Does anyone replace their helmet after 3 yrs if undamaged ?
I was reading on the Giro site they reckon replace every 3 yrs, though I guess they have a vested interest….
Other website seem to say 5 yrs or even longer..
What’s the consensus ?Posted 4 years ago
Yes I do replace at 3 years. It’s too valuable a head to risk.Posted 4 years ago
I don’t think mine have ever lasted 3 years undamaged 😳Posted 4 years ago
Yep. Just in case it really does matter…Posted 4 years ago
scaled – Member
I don’t think mine have ever lasted 3 years undamaged
😳Posted 4 years ago
Yes, though as above mine suffer from lots of small knocks (branches) & the occasional tumble over the years, so I reckon it’s worthwhile.Posted 4 years ago
Depends how hard a life it’s had.
If i’ve used it daily in all weathers and conditions, and taken it to hot sunny climates and got sun cream and sweat on it and so on.
Yeah, i’ll get a new one every 3 or 4 years. Or sooner.
If it’s been used a couple of times a week for a bit of light training in the forest/lanes. And maybe got rained on a few times. No, i’ll not worry about it.Posted 4 years ago
I’m wih scaled and hairyscary 😳Posted 4 years ago
I’m wih scaled and hairyscary
As am I.Posted 4 years ago
I’ve just replace my Giro after twelve years of very light use.Posted 4 years ago
Nope change mine when it just starts falling apart, which tends to be after about 6-7 years.
If they start to produce data that proves they wear out, I may reconsider, but otherwise I smell BS.Posted 4 years ago
Nobeerinthefridge – Member
I’m wih scaled and hairyscary
As am I.
……and you say I fall off a lot…. 🙂Posted 4 years ago
I change mine about then but in the normal course of things they have ended up getting damaged before three years is up…..and after riding into the back of a white hiroof transit on Sunday morning cos I was doing a Froome and looking at my stem not ahead I might need to look at replacing my current lid!!!. 😳Posted 4 years ago
i find after a couple of years i get a bit more space when im out on the trails …… and trail heads part like the red sea when i approach.
its not my god like riding skills thats for sure but its most like the funk from the protective gear.
My old abus commuting helmet i used for 4 years – i couldnt even stand the smell of it …..even with the pads washed.
I guess it depends on how much you ride. mines get well used.
Sods law was that my last commuting helmet never really took a knock. bought a new lumo yellow one and took it for a ride up in the cairngorms to try it out for first ride and had a big over the bars and smashed it to bits + broke my nose AGAIN .Posted 4 years ago
Usually about 5. Lots of small dings by that point.Posted 4 years ago
Yep I replace mine about that often, it gets plenty use and usually the straps and pads are getting minging by them anyway (even with the odd wash).Posted 4 years ago
I asked Arai about this.
Basically the EPS (the polystyrene bit) hardens at the rate of about 5%/year so after three years the helmet has lost 15% of its ability to absorb impacts. Bear in mind that’s from the date of manufacturePosted 4 years ago
I always forget.
Mine’s about six years old now and a bit scruffy where I fell asleep whilst wearing it and scratched the back.
It’ll be a cheap replacement.Posted 4 years ago
Gutted that the Decathlon 700 ones don’t fit, they are really smart, pass all relevant tests and cost £28.00.
….and you say I fall off a lot….
Don’t you? 😆
It’s not even so much from falling, scudding branches, throwing it in the van, and as Terry says, the smell….Posted 4 years ago
Well my previous helmet was in use from about 2009 for commuting. It was replaced with a Kask Mojito earlier this year
My off road helmets are quite new, before that I only had 1 helmet from everything
Have 2 helmets, 1 was a night time one with a helmet mount on, the other without. But one got trashed with the light got ripped out the helmet, I’m holding onto it just in case I need a backup helmet one day… So really I have 4 helmets but only 2 in real use, and those 2 are less than a year oldPosted 4 years ago
bit scruffy at the back where I fell asleep whilst wearing it
this needs more explanation!!Posted 4 years ago
Its an emotive subject that probably depends on your level of risk taking combined with your susceptibility to marketing.
There is also the marketing departments dream comment “Your heads worth more than £x”
If people took that literally they’d spend their entire salary on a helmet and wear it all the time.
