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Thread: What do you do with your helmet when it is not being used?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post


    OK, I gotta ask....

    If an approved, quality helmet is purportedly compromised by storing it in a garage where the temperature ranges from very cold to very hot with varying ranges of humidity as the seasons change, does wearing it in even more dynamic temperature and humidity extremes also compromise the helmet????

    Seriously, I ride to work year-round here in Atlanta, Georgia. So, my helmet's shell is subjected to temps as low as 15?? ambient in January & February to temps that are easily well over 100 in July & August. The humidity inside the helmet is always high (such is the nature of a human head) regardless of the ambient temperature and outside humidity, the latter ranging from 20% to 100% on any given day at any given temperature. To make matters worse, I take my helmet into the office where it is quickly warmed to 72?? in the morning and then take it back out to near or sometimes below freezing temperatures in the evening.

    Check me here, but given the aforementioned highly dynamic environment that a helmet must endure just in normal use, what makes the 'average' garage environment so bad for a helmet??

    Just asking....
    to be honest, i don't know. i figured it was no big effort to NOT store in teh garage, so why bother?
    Same suppliers indicated that a helmet has an indefinite shelf life if kept in a (relatively) stable temp/humidity environment (like an indoor closet). i think "proper storage" is about mazimizing the lifespan of the helmet as opposed to minmizing it.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  2. #32
    TANDEMGEEK
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish1100 View Post
    to be honest, i don't know. i figured it was no big effort to NOT store in teh garage, so why bother?
    Because, at least for me, it makes a lot more sense to keep my riding gear next to my bikes in the garage instead of trundling to and from the house with it. As it is now, I walk out to the garage, gear-up, ride away. Ride in, take my helmet off and put it on the shelf and then hang-up the rest of my gear before heading into the house. This makes even more sense when it's raining. Now, why would I want to drag all of that outdoor apparel into the house?

    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish1100 View Post
    Same suppliers indicated that a helmet has an indefinite shelf life if kept in a (relatively) stable temp/humidity environment (like an indoor closet).
    Sounds like the supplier wants to have his cake and eat it too, i.e., no, no... shelf life is indefinite so don't worry about how old my inventory is. However, once YOU own it it's a ticking time bomb: so long as you don't drop-it, knock-it, get it too hot or too cold or place it on a shelf next to the very vehicles it is designed to be used with it will be safe to use for five years. But, after that, regardless of how it's used or stored, you'll need to buy a new one.

    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish1100 View Post
    i think "proper storage" is about mazimizing the lifespan of the helmet as opposed to minmizing it.
    I think it's all much ado about nothing. Common sense will go a long way towards establishing how to care and store a helmet that's designed to deal with a lot of light-duty wear and tear as well as environmental extremes while still being able to perform it's primary function.

    Again, my helmet gets a lot of wear and tear since it's used every day and for that reason alone it will be replaced on average after about 3 years. However, I typically replace it with my wife's barely used 3-year old helmet and get her a new one so I'm on what is essentially a 6-year replacement cycle instead of the recommended 5-year cycle.

    In regard to the latter, I would note that I have a couple Shoei helmets that are in like new condition that have been sitting on the shelf in the garage for about 9 years, where the EPS and all the other bits are still soft and pliable. I also have a couple of low-cost DOT-labeled helmets that are 4-years old that came with my '04 RT and they are completely ratted-out. So, there is something to be said for how the quality of the original materials, assembly and design influences service life.

    Bottom Line: I have no concerns about doing any harm by storing my helmets on a shelf well off the floor in my garage.

    P.S., with regard to gas vapors, me think's that's a non-issue as well unless you make a habit of storing your helmets on the garage floor. After all, even gas-fired furnances and water heaters are routinely located in garage spaces, albeit on elevated stands or platforms.

  3. #33
    Registered User thompsonr's Avatar
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    Well-said TG .I would suspect we get more gas fumes on our helmets while peering into the tank while filling. Watching so as to not over fill. Than we ever do in our garages.
    R and R

  4. #34
    Ahead of my time bigdelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBasa View Post
    Same here. Keep it away from ozone and chemical fumes as they'll eat the styro liner and weaken it.

