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-   -   The New Helmet Tests are Here at last! (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/camping-equipment-and-all-clothing/new-helmet-tests-here-last-35871)

kentfallen 12 Jun 2008 17:09

The New Helmet Tests are Here at last!
Just to let you guy's and gal's know that the new UK SHARP helmet testing project is now (finally after a long long wait) live as from today -

About 30 test results have been put online. More will follow over the next few days (or weeks if the past is anything to go by).

SHARP - The Helmet Safety Scheme

More helmet results will come online in the next few days.

Damn! My top of the range Shoie X-Spirit only has 4 stars whereas some helmets costing much less have 5 stars! Well guys, there you have it, PRICE doesn't necessarily equate to best protection. As I have been saying for months on this forum, there will be a few red faces within the industry. What a laugh... Go out and get yourself a bargain helmet with 5 stars. It's official, it's no longer necessary to spend hundreds of pounds to get the best protection.

I could have saved myself £350 by buying a cheap £50 NITRO helmet which gets 4 stars too. :thumbdown:

These are the BEST Helmets that all get 5 stars out of 5 stars

Bell M1


As I thought, These greedy lying bastards have been fleecing us all for years! Not one Shoei helmet gets 5 stars! :confused1:

I'm sure some of the smaller less well known and cheap manufactures will be most happy with the results. Many cheap £50 helmets get 4 stars!


I forcee quite a few redundancies and sackings at the Shoei head office! What a laugh... I think I'm entitled to say that after spending nearly £400 on a helmet which I was told provided the best level of protection.

How did you're helmet perform in these tests? Perhaps this thread can be used to discuss this project in detail and forum members can moan about the results...

Enjoy... SHARP - The Helmet Safety Scheme :clap:

Rebaseonu 12 Jun 2008 19:18


Originally Posted by kentfallen (Post 194136)
I could have saved myself £350 by buying a cheap £50 NITRO helmet which gets 4 stars too. :thumbdown:

How about comfort, ventilation, washable lining and other "small things" that were not tested? ;)

kentfallen 12 Jun 2008 19:42

Your comment completely misses the point I am trying to make here!

You appear to be rubbishing these tests without any scientific evidence to back up your argument. These tests should be welcomed by all fair minded and intelligent bikers...

Are you really suggesting that a washable lining and ventilation is worth paying a extra £350?

I understand that these tests INCLUDE such important factors as COMFORT and VENTILATION as well as LEVELS OF PROTECTION.

I think if you look closely you will find many many cheaper helmets that are perfectly comfortable and also have a washable lining.

Why are so many people prepared to go out of their way to defend these large and powerful manufacturers who plainly have been taking the piss out of us all for years?

Sour Grapes?

MarkLG 12 Jun 2008 20:11


Originally Posted by kentfallen (Post 194136)

I forcee quite a few redundancies and sackings at the Shoei head office! What a laugh... I think I'm entitled to say that after spending nearly £400 on a helmet which I was told provided the best level of protection.

You really are full of crap aren't you. Only 2 weeks ago you were bragging about buying this helmet for £100 at the BMF:


There's little new in these tests - they're just a variation on the existing European standards test with added emphasis on side impacts. The reason the Arai GPX scored well is that it's based on a car racing design which is stiffer in this area than their other helmets. Whether this added stiffness provides any additional protection in a real world crash was one of the reasons some manufacturers were questioning the testing methods.

I'm honestly not convinced that a group of academics in a lab with a test rig have a better understanding of what makes a good motorcycle helmet than the manufacturers with many years of real world data to work on.
How long have Shoei, Arai, X-Lite, etc been working on the design of their helmets? And how many times have you seen a racer wearing one of these helmets have a big crash and walk away from it?

These tests also take no account of things like fit, finish, comfort, ventilation, misting, parts backup and so on.
The reason I've always bought premium branded helmets is not because I believe they are safer - it's because they fit properly, and are comfortable. I want something I can wear for 12 hours a day without a problem.

kentfallen 12 Jun 2008 20:16

I bought ANOTHER X-Spirit last week for my partner - Cost £385. At the time of the BMF, yes I did think I had a great bargain, but I know differently now don't I. I was talked into it by a Shoei salesman.

Less of the childish cheap and personal insults please. That was totally uncalled for...

Perhaps we should all listen to YOU and waste all our hard earned money? Why rubbish these tests, I simply don't understand you're logic...

Is there no one who agrees with me?

MarkLG 12 Jun 2008 21:40

I suppose the obvious question is if a £50 helmet is as good or even better than a £400 helmet then why did you just buy the £400 one.:confused1:

You've started several threads on this subject over the last few months and you've repeatedly stated that premium branded helmets are just a marketing scam aimed at fleecing buyers of their money.
If, as you claim, these manufacturers are just taking the piss and not offering anything extra then why did you spend the money on one yourself?

pecha72 12 Jun 2008 21:55

The ECE22-05 norm, that is in force in the EU, is way too soft to really give any indication as to whether a helmet will actually protect you in a crash or not. In that test, a helmet is tested at practically walking speed, and from only specific places (thats why its legal to even sell helmets that have large ventilation holes all over, like a bicycle helmet - they know they will not be tested at those spots!)