I only replace mine when they break. Not when they are old, or dinged or scratched.
They are made of polystyrene after all, which I notice in the latest marketing is now being referred to as EPS. Which does sound technical and safe and scientific.
MIPS is a great one for that, says it allows the helmet to move about a tiny bit on impact to protect the brain in case of impact. What, like your buff, or hair doing the same thing, but without the nice acronym to sell it ?
I’ve seen helmets vary in price from over £100 to about £40 – all for the same thing. Your buying a polystyrene thing wrapped in fashionable colours and smothered with marketing BS.
Id suggest getting a helmet that makes you look great, but is very bad as saving your head.
That way you look good but ride safe 🙂Posted 4 years ago
I bought one of the 661 Evo AM helmets last week from the CRC sale to replace my 7 year old Giro helmet. I have been considering replacing it for a while, so when I saw the 661 with good reviews at a good price I decided to go for it. If not I probably would have replaced it early next year.
I am not certain it needed replacing, but some manufacturers recommend you do and while I suspect some of this is market driven I didn’t fancy risking it.Posted 4 years ago
Them salt encrusted straps on minePosted 4 years ago
rotsnap long before 3 yrs 😉
I wonder how quickly “small dings” accelerate this 5% a year decay of the polystyrene. I found a slight crease (<10mm shallow crease at the top of the lid by a vent) in the outer shell of my 9 month old bell this week, from where I landed quite heavily last weekend, was more concerned about the bruising to my hip at the time, but now I’m thinking do I need to replace the helmet too.Posted 4 years ago
cp – Member
this needs more explanation!!
France, hot day, cider, quick 40 winks after lunch.
Picked a comfy looking bit of scenery and fell asleep before I’d remembered to take it off.
The stupid looking fin/bump type thing at the back got a bit crumpled.Posted 4 years ago
I asked Arai about this.
Basically the EPS (the polystyrene bit) hardens at the rate of about 5%/year so after three years the helmet has lost 15% of its ability to absorb impacts. Bear in mind that’s from the date of manufacture
That’s interesting. Anything to back it up? Contradicted by everything here –
Occasionally somebody spreads rumors that sweat and ultraviolet (UV) exposure will cause your helmet to degrade. Sweat will not do that. The standards do not permit manufacturers to make a helmet that degrades from sweat, and the EPS, EPP or EPU foam is remarkably unaffected by salt water. Your helmet will get a terminal case of grunge before it dies of sweat. Sunlight can affect the strength of the shell material, though. Since helmets spend a lot of time in the sun, manufacturers usually put UV inhibitors in the plastic for their shells that control UV degradation. If your helmet is fading or showing small cracks around the vents, the UV inhibitors may be failing, so you probably should replace it. Chances are it has seen an awful lot of sun to have that happen. Otherwise, try another brand next time and let us know what brand faded on you.
At least one shop told a customer that the EPS in his three year old helmet was now “dried out.” Other sales people refer to “outgassing” and say that the foam loses gas and impact performance is affected. Still others claim that helmets lose a percentage of their effectiveness each year, with the percentage growing with age. All of that is nothing but marketing hype to sell a replacement helmet before you need it. There is some loss of aromatics in the first hours and days after molding, and helmet designers take account of that for standards testing. But after that the foam stabilizes and does not change for many years, unless the EPS is placed in an oven for some period of time and baked. The interior of your car, for example, will not do that, based on helmets we have seen and at least one lab crash test of a helmet always kept in a car in Virginia over many summers. Helmet shells can be affected by car heat, but not the foam. The Snell Memorial Foundation has tested motorcycle helmets held in storage for more than 20 years and found that they still meet the original standard.
Test Lab proof that performance holds up
In 2015 MEA Forensic reported on their extensive testing of used (but not crashed) bicycle helmets shows that the foam liners retain their performance over many years. Some of the helmets were as old as 26 years. They crash tested 675 helmets in their lab. Their analysis showed that there was no significant impact performance change with age. Their data including all 675 helmets tested produced only a 0.7g per year increase in impact readings at the higher drop height. After crash testing the helmets on a standard test rig, MEA took core samples from an uncrashed area of 63 helmets and tested them. This generated data based solely on the foam performance. Again, the findings indicate that helmet liner foam does not deteriorate with age. We have more on this landmark study in this Update newsletter.
