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If you're looking for a cheap but SAFE helmet then look no further...
Yeah I know, It's not all about safety etc... but if you haven't much to spend, you can't really go wrong with this one. It beats many helmets costing £400 or more including Shoie's "TOP OF THE RANGE" X-Spirit. So you can ride and be smug at the same time!
Looks like the test results have stirred up some controversy. For this system to work, it has to have credibility with the people it is targeted at. It will be interesting to hear feedback from the industry.
Also of note, it would appear that the testing has focused purely on impact decelleration and no other criteria such as a penetration test, has been considered. This would partly explain why a cheap polycarbonate lid is scoring as high as a composite lid. However, I'd really be surprised if any independent tester would agree that the Takachi TK30 is really the equal of an Arai's entry-level Condor in any other area.
I'm also a little disappointed that other essential safety features such as the retention system, fitting, fog resistance/ventilation, etc, etc, have not been looked at, some if not all contribute to active as well as passive safety. It's comparable to having a car with airbags, crumple zones, rollover bars, etc, but handles like a ship in a storm (the Volvo 240 springs to mind). They seem to have forgotten that there's other factors that may help you avoid that accident in the first place.
While I think the whole idea of the ratings system is good if overdue, I fear that in future, helmet manufacturers, particularly at the cheaper end of the market, may design future products around the test's limited criteria with the sole purpose of getting 5 stars, rather than making a decent product. It's a bit like doing a 1-week intensive course to pass the driving test if you see where I'm coming from.
I also noticed that no helmet has yet to score 1 star and a few have scored 5 stars on the first series of tests, so I take it they're not planning to encourage the industry to improve on these existing designs, unless they're planning to move the goalposts on a regular basis as is the case with NCAP.
I'd also like to see all helmets carry a sticker, by law on the visor at the point of sale stating the rating. This alone should take most of the substandard rubbish of the market, though the Arai Condor may as well withdraw from the European market now.
also remember that most (?) people reading this site are interested in travelling. A plastic helmet (polycarbonate) will degrade faster in extreme weather (heat or cold). it may start out as one of the best lids to slide along a smooth surface in, but three months under the cruel sun weakens it.
it's irresponsible to bang on about cheap helmets (and not to buy +£100 helmets), in this context, to people who may well believe you as they don't understand helmet construction or the limitations of these tests. The bike school I did my instructor training at used/sold £50 helmets. The visors are positively dangerous as they have no scratch resistance, and very bad star-burst effect at night. But like the vitally important retention testing, visor testing is absent from the 'officially safest helmet' test.
Fair enough to raise the fact new tests are on the market, but the overload of viral marketing isn't good.
If you read the FAQ page on the SHARP website, they don't test the chin bar area on the helmet either, which means one of the classic-styled, Davida open-face helmets could quite realistically score exactly the same as a full-face race lid.
I believe one HU member also witnessed an incident where a rider nearly drowned on his own blood, due to the a flip front on a touring helmet becoming jammed after an accident. Again, this is a situation that hasn't even been considered.
What really concerns me is the lack of other forms of destructive testing, such as a penetration test, as there's got to be some kind of trade off between absorbing/decellerating an impact and being able to remain intact. While a cheap, polycarbonate helmet may be ductile enough to absorb the force of a 30mph spill off a scooter, it doesn't take a doctorate in physics to realise it won't replicate that result if you were to highside your R1 at anything like the speeds they're capable of. Whether you agree or disagree with using the potential of a superbike on the road is besides the point.
This scheme could have been really good for motorcycle road safety, but it just seems like some government health and safety types have jumped on one piece of research and every other factor has been blatently pushed under the carpet.
In my opinion the safest helmet is the one YOU find most comfortable to wear for long periods,irrespective of if it cost £49 or £499.If you're uncomfortable in a £499 lid then your concentration isn't being directed to where it's needed the most(that Volvo aproaching the junction ahead,etc....).And does the wonder-test cover noise levels inside the helmet at travelling speeds? Tinnitus anyone?
sorry folks but this new information does seem to screw up the time old argument of mines better than yours. So many posts have been over good cheap Kit and then someone reoplies with ohh its my life, How much is your life worth etc etc.
Well here it is in black and white. You dont always get what you pay for. Just because your helmet says Arai or Shoei doesnt make it better than one that says something else.
Buy what you want and what you can afford. But dont tell the rest of us that yours is better because it cost more. My house might have cost less than yours but that might be because I am better at stricking a deal than you.
