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Thread: Banged my helmet...should I get a new one?

  1. #1
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    Banged my helmet...should I get a new one?

    I had a tip over at pedestrian crosswalk on a hill...put my foot down and found only air as the R1200R slowly tipped over. I went onto the tarmac and my head did a quick thump on the ground. (I was glad I had a helmet on, I heard about a guy recently who was dead because he had no helmet in a similar situation.)

    There is a small scrape on the helmet, a Nolan 102. Should this helmet be replaced?

  2. #2
    "Running Out The Clock" grafikfeat's Avatar
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    Not unless there is a Dent in it where the 'innards' became compressed compromising the next 'impact'.
    "Stupidity, if left untreated, is self-correcting."

  3. #3
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    The condition of the outside hard shell of a helmet does not show whether the helmet's impact-absorbing abilties have been compromised.

    The helmet's EPS liner (between the comfort liner you see and the external hard shell) compresses when subject to impact - your head pushes it towards the external shell. When the EPS has compressed, it can't compress again as much in the same place. Thus, the helmet's ability to absorb shock in that area has been impaired.

    Yours has been subject to impact. How much it's been impaired is impossible to know. Whether you replace it or not depends on how accepting you are of a helmet that isn't as good all over as it used to be.

    My helmet rolled off the seat last week, and I didn't replace it. But if it had suffered any inpact with my head inside, I would have. YMMV.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  4. #4
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    If you think you hit hard enough to distort the outer shell then I would replace it. In that situation the inner material (which is basically styrofoam) gets compressed as stated above and won't protect as well in the future. Personally I think you gotta whack it pretty hard to get into the need to replace it. The replace it if you bump it stickers have to be there to reduce liability. Look up the DOT and Snell testing and ask yourself how hard you hit compared to those tests.

  5. #5
    Registered User kgadley01's Avatar
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    Here's the answer to your question...If you were in a minor accident where the other person was at fault and their Insurance would pay all your damages including a new Helmet, would you want a new Helmet.
    AKA SNAPGADGET
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  6. #6
    Mars needs women! 35634's Avatar
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    I banged my helmet and wore it for a couple more years. Worked perfectly. Of course, the trick is not to test it again.
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  7. #7
    Registered User fastdogs2's Avatar
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    New Helmet

    I dropped my helmet off the seat of my bike when I opened the top case. The helmet hit the ground had and bounced.

    I bought a new one.

    I didn't want to wear a compromised helmet, in case I needed it for a real crash event.

    I figure that helmets are inexpensive when compared to skull fractures or head trauma that may result from an ineffective helmet.
    BMW R1200R
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  8. #8
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    You've got money to burn if you replace a helmet after a drop- that's not going to do anything to the inside foam and unless you hit it hard enough to do visible damage to the shell (impossible in a typical drop), there is nothing to be concerned about.

    Your head weights around 12+ lbs (or maybe a little more). What destroys the helmet is that interior weight compressing the foam against the shell. No inside weight means there is nothing to compress the foam. It takes some significant force to get a head to dent the foam so reuse of one that got only a trivial bump while being worn is also reasonable.

    However, it is not possible to inspect the foam because, if you look at the published results of Snell tests, you will see that damaged foam maintains its internal shape. The compression actually occurs where the foam meets the shell and you would actually have to cut the helmet to see it (which would of course destroy the helmet).

    As a practical matter, a helmet that is dropped may not, in fact probably did not, even land of the surfaces most likely to be impacted in an accident. This info is published and you can look it up. The first thing you'll learn is that if you want to keep your face intact, that chin bar is a very important feature. Many impacts occur there. I've seen a chin bar split on impact with no injury to the wearer (in a car) - its not hard to imagine what his jaw and teeth would have looked like without it. The only time I use an open face is at an autocross, something I rarely do.

    You could in theory damage the foam from the outside of the helmet with nothing inside the helmet but its going to take more force than a simple drop. Think something like a hard swung hammer with the helmet supported on some sort of hard surface. It will do obvious damage to the shell if the hit is hard enough to wreck the foam- you have to compress the shell and that going to leave some visible sign of the hit. If helmets were so fragile they got wrecked by drops, they couldn't protect your head.

    That does not mean you can regularly abuse your helmet by pitching it across a concrete floor.

    I have about a half dozen helmets in service at any given instant. Three different styles for car use, a backup for the most used, a pair for the bike and an extra for a pillion. They tend to get so funky inside after 3-6 years that they get replaced, depending mostly on how often I get out to play in really hot weather. All are Snell rated for their intended use. (Car types have smaller eyeports and SA fire resistant interiors and some have hose inlets for forced ventilation)

  9. #9
    Mars needs women! 35634's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by racer7 View Post
    You've got money to burn if you replace a helmet after a drop
    This is a BMW forum! people change their oil after 3000 miles with OEM filters.
    Get $$$ Dealer services...buy $4K worth of farkles on a brand new bike...buy a new tire because they're scared to plug a puncture....BMW..Burnin Money Wantonly
    1987 K75S
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  10. #10
    Registered User gertiektn's Avatar
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    I'm with you 35364. And that is why I live in the great white north.

    Jim, Ketchikan,Alaska
    I like good stuff. No Chains here!
    1960 R50 -"Hanz"
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  11. #11
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    I watched millionare athletes bang heads last night and I am certain they will wear the same helmets next game. It is likely that they bumped heads pretty hard too! Yes, they are designed differently(I wore one so I otta know) & for another sport, but still about protecting your head.
    Having said that, I'm waiting for the "throw it away" after a scratch or discard every couple years crowd, to light up this thread...

    My Schuberth has a few scratches and it stays on my head for now.

  12. #12
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfkneller View Post
    ........... found only air as the R1200R slowly tipped over. ....................
    There is no way a slow tip over and subsequent light bump on the helmet compromised its integrity. (except for the paint integrity).

    The real cushioning is done by the EPS foam inside the helmet, and if you applied enough force with your melon to damage it, you would at least have a pretty good headache.

  13. #13
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    Some helmet manufacturers offer an inspection and testing service to determine if the helmet is still serviceable after an impact. They are probably the best qualified to determine that, all else is just guessing and speculation. Check with Nolan to see if they offer this service.

    If you can't get it checked by a qualified source and you suspect it might be damaged, you need to decide if a few hundred bucks is worth the risk to your safety. It's probably is OK, but then again....
    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.

  14. #14
    BUDDINGGEEZER
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    Yes, replace the helmet immediately and if it's a Large, I'll give you $20 for it.

    Ralph Sims

  15. #15
    Registered User kgadley01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddingGeezer View Post
    Yes, replace the helmet immediately and if it's a Large, I'll give you $20 for it.

    Ralph Sims
    I agree, and if its a xtra large I'll give ya $ 25.00.
    AKA SNAPGADGET
    Lifes too short to ride an ugly Motorcycle

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