View Poll Results: How often do you replace your helmet?

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  • Never -

    4 7.41%
  • Every few years

    20 37.04%
  • When I get a new bike I need to match

    3 5.56%
  • Religiously - every four or five years

    27 50.00%
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Thread: Helmet life span

  1. #1
    Human Version of M-1 tank oldcarkook's Avatar
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    Helmet life span

    I am wondering if anyone has an opinion on the safe lifespan of a helmet. I've always tried to replace mine every five years unless it loses it fight with gravity at which point I replace it immediately.

    What is the rule of thumb for the lifespan of a helmet assuming it is carefully bagged after each ride and never impacts anything?

  2. #2
    El Dookey loves to ride. 99007's Avatar
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    Yes to several

    Normally I replace every 3-4 years.
    Two summers ago I bought a new one because my old one hit the cement floor purty dang hard.
    Last year I bought a new full color black one on account of my flashy red/white/black HJC didn't co-ordinate with my copper colored Rockster.
    Vanity, thy name is Biker.
    Don't winterize; Rounderize!
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  3. #3
    Lord Of Barley & Hops BMWRider's Avatar
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    About every 3-4 years for me. I'll pick one up if I find a deal on it and work it into the rotation.
    "Don't you know who I am???"

  4. #4
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    I don't have a set time frame for helmet replacement. I just do so when the current one starts to seem a little beat up. My last one was replaced when I could no longer get a new visor for it at six years old. I'll be looking for a new one this spring when the riding season comes along again. My current Shoei is just over five years old, and needs a new visor again. I figure that I'll add to the $70 price of the visor and get a complete new helmet instead.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
    I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.

  5. #5
    Happy to be here! :) The_Veg's Avatar
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    So far no real pattern. I've only been riding for about two and a half years and have had two helmets. I started with a Shoei RF800 that I got on sale. Great at first but it went downhill from there. My head must have had a growth spurt right after I bought it because its fit- which was the wrong head-shape to begin with- got gradually tighter until one day I noticed my nose was touching the chin bar. So that one lasted no more than a year. I still have it and it's in great shape if any body needs a lid...
    I went through hell trying to find one just the right shape but settled on an HJC AC-10 which I am very happy with. And despite having many more vents and edges and protrusions on its exteriour, it's MUCH quieter than the Shoei. Assuming no unfortunate interventions, we'll see when I decide to replace it.
    Bikeless for now...but not forever!

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  6. #6
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
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    Every five years

    Okay, so I have not done it yet, but it is on the calendar.

    A few reasons.

    1) Owner's manual says so.
    2) Warranty Expires on Arai at that time
    3) Advances in Helmet Technology means I can probably find something lighter and quieter
    4) Figure the dings will have made it time
    5) I ain't gonna take chances on my brain
    -=Brad

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  7. #7
    Registered User guitarian's Avatar
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    Helmut life span

    83 years seems to be the life span of the Newton Helmut.

  8. #8
    Gary99
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    Arai says five years, if no impact in the interim.

  9. #9
    WesPeterson
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    The most convincing argument I've read for replacing every 3-4 years is that UV rays weaken the outer shell over time. Do I have any idea whether that is even remotely true? No. But it gives me a good excuse to make another purchase and I suppose I don't want to be the one who proves its correctness.

  10. #10
    MT State of mind
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    I've heard from Snell and Arai presenters on this issue. Certainly there is some breakdown of materials over time, especially if you leave a helmet hanging off the bike lock in the sun while at work all day. But some "rules of thumb" are old wives' tales. These are my notes from one presentation:

    The outer shell ÔÇô the shell prevents a penetrating injury. It contributes to the comfort of the helmet by reducing weight. The most expensive helmets are made with lighter materials.

    Since it is possible to destroy the brain but leave the skull and head intact, there is also:

    The inner shell ÔÇô the real function of a helmet is to absorb impact. This means from a fall, not a collision. In an accident, it is the fall to the ground (or whatever stops you) that the helmet is going to respond to. The "Styrofoam" (eps ÔÇô expanded polystyrene) will crush and reduce the shock on the brain and the head.

    The foam padding lining ÔÇô the foam padding does not affect how well a helmet works. This controls how comfortably it fits your head. The guiding factor is your head, not anyone elseÔÇÖs.

    A helmet that rolls off a table and hits the floor, or off the seat of the bike, is not necessarily damaged. It is the inner shell that is the performing substance. As long as there was not a head or something similar in the helmet when it hit the floor, the safety function is still intact. This is why you should not hang the helmet on a mirror or other possible penetrating or compressing item.
    **************
    Now, when I buy a new helmet I immediately purchase a spare faceshield and treat it all like prescription glasses - with immense care. By the time I've gone through both shields, the helmet is definitely showing its wear.

  11. #11
    What's that noise...? basketcase's Avatar
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    None of the poll selections fit my take on the subject.

    I have an HJC FG-3 that is still in great shape -- even at nine years old.

    I have a full cover Shoei that is eight years old.

    I have a practically new HJC that smells so much better than the older one that it defies understanding ...

    None of them have been dropped.

    They all stay inside on a shelf except when worn for riding.

    Styrofoam. What is the shelf life of a minnow bucket? If a styrofoam minnow bucket can take the abuse it does and last better than a Duracell, can the babied and pampered styro in a helmet last a while longer? Probably.

    Liner and padding. The cloth liner and the foam padding are the kickers for me. When they begin to crumble, it is time to replace the helmet. Some new helments come with replaceable pads and liners. The washable liners are nice, too.

    So, as long as the shell is intact, the styrofoam is not compressed, and the padding his pliable, I think the lid is okay to wear.

    Rick (you know your helmet is funky when the dog growls at it) in AL
    '98 BMW Z3 Roadster, '00 R1100RT

    If you insist on exercising a right to burn our flag, first be so kind as to wrap yourself in it and then douse yourself with gasoline just before you strike the match.

  12. #12
    Just me rad's Avatar
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    I ride a lot so about every 3 to 4 years I'm ready to replace them due to, dings, inside to ripe to clean up, broken bits and the final straw....I refuse to spend another $50-$70 on a visor for a stinky old beat up helmet.

  13. #13
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Rad
    I ride a lot so about every 3 to 4 years I'm ready to replace them due to, dings, inside to ripe to clean up, broken bits and the final straw....I refuse to spend another $50-$70 on a visor for a stinky old beat up helmet.
    What he said. You don't even want to know about me and riding gloves.....

    Let's just Held retired on me.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  14. #14
    Happy to be here! :) The_Veg's Avatar
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    ???Too ripe to clean up???

    have you tried scrubbing with and sloshing a strong solution of shampoo around inside it? After rinsing it will take a while to dry but if it will get that stuff out of your hair it should do it for fabric and foam too.
    Bikeless for now...but not forever!

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  15. #15
    Just me rad's Avatar
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    Originally posted by The Veg
    ???Too ripe to clean up???

    have you tried scrubbing with and sloshing a strong solution of shampoo around inside it?
    Done about everything.

    I think the foam, not the material, starts to take on an odor after a ton of hot desert miles.

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