Helmet prices

Discussion in 'rec.sport.unicycling' started by Mikefule, May 7, 2006.

  1. Mikefule

    Mikefule Guest

    OK, so let's accept that in some circumstances, the price of not wearing
    a helmet can be very high indeed. But...

    My open face helmet just about gave up the ghost recently. The cradle
    was held in place with Velcro discs. These lost their stickiness.
    I've replace them before, but now the helmet is so old and greasy that
    new ones won't stick.

    So I treated myself to a new helmet.

    So what is there in a helmet? An expanded polystyrene moulding. An
    outer plastic shell. A couple of webbing straps. A few buckles and
    catches. A plastic visor.

    £50.

    £50 would buy a cheap TV, VCR or DVD player. £50 would buy a cheap
    motorcycle helmet.

    Expanded polystyrene mouldings are part of the free disposable
    packaging for almost every electrical item you buy.

    You can buy a rucksack or bumbag with no end of webbing straps and
    buckles and catches for about £20.

    A plastic shell? Multi-part children's toys made of plastic are
    virtually given away free. You can buy a CD or DVD in a plastic case,
    and with loads of intellectual property on it, for £15.

    Why are helmets £50? I think it's exploitation.


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  2. U-Turn

    U-Turn Guest

    Mikefule wrote:
    > OK, so let's accept that in some circumstances, the price of not wearing
    > a helmet can be very high indeed. But...
    >
    > My open face helmet just about gave up the ghost recently. The cradle
    > was held in place with Velcro discs. These lost their stickiness.
    > I've replace them before, but now the helmet is so old and greasy that
    > new ones won't stick.
    >
    > So I treated myself to a new helmet.
    >
    > So what is there in a helmet? An expanded polystyrene moulding. An
    > outer plastic shell. A couple of webbing straps. A few buckles and
    > catches. A plastic visor.
    >
    > £50.
    >
    > £50 would buy a cheap TV, VCR or DVD player. £50 would buy a cheap
    > motorcycle helmet.
    >
    > Expanded polystyrene mouldings are part of the free disposable
    > packaging for almost every electrical item you buy.
    >
    > You can buy a rucksack or bumbag with no end of webbing straps and
    > buckles and catches for about £20.
    >
    > A plastic shell? Multi-part children's toys made of plastic are
    > virtually given away free. You can buy a CD or DVD in a plastic case,
    > and with loads of intellectual property on it, for £15.
    >
    > Why are helmets £50? I think it's exploitation.


    Yeah, I agree. Buy a CD and some duct tape, download the CD to your
    iPod, tape the case on your head, and you'll come out way ahead.


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  3. zippy

    zippy Guest

  4. Mikefule

    Mikefule Guest

    zippy wrote:
    >
    > unless you wanna go over board with the full faced crap :p




    The scar on my chin says there are arguments in favour of a full face
    helmet.:eek:

    However, I do find my full facer unpleasant to wear, especially on a
    hot or tough ride.


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  5. wobblyjohn

    wobblyjohn Guest

    Don't forget the insurance costs. Helmets imply head injury protection,
    no way around that for the manufacturers. A motorcyclist head injury is
    usually paid for by the rider's insurance, or the offending box
    jockey's insurance. Tri/bi/uni/cyclists go to an extreme in not
    insuring thier noggin, beyond the helmet, and the box jockeys aren't
    liable except in the case of obvious negligence; not without an
    insurance agent fighting on the cyclist's side.
    At least on this side of the pond, that surely adds up to one massive
    insurance bill. The safety business is a dangerous one.


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  6. Mikefule

    Mikefule Guest

    An interesting argument.

    I work in the insurance industry, and spent many years dealing with
    personal injury and motor claims.

    The maths doesn't add up for cases under English law.

    A helmet is simple to make, using fairly cheap materials. They are
    mass produced, and millions are sold. The R&D costs and testing costs
    are spread over a huge number of units.

    For there to be a successful claim against the helmet manufacturer
    under English law:


    - There would have to be an accident
    - The person would have to sustain an injury which they might
    reasonably have expected to have been prevented by the helmet (after
    taking into account all the literature sold with the helmet)
    - The helmet would have to fail in an obvious and unexpected way
    - If there was another person to blame (car knocks cyclist off) then
    the injury would have to be very significant before the car insurers
    would think about forensic testing of the helmet and trying to bring
    the helmet manufacturers into the litigation
    - The person holding the helmet manufacturer responsible would have
    to provide strong evidence that the helmet failed to perform as
    expected, and that that contributed to, caused or exacerbated the
    injury
    - And so on.




    I am confident that the risk (average number of such incidents x
    average size of claim) is pretty small.

    I think that cost of the cost of the helmet is simply "perceived value
    pricing". That is, a helmet is seen as important and worth getting a
    good one - and £30 - £50 is seen as worth paying for something
    important - regardless of the true cost of production.


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  7. digigal1

    digigal1 Guest

    You should have looked for a sale. I recently bought a new Bell
    hardshell skaters helmet that met 2 or 3 different safety standards for
    $16.


