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Rich_S
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   Posted 9/6/2011 3:01 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I was just curious how old is too old for a motorcycle helmet? At what age is a helmet too old to be safe to wear?
 
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Easy Rider 2
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   Posted 9/6/2011 5:41 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Rich_S said...
I was just curious how old is too old for a motorcycle helmet? At what age is a helmet too old to be safe to wear?
You might be a redneck IF......your helmet is older than your head.  lol
 
You did this just to stimulate conversation, right ?? smilewinkgrin
 
Mine don't get a real lot of use and are stored in a cool, dry place so they "last" about 10 years if not exposed to any "trauma". 
 
Is that safe ?? 
I'm sure it is a lot safer than no helmet at all but beyond that..........??????
 
 
 


 
 

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lionlady
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   Posted 9/6/2011 8:07 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Well, Arai won't service a helmet beyond 7 years. The general rule of thumb I've heard is 5 to 7 years from date of manufacture. Given that the foam crash padding will become brittle over time, I replace my helmets at 5 years.

P


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Andy VH
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   Posted 9/6/2011 8:44 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Yup, I agree with Lionlady. Why chance it? Remember the REAL function of any helmet is to give your brain a chance at survival. Your skull can be cracked, damaged, repaired. But your brain cannot repair itself, or depend on a doctor to repair it. The real function of a helmet is to absorb the initial hit and velocity of a crash and allow your noggin to slow down enough that when your brain hits the inside of your skull (the 3rd and critical hit of any helmet to object impact) the impact is reduced enough to not turn your brain into the consistency of warm Jello.

When the crushable polystyrene impact liner hardens and degrades with age it can no longer perform that HIGHLY critical function of slowing your head enough for the brain to survive the inside hit. Polystyrene helmet liners are the same material as the cheapo styrofoam ice coolers you buy at the local convenience store. And we know how easy it is to compress that material.


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jon
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   Posted 9/6/2011 9:19 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Rich_S said...
I was just curious how old is too old for a motorcycle helmet? At what age is a helmet too old to be safe to wear?


like many products, how its used and cared for is more important than age. for me personally, the shortest helmet life span is 3 years and the longest is 8 years.
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RedDog
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   Posted 9/6/2011 9:28 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
5 years is what I have gathered up the years. The vendors say the helmets hardened like concrete and when it dries out and get stiff, time for a change. But I ain't changing out all the concrete around here.

The important issue is that you do not want to have a helmet when it gets stiff. Test it by holding the helmet and see if you can flex it by pressing the sides.


RedDog
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jon
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   Posted 9/7/2011 12:06 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
RedDog said...


The important issue is that you do not want to have a helmet when it gets stiff. Test it by holding the helmet and see if you can flex it by pressing the sides.


ditto that. in addition, i would pull the pads and liner out to inspect the styrofoam (the most important component) for wear and tear such as cracks and crush spots.
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Richard47
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   Posted 9/7/2011 1:41 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I changed my helmet last year when it started to feel more loose than it should. It was about six years old. It hadn't had a hard life as I don't ride nearly as much as some of you, but it was time for it to go.


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Rich_S
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   Posted 9/7/2011 8:36 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I figured the time to replace was 8-10 years at the absolute max.  I just wanted to be sure I wasn't misinformed.  ;-)
 
This question stems from a helmet my dad gave me when I was in high school to ride a quad. Digging up the helmet now I noticed the Snell date was 1975. shocked  It was well over 15 years old by the time I was using it. A few folks I know also had stories of parents digging out past their prime helmets for children to wear when they were younger.
 
Makes me wonder if some are not aware of the dangers of an old helmet?


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Post Edited (Rich_S) : 9/13/2011 2:51:57 PM GMT

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DataDan
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   Posted 9/7/2011 9:37 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

I have never found any reliable information suggesting that a helmet needs to be replaced simply due to age (crashing or other impact is a different story). MSF's book Motorcycling Excellence says:

Impacts aside, age can also have a negative effect on a helmets' ability to protect. Repeated use can compress the comfort/fit liner. Ultraviolet rays can break down the outer shell...

And MSF's website adds:

The chin strap may fray or loosen at its attaching points...

If I ride 15,000 miles a year at an average speed of 45mph, my helmet will be exposed to the sun for 333 hours a year. If that's even a tiny fraction of the time it takes for UV to degrade the fiberglass in the helmet's shell, I'll eat the stinking thing. If fiberglass degraded even in 20 years, there would be no 1991 Corvettes, just dust-covered chassis and drive trains.
 
I did once retire a helmet when the strap started looking a bit ropey. It was at least 10 years old.
 
If don't remember a liner ever compressing enough that the helmet's fit seemed too loose. The helmet loosens up after wearing it a few times, but doesn't seem to change much after that.
 
I've found nothing that suggest the expanded polystyrene (EPS) impact absorbtion material degrades with age.
 
I'm extremely suspicious when someone trying to sell me something tells me I need a new one every few years. I don't replace my helmets just because they're old.


A superior rider uses superior judgment to avoid problems that would demand his superior skill.

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GAJ
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   Posted 9/7/2011 11:37 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Inexpensive and comfortable helmets under $200 are very easy to come by.

Why take the chance.

I guess I've retired all my helmets before 8 years or so.


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jon
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   Posted 9/7/2011 11:46 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
DataDan said...
 
I'm extremely suspicious when someone trying to sell me something tells me I need a new one every few years. I don't replace my helmets just because they're old.


same here, there are just too many variables to consider. kind of remind me of that "3 month/3000 mile" oil change myth. how it was used and how it was cared for is still more important to me than age.
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Easy Rider 2
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   Posted 9/7/2011 1:42 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
jon said...
 kind of remind me of that "3 month/3000 mile" oil change myth.
You young pups, I swear.
 
The first car I drove recommended oil changes every ONE thousand miles.  smilewinkgrin
 
 


 
 

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RedDog
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   Posted 9/8/2011 6:50 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Me think any helmet is better than nothing. Just check the flex. It it's soft and flexes, it's OK ...


RedDog
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Casper
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   Posted 9/9/2011 11:52 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I had a kid show up to a BRC a couple of years ago on a 1978 Honda Silver Wing. And he was wearing the (very nicely) matching painted helmet that came with the bike. Very nice, sharp looking.

"Nigel,,, are you wearing a 32 year old motorcycle helmet?"

------- "I guess so. Why?"

I pressed on the foam liner and it was like wood. We had a discussion...


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full of funny people,
doing funny things.

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Smitty
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   Posted 9/9/2011 12:28 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.

Basically it is time to retire a helmet that has not taken any blows.  I have several of them in one storage room that I replaced some yrs ago to another three in my garage for many reasons, like how do I toss them into the garbage even with a blow of a sledge hammer, for you put out some garbage as THEY say or not & no matter what you are still changed for garbage weekly, same for any plastics in the blue bag & so that is the downfall of some cities or towns.

I look out during garbage time & see everyone has a garbage contained & several if not three of the blue bags.  Good chance I have NONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  True a few weeks later I might have one of each.


Remember all the others on the road are crazy & out to kill you.

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Rich_S
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   Posted 9/9/2011 3:46 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Smitty said...

Basically it is time to retire a helmet that has not taken any blows.  I have several of them in one storage room that I replaced some yrs ago to another three in my garage for many reasons, like how do I toss them into the garbage even with a blow of a sledge hammer, for you put out some garbage as THEY say or not & no matter what you are still changed for garbage weekly, same for any plastics in the blue bag & so that is the downfall of some cities or towns.

I look out during garbage time & see everyone has a garbage contained & several if not three of the blue bags.  Good chance I have NONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  True a few weeks later I might have one of each.


Some if they are old enough become sort of novelty items. Like some vintage 60's-70's helmets. They look cool and remind people of a time when they used to ride or learned to ride. Or a different time in design/style.  But they should never be worn at this point as Casper mentioned the padding is about as soft as cement.


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ZX Rider
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   Posted 9/19/2011 7:16 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
About two years, the liner is shot and the rock chips make it look ugly. Hand washing works well but the sweat takes it's toll. Stinks like no other, and sweat shrinks the liners. Guess I'm a dirty biker, The hotel room solves all the probs.


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RedDog
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   Posted 9/20/2011 6:16 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Like you say, hand wash works wonder.


RedDog
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