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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

In the safety subject, would there be any considerable difference between a $1xx.xx hjc motorcycle helmet and a higher price helmet of the same category?

SNELL recommend changing every 5 years right?

thanks.
 

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You can research it, but . . . Motorcyclist Magazine performed extensive impact tests on perhaps 20 helmets, and published the results in two articles, several years ago.

The helmet transmitting the least G-shock of all, including the $ 500 Snell Foundation-certified headgear, was . . . a DOT-only helmet listing for about $ 80.

So, price is no guarantee of safety regarding motorcycle helmets.

My view; either Snell or DOT certification may be adequate for a survivable crash. Fit/finish/materials/style contribute to the cost, NOT the level of protection.

This will get you started (I think it's the first of two Motorcyclist articles:

http://www.westcoastweasels.com/archives/PDF/Blowing_the_Lid_Off.pdf

Want more?

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/27/automobiles/27SNELL.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

BTW, "Hugh H. Hurt," mentioned in both articles, was a professor of mine. His research, along with that of others, is responsible for the energy-absorbing foam-lined helmet you wear today. Previously, elastic suspensions abounded in, "crash" helmets, whose physical properties sometimes stored energy whose springback reaction created up to twice the G-load of the initial impact . . .
 

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I used to be a Snell advocate but have since changed my view....the helmet may be more survivable but the brain is not. In the end what is most important? The key point is "deceleration" of the grey matter.
 

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Ya'll know that Snell changed their standards since that study yes?


Snell vs DOT vs ECE R22-05


DOT helmets are not tested by an independant agency. The manufacturer certifies that the helmet meets the DOT standard. Heck those stupid beanie helmets people wear can be DOT compliant.

Snell helmets are generally nicer helmets than DOT in my experience, better materials, more comfy, better quality fit and finish.
 

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Spec, This is constantly evolving and seems to be changing even as we speak. So what is the "right" choice? Me, I prefer the preeminent helmet makers and am wearing a Shoei and looking towards an Arai for my next. Would I go for a less expensive model? probably not. What is your head worth? I want fit, approval, and finish in that order.
 

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Save a couple of hundred bucks, it's only your head in there.

Bought my first new helmet when I got the KLR, a Bell on sale for $100. It didn't fit right after about two weeks with the pads settling or something. I lucked out finding a Arai XD3 on Craigslist for $250 from a cop that wore it 20 times and then sold his DR650 for a SportBike and had to have a new flashy custom painted to match one.
Went down on the KLR and bashed the back of my head in the XD3, knocked out, concussion, and the XD3 had cracked vents, some scratches, and no apparent cracks.
I dropped the Bell once and dinged it pretty good from 3 feet. Not sure if I want my head in there for a good hit or not.
Just my .02 worth.

(I bought a new XD3 after the crash)
 

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Money is a good indicator of fit, features, and quiet, it doesn't correlate with safety.

When Motorcyclist published those comparitive tests, the "softest landing" for the brain was in a Z1R helmet, among the least expensive in the comparison. That was a DOT helmet compared to 2005 SNELL.

SNELL has since changed from "harder hits" to "softer landings".

I watch the SHARP helmet tests http://sharp.direct.gov.uk/ by the UK government. These helmets may not be identical to the models available in the US. The tests show which manufacturers consistently make safer helmets and which transfer more force to the head.

If you are looking for a flip-up, SHARP tells % of time a flip-up helmet opened in the tests.

I wear a Shoei and the $ bought me a quieter helmet and a face shield that resists scratching more than my previous one. In SHARP, Shoei consistently gets 5 stars although the helmets they test are built to ECE standards and may be different from the one I have that was built to SNELL 2010 standards. But there are other less expensive helmets that also get 5 stars.

One comment that I remember from the magazine was that ANY helmet made to modern standards is far better than any helmet from a decade or so previously. The standards have helped all manufacturers make safer helmets.
 

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When Motorcyclist published those comparitive tests, the "softest landing" for the brain was in a Z1R helmet, among the least expensive in the comparison. That was a DOT helmet compared to 2005 SNELL.
Just as an aside . . . the author (Dexter Ford) of the Motorcyclist article disclosing that fact (a low-cost DOT-only helmet provided the greatest protection of the helmets tested) was subsequently FIRED.

Some say, the advertisers of the high-ticket helmets were not amused by editorial coverage suggesting protection and safety did not vary linearly with cost.

One might be shocked, SHOCKED, at the suggestion advertising revenue might influence the editorial policy of a motorcycle magazine . . . :)

Read all about it:

http://jalopnik.com/5582380/how-the-truth-about-motorcycle-helmets-got-a-journalist-fired/all
 

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So, the quick answer to your question: No.
After riding for forty+ years, I've developed a few thoughts RE: Helmets. First, wear one. Second, if I'm riding "enthusiastically", I wear my full face- AFX. When I'm doing long range slabbing, I'm willing to use the less safe " flip-up".
Not sure it's been stated strongly enough but the FIT of the helmet should be your primary concern. For example, as much as I may want to buy a Nolan, I've learned they don't fit me. I know, with a fair degree of certainty, that an HJC will always fit my big nose!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all your comments,
I did settle for a new snell approved 1xx.xx full face helmet.

