Why Buy An Expensive Helmet?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by senator52, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. senator52

    senator52 New Member

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    I don't get it, what is so special about the helmets that cost AU$300+:eek: in comparison to those which cost only $50. Is it just weight and looks because boths groups of helmets have the australian certification (in the majority of cases) so why the enormous difference in price? And my el cheapo helmet still looks quite cool and is Australian certified, so why fork out that much for another high end one?
     
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  2. Phill P

    Phill P New Member

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    Well I don't know about the $300 plus ones, but I know the difference between $50 and $200.

    You have to admit, but yes you pay a lot of money for the holes in a helmet. To keep the helmet strong (usually well above Australian standards) you have to use stronger materials. More holes means lighter, and better air flow. A lot of heat comes off your head, so air flow through a helmet helps you regulate temperature on hot days (and on the cold days you wear more layers).

    Also the quality of the materials used improves. You sweet a lot out of your head while cycling, and salty sweet is hard on materials. My girlfriend rusted out the rivots of her $80 helmet in less than a year of average cycling. Never had that happen in my $150+ helmets.

    Fit is also a consideration. I was forced into a more expensive helmet as my big head (not just my ego) wouldn't fit the cheaper models. More expensive models often have more sizes to choose from. Also better retension systems add to the comfort. I'm riding a $220 Giro and it fits like a glove, far better than any previous helmet I've owned.

    My previous helmet was a $160 Specilaized which I liked a lot. A few mths a go a SUV failed to stop properly at a round about and just collected me, and as I rolled along the side of the hood hit my head hard enough to badly crack the material right the whole way through, just above my left eye. I walked away with an injured elbow that kept me off the bike for 3 weeks, and a mild head ache.
    That was $160 well spent. I hope my current helmet doesn't get a chance to earn its keep in such a mannor. But if it does at least my greatest asset (my big head) has got some good quality protection.
     
  3. Powerful Pete

    Powerful Pete New Member

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    Get a helmet that fits you well, if comfortable and that meets your national safety requirements. If it is an 80 USD helmet, good for you. If it is a 150 USD, that's ok too. Going much above that means that, IMVHO, you are doing your part for pro cycling sponsorships (not necessarily a bad thing!).
     
  4. badkarma

    badkarma New Member

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    I'm inclined to believe that less expensive helmets are safer for you, whereas with expensive helmets, all companies are trying to do is engineer the lightest helmet that will still meet ANSI standards. And with cheaper helmets, they're beefier, so I'd be willing to bet their factor of safety is higher than a more expensive helmet. Just my 0.02
     
  5. lava

    lava New Member

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    The only thing expensive helmets have that inexpensive helmets don't is overstyling and a funky complex geared fit system in the back that is supposed to impress you into thinking it's worth the extra cost.
     
  6. smithsr

    smithsr New Member

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    I have bought the chepaer (AUD$50) helmets. Even so my helmet has saved me from a bad fall where my head hit bitumen. I have ditched one helmet because the strap mounts pulled out. Do the more expensive helmets have better mounting systems?
     
  7. ryanspeer

    ryanspeer New Member

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    Bought an '06 Giro Transfer from Nashbar and couldn't be more pleased with the fit. Yeah, it *could* have a little more ventilation, but considering that a helmet with 2-4 extra vents would cost close to if not MORE than twice what I paid for it, I'd be a fool to pay an extra $30 per vent. I'm willing to grant that there's likely SOME sort of weight or construction difference between a sub-$100 helmet and a $200 helmet, but my Giro is so comfortable and lightweight that I often forget I'm wearing it. Couldn't say that with the $70 Bell I used to have.
     
  8. bobbyOCR

    bobbyOCR New Member

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    My road helmet is a met Stradivarius II, which I got in a tremendous deal. I was riding a Tec R5 before that and crashed very badly on my head, removing a large part of my face, and I'd probably be dead if it weren't for the helmet. An expensive helmet will not necessarily be any better, but think, what is the difference between a $1000 bike, and a $6000 bike. They are both bikes, they would both work in the same way and they look the same to the non-cyclist. An expensive helmet, in my point, will usually have a better design (Met's design is amazing) and a better fit and/or more sizes available.

    My mtb helmet is a Tec M5 which fits my head excellently, cost $80AUD, looks like a Giro whatever their mtb helmet is, weighs nothing (254g) and is very well vented. I think Tec, while they do not have a big range, make excellent helmets and I would thoroughly recommend them. Giros are overpriced.
     
