't buy.

Tom

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http://www.smf.org/helmetfaq

Why should you replace your helmet every five years?

The five-year replacement recommendation is based on a consensus by both helmet manufacturers and the Snell Foundation. Glues, resins and other materials used in helmet production can affect liner materials. Hair oils, body fluids and cosmetics, as well as normal "wear and tear" all contribute to helmet degradation. Petroleum based products present in cleaners, paints, fuels and other commonly encountered materials may also degrade materials used in many helmets possibly degrading performance. Additionally, experience indicates there will be a noticeable improvement in the protective characteristic of helmets over a five-year period due to advances in materials, designs, production methods and the standards. Thus, the recommendation for five-year helmet replacement is a judgment call stemming from a prudent safety philosophy.

 

Just bought one of these myself.

pim-77053-35548-product-845054-sdfib-ml-mainimage.jpg

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At the LBS we are told that helmets need to be replaced after a crash. Some helmet makers offer a trade-in value towards a new helmet if the original was recently purchased. Specialized policy is two years from date of purchase and exchange has to be thru an authorized Specialized dealer. Damage can be from a crash, transit, or Fluffy the pit bull. Credit applied is based on a scale as to the age of the helmet.

While there are no scientific studies to back up the manufacturers claim, we still recommend replacing at five years after purchase. I replaced my Prevail after seven years because I'm cheap.

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35 minutes ago, Razors Edge said:

I think @goldendesign decision is more in line with my process - see a sale, check it out, see if any look good and are in my size, and buy/don't buy

Exactly. My hemlet was old, ugly, and been banged around a bit over the years. Thankfully not from any crash. But a shiny, modern, and well-reviewed helmet on the cheap? Sign a brother up.

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Upon reflection I have to admit that my manufacturers advice was given to me in the 70's and it's true that one of my old helmets back then had it's liner disintegrate in less than 5 years due to being carried everywhere without a bag in the trunk of my car.

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1 minute ago, dennis said:

http://www.smf.org/helmetfaq

Why should you replace your helmet every five years?

The five-year replacement recommendation is based on a consensus by both helmet manufacturers and the Snell Foundation. Glues, resins and other materials used in helmet production can affect liner materials. Hair oils, body fluids and cosmetics, as well as normal "wear and tear" all contribute to helmet degradation. Petroleum based products present in cleaners, paints, fuels and other commonly encountered materials may also degrade materials used in many helmets possibly degrading performance. Additionally, experience indicates there will be a noticeable improvement in the protective characteristic of helmets over a five-year period due to advances in materials, designs, production methods and the standards. Thus, the recommendation for five-year helmet replacement is a judgment call stemming from a prudent safety philosophy.

But an amazing amount of non-scientific basis in that paragraph, eh???

Again, 300+ uses per year for me versus Joe Casual 150 uses in 5 years.  He will replace after five years and 150 uses. I would be replacing after 1,500 uses.  How does that seem equal?

Again, five years - in a fashion sense - means I would have replaced already, so I generally am hitting that recommendation without aiming to.  

Interesting as well is Snell's "latest" adult bicycle guidelines look like they are from 1998??? Is that accurate?

Tom

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3 minutes ago, maddmaxx said:

Upon reflection I have to admit that my manufacturers advice was given to me in the 70's and it's true that one of my old helmets back then had it's liner disintegrate in less than 5 years due to being carried everywhere without a bag in the trunk of my car.

I do worry about the "helmet left in a hot car" more than the minor wear and tear, but that also could just be in my head and not based on anything real.  I've had the foam little pads wear out, but they give me replacements in the box, so it can't be like those are an indicator of wear either.  

My current helmet has MIPS, so I do like better tech if it seems reasonable and not at some crazy extra cost.

