Thursday, May 25, 2023

When Should I Replace My Bike Helmet?


1.       If there is visible damage


If you can see cracks or dents in the outer shell or inner foam structure of your helmet, then its ability to protect your head is definitely compromised. Do not use it and replace it immediately.

2.     If it received an impact due to a crash or severe accidental drop

Similar to the air bags in your car, bicycle helmets are designed to be "one and done" when it comes to protecting you in the event of a crash. Once it has done its job to absorb the force of one impact, it should be replaced. Even if you can't see any damage to it, there may be cracks in the internal structure.


3.     If it's a few years old


Even if it has not had an impact, your helmet's protective ability diminishes over time due to sweat, heat, and ultraviolet light. Opinions vary on the length of time. Consumer Reports recommends every five years; the US Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends every 5 to 10 years. Most helmet manufacturers recommend every 3 years.


4.  If you can't even remember how old it is


If looking at your helmet puts in mind of one of those cycling movies from the 80's (like American Flyers), then it's definitely beyond its life span, no matter whose replacement time frame recommendation you believe!


5.  To upgrade to the latest technology


Most modern helmets incorporate a new feature called MIPS, which stands for Multidirectional Impact Protection System. It helps to absorb rotational forces on impact, and studies have shown that it can reduce the likelihood of concussions.





More Bike Helmet FAQ


Q. How can I extend the life of my bike helmet?

A. Clean off any dust or mud with a damp cloth. Do not use any cleaners or solvents, as these may degrade the outer shell or inner foam layer. Store your helmet indoors away from extreme heat or cold.


Q. How do I select the correct size of helmet?

A. Some helmets are "one size fits most" while others come in Small, Medium, Large, etc. The sizes have a recommended range based on the circumference of your head, as measured just above your ears and eyebrows, but these ranges vary from one brand to another. The best way to find the correct fit is to try them on in person in our stores and see what feels best for you!


Q. Do more expensive helmets provide better protection?

A. In general, no. Bike helmets sold in the United States must all meet the same standard of protection as tested by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. What you get when you pay more is lighter weight, better ventilation, better fit, more features, and better style (and of course, style is all a matter of preference).


Q. What's the difference between a road bike helmet and a mountain bike helmet?

A. Most road bike helmets do not have the sun visor, as it tends to block your view somewhat when riding in the more aggressive position of a road bike. Helmets with a sun visor provide some shade when riding in the more upright position of a mountain bike or hybrid bike. Mountain bike specific helmets extend lower on the back of your head, to provide more protection for this area, as it tends to be impacted more in mountain biking crashes. For extreme mountain biking, you can get helmets with full face protection. Generally, though, road and mountain biking helmet styles are a matter of tradition, and you can wear whatever helmet you want for either type of riding. Any protection is better than none!



Road Cycling Helmet


Mountain Biking Helmet


Full Face Mountain Biking Helmet