Honda CX 500 Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,871 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just curious, couldn't find anything on my helmet manufacturers site but do helmet shells have an expiration date? In other words, does the plastic shell material lose effectiveness after a few years of use, even if it hasn't been dropped? My helmet's doing fine, it's 3 years old and I haven't dropped it ever, just wondering....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
Full plastic helmets probably do have a shelf life, although I am not sure what that would actually be. Most forms of carbon composite shells however, if undamaged, dont, and I have seen examples of 12 yr old Arai helmets being tested and found to be good for use at that age. Of more concern is the inner liner, which can be compromised by so many things, and even strap mountings etc, which can reduce an otherwise perfectly serviceable helmet to an unsafe condition. In truth, most helmets become unservieable due to neglect, or omission on the part of the owners. Riders who frequently use hair products such as gel, sprays etc do not wash the linings often enough to prevent them from saturating the inner shells and of course many helmets are compromised when people fit things such as intercom headset without thinking about what they are doing to the inner shell! - as an Arai and AGV trained helmet tech I have seen things you would not believe. So, if your helmet is in good condition, has never had any form of impact, or has never been apart, except for routine washing, and has always been stored correctly, it almost certainly is serviceable
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,612 Posts
Helmets have about a 5 year shelf life.

Ratings change, technology changes, foam breaks down, sunlight breaks down the shells.



For example, a Snell 2005 rated helmet is nowhere near as safe as a Snell 2010 rated helmet (especially for extra small, and small heads), because Snell changed their testing methodology to more closely match the European ECE ratings.



For decades, Snell used the same "head" weight to test the XS-XXL helmets, long story short, this resulted in core densities that transmitted higher impact force to those with smaller heads. Higher impact force transmitted means more severe head trauma.



There is a wonderful article called "Blowing the Lid Off" from back in 2000, where it was proven though scientific process that D.O.T. and E.C.E. rated helmets were considerably safer than Snell rated counterparts. (at the time of the article, the lowest end DOT rated $70.00 helmet from an upstart company called Z1R was the safest in the test) This continued for the next decade, until 2009 when Snell reluctantly agreed to change its testing methodology to include lighter "head" weights when testing extra small, small, and medium helmets.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
5 years is generally considered a good time to replace your helmet. It's not that the shell goes bad but the in the liner starts to break down and lose it's structure. The foam in the liner is an energy absorbing material, meaning if you struck it with your fist it would leave a dent instead of rebounding like foam rubber. in short it crushes and does not rebound the impact energy. As it ages it loses it's abllity to resist the force of a head hitting the pavement.



There is also a movement to begin to make the shell less hard. The harder the shell the more the shell will rebound off of what ever it strikes thus transmitting energy to the wearer's head and causing a second impact. It needs to be hard enough to resist puncture forces but not so hard that it bounces like a golf ball.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,493 Posts
5 years and I start looking. A helmet is THE LAST thing I want to skimp on.
Probably just as important, make sure it fits properly, or it is damned near useless.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
15,414 Posts
5 years and it's probably only the foam that goes bad.



But you have to think about it like tires. A 30 year old top of the line tire is less than garbage in today's standards. With all the advancements in technology I'll gladly retire my new helmet after 5 years. First helmet I just replace I got one hell of a deal. It was a $300 helmet after season and the last one so I got it for $50. This year I bought the next few versions up from last season and I got it for $50 shipped to my door.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
492 Posts
Glass fibre shells could last for 30 years or more. Glass fibre is used in boats and airplanes, and it's aging properties are well known. Most (older) glider aircraft are made of glass fibre, and many are more than 30 years old and show no cracks or any other problems. I know since I fly them myself.



I have a glass fibre BMW System 1 helmet I bought new in 1986. It has never been dropped or damaged. The shell looks like new, however the foam is starting to disintegrate. Foam usually lasts 20 years.



Plastic (polycarbonate) helmets have a lifespan of about 5-10 years, depending on use. The polycarbonate is more susceptive to UV rays, and detoriates faster.



Michael
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,771 Posts
The 5 year replacement is supposed to be from date of manufacture, but most people start counting from date of purchase.



If the foam is in great shape where you can see it it doesn't mean that it is still good on the inside.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,265 Posts
The 5 year replacement is supposed to be from date of manufacture, but most people start counting from date of purchase.



If the foam is in great shape where you can see it it doesn't mean that it is still good on the inside.


So.....mfgs should start using "Best before" dating?




Seriously, my last helmet was 1 year old when I purchased it "new", according to the stamped date of manufacture. Got a



excellent price.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top