How old is “too old”, and why looks don’t matter.
That bike helmet may still look good, match your bike or team kit and all that, but aside from a foam-crushing bounce to the pavement, how do you know when to replace your bike helmet? With the spring riding season just about upon us, now’s the perfect time to ask the team at Bicycle Sport to assess your current brain bucket.
For starters, if you can answer “yes” to any of the following, get a new helmet. Now.
- Your helmet has been involved in a crash
- Visible cracks in the helmet shell or liner
- Damage or deterioration to any straps, clips, or buckles
- Helmet is over 5 years old
- It can’t be adjusted to fit properly
Does your helmet meet all of the above minimum requirements? Well, you’re probably OK. But let’s have that conversation about how old is “too old”. Five years is a manufacturing and safety-testing guideline that serves as a good and reasonable starting point for the helmet replacement conversation. But unlike fine wines, bike helmets don’t get better with age. Even without undergoing some traumatic crash, the wear and tear of several years use, the bumps, drops, sweat, sunlight, etc., add up and eventually compromise the safety of the helmet. And let’s be honest. We’re probably not babying these helmets between use, either.
Fit matters. A lot. Beyond the basics of small, medium and large, each helmet’s proprietary fit system is designed to “dial in” a more personalized fit. Some combination of straps, cams, ratchets, etc., work together to get the helmet in the proper spot – and keep it there. The most modern, up-to-date safety features available won’t matter much in a crash if the helmet isn’t sized or fit right.
And what about the difference in price? Are you any safer in a $100 helmet or one that costs $500 dollars? Every helmet sold at Bicycle Sport, regardless of brand name, measures up to the most current industry safety standards. Rest easy on that one. Differences in weight, materials, ventilation, or particular styles or some other proprietary use may result in a significant span in pricing. In other words, an entry-level helmet for the casual rider or occasional commuter will likely be less expensive than a helmet designed specifically for the rigors and speed of downhill mountain bike racing. However, they’ll both be just as safe when used under the conditions for which they were designed.
Helmet safety and comfort continues to evolve. If you have questions about the safety, fit, design, or use of your helmet, or want to know more about the safety and other features of current helmet technology, pop in to Bicycle Sport and let’s get the conversation started.
# # #