    Your helmet should come with a care guide that describes how to store it.

    Kind of on topic: Lay your gloves out flat so the sweat evaporates out of them. Don't cram them in your helmet.

    I'd be cautious of putting a helmet in a bag if that bag won't allow sweat to evaporate out of the liner. They can get funky quick if sweat builds up in them. Yuck.
    Slightly OT:
    Thank god for Fabreeze!
    I bought a lightly used (I thought) Schuberth from a rider on another site.He said it had no funky odors.Getting it w/i 6 inches of my head,I knew that wasn't the case.Removed the liner and washed it w/good results.But the side (cheek) pads stayed put.So along comes Fabreeze.......
    What should have been a head's up,the helmet was in the helmet bag when it arrived and bag smelled as bad as the helmet.
    Wish I could afford a new Arai or Schuberth.

  5. #35
    DEANCOX
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    I didn't know I was supposed to ever take it off....

  6. #36
    Dee G flymymbz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    Because, at least for me, it makes a lot more sense to keep my riding gear next to my bikes in the garage instead of trundling to and from the house with it. As it is now, I walk out to the garage, gear-up, ride away. Ride in, take my helmet off and put it on the shelf and then hang-up the rest of my gear before heading into the house. This makes even more sense when it's raining. Now, why would I want to drag all of that outdoor apparel into the house?
    If I had an attached garage, I would seriously consider finding space for the gear near the bikes. However, ours is a 40 yd hike away. I might occasionally leave the gear there, usually in the summer when I get off the bike and head directly into the garden or the orchard. gardening in a 'stich ain't no fun.
    Too damn many bikes to list

  7. #37
    Registered User amiles's Avatar
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    I try to make a serious attempt to air out or dry my helmet between uses. Donning a wet sweaty helmet is not high on my list and I suspect that keeping it aired out may add to it's longevity. I have a Peet shoe dryer with a helmet attachment that helps with the de=humidifying from time to time.

    Giving the inside a good wash and thorough drying as needed do make for a more pleasant riding experience.

  8. #38
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
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    Still no expert opinion

    Clearly, we all care about our heads in the event of an accident, THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON we wear helmets. No need to repeat the numerous other reasons we wear them to the believers, and the non-believers will never read these posts.

    We STILL have not heard from someone who really KNOWS the properties of the plastics in our helmets (especially, what I call -probably wrongly - styrofoam.) THAT is the part of our cared-for helmets that is most important in an accident as it absorbs and distributes force over a larger area. I think everyone agrees that it loses the ability to absorb and distribute impact over time.

    The two big unanswered questions are: 1. Is this simply a matter of time, regardless of humidity and temperature, (and, if so, what percentage of original performance has been lost after 5 years from date of manufacture?) 2. If the "styrofoam" in our helmets can be seriously compromised by other factors (high or low temperatures, high or low humidity) to what extent do these factors limit the years we can get 90% of original protection from our helmets?

    I'm asking for science, not just personal opinion. Perhaps some of you know people (or websites) where we can obtain this info and share it here.

    There are a lot of riders who continue to wear old helmets. Are there really good reasons they should not do so?
    Doug
    1992 K100RS

  9. #39
    ABC,AMA(LIFE),MOA,RA,IBMW MANICMECHANIC's Avatar
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    "Back in the day..." when I used to build and fly R/C planes, a technique for building a fiberglass part was to carve the part from styrofoam/expanded polystyrene, then apply the fiberglass over the foam. When the 'glass had set up, remove the foam by chipping out the big pieces, then dunk the part in a container of gas to dissolve the rest of the foam. Just sayin'.

