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Thread: How do helmets age?

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    Pretty woman .... make me stall ... iamgigglz's Avatar
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    Default How do helmets age?

    I always been told to replace my helmet every 5 years as a rule of thumb.
    Also, if you drop it then you probably need to replace it but get it checked out blah blah.

    Thing is, 5 years of what? Surely a helmet that does a breakfast run once a month will age differently to a commuter?
    Is it exposure to sun? Heat & cold? Sweat? Just the passage of time?

    My lid has done nearly 40,000km by commuting for at least 90 minutes five days a week plus weekend jols, come rain or shine, for nearly two years. It's had a few very minor drops as well.

    Can I still consider it to be safe & in good shape?

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    Herman the German THE MOOSE's Avatar
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    I would say so. The 5 year ruling refers to weekend worriors. With daily wear and tear and sunshine, wind, rain etc working on it the saying is it is good for at least three years.

    Give it at least another year. Only if you dropped it more than once from relative head hight, would I consider replacement as then it would have done it's job and the protective material inside may get brittle and loose its effect you need when crashing.
    You don't ride in the rain, you don't ride!

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    Pretty woman .... make me stall ... iamgigglz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by THE MOOSE View Post
    I would say so. The 5 year ruling refers to weekend worriors. With daily wear and tear and sunshine, wind, rain etc working on it the saying is it is good for at least three years.

    Give it at least another year. Only if you dropped it more than once from relative head hight, would I consider replacement as then it would have done it's job and the protective material inside may get brittle and loose its effect you need when crashing.
    Cogent answer. Thanks Moose.

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    Evil Biker Scum Takashi's Avatar
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    I would also go with 3 years for commuting 5 Years for weekend warriors.

    I've had the argument about helmet age with many people before.... They can't understand the reasons behind it.

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    Evil Biker Scum GSeXR600's Avatar
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    I've had my Shark for almost 2 years. Helmet has served me well for practically 7 days a week / 52 weeks a year. I am looking at replacing mine for the simple reason, it's "leaking" air and it's no longer a snug fit as the inner has comressed, as well as the visor is expensive to replace (which it needs now). It also has paint chips all over it and it hasn't been dropped. I think it also depends on the make and safety level it holds, as well as what Moose says about it being dropped.
    I can say, although Shark is renown for being a good helmet, I'm not overly impressed with it for the price I paid.
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    Mine just passed 2 years. Replaced the visor after about 18 months.

    At the rate the liner is degrading, I'll probably replace the helmet than the parts around 3 years.

    Tapatalked from my S2
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    HeeHaw! HeeHaw! Silvrav's Avatar
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    I dont agree....and my reason is, they dont design and build a helmet just for weekend warriors. If this was the case and they used it for 3days of the week and commuters use it for 6days of the week then the 5years drop to 2.5years, even less as during the week it is used longer then over weekends.

    The 5 year replacement recommendation is more due to prudent safety philosophy as this is the period where the next advanced stage of safety is developed. (material, resin, shapes,etc.) and consensus was reached between manufacturers and the snell foundation. (google it )

    Also,styrofoam degrades in 1+ million years. Given heat, rain etc this can possible be reduced to 100 years?? Dont know.

    The only way to know is to test a 5year old helmet....so once i replace mine in 5 years i will donate my shark to science....

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    The Fuel King
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    I believe that if you must ask, "Should I replace my helemt?" It is time to do so.
    Obviously we cannot all afford to do this every month, nor to buy the R10k helmet everytime either.
    But that is the compromise, quality / cost

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSeXR600 View Post
    I've had my Shark for almost 2 years. Helmet has served me well for practically 7 days a week / 52 weeks a year. I am looking at replacing mine for the simple reason, it's "leaking" air and it's no longer a snug fit as the inner has comressed, as well as the visor is expensive to replace (which it needs now). It also has paint chips all over it and it hasn't been dropped. I think it also depends on the make and safety level it holds, as well as what Moose says about it being dropped.
    I can say, although Shark is renown for being a good helmet, I'm not overly impressed with it for the price I paid.
    I replaced my visor because visibility at night was compromised. Rest was still fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Silvrav View Post
    I dont agree....and my reason is, they dont design and build a helmet just for weekend warriors. If this was the case and they used it for 3days of the week and commuters use it for 6days of the week then the 5years drop to 2.5years, even less as during the week it is used longer then over weekends.

