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sirthumpalot

High dollar helmets worth it?

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I'm hoping someone has already done the homework, but can anyone comment as to whether the more expensive helmets (more than $200-ish) tend to protect better than the more budget $100-$200 range helmets?  Some of them get up close to $1000, but which models actually have the best protection, ignoring the price? 

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The problem with this question is people will endlessly defend buying a cheap helmet, just like the guys who buy expensive helmets, they will justify their decision to spend more money. 
 

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I have only bought Bell helmets ..have had All kinds, brands , but prefer Bell  over any.    I kinda like my head ..   

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47 minutes ago, sirthumpalot said:

I'm hoping someone has already done the homework, but can anyone comment as to whether the more expensive helmets (more than $200-ish) tend to protect better than the more budget $100-$200 range helmets?  Some of them get up close to $1000, but which models actually have the best protection, ignoring the price? 

I'm a middle of the road helmet guy. I won't buy on price, and really avoid the cheap no-name stuff, but won't spend a grand on a helmet either. I've crashed on the road more than most, and the track (asphalt), and hit the dirt more times than I can count. So far, so good. Only been knocked out a couple of times (road - hitting cars). I've killed a few helmets, worst one completely shattered the back of it hitting the asphalt after clearing the top of a car (that was one of the knocked out times), and broke through the chin part of another, not clearing a car.

I spend more on roadie helmets than dirt, but still don't go after top of the line Shoei, Arai etc.

I don't think I've ever had to throw a helmet away from it getting too old.

Edited by DEATH_INC.
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33 minutes ago, Bigfatredpig said:

The problem with this question is people will endlessly defend buying a cheap helmet, just like the guys who buy expensive helmets, they will justify their decision to spend more money. 
 

I understand your comment, but what I'm hoping for is real data or real features, as opposed to opinions.  For example MIPS features (protect from rotational forces) that are in some Leatt and 6D helmets (other brands too?)  There's hours of reading out there, hopefully collectively we've all done the reading already and can share the cliffs notes version here.   :D   

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Each helmet company does their own testing. I don’t think you’ll find too many people here that went out bought multiple helmets and then bashed their heads to get real world data, that’s not an opinion, on the differences in brain damage between helmet brands. 
 

If your brain is only worth $100, then put a $100 helmet on it. 

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9 minutes ago, 69fastback said:

If your brain is only worth $100, then put a $100 helmet on it. 

That old saying is kinda what the op is questioning. Why buy a $1000 helmet if a $200 one does the job just as well?

The mips thing is interesting, does this remove the need for a neck brace? Can you still use a mips helmet after a reasonable off and it's done it's mips thing? How do you know? Does a neck brace make mips a waste of time?

 

Edited by DEATH_INC.
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My opinion is that a lot of the money on the higher end helmets is spent on making the helmet lighter, adding better materials padding, better ventilation, etc.  I needed a SNELL helmet for the Mint400, I picked up a HJC MXFG for under $200. It is comfy and if the SNELL testing means anything very safe.

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15 minutes ago, sirthumpalot said:

I understand your comment, but what I'm hoping for is real data or real features, as opposed to opinions.  For example MIPS features (protect from rotational forces) that are in some Leatt and 6D helmets (other brands too?)  There's hours of reading out there, hopefully collectively we've all done the reading already and can share the cliffs notes version here.   :D   

I’ve seen videos of those tests. Dropping a 20 pound weight from various heights and such things. I’m not sure how much that correlates to real life.  Some YouTuber shot different helmets with a gun and called that “science” 

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22 minutes ago, sirthumpalot said:

I understand your comment, but what I'm hoping for is real data or real features, as opposed to opinions.  For example MIPS features (protect from rotational forces) that are in some Leatt and 6D helmets (other brands too?)  There's hours of reading out there, hopefully collectively we've all done the reading already and can share the cliffs notes version here.   :D   

Years ago I did some research and found some tests that the concluded the cheap helmets protected as well as the expensive helmets, the difference seemed to be comfort. 
 

one thing that was interesting was the weight of the helmet played a factor in neck injuries but there wasn’t a huge difference in weight by price, there was actually heavyish expensive helmets and lightweight ones that were pretty inexpensive. 
 

One thing I’ve certainly noticed amongst my riding friends is the ones who buy expensive helmets usually expect to get a certain amount of time (several years) out of them before they need replaced. Or are unwilling to replace an expensive helmet even after a crash because of the cost.   When in reality once you hit your head they should be replaced. 
 

I feel safer replacing my well fitting inexpensive helmet after every crash where I got my head then wearing an expensive helmet I’ve crashed in. 
 

$.02 

Edited by KTMRider4Life
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9 minutes ago, DEATH_INC. said:

That old saying is kinda what the op is questioning. Why buy a $1000 helmet if a $200 one does the job just as well?

The mips thing is interesting, does this remove the need for a neck brace? Can you still use a mips helmet after a reasonable off and it's done it's mips thing? How do you know? Does a neck brace make mips a waste of time?