    My helmet is in the closet with the rest of the riding gear, in the house. When not home, it's either in the side cases, trunk, or on a shelf at my workbench.
    F.O.G.Rider, Rounder #6,
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  10. #40
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    This is a link to an article on helmets by MSF. It's a long read, so did not copy it in its entirety.
    http://msf-usa.org/downloads/helmet_CSI.pdf
    however, here is a pertinent segment from it: (my italics)
    "It is not wise to store helmets near gasoline, cleaning fluids, exhaust fumes, or excessive heat. These factors can result in the degradation ofhelmet materials, and often the damage goes unnoticed by thewearer. Read the information that comes with the helmet so you know how to care for it. Definitely read the instructions about painting, decorating, pinstriping, or applying decals to your helmet. Never hang your helmet on the motorcycle's mirrors, turn signals, or backrest. The inner liner can easily be damaged from such handling. In fact, avoid carrying a spare helmet on your motorcycle, unless it's well protected or on your passenger's head. Even the bumps andjarring from normal riding can damage a spare. If it is strapped near hot engine parts or exhaust pipes, the inner liner may distort or melt at the hot spot. The outer shell may not show the damage, but if you've seen the effects of a foam drink cup placed too near excessive heat, you can understand what happens. When you take your helmet off, find a flat,secure place for it. You could set it on the ground, secure it on a rack, or stow it on a shelf. On somebikes, putting it on the fuel tank may expose it to fumes. If you place it on the seat, make sure it won't fall off."
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  11. #41
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    and here's some stuff from the Snell Memorial Foundation: (smf.org)
    "Why should you replace your helmet every five years?
    The five year replacement recommendation is based on a consensus by both the helmet manufacturers and the Snell Foundation. Glues, resins and other materials used in helmet production over can affect liner materials. Hair oils, body fluids and cosmetics, as well as normal "wear and tear" all contribute to helmet degradation. Petroleum based products present in cleaners, paints, fuels and other commonly encountered materials may also degrade materials used in many helmets possibly degrading performance. Additionally, experience indicates there will be a noticeable improvement in the protective characteristic of helmets over a five year period due to advances in materials, designs, production methods and the standards. Thus, the recommendation for five year helmet replacement is a judgment call stemming from a prudent safety philosophy."

    and:
    "I dropped my helmet! Do I have to go buy a new one?
    Generally the answer is probably not. Helmets are one use items, but are quite durable otherwise, at least the ones we certify. Frequent dropping or spiking a helmet on the ground, or other hard surfaces may eventually degrade the helmet's performance. Similarly if the helmet falls to the ground at highway speeds unoccupied the owner must be aware that some degradation may have occurred. In general the real damage comes when the helmet contacts an object with a head inside. The Foundation recommends that if you are participating in an activity that requires that you wear a helmet, that you avoid hitting stuff with your head. It can be difficult to readily determine if a helmet has been damaged, and the protective capabilities compromised without a thorough inspection by a trained professional. Some manufacturers may provide this service or direct you to these others that can perform these inspections. The Foundation recommends that if you suspect your helmet may be compromised, then replace it. If the helmet has been involved in an impact while in use, replace it."
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  12. #42
    TANDEMGEEK
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    Quote Originally Posted by manicmechanic View Post
    "Back in the day..." when I used to build and fly R/C planes, a technique for building a fiberglass part was to carve the part from styrofoam/expanded polystyrene, then apply the fiberglass over the foam. When the 'glass had set up, remove the foam by chipping out the big pieces, then dunk the part in a container of gas to dissolve the rest of the foam. Just sayin'.
    So, the take-away here is, don't use your helmet as a bucket to transport gasoline?

    After all, there is a difference between the chemical composition of gasoline as a liquid and the explosive gas that is created once gas is mixed with oxygen, never mind the concentration levels involved. Same thing goes for paint solvents which, interstingly enough, usually come in painted containers that seem to retain their painted exteriors so long as the liquid is not spilled on the paint. Just sayin'.

    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish1100 View Post
    It is not wise to store helmets near gasoline, cleaning fluids, exhaust fumes, or excessive heat. These factors can result in the degradation of helmet materials, and often the damage goes unnoticed by the wearer.
    So, don't store your helmets in home's steel haz-mat cabinet or on the shelf sitting directly over open fuel or solvent containers, don't sit it on top of a furnance, heater or close to work areas where you're welding, brazing or stripping materials with a heat gun, keep it away from your shop lights and by all means don't leave your helmet in a closed garage while commiting suicide by CO2 posioning. Do I have that right? Just askin'.