  9. Pharmr

    Pharmr New Member

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    nashbar has the 06 Giro Eclipse for $49....looks nice to me and will most likely be my next purchase....I cant see me paying $200 for a helmet.
     
  10. Bro Deal

    Bro Deal New Member

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    This is something I have believed for a long time.
     
  11. capwater

    capwater New Member

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    All helmets must meet the ANSI standard. After that it's just about style and comfort. That being said, if you ride a ton you're going to want the lightest most comfy helmet you can afford. Just like with shoes and bibs, better quality allows you to ride more in comfort. Personally I favor the Giro Pnuemo, which can be had for 100 USD at many mail order places.
     
  12. carbonguru

    carbonguru New Member

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    Trust me...pay a little more money for a proven superior helmet. Crashing at 40 MPH I learned how valuable the Giro Atmos was when it hit the ground 1st and split in half instead of my noggin. It saved my life. Get the best helmet that you can afford. Your life may depend on it. :rolleyes:



     
  13. kleng

    kleng New Member

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    +1 on the Met Stradivarius II, this is a great helmet, from a personal point of view it fits very well, sits lower on the head providing extra protection for the ears and it fits much lower at the back offering extra protection there, the retention mechanism is slightly better with a built in supporting cage (like a cut down hard hat arrangement), and the in moulding shell goes all the way around and partially inside the helmet which I haven't really seen on other brands (suspect this might help with the helmet integrity). Unfortunately is quite expensive in OZ but its still a lot cheaper than GIRO.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. buckybux

    buckybux New Member

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    I had a $40 USD Bell Ukon. Had a car turn left in front of me when I was going 30 mph, and went flying over the hood of the car. Helmet was toast, but it saved my head. Bottom line, the $40 USD helmets protect as well as the $100 to $200 helmets. When you pay more, you get more vents, lighter weight and support to the teams. I replaced the Bell Ukon, with the newer model.
     
  15. Archibald

    Archibald New Member

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    +2 for the Strat II.
    last helmet ($40) didn't fit as well as it should - kept slipping forward onto my glasses, and moving about a little, which is frustrating for night mtb-ing with a helmet mounted lightset. also had trouble with sweat coming from my forehead into my glasses/eyes...
    stepped up to the strat2 and love it. fitting adjustment works a peach, and the helmet doesn't move both with and without the light attached. and that's before i do up the strap.
    the better fit also puts the foam contact across my forehead and helps prevent that sweat problem - or maybe the positioning of the vents helps with that too.

    the only 'con' with it has been a little too cool on the cold early morning rides, but that's only in the early stages...
     
  16. jcjordan

    jcjordan New Member

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    when my last helmet was killed when I had a Car vs Bike incident I nearly bought a Strat II, but they did not have any in stock and they could not get any in for at least 2 weeks so I got a Giro Atmos.

    Great fit and really comfortable, but the same problem as the Strat that its really airy on cold mornings. Should be good in summer.
     
  17. Bigbananabike

    Bigbananabike Member

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    Helmets with less vents are better in cooler conditions. It's one of the reasons I like my Giro Eclipse. It also fits my helmet mirror really well too.
    Brighter coloured helmets are safer - they can often be seen above the car roofs.
    Those black, grey etc helmet colours are dangerous:mad:
     
  18. Phill P

    Phill P New Member

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    You can always put plastic wrap (glad wrap in AUS/NZ) over helmets with vents if they are too cold for you in the winter. Track and time trial riders do it all the time (aero benefit????)
    I've also seen riders put tape over the front of thier riding shoes to stop thier toes getting cold.
     
  19. kordon

    kordon New Member

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    Where the heck do you buy this thing? How much?
     
  20. matagi

    matagi Well-Known Member

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    Why buy an expensive helmet?

    Answer - there is no need to. In Aus all helmets regardless of whether they cost $20 or $200 need to meet the same standard. They are all basically moulded polystyrene covered by a plastic shell.

    What should govern your choice of helmet are factors such as fit, comfort and ease of adjustment. These are all subjective, so you need to try as many helmets as you can (including the Woolworths specials) to determine which one works best for you. It may be that only a $300 helmet does the job, but equally, you may find a $50 one meets your needs.

    FWIW, I ride with a $40 Netti helmet. I had an over the handlebars experience last year which sent me face first into the ground. The plastic visor on my helmet (which I hadn't bothered to remove) took most of the impact and split in half, I ended up with 4 stitches in my face from hitting a partly buried stick. Did the helmet save my life? No, but it certainly saved my face from needing extensive plastic surgery. Needless to say, I went straight out and replaced that helmet with exactly the same one.
     
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