 

Oh I agree completely. That’s what I’m saying, is there just isn’t a lot of “real world data” to back up any of these high dollar products (except TPI, because we know it was touched by the hand of god). I recently bought the most expensive helmet I’ve ever bought, but it’s because it’s lightweight, well ventilated, and fits well. That, and I get a good discount at my dealer, so I payed less than $400 for a Fly Formula. I’m in the camp that I probably wouldn’t buy a “cheap” helmet, but I can’t see the most expensive brands offering anymore protection that a helmet that fits well from a reputable company. 
 

but this is just an opinion, because I’ve only REALLY tested one helmet. I spent 2 days in the hospital with a few brain bleeds, but I didn’t die. 

Edited by 69fastback
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2 minutes ago, KTMRider4Life said:

Years ago I did some research and found some tests that the concluded the cheap helmets protected as well as the expensive helmets, the difference seemed to be comfort. 
 

one thing that was interesting was the weight of the helmet played a factor in neck injuries but there wasn’t a huge difference in weight by price, there was actually heavyish expensive helmets and lightweight ones that were pretty inexpensive. 
 

one thing I’ve certainly noticed amongst my riding friends is the ones who buy expensive helmets usually expect to get a certain amount of time (several years) out of them before they need replaced.  When in reality once you hot your head they should be replaced. 
 

I feel safer replacing my well fitting inexpensive helmet after every crash where I got my head then wearing an expensive helmet I’ve crashed in. 
 

$.02 

That’s the problem with buying an Arai, it makes it tougher to hang up after a crash when you see the money invested.
But I still think it’s worth buying even when you have to replace them after a wreck.

 But There’s a mental confidence I get putting it on vs a cheap helmet.  

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12 minutes ago, Bigfatredpig said:

That’s the problem with buying an Arai, it makes it tougher to hang up after a crash when you see the money invested.
But I still think it’s worth buying even when you have to replace them after a wreck.

 But There’s a mental confidence I get putting it on vs a cheap helmet.  

Simple test for anyone, take a styrofoam cup and smash the foam.  Notice how it doesn’t have a memory and pop back up.  Or do it to the inside of an old helmet. 
 

Most motorcycle helmets protects via two very simple ways:

1. An outer shell to spread out the impact from the outside over a greater area. 
 

2. An inner foam to absorb the impact of the head hitting inside and slow down the fast stop. 
 

neither of those two components are expensive to manufacture, and if foam is what your helmet uses there’s no advantages to more expensive foam materials. 
 

the extra money is going into comfort materials, venting, on a road helmet maybe better visor hinges etc. oh and making extra profit on people who think more expensive is safer. 
 

a cheap snell approved helmet is a safer bet than an expensive DOT not snell approved helmet. 

Edited by KTMRider4Life
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12 minutes ago, DEATH_INC. said:

 Why buy a $1000 helmet if a $200 one does the job just as well?

Fundamentals: A $50 helmet is way better than no helmet. I have no way to judge if a $100 helmet is better than a $50 one.
When you get up to $250 or so, most of the helmets are good. They will protect your head well. Most of the differences at this level are comfort and fit-and-finish. At $500, they keep the same level of protection with better weight or perhaps ventilation.

At the $1000 level, you get cool new technology like 6D sells. There are not many dirt bike helmets over the rough $1000 range. Car racing helmets go up well over $10,000.

Is a $1000 helmet ten times the protection of a $100 one? I bet not. But the expensive one will lessen some potential issues. It might keep your wits together. I've seen zero, none, nada, scientific evidence that the $1000 helmets actually protect your brain better. Lots of marketing stuff, but no hard science.

Most of my helmets are in the $250 to $300 range.

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1 minute ago, KTMRider4Life said:

a cheap snell approved helmet is a safer bet than an expensive DOT not snell approved helmet. 

That used to be true across the board. But Snell has not put much effort into their motorcycle standards in decades. The Snell standard requires much better protection against repeated bangs on the same spot. This is important if you are strapped into a car seat and hitting the roll bar. This type of impact is rare in motorcycle crashes.  Car crashes rarely have the kinds of twisting motions that happen in many bike crashes.

I used to ride only with Snell helmets. I no longer believe that the Snell process works for dirt bikes.

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3 minutes ago, pat22043 said:

That used to be true across the board. But Snell has not put much effort into their motorcycle standards in decades. The Snell standard requires much better protection against repeated bangs on the same spot. This is important if you are strapped into a car seat and hitting the roll bar. This type of impact is rare in motorcycle crashes.  Car crashes rarely have the kinds of twisting motions that happen in many bike crashes.

I used to ride only with Snell helmets. I no longer believe that the Snell process works for dirt bikes.

Old helmet articles I’ve read over the last few years where saying companies like 6d, Shoei, arai, their testing standards all exceed Shell and dot by a good amount.

is that still true? 

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The more expensive helmets are usually the much lighter carbon fiber, not so much the protection factor, but it takes a lot of unnecessary weight off of your neck for more comfort during a long ride. In a lot of ways you get what you pay for. I am addicted to the carbon fiber helmets for that reason, and I won’t ride with anything less.

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Are there any helmets that meet better standards than the super old DOT and Snell standards?  Any that meet the brand new ECE 22.06 standard?  Some info: 

 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, sirthumpalot said:

Oh wow, here's a $190 helmet that claims to meet the brand new standard:

Standard making takes years and years. The manufacturers have plenty of time to build to the new helmets that meet the higher standards

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