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I dropped my helmet - new one essential?

Discussion in 'Riding Gear and Bike Accessories/Parts' started by flashfire, May 24, 2005.

  1. Last night, whilst I was preening my hair back into a helmet friendly state, my helmet slipped from my hand onto the pavement, bouncing at least once. :evil: It would have fallen not more than 2 feet.

    There are some chips in the paintwork, with 2 of them showing white stuff underneath. The largest chip is not more than three-quarters of a cm square. :cry:

    I have had the helmet about six weeks. It's a shoei.

    I know that helmets have a single incident rule....Does this small drop mean I have to get a new helmet? I'd really rather not, but don't like taking risks with my head either.

    Any advice? My bf thinks I'm being anally retentive and that the helmet is fine...
  2. That is a difficult one in all honesty. 2 feet - drop from just above knee high onto pavement. Will this have caused a decrease in protection? Maybe...

    As for the chips - don't use those as an indication of helmet protection. The outer body of the helmet is really more for penetration resistance than the actual protection when falling off a bike - it is below this layer where the protection really comes from. Which, unfortunately, you can not see so you can't tell the impact!

    If it were me and I dropped it from just above my knees I probably would not replace it. However, that is me and you must make your own decision whether you think the drop will adversely affect the protection it provides. Then again you also said it bounced - I would need to have seen it happen to make my 'final' decision.
  3. I have to agree with boz, and can understand your angst. Personally, I have a 1 metre / walking pace rule. If it drops from more than a metre, or if I smack into a wall with it on at faster than walking pace - I replace it.
  4. I'd say no visible damage, don't worry about it, otherwise replace it.
  5. maybe talk to the company?
    you might not want to stake your life on the bfs comments...

    barring the company response I would be replacing,

    think of it like this:
    it's probably ok but you don't know and it is quite possible it won't work...

    Now say that same sentence talking about brakes:

    my brakes are probably ok but I don't know and it is quite possible they won't work.. :shock:

    you'll get heaps of varied opinions on if the helmets ok. but nobody will really know. the only way to be sure is either replacing it or getting confirmation from the people who make the thing
  6. Myself I would not replace it, but to put your mind at ease why not see if you can contact 1 of the campanies that do the testing of the helmets so they can get their 1698, Snell or Dot rating.
  7. Also by contacting them they may offer you a special deal to replace it.

    You never know until you ask.
  8. A helmet's shell as stated, is for penetration protection and so that it stays intact whilst sliding along the road.

    Under the shell of the helmet is a thick layer of Polystyrene foam. Very very dense but not too dense that it wont deform upon impact.

    A helmet should be replaced if the drop had enough force/momentum to compress the foam layer under the shell.

    My opinion, from 2 feet, there would not have been enough force to compact the foam and I would not replace it. Again, that's my opinion.

    Bastard of a situation, but only you know how hard it hit the deck .Did you juggle it at all so as to break its fall or did it freefall?
  9. thanks guys.

    Vic - it free fell. I'm inherently clumsy with butterfingers - it really was just a matter of time before I dropped it. From what I can see, there is no deformation to the shape of the helmet. I like nil-orally's walking pace/1 metre rule. Russ and Bogus make a valid point, but I'm sure if I contact Shoei, they are legally bound to suggest I purchase a new one, lest they be sued by me for negligence later down the track....

    dammit! A quandary indeed.

    I think I'm gonna do as JohnVTR suggested and contact a testing company to see what they say.
  10. Testing shmesting. Who out there makes a living testing helmets?

    Locate the scratches on your helmet and press on that area with your thumbs. If the shell doesnt move then the foam underneath has not compacted. If it moves and then pops out again, turn it upside down and enjoy your new pot plant :)
  11. as far as i'm aware, shoei offer an x-raying service where you just have to pay P&H for sending the helmet to them.
  12. My theory is, if you imagine took the foam out of the helmet and just dropped just the shell in the same manner, would the shell have been damaged (other than scuffed)? If not, then the shell probably absorbed most of the impact.

    Honestly, I don't think a 2 foot fall isn't that bad, and if you do come off, your brains won't have a greatly increased chance of turning to syrup because of it.

    Just remember that the foam will compact with each impact though, and be less and less effective. This compaction occurs regardless of falls, it just happens over time naturally.
  13. This is one area where composite helmets have an advantage over fibreglass and fibreglass/kevlar and fibreglass/carbon fibre and fibreglass/kevlar/carbon fibre helmets.

    They have the colour as part of the composite construction so if you drop them they don't chip anywhere as easily.
  14. Damn - a new Shoei.
    I with Vic on this. Its the foam underlayer that protects your noggin. If its deformed, you've removed some of its potential protection.
  15. Used to work in a lab as a student testing helmets to see if they met various standards (mostly did ice hockey helmets, gridiron helmets, but did do some road helmets)
  16. Do the tests render them useless?
    Like do you need to peel it like a banana in order to test it?

    I'm curious, how does one test a helmet after a drop?

    Seeing that the foam inside a helmet is like the packing foam that you get in a box only a lot denser in design, how does one "x-ray" a helmet to determine if it is in fact roo-ted. If anything it will show up all the minute pockets of air that allow the foam to compress.
  17. My suggestion of asking the advise of a testing centre was just to get their option, they should be able to give that from experience, surely.
  18. Yep
    Shoei testing centre:
    "You dropped your helmet?"
    *test test test* "yep its fubar go and buy yerself another shoei"
  19. If a helmet isnt tough enough to survive a fall from a metre, how is going to protect your head hitting something at 80k's an hour? Contrary to popular belief a fall from a tank/mirror/seat/hand doesnt destroy a helmet for a few reasons. A)Its not hard enough to damage the outter shell 8) there is nothing in it to compact the inner foam which is what really protects your bonce in a prang.

    Dont send it to the manufacturer, they wont even test it. They'll cut the straps off and send it back. Helmets are very hardy items. They will take many falls from seat height with zero problems(bar astetics).
  20. Idealy they xray the outer to look for fractures, and do some kind of test on the foam to check its density. If its too dense then its been impacted, and wont provide enough give next impact. If the outer is damaged then it may destruct next impact.