I havent seen the test methods used by this SHARP-testing, so can someone please enlighten me, what is it, that makes their way of testing superior to anyone else (because thats the way the original poster does make it sound anyway)? If their testing is anywhere near the ´toughness´ of the 22-05, Im not convinced at all.

Money does not buy you safety straight away, agreed. But you wont get a very safe helmet very cheap, either. Neither will you normally get a very comfortable one very cheap.

It is also a fact that some of the more established manufacturers require their products to meet much tougher standards than just the ECE22-05.

The cheap, plastic ones may just barely meet that standard, but they may not protect in a big impact, if they will easily crack into two pieces, for example.

I recently read a test, where they found out that many of the cheapest options should never be used for motorbike riding, because obviously some of the manufacturers had sent better products into the tests, than they were actually selling! The tests showed highly dangerous, and possibly fatal G forces after impacts, that basically all helmets should be able to protect from. They were planning to test the helmets for several impacts, but couldnt because some of them cracked on first one.

All in all, this is a very complicated matter. Very hard for the average consumer to know, if a helmet is good or not, they all look about the same.

And naturally it is in the financial interest of the cheaper lids´ manufacturers, to claim that any helmet will do just fine. The same way it is in the interests of the more expensive ones, to claim that cheaper ones will not be enough.

kentfallen 12 Jun 2008 22:01

I suppose I have more confidence in these tests than you. The reason why I decided to get a Shoei is that at the BMF my mates advised me it was a good bargain. The Mrs liked it and asked me to get her one. The tests came online TODAY. Yes I admit I do think that some £50 helmets are as good (and in some cases better) than more expensive alternatives. I relented and agreed to buy one on the basis that others (more experienced than me) confirmed the things were indeed worth the extra dosh. If I knew then what I know now I certainly wouldn't have bothered.

I try to encourage healthy discussion and debate about these things because thats the point of a superb forum like this one. Everyone has an opinion and I'm happy for anyone to disagree with me. What I object to strongly is cheap personal insults. I regret to say that is not always reciprocated. some people including it would appear you are adamant that they are right and that all these scientists are wrong. We all need to look at these tests with an open mind and try not to be too biggoted...

I rely upon the results of the tests which do tend to back up what I 've been saying for months now - that the most expensive helmets do not necessarily provide the highest level of protection.

pecha72 12 Jun 2008 22:42

Did I insult somebody somewhere.. if so, where was that?

I wouldnt be too worried about safety, when we´re talking about reasonably good-quality helmets. With fibreglass shell, reasonable weight, and firm strap-locking systems. When these things are ok, then there are other much more probable causes of injury and death in an accident.

I WOULD be worried, though, that in the EU it is fully legal to sell helmets that in fact can not give anywhere near the level of protection needed, if/when the machines are capable of exceeding 300 kms per hour. Some plastic jars, that will snap into half the moment they touch anything solid, simply should not have the approval for motorcycle use. And now they actually do.

Maybe it is too big a business to stop them being sold in the EU.

kentfallen 12 Jun 2008 23:19

My comments were directed at Mark most definetely not you Pekka. Apologies if my post was confusing, I think our posts crossed and mine was placed behind yours.

I remember when we last clashed - you're the fool that cheerfully bragged about riding your Honda Fireblade at 175 MPH on a public road! This explains a lot! I have nothing more to say to you and I suggest you go spread your nasty childish poison elsewhere...


pecha72 13 Jun 2008 09:29

I´d like to know, how exactly they do their testing at SHARP, and what are the basis of those 1-5 star ratings. There are SO many ways to test a helmet, that you can end up with very different results depending on what is tested, and how.

Once there was this test in an American magazine, where they found out that cheap, plastic-shell helmets were actually better in low-speed impacts, because they had more flex.

So they came into the conclusion that basically plastic-shell helmets are better.

They totally forgot whatever might happen with them, if you have an accident at higher speeds, where good protection will naturally be even more important, because impact forces are likely to be much higher.
So all in all the end-result was a big screw-up, because they just put one very important point of view aside totally, and didnt really even mention that.

That test smelled like someone had payed them to come into such conclusions.

And I personally do not buy the whole "flexing-theory" at all. I want a helmet that does not flex, but will absorb the energy, and spread it on a wider area, so that the force in one point will be lower. I dont believe my skull will "flex" at all in an impact, or at least it will not pop back into shape, like the plastic-shell helmet might do.

Just my 0.002 cents, and Im not an expert. But I do have a basic knowledge about the fundamental differences how a plastic shell, a fiber shell, and their respective linings, and the way they work in an impact, differ from each other.

Threewheelbonnie 13 Jun 2008 10:15

I'd suggest considering just what a helmet does before looking for protection at 300 KPH. Forgetting important items like vision and comfort think about what they do in a crash.