That Arai that seemed to be a bargain at a show may have been shifted around in its box for three years. Id sooner have my £30 special that meets all the same tests and be happy that I will replace it often and not be tempted to use it after its been dropped.
As far as safety is concerned I wont be tempted to see how good I look as I pass shop windows, Ill be watching the road ahead through my cheap visor that funnily enough hasnt a scratch on it after 2 years use because its owner looks after it.
I understand the comment on a cheap touring helmet but I cant see why a jamed flip front would be any different to deal with than a standard helmet.
I note that this week the MCN has an editorial stating basically what I said in this website months ago. It also tends to confirm that the BIG BOYS are reacting badly because their product hasn't fair well in these new tests. My own personal feeling is that this is simple sour grapes. If the results of these tests had given their own helmets 5 stars then you wouldn't have heard a peep from them.
As it is I understand that LAZER and SHARK are very very happy with the result of their helmet tests.
ARAI and SHOEI are behaving like spoilt children! Their lies have been found out...
THE LAZER LZ6 LX is indeed the best buy for those who don't have hundreds of pounds to spend but want the very best level of protection. Surely that can't be denied?
The old agruments against cheap helmets stand though: more expensive helmets do tend to have a better fit, comfier washable linings and are less likely to fog etc.
However, if nothing else the test proves that the Lazer et al would seem excellent options for occasional pillion use where you might be giving various people with various heads lifts, and after all if the visor mists up it's less of an issue! At least you'd know their head would likely be almost as safe in a cheap helmet as it would be in something expensive. Takes away that guilty feeling of cosseting your head and body in hundreds of pounds worth of helmet and rider gear when your buddy is sitting on the back in jeans and a saucepan.
*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
Have to agree that, as with earlier threads, it all comes down to what fits you and what you can afford (and a reasonable expectation that helmet manufacturers will all at least try and produce safe helmets).
I recently bought a flip-front helmet because I wear glasses and wanted the convenience of getting the helmet off easily at rest stops, petrol pumps, customs, etc.
I tried four types; Caberg, AGV, HJC, and some £50 thing called a Concept.
The only one that fitted my (oddly-shaped) head comfortably was the Caberg and I've just come back from a four and a half day, twelve hundred mile blast to the Harz mountains in Germany. The helmet was great for the whole trip, the only hassle I had was stuffing some dish cloths into the gaps by the ears (to retro-fit earpieces, mp3, bluetooth, I guess) which made it a bit noisy.
It fitted me, it might not fit you. Shop around, try and make an informed decision, and spend more time looking at the road ahead than your reflection in a shop window.
Think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I think the idea of the tests is great but we need it to be better. Hopefully, they'll develop the testing as time goes on but as it is, I don't think there's enough information to base a buying decision on.
Some of these helmets, including some of the more expensive ones have other shortcomings that just aren't even considered when testing. For example, Lazer is a subsidiary of AGV and the LZ6 uses a cheap and nasty seatbelt buckle chin strap, the same as used on cheaper AGV's. Personally, I wouldn't trust it to keep the thing on my head in a spill and maybe that's why racing organisations insist on a traditional double D ring.
Also, saying 50 lives could be saved each year by wearing a helmet they've given 5 stars to is naive to the point of being ridiculous. What statistics or little gem of wisdom have they based this on?
I'm fully with you when you say you can get a perfectly acceptable helmet for sensible money. My Nolan N84 set me back about £100 and scored 4-stars. A good result but even if it had scored 5 stars, I still wouldn't support this scheme as it's blatently obvious, to me anyway, that the people behind the SHARP scheme are not motorcyclists themselves.
If anything, I'd trust RIDE magazine over SHARP, as their independent tests not only include the decelleration tests used by SHARP but also include a spike penetration test and a road test to highlight any faults that you'll only notice if you actually ride in the thing. And BTW, Arai hasn't always done well in these tests, despite being a paying advertiser, but there are plenty of budget lids that have done well. You see, my viewpoint has nothing to do with brand name snobbery.
Originally Posted by stuxtttr
I understand the comment on a cheap touring helmet but I cant see why a jamed flip front would be any different to deal with than a standard helmet.
I believe the hinged front of the helmet closed down on the lad's face/neck causing difficulty in removing it. SHARP doesn't test the chin bar area so this wouldn't even be considered. A major omission, don't you think?
