Author Topic: Best Functional Helmet  (Read 15722 times)

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cyclesafe

  • Guest
Best Functional Helmet
« on: May 02, 2006, 10:53:22 am »
The Consumer Product Safety Commission sanctions bicycle helmets, but I can't believe that helmets passing their bicyle helmet tests afford the very best possible skull protection.  I mean, motorcycle helmets pass motorcycle specific CPSC tests and, I assume, would pass the bicycle specific tests - if they were tested for that purpose.  They aren't.

OK, weight is an issue.  But with touring, weight is not so much the issue as it is with road and mountain bike racing.  Frankly, I would gladly trade double the weight (from 300 to 600 grams) for double the protection.

Can any of you recommend helmets that, although are not explicitly recommended for bicycle riding (because then they would have to subject themselves to the costs of bicycle-specific CPSC testing for albeit a limited market) would nevertheless provide better protection?

An example would be the following multisport helmet:

http://www.kong.it/doc305.htm

What about lightweight motorcycle helmets?  Do you think these better helmets would be acceptable on an Adventure Cycling ride, or would their insurance require riders to use inferior CPSC-sanctioned ones?


Offline Beep!Beep!

Best Functional Helmet
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2006, 10:43:15 am »
My favourite and to me best helmet though for upright cycling is the Reevu which has a built in rear view mirror. For a good look at helmets try Wiggleco.uk for some ideas. Or you could try a horse helmet as heard there is suposse to be one made that you can use for both cycling and horse riding though have no idea where you would buy one!


Offline JohnLee

Best Functional Helmet
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2006, 12:45:28 pm »
How much protection do you think you need?

While I have not done any rock climbing, kayaking,
horse riding (what's the word?) or any other sporting
activity that required a helmet, they all look largely
the same to me.

If you fall off the bike or go over the bars, any
reasonably constructed bike helmet will provide all
the protection you'll probably need (for your head).
If you get creamed by a car from any direction, a
helmet won't be much help.

I've seen a few motorcyclists die in accidents. They
were all wearing full-face helmets.

The last two bicyclists killed by motorists in Houston
had helmets.

I've more than my fair share of crashes, including over
the bars, and my helmet is unscathed.
I never wore a helmet as a kid.




Offline Badger

Best Functional Helmet
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2006, 04:04:25 am »
I have a specialized instinct helmet which seems to be a good helmet I bought it however because I liked the way it looked.  One that is cheaper would probably work just as well.  I don't have a problem wearing helmets and I don't clearly understand why people have a problems with them.  They are not a suit of armor but in a knock down crash they just might keep you out of intensive care at least for a head injury.  


Offline DaveB

Best Functional Helmet
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2006, 10:44:53 am »
Bicycle helmets that meet CPSC standards all pass the same tests independent of cost.  A higher price buys better ventillation, more "style" and possibly better comfort but not more protection.  Buy what fits well.  

Multisport, hockey, football and climbing helmets are not made to the same impact standards as they are made to take multiple smaller "hits", not one big hit.

Weight is very much an issue.  Not that the weight has much to do with your total load but very much to do with the load on your neck so don't dismiss helmet weight as a non-issue.

Mototcyclists have a very different riding position than bicyclists so the weight factor is also different.  A full face motorcycle helmet would provide better protection but you would find it intolerable after a very short time.

BTW, I'm a member of the "Saved By The Bell" club having distroyed a Bell helmet in an accident.  I had a mild concussion that would have been anything but mild without the helmet.  On the basis of one data (datum?) point I'm a firm believer.

This message was edited by DaveB on 5-26-06 @ 6:47 AM

cyclesafe

  • Guest
Best Functional Helmet
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2006, 04:22:11 pm »
My point is that since there ia a minimum standard and fear of litigation, there no incentive for a bicycle helmet manufacturer to make a safer helmet.  They can say they meet CPSC standards (they must meet them, otherwise they cannot sell them), but they cannot promote that their helmets exceed CPSC standards because, if a consumer relies on this representation and she is nevertheless injured, there will be a lawsuit.

So, if safety is the only concern, any legally sold bicycle helmet, whether $20 or $200 will do.  But what about the cyclist who wants a better helmet?  What about the manufacturer that would prefer putting the $180 of "value added" into better engineering and better materials instead of race sponsoring and magazine advertising?  This is the reason I started this thread.  I want a better helmet than what the CPSC says is acceptable and what purpose-built bicycle helmet manufacturers are willing to make.


Offline wanderingwheel

Best Functional Helmet
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2006, 01:51:29 am »
There are other standards that go above and beyond the CPSC tests that manufacturers can use to promote a "better" helmet.  Some to look for include Snell B95 and ASTM F-1492.  The Scarab helmet that you link to does not meet the CPSC standard even though it does meet the EN standard for bicycles.  The EN standard is not as rigorous as the CPSC standard.

I think skateboard/BMX helmets and downhill mountain bike helmets might be your best bet for above average bicycle helmets.  Take a look at www.helmets.org for more information about the ideal  bicycle helmets and using other types of helmets on bicycles.

Sean


Offline DaveB

Best Functional Helmet
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2006, 04:51:50 pm »
Quote
But what about the cyclist who wants a better helmet?  What about the manufacturer that would prefer putting the $180 of "value added" into better engineering and better materials

What kind of "value added" features do you want? You give no specifics.  There are lots of expensive helmets with better graphics, better ventilation, more sophisticated suspensions, etc. but other than style and possibly a small increase in comfort what value do they bring?    

As to exceeding the CPSC safety standards, if a manufacturer found materials that would provide better protection without a major weight gain they would certainly do it as it would be a major sales advantage. Bike helmets have significantly improved in impact protection and reduced weight over the years so there must be an incentive to do so over and above legislative coercion.  