    The 5 year replacement recommendation is more due to prudent safety philosophy as this is the period where the next advanced stage of safety is developed. (material, resin, shapes,etc.) and consensus was reached between manufacturers and the snell foundation. (google it )

    Also,styrofoam degrades in 1+ million years. Given heat, rain etc this can possible be reduced to 100 years?? Dont know.

    The only way to know is to test a 5year old helmet....so once i replace mine in 5 years i will donate my shark to science....
    Wasn't it the resins that degrade? IE, styrofoam loosens from the external shell. Then the mechanical wear increases, abrading the styrofoam.
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    Capture.JPG

    Good discussion. It's amazing how something as important as a helmet with a relatively short lifespan doesn't have some kind of industry standard, hard & fast rule. Thanks for that Snell Foundation tip Silvrav; interesting reading, and the closest thing to a prevailing standard I've found so far.

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    Nuon Fangirl

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    Quote Originally Posted by iamgigglz View Post
    Capture.JPG

    Good discussion. It's amazing how something as important as a helmet with a relatively short lifespan doesn't have some kind of industry standard, hard & fast rule. Thanks for that Snell Foundation tip Silvrav; interesting reading, and the closest thing to a prevailing standard I've found so far.
    However, there is some serious opposition to the Snell Foundation standard as they tend to consider hardness, rather than the ability to reduce G's during impact. Not sure if that is correct or not. Just read about it. Personally I think the ECE22/05 (European Union) and Sharp Helmet Rating (UK Government) are probably better for our purposes in South Africa.

    Also worth a read:

    http://ultimatemotorcycling.com/moto...e-22-05-snell/

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    Hooligan Biker Donovan46's Avatar
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    Mine has a 5 year warranty. I only use it about 3 times a month. Will replace it in 5 years or I will replace it if it gets knocked or dropped since it's insured and the most critical safety item I have.

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    Biker G Steyn's Avatar
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    There is also a business sense behind the 3/5 year rule. Obviously the helmet manufacturers would like you to replace as frequently as possible. It means more frequent sales.

    If a helmet doesn't fall, and is cared for well, it can easily exceed 5 years.

    If in doubt, REPACE IT.

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    Hooligan Biker Jakkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by G Steyn View Post
    There is also a business sense behind the 3/5 year rule. Obviously the helmet manufacturers would like you to replace as frequently as possible. It means more frequent sales.
    And they typically release a new model every 3-5 years
    Beemer me up Scotty!

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    Pretty woman .... make me stall ... iamgigglz's Avatar
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    Call me slow but I've just noticed my Nolan Xlite X-551 is not DOT/Snell/anything approved. There isn't a single rating/approval sticker on it anywhere...

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    Evil Biker Scum GSeXR600's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamgigglz View Post
    Call me slow but I've just noticed my Nolan Xlite X-551 is not DOT/Snell/anything approved. There isn't a single rating/approval sticker on it anywhere...
    Maybe time for a new helmet?
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    Nuon Fangirl

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    Quote Originally Posted by iamgigglz View Post
    Call me slow but I've just noticed my Nolan Xlite X-551 is not DOT/Snell/anything approved. There isn't a single rating/approval sticker on it anywhere...
    Not to worry Slow, some of the top brands don't bother with USA DOT as it is basically worthless, or with Snell as it carries no legal weight. It will certainly have ECE22/05, the important one, in my opinion.

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    AMZ and Moose fan!

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    hell, interesting answers ..................... and here I thought helmets would age in 'years'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silvrav View Post

    The only way to know is to test a 5year old helmet....so once i replace mine in 5 years i will donate my shark to science....
    I have a 30+ year old Nolan helmets that my used to belong to my uncle. Used for extensive commuting. Don't consider it safe for use anymore, so I'm sure science would appreciate it.

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    HeeHaw! HeeHaw! Silvrav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeTour View Post
    I have a 30+ year old Nolan helmets that my used to belong to my uncle. Used for extensive commuting. Don't consider it safe for use anymore, so I'm sure science would appreciate it.
    mmm, the thing is we would require 2 or its rating back then, to compare how it "aged"over this period.

    So, basically we need a 5 year old shark and a new shark, same module etc. or a 5year old shark with what its ratings was back then vs now.

    *using shark as they keep testing results.

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