Tom

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Interesting, I replace mine every few years just because I like a new helmet every few years. My current road helmet is just a few months old and my mtn helmet is about 2 years old. I do treat them well and they seldom get dropped or banged around.

i replaced my sons helmets often when he was little as he would take it off and just throw it on the ground next to his bike. I got tired of trying to educate him on helmet care so just replaced it every few months or when I saw new scrapes or impact marks on the cover.

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One has to wonder what it costs for a figure like Tony Stewart (Nascar) to throw his helmet at a passing race car due to the frustration of having been crashed out by that driver.  I believe we're talking $1500 dollar and up helmets there and they are indeed trashed after that.

Not the same thing as what we are discussing, but interesting.

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3 minutes ago, maddmaxx said:

One has to wonder what it costs for a figure like Tony Stewart (Nascar) to throw his helmet at a passing race car due to the frustration of having been crashed out by that driver.  I believe we're talking $1500 dollar and up helmets there and they are indeed trashed after that.

Not the same thing as what we are discussing, but interesting.

The helmet is probably the least of their concerns when bouncing a race car off a wall...

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1 minute ago, ChrisL said:

The helmet is probably the least of their concerns when bouncing a race car off a wall...

Concussions are still a pretty common injury in the racing world.  I'd say that the racing helmet however also has to have considerably more penetration resistance than ours due to sharp metal objects moving about.  For sure they are constructed with a much heavier outer, even those made with carbon fiber.

In fact those helmets have become so protective that today the driver has to be protected from his helmet by additional safety equipment such as the Hans device that prevents the helmet from breaking the drivers neck in a crash due to it's extra weight.

Cooling........yep they have to have fittings for cold air pumped in.  No coolng slots there.

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1 hour ago, Razors Edge said:

But an amazing amount of non-scientific basis in that paragraph, eh???

Again, 300+ uses per year for me versus Joe Casual 150 uses in 5 years.  He will replace after five years and 150 uses. I would be replacing after 1,500 uses.  How does that seem equal?

Again, five years - in a fashion sense - means I would have replaced already, so I generally am hitting that recommendation without aiming to.  

Interesting as well is Snell's "latest" adult bicycle guidelines look like they are from 1998??? Is that accurate?

Tom

Yeah, I was surprised by the vagaries. And the site looks ancient.

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52 minutes ago, maddmaxx said:

One has to wonder what it costs for a figure like Tony Stewart (Nascar) to throw his helmet at a passing race car

You think he actually pays for them? They probably pay him to throw them.

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I have a cheap but apparently good cushioning helmet.

One day I was in a hurry and put it on backwards. Another cyclist asked why I had my helmet on backwards and I said I was considering trying to cycle in reverse.

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6 minutes ago, MickinMD said:

I have a cheap but apparently good cushioning helmet.

One day I was in a hurry and put it on backwards. Another cyclist asked why I had my helmet on backwards and I said I was considering trying to cycle in reverse.

Re-cycle?

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5 minutes ago, MickinMD said:

I have a cheap but apparently good cushioning helmet.

One day I was in a hurry and put it on backwards. Another cyclist asked why I had my helmet on backwards and I said I was considering trying to cycle in reverse.

I see more people than I would like to see wearing their helmets backwards. I think the less expensive ones are easier to get confused between front and back, but it would be very unlikely in some of the more lightweight and skeletal types that are pricier. It can be done, but you really have to be oblivious.

Tom

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Unrelated, but possibly pertinent

I had an excellent pair of hunting boots, Browning with air-bob soles. The soles had a layer of gummy material with the air-bobs then a layer of cushioning foam. Loved those boots.

Well I quit hunting and the boots sat in a closet for a few years. One winter day I needed warm boots and dug them out. They still looked perfect. Put them on and before I got out the door the outer layer of the sole had separated from the shoe.

The foam had deteriorated to self destruction, sitting in a closet, no extreme temps, no sunlight, no chemicals,

I know that shoe foam and helmet foam are different animals, but I don't trust modern materials to hold up over time.     

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