Originally Posted by stuxtttr
Neil strange how the tides turn, all I can say is that there must be some fools out there if they dismiss these new tests when making their next helmet purchase.
Not really. My background is mechanical engineering and I spent a fair amount of time at both at college and university studying materials and testing methods. I don't claim to be an expert on helmets or brain injuries but I'm certainly no fool. Think of a hammer. It needs to be hard to do it's job but also ductile enough so it doesn't shatter on impact. This is the optimum dictated by it intended use. If you can get your head around that, you must be able to see that a helmet is similar in that it must be soft enough to decellerate forces and absorb impact (the only criteria that SHARP looks at) but also must be tough enough so that the helmet does not allow the object you strike to enter your skull. Unfortunately, this is ignored as no form of penetration test is included by SHARP. See where I'm coming from?
A road test isn't part of SHARP either where it is in RIDE's tests and in my opinion, it's essential as they've highlighted basic problems with some helmets, such as the shape interfering with the ability to turn your head and perform effective lifesavers , to cite just one example. This just underlines why I think the statement of 50 lives a year being saved is ridiculous.
Although I don't agree with your final conclusions about the test regime itself here, your arguments are always clear, fair, concise and put forward in a balanced and articulate manner. Proof indeed that no one should ever need to insult anyone or get personal if they dis-agree with something. It is always interesting to hear your valued views... thanks.
I will concede that quite often the cheaper helmets are not as comfortable as some more expensive examples and that quality of build can also vary enormously according to price etc. I do however stand behind the FACT that the cheap helmets that get 5 stars here represent superb value for money in terms of providing the best levels of protection. If you only have £50 to spend on a lid this one is probably worth looking at.
Good to see a discussion on this subject. I'm no expert when it comes to helmets but I can see the value of this form of independent testing. I agree that the tests are not comprehensive - it would be more helpful to expand the criteria to include penetrative resistance, visors, chin guards and more. This seems a good start and it can only be helpful.
It's very impressive to see such an economical helmet get such a good rating. I won't say anything negative about the more costly lids that did not match up - perhaps they are better in other areas. Either way it is good to see that 50 quid gets you something pretty solid.
Even while my general opinion is that the scheme is deeply flawed, I don't think the results can be totally ignored. In fact they are probably very useful to 16-year-old kids with scooters (and limited money) who aren't going to see the speeds that even a 500cc commuter could acheive. I'd just like to see them take the scheme further to push the really bad stuff off the market (Lidl's B-Square helmets for example) and encourage more manufacturers to invest in development, which would really begin to close the gap between a budget and a premium helmet.
It would be interesting to see exactly what the stars equate to, such as what minimum velocity or force of impact would cause an average rider to suffer a brain injury, while wearing a 2-star compared to a 5-star helmet, though I doubt those details will be released.
Arai's Condor did shockingly bad for an expensive lid, even if it is their budget offering, so badly that even the most vocal opponent to the scheme would have to think twice before parting with their cash. Who knows why, maybe Arai's research on helmet design and injuries differs from the research SHARP is based on or maybe it's just the contraints of producing a budget lid without 3rd world labour.
A friend of mine owns a Condor and blindly bought it on Arai's reputation alone (he's a new rider and gets paid far too much anyway). Personally, I wouldn't buy a Condor as I don't think they're good value for money and various magazine reports (including destructive testing) haven't rated them too highly either.
The old agruments against cheap helmets stand though: more expensive helmets do tend to have a better fit, comfier
PS- I have a Shark!
I suspect the fit depends more on the size and shape of both your head and the helmet. Rather than the price tag. I bought a new helmet last year, Tried on a dozen and kept the one that felt teh most comfy. Turned out to be a 79 euro hypermarket special. It is marked AMX and has a certificate of conformity plate on teh back. Incidentally It is an open face helmet because that is what I prefer. The last time i needed a helmet, was back in 1962 when i collided with a car (going in teh same direction) and was knocked out so came off my Triumph at something over 85mph. I had some concussion so they kept me in hospital for a couple of days. Also gravel rash on my left hip and ankle. For years after that, the ankle would hurt whenever I started to chance it greatly on the bike. It has stopped doing it now But then I dont earhole much these days.
I have come to teh conclusion, sometimes you need to spend money to getthe quality item you need, but often quality is unrelated to price.
Just check out designer jeans and locally made Turkish ones.
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