    I'm sorry, but IMHO if YOU can't figure out if YOUR helmet is 'good enough' to provide adequate protection in the event of a crash where head-trauma would otherwise be the primary cause of death AND where a 10% - 15% loss in the effectiveness of the helmet's protective properties (as opposed to a 10% to 15% loss of protective properties because it was not sized, fitted or secured correctly) would be the difference between being brain damaged / brain dead or not, then you've probably got bigger issues to deal with as well.

    For example, is your living will and final will and testament up to date? Let's face it, if you ride a motorcycle your chances of ending up on life support or in a box are just a bit higher than the average Joe who doesn't ride a motorcycle.

    When's the last time you checked your tires for proper inflation, wear and just how old are they? It's not like tires have an unlimited shelf-life either. How about your shocks and brakes; when's the last time they were serviced to ensure they're at 100% effectiveness?

    How's your health? Are you overweight, do you smoke, engage in other high-risk activities or do you eat healthy and get regular exercise? I'd venture a guess that we lose more riders to heart disease or other health-related causes than head injuries.

    Hey, and how up to date and well-practiced are your riding skills and situational awareness? As someone who is new to BMWs and Sport Touring bikes I'm amazed at all of the gadgets folks install that clutter up their field of view and/or that are positioned in such a way that they can draw attention away from the road... just like in a car but without that steel safety cage.

    So, once again, I submit that overt concern about the risks associated with storing a helmet in your average garage are much ado about nothing. But, hey, if y'all want to be paranoid, knock yourselves out. The only way I know to be certain that I've eliminated the biggest risks I face as a motorcyclist are to cease being a motorcyclist... and I'm just not ready to do that. So, in the mean time I'll continue to manage all of the risk factors that I can in a prudent manner. As for that helmet in the garage, no worries, eh?

  13. #43
    Hogaan! testinglogin's Avatar
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    I don't store my helmet in the garage. For one, there are a lot of solvents and things out there, two, it's dusty, three, I don't have a place to put it where it's not more likely to be knocked over.

    Also, there were photos I saw of a guy who left his helmet in a non-climate controlled garage in his top case. When he pulled the helmet out after some time sitting, it had mold all over the inside. Yuck!

    Mostly mine is stored on the dining room table if I'm riding frequently and otherwise it's in a closet in the house with coats, hats, and other riding gear.

  14. #44
    TANDEMGEEK
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdmetzger View Post
    Also, there were photos I saw of a guy who left his helmet in a non-climate controlled garage in his top case. When he pulled the helmet out after some time sitting, it had mold all over the inside. Yuck!
    I'm guessing if someone sealed-up a well-used or otherwise moisture-infused helmet in a sealed top case that was stored it in their hall closet it would have ended up just as mildewed and moldy...

    Again, common sense stuff and not-germane to the garage environment.

    Just for context, I'm not advocating for garage storage... I'm just not buying a lot of weak arguments put forward that suggests storing a helmet in the garage will shorten it's service life that don't pass the common sense test.

    There are many, many good reasons not to store gear in a garage, i.e., the 40 yard walk mentioned above, lack of space and other environmental issues that are related to what someone may do in their garage, e.g., woodworking without an evac. system or auto restoration and painting. But, they stand on their own merits just fine.

  15. #45
    RK Ryder
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    For my situation, the shelf beside the parked bike is the best place for me to store my helmet. I have cement steps leading from the garage down to the house. I figure that with my luck (a lot of it bad), I'd lose it and bounce it down the steps. However, in a week or so (hope it's not sooner), the K will have all the oils changed and then will be covered for the winter. Then the helmet will be stored in a helmet bag on top of a cupboard for the winter.

    I've never had mold nor left a helmet in the Givi top box for any great length of time, but it did take a long time this spring to get the Givi smelling decent again. I forget what I left in the box over the winter, but the odour was not pleasant come spring.
    Paul
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