I did find out that some dot helmets are not snell for the simple fact that they were not submitted to the test.

Here is a good link to find snell approved helmets:
smf.org/cert in the "certified helmets" lookup.

I wonder why is there only two modular helmets approved....
M2010 LS2 FF394 Modular L, XL, XXL
M2010 Zeus 3000 Modular
 

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I wonder why is there only two modular helmets approved....
M2010 LS2 FF394 Modular L, XL, XXL
M2010 Zeus 3000 Modular
Until very recently, SNELL didn't test any modular helmets at all. Modular = disqualified. BSI, ECE, DOT, performed tests that modular helmets could pass (or fail). SNELL simply refused to test them.

It was like SNELL was working steadily toward their own irrelevance.
 

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Perhaps Snell certification remains largely an economic/marketing decision by the vendors.

Not sure, but I think DOT certification remains mandatory for legal helmet sales. Thus, one might say, DOT-only helmets may be legally sold.

Snell certification requires additional expense; and, I understand, periodic re-certification. Thus, a vendor might consider in his calculus, will Snell certification enhance sales to the extent such certification expense and effort is justified?

Some cachet may attach to Snell certification. Will such certification increase customer demand, to the extent the additional costs can be recovered, even profit margins increased?

Or, does Snell certification actually confirm greater margins of safety than DOT-only certification? The answer, I think, may be dependent to some extent upon a function of the integrity of the vendors of DOT-only helmets.

How conscientiously are the design, construction, and material standards of the helmets passing DOT and Snell certification tests replicated in the one you actually buy?

General Motors automobile, anyone? :)
 

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To the O.P. and all,
My take on helmets is, BUY the Best Fitting, Sharpest Looking, Highest Featured Helmet you can AFFORD to THROW AWAY.

When Ever You Land on your head, the Crushable Styrofoam Absorbs the impact. But the Outer shell 'may not show it'.
That is the primary reason 'higher end' Helmets use Laminated Shells, It SHOWS the damage.

If you received a slight headache, IT Saved you from a Major headache.
If you received a Major headache, It saved you from a 'Mild Concussion'.
If you received a 'Mild Concussion', (is there such a thing as Mild Brain Injury?), It saved you from a Major Concussion.
The Next Steps, I don't even want to think of!

A Safety Helmet needs to be DISPOSABLE Safety Equipment. Like an Air Bag!
I wish more Motor Vehicle Insurance Companies Understood this FACT.

I wear a Nolan N102, flip face. About old enough to replace.
 

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to the o.p. And all,
my take on helmets is, buy the best fitting, sharpest looking, highest featured helmet you can afford to throw away.

When ever you land on your head, the crushable styrofoam absorbs the impact. But the outer shell 'may not show it'.
That is the primary reason 'higher end' helmets use laminated shells, it shows the damage.

If you received a slight headache, it saved you from a major headache.
If you received a major headache, it saved you from a 'mild concussion'.
If you received a 'mild concussion', (is there such a thing as mild brain injury?), it saved you from a major concussion.
The next steps, i don't even want to think of!

A safety helmet needs to be disposable safety equipment. Like an air bag!
I wish more motor vehicle insurance companies understood this fact.

I wear a nolan n102, flip face. About old enough to replace.
+1000
 

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Some things to keep in mind...

Regardless of what cert a particular helmet carries, or who made it, there are a few constants to a legal hat.

The shells are all made from one or a combination of, three materials. Fiberglass, Polycarbonate, and carbon fiber/kevlar.
The inner liners (the part that absorbs impact} are all made of some version of EPS (extruded polystyrene) foam. That's right, the same stuff disposable coolers are made of....Styrofoam.

Higher dollar hats may have more vents, better comfort, and prettier graphics...but the meat of the thing is the same, cheap or expensive. Crash helmets have to operate inside of a very narrow band in order to serve their intended function. Get outside of that band and they simply don't work, and come to think of it, they don't work well anyway. Helmets (regardless of cert or style) fail to perform their intended function 63% of the time they're put to use.

The shell has to be hard enough to resist penetration, but soft enough to not shatter on impact. The EPS has to be soft enough to spread an impact over a larger area but not so hard as to transfer too much of that impact to your melon. Everything else is window dressing.

I'm not going to root around for the links to back up my claims. The information is available all over the web for anyone that cares enough to do the research. It's your head. Wrap it as you will. Just take the time to learn enough to make an educated decision.
 
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