The threat of lawsuits from providing "too much safety" is a red herring.  Ever read the disclaimers in any helmet of any type sold for any purpose? They all say this helmet cannot protect you from all possible hazards.  That's their legal defense and I haven't heard of anyone successfully suing Bell.  


cyclesafe

  • Guest
Best Functional Helmet
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2006, 08:00:27 am »
Almost zero.

You can spend more than $20, but still not knowingly buy a better helmet.  "Better" means a helmet that performs its basic function most efficiently - protecting the knoggen.  "Not knowingly" because there is no claim of better protection from the more expensive helmets.

Manufacturers are precluded from making explicit comparative safety claims because of concerns for the legal liability it would create for themselves.  It would be painting a bull's eye on their backs.  Far better for them to hide behind the CPSC's specs.  

Disclaimers only address implied claims and explicit claims of the manufacturers' representatives.  It is not possible for a disclaimer (fine print) to exclude a claim made explicitly by the manufacturer.  


Offline dknapp

Best Functional Helmet
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2006, 12:08:48 pm »
I like a helmet that allows some vision through a sunvisor.  That way, in the rain, you can have your head down for protection and still peer through openings to see where you are going.

As far as protection goes, in a major bike accident, there are so many variables and means of injury that worrying about a helmet that has some super specification is really carrying things too far.  I did an endo over the bars after catching my pedal on a concrete parking lot divider.  No helmet, medium speed, no head injury, but my collarbone was crushed into four pieces.  I am sure there are folks who can relate stories of fatal injuries with nothing but a head knock.  No helmet will protect much against neck injuries.  So, any certified helmet will do what it says, the rest of the equation is up to luck.


Offline SeaLawyer

Best Functional Helmet
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2006, 12:37:36 pm »
Quote

Multisport, hockey, football and climbing helmets are not made to the same impact standards as they are made to take multiple smaller "hits", not one big hit.

Okay, maybe someone can explain this to me -- I'm with you on the football thing, but how can you say that hockey or climbing helmets are designed to take multiple smaller hits vs. one big one??  

Hockey helmets are designed to protect someone's head as they get slammed hard to the ice, or better yet as the smash into the boards.  Having experienced both, trust me, they're BIG ONES.  Ice doesn't give AT ALL.  Boards do a little if you hit the upper half, but if you hit the lower boards, they're don't give much at all.  The speeds attained in ice hockey are just as fast if not faster than most cycling speeds.  The fact of the matter is that hockey helmets are designed to withstand MULTIPLE SEVERE impacts on all areas of the helmet.  

Climbing helmets are meant to save your life in a fall.  That's NOT a serious of smaller hits -- it's the BIG ONE.  It's designed to withstand maybe a series of smaller hits followed THEN by a severe impact!  Granted, the likelhood of you not dying from other injuries on any fall great enough to produce speeds close to hockey or cycling is low.  

The only difference between a cycling head impact and a hockey head impact is the possibility of the cycling impact to involve dragging along pavement.  Although I'd wager that heads actually being dragged along pavements is more like a series of one hard hit followed by several small hits as the head bounces around -- the likelihood of sustained, constant friction is probably low in cycling.  It's a little different on a motorcycle (I've been dragged along the pavement in a motorcycle accident) since speeds are much greater and a motorcycle is much heavier, resulting in a much greater distance to come to a stop.  

If it is a instance of sustained friction, then that becomes an issue not of the type of foam (EFP or EPP), but one of the shell.  I'll take my $90 CCM hockey shell any day over my $40 Bell shell!!  The hockey shell is FAR more likely to withstand "dragging" whether it's tested for it or not, because it's thicker.  And if the dragging is in fact one big hit, followed by a series of smaller hits, then the EPP in the hockey helmet is definitely a better bet!  

Anyway, bottom line -- can anyone explain to me scientifically why a hockey helmet will not protect you better than a biking helmet in a biking accident??  If so, PLEASE do.  I understand the issue of rating and liability -- that's not my question.  I care about which is better.

Cheers,
Vaughn

This message was edited by SeaLawyer on 6-4-06 @ 10:23 AM

cyclesafe

  • Guest
Best Functional Helmet
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2006, 05:13:58 pm »
Sea Lawyer,

Thank you for your contribution.  I want the best protection for my knoggen that I am willing to perch on my head.  Do you have any links for hockey helmets that compare strength and weight?  Ventilation is not such an issue at bicycle touring speeds....


Offline SeaLawyer

Best Functional Helmet
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2006, 02:23:49 am »
CS,
I do not.  I found this site searching for proof that hockey helmets weren't superior.  I haven't found it yet.  There is a flyer on a comparison of the two, but it basically says don't use bike helmets for hockey because a stick might go in one of the vents.  Of course, that's preposterous!  The likelihood of you laying on the ice looking up (to make the slots perpendicular to the ice) and someone sliding the tip of their blade in there is ZERO.  The better reason not to use a bike helmet in hockey is for the multiple impact reason.  

The best place to look is probably Canada since the regulate both bicycle and hockey helmets.  Epinions has limited information on weight.  

I'm out of town for the next week, but will look more when I get back.
Cheers,
Vaughn


Offline alfonso

Best Functional Helmet
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2006, 08:41:05 pm »
'Ventilation is not such an issue at bicycle touring speeds....'

I must disagree: heat buildup under a helmet is a very serious consideration even at moderate speeds. That's why I'm not convinced that the alternatives suggested in this thread would be practical.


cyclesafe

  • Guest
Best Functional Helmet
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2006, 12:17:25 am »
Do you think I'll overheat wearing a hockey helmet?