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Helmet Brands - why such a difference in price

Discussion in 'Riding Gear and Bike Accessories/Parts' started by seanc19, May 16, 2008.

  1. Yes

  2. No

    0 vote(s)
  3. You can get good cheap helmets

    0 vote(s)
  4. You get what you pay for

    0 vote(s)
  1. Hi all,

    Looking for some info on helmets. There seems to be a HUGE disparity in helmet pricing. Some helmet brands are only $150, others are over $700 for what appears to be the same thing. These are all full face road helmets with similar graphics (race replicas aside), removable pads, vents in the same spot, removable visor etc etc etc. I don't understand if these are all ASS approved why there is such a huge difference in price - surely there can't be $550 difference in materials/manufacturing for what statistically is the same thing? Yes, I've heard the "$10 helmet, $10 head" line before, but where does the extra costs go? Can anyone recommend the best value helmet on the market (remember value = price + quality)?
  2. Eh, the price can be a bit inflated because of the brand name...

    R&D as Loz said...

    The big difference between the $150 helmets and the $500-600 helmets is quality of materials and lighter weight, IMHO. The use of nicer fabrics like Coolmax in the cheekpads, etc... Nice velvetty-soft chinstrap padding (I've seen some cheaper helmets use cheap, stiff nasty pleather, or nothing at all).

    Aeroaccoustics (R&D) too... BMW in particular make relatively quiet helmets, ~85dB @ 100kph, instead of permanent-hearing-loss-in-minutes loud. Though price isn't an accurate indication of quietness, as my Shark RSX adeptly demonstrates. :LOL:
  3. Porsche, ferrari, BMW, Rolls Royce etc all cost more than a Hyundai.

    They all have 4 wheels, air conditioning, a stereo, 2 or more seats,
    windscreen wipers, blah blah blah.
  4. Interesting example, given that for a very long period of time Ferrari produced vehicles that were in fact complete shite in terms of build quality, yet people were still prepared to fork out far more than they were worth for the prestige of the label (even Enzo himself referred to Ferrari buyers as idiots).
    Oh and a lot of Ferraris don't have air/con, or a stereo (or wipers that actually work) :p.
  5. Yeah, I wish my expensive fancy-brand Shoei had a fogproof
    screen, washable interior, and communication system option like my
    Nolan does at 1/2 the price.

    Compared with Ferrari, at least my Shoei is comfortable, reliable,
    and lasts a long time with minimum maintenance :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:
  6. Imo once you hit the 400-600 price range you are getting the best valve for money.

    From what i have seen when buying those over the 600 mark generally are charging for the art work/name on the outside. :p
  7. +1 imo. Thats not to say the 1000ish+ ones aren't better, its just that you aren't getting a corresponding % better for the % of extra cost.. if you follow.
  8. I was really hoping to find a cheap, comfy helmet, but the only one that was really comfy was also really expensive :? . It seems that I have an Arai head. I've tried putting up with the cheap ones, but I get aweful headaches from them with either too much movement around the cheaks or being really squished... and then the opposite around the forehead :roll:
  9. + 1 This fat bastard agrees :LOL: :LOL:
  10. Thanks guys. :grin: Aside from research & development, seems like corporate branding plays a big role. :( I appreciate the Ferrari analogy, but there's a few more moving parts in a auto than a helmet (but I take your point). Very helpful - will start shopping for a comfy helmet in the middle price range. :cool: Thanks to all those for responding to the poll to :)
  11. Just remember the important things to look for when buying a helmet are, in order:
    1. Fit
    2. Fit
    3. Fit
    4. Price
    5. Appearance
  12. The most important criteria in a helmet to protect your head is fit. There should be no pressure points, or loose areas.

    You could spend $1000 on a helmet which would not protect you as much as a $200 which actually fit you properly.

    As long as it it fits well ignore the make.

    More expensive lids have better features - like removable linings, are quieter and lighter.

    What should be remembered tho, is that with all other things being equal (fit, speed, point of impact etc etc), your liklihood of survival of an impact to the head with a cheap lid vs a expensive one is probably very similar.

    Lids do have a tendancy to make you feel safe, and an expensive one makes you feel relatively safer. It's not the case. A good impact to the head is gonna do some serious damage, regardless of whether you're wearing an Arai or a Aldi special.
  13. Give me a break "WHAT RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT" Is someone trying to tell me that with all this research and development :LOL: they still cant make a helmet that is reasonably quiet, has little or no wind buffeting, is easy to get on and off and when dropped isn't automatically classed as unsafe????? I do around 45000 kays a year on a bike and I reckon, the first thing you do when considering a new helmet is if you haven't got em yet get fitted for some custom molded earplugs, and then get yourself a helmet that fits, if you want spend some bucks on a sticker that says SHOEI and a couple more for some graphics and their you go
  14. rather have my head wrapped in my SHOEI than a dirty old RXT or some other 150 dollars piece of crap.

    I agree with the R&D and between the 400 to 600 price range is ya best value.
  15. Crashed = unusable is almost unavoidable given that the helmet is designed to absorb impact by permanent deformation. Just like how they don't make cars that can be crashed into things repeatedly (thank god). :p Things can absorb much more energy if they're permanently deformed in the process. We could make a helmet that doesn't get damaged when it falls, but instead of a nice compact helmet you'd have something the size of a beachball on your head.

    But BMW's $600-800 helmets are 85dB @ 100kph on a naked bike... Almost quiet enough to not wear earplugs. And exhibit very little drag or 'lift' at speed.

    Speaking of naked bikes, I feel that buffetting is more an artifact of crap windshield/fairing design than the helmet. I didn't have any problems with buffetting on a naked bike, but I have had problems whenever there's been a short windshield involved. Try standing on the pegs up in the clean air to see what I mean...

    So yes, R&D helps a bit. ;) Whether or not some companies do it more than others, well, that's another discussion for another time. I agree with the others that the $600 mark seems to be about the best bang for the buck.
  16. One thing that has a major influence on cost hasn't been mentioned so far and that is the method of construction of the helmet shell.

    Composite shells are able to be made by automatic machines where as fibreglass shells require at least some human input in their construction.

    This automatically has the effect of making fibreglass helmets more expensive (other factors being equal).

    Best bang for buck for fibreglass helmets is around the $600 mark as others have already mentioned, but the best bang for buck point for composite helmets is somewhat lower... around the $400 range simply because they cost less to make so can be sold for less.

    At those price points Snell as well as AS ratings with moderate quality linings and graphics are achievable.

    Lesson? If you want a budget helmet (for whatever reason) try looking at the composite helmets first.
  17. I think you mean polycarbonate (PC).

    A composite is a material made from chunks of one or more materials,
    joined together by a "matrix" (the bonding material usually poured in
    as a liquid which sets to become a solid).
    Examples in helmets include:
    - Glass fibres in an epoxy resin or PC matrix ... usually called "fibreglass"
    - Aramid ("Kevlar"-tm) and carbon fibres in an epoxy or PC matrix ...
    usually called "Advanced composite(s)"
    Other examples include:
    - carbon fibre in a carbon matrix... "carbon-carbon composite"
    used in motoGP brake discs
    - Stones and tensioned steel rods in a cement matrix ...
    "pre-stressed concrete"
    - Cellulose fibres in a water and biomatter matrix... "wood"

    So by saying you have a "composite" helmet, it could be made of anything
    from exotic Boron through to wood or concrete!
  18. Hoo boy, I wouldn't want a Boron helmet on my head during a crash. Tonight on, 'When fibres that aren't safe to inhale attack'. :LOL: