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Old 12 Feb 2008
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Helmets; Limited life span

I found this on ebay, thought it worth a read. It's talking about selling helmets but it's relevent to all helmets over 5 yrs old.......

Helmet not safe!!!

by: noddy6789( 292) 726 out of 802 people found this guide helpful.
Guide viewed: 17860 times Tags: helmet | arai | agv | shoei | visor

Hello to all those people selling helmets over 5 years old, do you know that your helmet is not as good as you think.
Nearly all manufactures of helmets agree that after 5 years use REGARDLESS of how much use, your helmet should be replaced as it does not offer the same protection as it used to, go to the ARAI web page and read what they say, this is for YOUR SAFETY if your using your lid or OTHERS who might buy your helmet.This is what arai say.
No matter how good it may look, or how well you take care of it, age still takes its toll. Even with minimal use, a helmet is affected by things like the acids and oils in sweat, haircare products, pollution, exposure to UV rays, etc. At about the five-year mark, helmet interiors begin to show wear and/or deterioration, which should serve as an alert to its overall condition. The helmet's fit may begin to feel a little "loose", not as snug as it once did. This unseen aging and deterioration of the EPS liner and fiberglass shell can affect the helmet's ability to perform in an impact as it was originally designed.
The 5 year rule should be taken from the date of manufacture which is stamped on the inside of a new helmet, or in the caes of an arai on the helmet strap, and not from the date you bought it as retailers buy in bulk they may have had the helmet a year or so before you buy it, just check when your buying it...Apparently Shoei helmets only deteriorate once they start to be used if they are kept out of sunlight in a cool place before being used, i have been informed, but again its up to yourself to check how old the helmet is your buying....
Dont forget to view my other motorcycle related guides...
Hope this will help you all and not just those selling used helmets. Regards....Ian

Guide ID: 10000000001249190Guide created: 29/06/06 (updated 11/02/08)
'99 R1100GS - In a suitable shade of black

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Old 14 Feb 2008
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I take it from that statement that my old 1997 AGV Polycarbanate helmet still in it's box and unused should be thrown out then?
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Old 14 Feb 2008
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Sounds like a sales gimmick. Of course they want you to buy a new helmet!

..or they just make them disposable on purpose.
Every where is walking distance if you have the time!
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Old 14 Feb 2008
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"sounds like a sales gimmick"......

Well yes and a bit of no. me thinks

Plastics do have a limited lifespan to some point.

I know from mountaineering boots, the industry said the same about these, and seeing repairs come into the shop I'd have a to say i believe them. They start becoming less resiliant and more brittle. Spliting etc. Now i'm sure different plastics would be affected in different ways.

I know form the army that flexable kevlar (i.e. vests) has a limited life from the flexing breaking down the fibres,(all you doormen buying 2nd hand vests from the army surplus store look out!) But the Kevlar helmets on the other hand being a solid form didn't breakdown at all, they infact became more penetration resistant (helmets that had failed tests when developing the issue helmets later passed with ease after sitting on the shelf for several years.) That would be of course not taking into account all the light knocks and bumps, and UV damage that a helmet would get over the years.....

so who knows???........ your dome...... your call......................
'99 R1100GS - In a suitable shade of black

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"The world is a book, those who do not travel read only one page." ~ Saint Augustin
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Old 22 Feb 2008
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As a motorcycle racer, I've had to deal with this issue. Recently my regional race organization changed its helmet policy to permit snell 2000 helmets that were within 5 years of their manufacture date. I race in a Suomy helmet and spoke directly with Suomy about this. They insist that a helmet does not deteriorate in the box and that a helmet manufactured 5 or 6 years ago and stored in a warehouse will be exactly as good as one manufactured a year ago.

Now, this doesn't mean that a helmet WORN for 5 years won't suffer a deterioration in performance, but it does mean that a new helmet with a manufacture date from 2000 isn't necessarily unusable.
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Old 23 Feb 2008
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I have heard about this issue years ago. I dont have any facts to go on but I would sooner buy a cheap helmet thats fresh off the shelf than a better brand thats been reduced because its been sat in a wharehouse somewhere.
Maybe helmets dont age in the box but is it really worth the risk. I am much happier buying cheap lids and replacing them more often if they take a knock or get dog piss in them.
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Old 23 Feb 2008
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I replace mine every 3 years or 2 years in the case of my last helmet, a fibreglass Nitro. The Nitro was a prime example of the foam lining degrading with use. Ever tried one of your old helmets on and thought it was a tighter fit when you first tried it on in the shop?

If price is a consideration, I'd choose a helmet of known quality that is "old stock" but boxed, unused, maybe a couple seasons old, over a cheap but current season helmet from a manufacturer with an unknown track record as some are just scraping a pass in the ECE testing. I would never buy an ex-display helmet, regardless of discount, as you don't how long it's been there, how many people have tried it on or if they've dropped it.

I can remember speaking to lad who used to race classic bikes and now an instructor, who said he puts an axe through every helmet he intends to throw out, otherwise you'll see it on someone's table at a car boot sale or on Ebay for that matter. I'd never buy someone's used helmet, same as no parent in the right mind would buy a second hand child's car seat, as you just don't know it's history.
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Old 3 Mar 2008
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"I take it from that statement that my old 1997 AGV Polycarbanate helmet still in it's box and unused should be thrown out then? "

No don't chuck it, it is the exposure to UV and sweat that damages the helmet, so it really should be 5 years use.I suppose 5 years in the atacama desert is not the same as in the yorkshire moors.
Having said that a 2008 helmet may be better than a 1997 one, somebody must have learnt something in the last 10 years......
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