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  8. Remember that you are not only paying the helmet, but also the fancy web
    site, the Tour de France sponsoring, cool posters and... .

    Oh, and don't forget that all those holes are very expensive.

    :)

    j.


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  9. johnfoss

    johnfoss Guest

    juergen_brauckmann wrote:
    > Oh, and don't forget that all those holes are very expensive.



    I have not priced helmets recently, but at least a few years back, the
    above was fairly accurate for road bike helmets. In the US, helmets are
    mandatory in many communities for riders under age 18. This has created
    a much larger helmet market, and cheaper helmets that still meet
    industry standards.

    So unless anything's changed, in the US you can get a perfectly safe
    helmet (kids or adults) for around $20US. You can get a better-looking
    helmet for a little more ($25-40). Or you can get the
    latest-and-greatest designer/racer helmets for $100 & up. You get
    roughly the same amount of protection at all price levels, though
    comfort, fit and weight probably improve as you go up the scale. And,
    as Juergen says, you pay more for holes!

    The most I've paid for a helmet in recent years is probably $35. I hope
    you can find something decent for less than the 50 (pound symbol not
    handy) you mentioned before. These helmets do start to get "yukky"
    after a while; dirty, scratched, dented, etc. so replacing them is not
    a bad idea.


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  10. Mikefule

    Mikefule Guest

    I don't know why, but my computer posted the same thread twice, and two
    parallel discussions have started.

    I've tried helmets in two or three shops over the last few weeks, and
    wasn't happy with the fit or quality. I bought one on Saturday. I was
    reasonably satisfied with the fit and quality. Given that the cheaper
    ones didn't suit, I had little choice but to pay the higher price.

    The point being that helmets are overpriced for what they are. But I
    suppose so are shoes and shirts.

    I have nothing further to say on this subject. Perhaps we could
    discuss religion?


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  11. My local bike shop reliably informed me that the better helmets come in
    more sizes, so you can get one that fits better, but it means smaller
    production runs and hence hire costs.

    As for the size/number of vents - it's easy to joke about, but it does
    have some benefit. It's one of those things that is difficult to notice
    normally, but when I switched from a cheapo £10 helmet to a more
    expensive one (maybe £25, can't remember) the extra airflow was
    noticeable, which is very nice for long rides on hot days. Sadly you
    can't just jab extra holes through it, it needs more work on the design
    to make the helmet provide marvellous ventilation but still provide the
    protection.

    Think of it this way - the helmet designer is probably a biker too. By
    buying expensive helmets, you're helping someone to buy shiny new toys.


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  12. pkittle

    pkittle Guest

    I just ordered a Giro Xen from Sierra Trading Post for US$80. It has MTB
    looks, back-of-head coverage like a skate helmet, and good
    ventilation--a must where I live, with 100+ deg F temps in the summer.
    I replace my helmet about every other year, and have generally bought
    high-end helmets from previous year models to save a little cash. I
    don't stress over the cost much, figuring that not turning my brain to
    mush in case of accident AND keeping my head reasonable cool is worth a
    little extra cash.

    I've been thinking about getting a helmet from 'S-One'
    (http://www.s-one.com/) to replace my skateboarding helmet. They sell
    ones that have soft, multi-impact padding instead of hard polystyrene,
    and they just sound more comfortable than the helmet I now wear at the
    skatepark. Probably pretty hot, though, as are most skate-style
    helmets.


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  13. Niko

    Niko Guest

    I can't tell how high the production costs for expensive helmets really
    are, but for me personally the better comfort is worth the extra bucks.


    The MET Stradivarious I wear cost just under 90 Euros. Before that I
    tried a cheaper one, and the difference is huge. With my old helmet I
    sometimes got a headache after some riding (brain overheating...), now
    that is gone. I also use the helmet on the bicycle, and the airflow
    through the helmet makes a huge difference.
    The build quality also varies greatly. Better helmets usually use
    "in-molding", i.e. the inner part is molded into the outer plastic
    shell. That makes the helmet more durable at a lower weight and allows
    for all the extra holes.

    Of course wrecking your helmet in a light crash would really suck with
    this pricetag, but so far I never fell on my head. And if I do it is
    still better to write of an expensive helmet instead of not wearing one
    because of the discomfort.


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  14. underdog

    underdog Guest

    I like riding with a skate helmet for unicycling and I use a more
    streamlined bike helmet for my road bike. I figure I don't need the
    aerodynamic shape on the uni since I'm not doing any high speed
    Cokering. I bought an el cheapo skate helmet on sale for $10US and it
    worked just so so. Kind of a bad fit but it was the best I could find.
    Then I found a skate helmet that fit like a glove for $40US. It fits
    so much better that I'm glad I spent the money. What I'd like to find,
    perhaps on ebay, would be one of those old, leather bike helmets
    (anybody remember those?). I think it would provide enough cushion for
    that potential head bump on the tarmac and it would have the 'old
    school' look (like me:p ).


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