Biker A falls off on a straight road at 300 kph with no other vehicle involved. He slides on his back for half a kilometer and stops in the middle of the road. In phyical terms he fell 2m (impact) then suffered considerable abrasion. He might walk away but all his gear will be toast.

Biker B has a similar impact but highsides. He flies through the air, landing on his face at 250 kph from a height of 5m at an angle. The impact is much higher the abrasion about the same. This guy is probably the argument for wearing race leathers. If he survives the impact the injuries will probably be treatable.

Biker C hits a car at 90 kph, goes over the bars into a parked truck. This collision is almost 100% impact. This guy might as well ride naked, nothing stops his brain getting mushed due to the massive deceleration.

Biker D hits a different car at 30 kph and dives over it into a kerb. The edge of the kerb gives a penetrating type blow. We have impact, penetration, deceleration and even some abrasion. If this guy takes the blow on a decent lid, has armour to survive the dive etc. he's hopefully alive.

You can test all the above in a lab. Tarmac at 300 kph can be simulated with a belt sander, an angled fall by striking the lid with a pedulum type hammer, the kerb type by a type of swinging axe. Different materials behave in different ways, but can be compared.

The bottom line though has another factor. Your brain is basically some mush in a bag of water. The bag is in a failrly stiff box, your skull in which there are various holes with soft plugs (eye sockets etc.). The skull is mounted on a flexible but easily damaged neck and spine. The types of impact, angles, surfaces, temperatures and a thousand and one other factors vary as do the ways in which you can be dead or horribly injured. The system is dynamically complex and variable from person to person. The tester has to standardise many factors to check one.

The helmet then needs to not only control penetration, it needs to try and control the resulting reactions. Imagine riding in a cast iron lid. Rider A would suffer burns as his iron helmet was heated by friction. Rider B would end up deaf from the noise if the weight of the thing didn't break his neck. Rider C is dead anyway as the deceleration will result in his brain hitting the inside of his skull. Rider D if he didn't get the broken neck from the swinging mass is actually not that bad off, plenty of Romans and Vikings took similar blows on this type of lid and survived. A leather helmet would have almost the opposite result although C is just as dead.

Deformation is useful in that it allows one material to act like another by applying the "attack" over a different/new surface. The axle is grabbed by the sides of it's blade, the belt sander is clogged with plastic dust. This is especially true where the protection is a compound type. Flexible but abrasion resistant plastic over impact absorbing foam is the current material of choice. The rest is fine detail. In comparing helmet designs you are looking at the fine few percentage of the protection. ECE/DOT tests etc. show you that your helmet is in the 80% range where zero is no helmet. I think they new star systems gives an indication of which are 75.5% and which are 84.5, but you'll never see the full picture for such complexity without studying millions of real world crashes. IMHO people need to take all the info in context rather than worry a 2-star will kill them by falling off it's shelf or think a 5-star makes them invincible.

I like the Star sytsem, in that it gives more detail which allows the better comparison, but isn't so complex as to blow your mind.


kentfallen 13 Jun 2008 16:30


You make some very interesting points as does Pekka. I believe that the SHARP website goes into quite fine detail regarding the tests carried out on each one of these helmets. My understanding is that these tests are the most stringent tests ever to be applied to M/C helmets. The whole project was backed by the British Department of Transport and as such is paid for by UK taxpayers. One would imagine that this site will be used extensively by anyone wishing to compare helmets. Not just in the UK but worldwide.

My opinion is that this new testing regime is to be welcomed by all motorcyclists who wish to make an informed decision when picking a safety helmet.

Of course there will always be those people who will rubbish the whole exercise based upon narrow minded and bigotted opinions.

It's always interesting to read constructive comments (including critisism) from people who clearly know what their talking about. :clap:

Redboots 13 Jun 2008 17:53

How to select a helmet
Fit and feel, strap, build quality, colour scheme visibility, ventilation. Is mostly what I look for.
I dont have a "Shoie" shaped head but Arai's fit good
If its sold in the EU, it must conform to certain standards and that will do.

I will be pretty useless in anything more than a 50kph impact that involves your head anyway.
So, 174mph? why not? It wont hurt for more than a split second at that speed:eek3:


draGone 4 Jul 2008 11:04

Not trying to stir anything up
But from the SHARP Faq:

Is the safety rating the only thing to consider when I buy a new helmet?

No. It is important that the helmet fits correctly and is comfortable. An uncomfortable/poor fitting helmet can distract you when riding and may offer reduced protection in an accident.
That, and the maximum simulated speed used was 8.4 m/s according to them, which is roughly 30kph by my math.

I guess it means take it all with a grain of salt.

Having tried on some of the less expensive options on the list, most of them felt like some sort of torture device to me. That, and I've personally crash tested one of the 3 star options on the track by low siding at ~140kph and bounced my head a few times. While my wife might argue with you, there's no permanent damage (or temporary after the fact)...

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