Helmet Lifespan, how often should i change?

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  • Helmet Lifespan, how often should i change?
  • Jimbo
    Member

    IIRC Giro recommend every three years. If it’s dented then the shell has been compressed and thus that potrion will be ineffective should you need it. And that’s just the “obvious” damage: if it’s generally tatty as you describe, then chances are there’s damage you can’t see lurking underneath the outer shell.

    I’d replace it, personally. I change mine every 12-18 months, but then I’m massively fussy about lids…

    bigsi
    Member

    I know this could be a bit of a ‘how long is a piece of string’ question but in general how often should i change my helmet ?

    I have been thinking of getting a new one for a few months now as my current one is just over two years old and showing the scars of battle, I’m quite tall so often scrape it on the underside of branches and it gets the general knocks etc, but last night i really walloped in on a low hanging branch and it has dented the outside shell to a depth of about 3mm over an area the size of a 5p piece. There are no visable cracks to the helmet but i can help thinking it might be time for a new one.

    Anyone got any views, is it time to get the credit card out ?

    Cheers

    Count
    Member

    I am dubious about claims by people selling me helmets that I need a new one every couple of seasons. It would help if someone could explain to me why environmentalists tell me polystyrene is evil and takes x million years to rot away. It seems to me all we have to do is make bike helmets and it’s rotting like mad within 12 months.

    I’m pretty sure there is sufficient strength in your average helmet that the odd knock is fine. I’ve not seen a picture of a broken lid that has failed along a previously innocuous looking bash. Of course if it’s clearly cracked in two then change it.

    theflatboy
    Member

    i’m just going to put the kettle on 🙂

    Premier Icon neil853
    Subscriber

    2-3 years is what the manufacturers say and that how often i change mine roughly

    druidh
    Member

    From my motorcycling days, I was always told that sweat affects the structure of the polystyrene, making it more brittle and rendering it less able to sustain impact without cracking. Apparently, UV also affects the shell material.

    So – to answer the question – how much are you using it? If you’re using it a lot, then I’d reckon to change at least every three years.

    Remember, there’s no need to buy an expensive helmet – they are (nearly) all made to the same safety standard.

    scu98rkr
    Member

    I’ve had mine 8 years

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    As someone who has had the job of destroying old helmets at outdoor centres, I hope I can add something useful.

    We would throw out (polystyrene) helmets regardless of condition at 2 years (3 for proper ‘hardshell’ climbing or canoe helmets). If damaged before then, just immediate bin. Bear in mind, these helmets were NEVER treated properly – dropped, shoved under minibus sears, lots of falls/bangs etc, and certainly worse than you or I would treat our own helmet.
    .
    When throwing out, being ‘safety critical’, we had to destroy them – cue lump hammer time. Most of the helmets were very strong still – took a good hard blow from a hammer to destroy them. Usually you would get a big dent and a crack up one side. BUT, every set we chucked had at least one helmet that just disintegrated / was much easier to smash / separated into a couple of bits much more easily.
    .
    I couldn’t tell you the reasons for this, just that in every bunch, one or two were ‘duff’ / damaged / weak.
    .
    My own helmet I change about every three years, or if damaged before. My last helmet was a year old, I thought was fine, no major bumps/offs (or that I can remember), and yet putting the washed pads in one night I discovered the polystyrene had cracked from one side to the other – and was basically held in place by the outer shell.
    .
    I think its a case of inspect it, keep it carefully (out of UV rays importantly) and if it gets beyond ‘a lot’ of use, change it. The risk is small, but it is there.

    PeterPoddy
    Member

    8 YEARS?!?!?!

    I don’t think I’ve ever had one for much more than 1-2 years before I’ve smashed it!

    Surfr
    Member

    Mines getting on for 10 years by my calculations! Think I might be in need of a change.

    TimP
    Member

    My last helmet died but in a way that really surprised me. I pulled it on and the plastic retention system just snapped on one side. Didnt realise at the time it just felt loose and i only noticed when i got home. I then gave the other side a gentle tug and it too gave way. Had I come off, the helmet would have just slid round my noggin offering absolutely no protection. I now check straps as well as the lid itself…

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    i normally change full-face helmet every year or so but my XC lid is getting on for 5 yrs old. I would change it but I’ve never taken a heavy knock in it and I’m yet to find something I like as much (spesh S1)

    bigsi
    Member

    I think that half the problem is that i would really like a new lid and am looking for ways to justify it to myself and the dent has just given me a bit more ammunition 😐

    druidh
    Member

    If there’s a dent – that’s enough justification. Spesh and Giro do half-price replacements.

    Bimbler
    Member

    MET reckon 8 years

    How long will my helmet last?

    There are many theories regarding when you should replace your helmet – which is why MET decided to answer the question by testing their own models. And the result? For eight years a MET helmet will do its job just fine, as long as you don’t damage it in a crash.

    From this article

    Met Helmets

    grumm
    Member

    I just wrote off a Giro Hex. Took a bad-ish fall right onto my head. It didn’t look too bad from the outside, just a couple of dents. I looked inside though and there was cracks across several of the strut type sections.

    If you are in doubt about it, you might as well get a new one really. What’s a few quid versus potential brain damage/death.

    If in doubt throw it out!

    Premier Icon iainc
    Subscriber

    I asked this last year and someone posted up some links to a helmet test site. The general ‘professional view’ was, if no damage, then around 5 yrs, less if exposed to a lot of sun.

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