An honest manufacturer: MET
The Italian company MET says in their 2010 catalog:Posted 4 years ago
“We are often asked ‘For how long is a helmet safe?’, or ‘how often should I replace my helmet?”’ Until now it has been difficult to find any reliable figures to help answer these queries. MET have now developed a series of tests which are conducted on aged helmets to determine a ‘best before’ date (unless the helmet is involved in an accident. In that case it should be replaced immediately.). The results indicate that, if used properly accordingly to our owner manual, our helmets will still do their job up to eight years after they have been made. Not only is that good news for the customer, it’s great news for the environment!”
I generally have a few helmets on the go in rotation, and doubt any would make it to three years old. I tend to pick them up as one gets shabby or knocked. It’s not a cost burden to me, and I’m a bit of a tart.Posted 4 years ago
BC guides/MTB leaders are supposed to check clients helmets and be prepared to provide spares. Often hard to find/read the date though.Posted 4 years ago
and what date is that and how long from said date given all the conflicting advice above.
id be surprised if it wasnt a check it for cracks and obvious impact damage rather than a date – since the date stamped is the date of manufacture not the date of use.
so if its been at the shop for a year and you buy it its only good for a year less than the date stamped on ….. naw.Posted 4 years ago
Chatting to someone from one of the helmet companies (MET, I think it was) at the Cycle Show about the whole replacement interval thing, and his comment was that the front of the helmet is what usually rots first, the polystyrene deteriorating. His tip was that, along with the time interval, to give the bit behind the brow pads a press with your thumbs, if it indents easily or feels soft and foamy rather than crisp and rigid, it’s on its way out.Posted 4 years ago
What Simons-Nicolai said (I come from a matsci background).
I have, er, several helmets on the go for different applications in circulation (a roadie Sunday best Volt, a cheaper Event in bright fluoro for commuting, a cheaper, poorly vented Bell Stoker for winter MTB and a nicer Bell Super for ‘summer’ MTB). All bought as end-of-season stuff so don’t have as much £££ tied up as it sounds (the Stoker was £17, the flouro Event £25). Some of it will be old-stock that’s sat in a warehouse for a year or 2, so going by the “degradation” theory I’d be binning them in a year?
I usually replace them (assuming no proper impact) when they start to get tatty and/or the straps are manky beyond redemption), which is maybe around the 5 year mark?Posted 4 years ago
I’m about to replace my helmet for the second time this year after a big off yesterday. At least this one was killed out on a ride rather than being reversed over in a carpark… 😳Posted 4 years ago
strange one , – how many bicycle helmets do arai make ?Posted 4 years ago
Theres normally so much sweat damage to the pads and inside the lid its a miracle if they last 3 years .Posted 4 years ago
boxelder – Member
BC guides/MTB leaders are supposed to check clients helmets and be prepared to provide spares. Often hard to find/read the date though.
that was what prompted my OP. Am currently going through BC Coach training and it came up in our development day on Saturday. The guy next to me, who I did the helmet check on, was surprised when I found a crack in the polystyrene in the front of his 4 yr old one, which he wasn’t aware of damaging.
Tutor wasn’t so fussed about checking the date stamp as condition, signs of damage, flex etc.Posted 4 years ago
Just to repeat what simons mentioned on the previous page, a recent study on the topic has concluded that “age does not affect the material properties of expanded polystyrene liners in field-used bicycle helmets“.Posted 4 years ago
I’m with smell_it….
‘I generally have a few helmets on the go in rotation, and doubt any would make it to three years old. I tend to pick them up as one gets shabby or knocked. It’s not a cost burden to me, and I’m a bit of a tart’
Also I’ve found that I need smaller helmets (its old age!)….so I get all the cheap reduced small size 🙂Posted 4 years ago
Bit disappointed to unpack my 2017 Giro Foray from CRC earlier…..to find a date of manufacture of December 2015 on it.
That’s going back then…Posted 4 years ago
Have you not read the thread then ?Posted 4 years ago
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