Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,083 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So was looking to get a new helmet as both of mine are now over 4 years old (sticker inside says Dec '06, bought summer '07) and I found a deal on a 2010 version of what I'm looking for, but since it's been sitting in some warehouse for 2+/- years already, have I already lost 1/2 the life of it? Anyone with thoughts or actual knowledge of this?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,691 Posts
Helmets are made of a type of expanded polystyrene (aka styrofoam). This material is not really going to degrade if the helmets have been stored inside at regular room temperature, expecially if they are in sealed bags as helmets usually are. Heat and UV light are the main things to worry about.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Typically it's the "in-service" date that starts the clock ticking. Buy it.
Agreed. UV, petroleum vapors, and typical wear & tear is what degrades the styrofoam. As has been stated before, the helmet was stored in a warehouse in a sealed bag. The degrading of the styrofoam will not begin until it is exposed to outside factors.
 

·
Huckin' trails
Joined
·
6,039 Posts
Is about any MTB helmets only have a 4 years or so lifetime ? Or is this only for foam helmet, not for skater-style with hard shell over it and full face helmet ?

Thanks,
David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Is about any MTB helmets only have a 4 years or so lifetime ? Or is this only for foam helmet, not for skater-style with hard shell over it and full face helmet ?

Thanks,
David
The way a helmet works is to slow down the deceleration of the head on impact and reduces the energy transferred between the brain and the skull. To do this, helmets contain a foam the compresses on impact, therefore reducing that energy (think of this way, if you punch a bare brick wall, the energy transferred from your hand to the wall will probably damage your hand. Put some foam over the brick wall and punch it, the foam will absorb some energy, reducing the energy transferred from your fist to the wall and helps reduce/prevent injuries).

Any helmet, regardless of style (standard bicycle helmet, full face, skate, motorcycle, motocross, hockey, etc), contains foam and should be replaced after a hard hit. Once the foam has been compressed, the integrity of the foam in the helmet is now in question. The foam only compresses once and will not offer the same type of protection on subsequent impacts.

Hope this helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,083 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
In other words, if you take a fall/hit that damages the shell of the helmet most definitely replace it, if the shell is not damaged still check the foam if the hit was hard enough, it's done it's one time job probably and time to replace. What he didn't say was that over time sunlight i.e. UV, sweat and the elements start to break down the foam and lessen it's absorption properties and hence although a helmet may look fine, in fact if it took a big hit and had been used regularly for 4 years it most likely would not absorb the impact as well and hence my question.

In essence if you helmet has in foam, no matter the style then yes, it cannot just be worn "forever" and expect it to actually work when you take a hit 7 years down the line. I can see the foam showing signs of "aging" on my current helmets, they are about 4 years old and hence my search for a new one.

............Any helmet, regardless of style (standard bicycle helmet, full face, skate, motorcycle, motocross, hockey, etc), contains foam and should be replaced after a hard hit. Once the foam has been compressed, the integrity of the foam in the helmet is now in question. The foam only compresses once and will not offer the same type of protection on subsequent impacts.

Hope this helps.
Is about any MTB helmets only have a 4 years or so lifetime ? Or is this only for foam helmet, not for skater-style with hard shell over it and full face helmet ?

Thanks,
David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,820 Posts
There is a huge difference in the types of impacts and how they compromise or do not compromise the ability of the helmet to protect you in the future.

Helmets have four parts.

Shell - Prevents punctures and protects the EPS foam.

EPS Foam - This is what actually absorbs impact energy by deforming and compressing. Helmets use the same EPS. When you buy a high dollar helmet you do not get "better" EPS and in many cases any "better" protection. You (should) get better venting, better adjustment system, upgraded interior padding and some fancy designer dudes graphics and less weight.

Padding - Takes a tiny bit of the force but is mostly for comfort

Retention system - AKA strap and adjustment system

Blunt, high-G impacts are what will compress the EPS (the styrofoam) and when that happens you win but your helmet is toast in the process. Glancing blows which may leave a scrape or scratch on the helmet skin (plastic or kevlar shell) if minor enough do not deform the EPS.

Bike helmets are extremely easy to inspect (unlike moto helmets where is is very difficult to gain meaningful access to the EPS) so inspect your helmet closely after any impact and if in question I say toss it.
 

·
Plays with tools
Joined
·
4,646 Posts
Any helmet, regardless of style (standard bicycle helmet, full face, skate, motorcycle, motocross, hockey, etc), contains foam and should be replaced after a hard hit. Once the foam has been compressed, the integrity of the foam in the helmet is now in question. The foam only compresses once and will not offer the same type of protection on subsequent impacts.

Hope this helps.
There are helmets out there that use an open celled foam that are not subject to this guideline. All approved bicycle helmets do though. Hockey, football and some skate helmets use this kind of foam and are good until the outer shell has been compromised.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,083 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Don't know about the rest, but yeah the padding in my ice hockey helmet was still good last time I visited Canada end of '09 and the helmet is over 15 tears old, just stored properly when I'm not there. Not sure I'd trust it for a real hockey game, but for some light pick-up I'd wear it, if I can remember how to skate after all these years.

There are helmets out there that use an open celled foam that are not subject to this guideline. All approved bicycle helmets do though. Hockey, football and some skate helmets use this kind of foam and are good until the outer shell has been compromised.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top