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  • Helmet Standards

    Hopefully this can shed another light into the whole helmet safety, money-vs safety talk that has gone through the years.


    I have done a bit of research I had a look at the Sharp standards that shark like to use in their adds (their top of the range Shark RSR2 has 5 stars)For those that don't know sharp, it is a Uk,gov initiative that rates helmets from 1-5. By the way, all this helmets meet the basic standards, this just goes one step further.


    SHARP test:

    The linear test is designed to measure the energy absorption characteristics of the motorcycle helmet shell and liner. (details)

    The oblique impact test is designed to measure the rotational acceleration of a helmet and head form caused by friction. (details)

    Helmets are tasted using different Impact Locations ,Test Speeds , Head forms



    Interestingtly enough they do think that having the highest rated helmet (5 stars) can save over 50 people at year in the UK, so there might be something into that. Because something manages to the cut off the mark, doesn't mean it is safe all that safe.
    Now check this listing of helmets and there are a few suprises.


    For example my beloved Shoei XF-1000 only gets 3 stars
    The x-11 gets 4 stars
    The arai corsair gets 3 stars! (thats right, top of the range arai).


    Check this for the helmets that get 5 stars. Suprinsingly some el cheapo helmets get 5 star rating, so there you go, safety and price are not parallel!



    ------------

    Remember this is safety talk ONLY.

    There is no question that when you pay more you are paying for comfort, low noise, weight, brand and design.


    ----------


    Now to Snell Standards, you can see how the testing are... well important but allows for... more refinement

    Four of the most critical elements affecting a helmet’s protective
    properties are:
    1. Impact management — how well the helmet protects against collisions
    with large objects.
    2. Helmet positional stability — whether the helmet will be in place,
    on the head, when it’s needed.
    3. Retention system strength — whether the chin straps are sufficiently
    strong to hold the helmet throughout a head impact.
    4. Extent of Protection — the area of the head protected by the helmet.
    This PDF explains everything that goes into snell testing



    ---------------------
    AS1698 Standards.

    Performance tests are then conducted in the following areas:
    Peripheral vision: a gauge is used to assess the helmet to ensure sufficient range of vision.
    In preparation for further performance testing each helmet is conditioned in a different environment; Hot (50C), Cold (-5C), Ambient (20C) and Wet (submerged in a water tank).
    Strength of Retention: the helmet is placed on a rigid headform and a force is applied to the retention strap to ensure that the straps are strong enough to retain the helmet with minimal strap elongation.

    Impact Energy Attenuation: This test is to determine how much energy is absorbed by the helmet. The Standard allows no greater than 300g on impact.
    The helmet is placed onto a headform and dropped from a pre-determined height. An accelerometer in the centre of the headform measure ‘G’ forces from the impact.
    Four test sites are selected on each helmet with two successive impacts on each site. Two pairs of impacts are on a flat surface and two pairs are on a curved (hemispherical) surface.

    Resistance to Penetration: The helmet is placed onto a headform then a steel spike “striker” (3kg and pointed) is raised 3m above the helmet and dropped. The helmet must ensure that there will be no contact between the striker and the headform at any point tested within a specified area.

    This system doesn't say if a helmet well exceeded the benchmark or just made it to the benchmark. Meaning it might have exeeded greatly or just passed, would you want to know which?
    Applying what the UK government said, better rated helmets might allow to save lifes. If it was the Australian government saying this I would throw whatever they say right into the bin, but the UK government have been very proactive about the safety of riders and they have done their fair bit of research into it so for now I trust that judgement.

    Anyway for all I have learnt looking up to this stuff, is that safety isn't price relative but often you pay more for a helmet that provides less safety and sometimes you pay next to nothing for a helmet that actually excells in safety. People, do your research before buying a helmet. There is more to AS1698 standards or snell.
    Last edited by Xuaxace; 09-09-2009, 06:06 AM.

  • #2
    Good work XX...

    Comment


    • #3
      There is a point when no helmet is going to protect you from brain damage (impact/ deceleration trauma) so it would be interesting how they rate helmets from 1 to 5. Maybe the fastening systems etc. Good debate.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by debaser View Post
        There is a point when no helmet is going to protect you from brain damage (impact/ deceleration trauma) so it would be interesting how they rate helmets from 1 to 5. Maybe the fastening systems etc. Good debate.

        I agree that there is a point where a helmet can't protect you any further but I guess that point depends with every different helmet as everyone has very different properties.

        The two main parts where a helmet provides protection is
        1) impact absortion, the more energy it can absorb the less likelyhood of headtrauma and neck damage.
        2)Oblique, which stands for rotational acceleration due friction, this is what can snap you neck.


        Braking it down, you can get the picture that every helmet must behave differently. Wish I could see how the measure the ratings but... it must be some weird mathematical equation.

        Comment


        • #5
          Aww, my helmet isnt listed
          $680 Shoei TZ-R but looking at those prices it is surprising.

          Comment


          • #6
            An interesting find.

            Mind you, you could have a 5 star helmet and it will behave differently on two different people in terms of fit as each persons head is different from the next.

            Good to see SHARP takes into account different head shape.

            Comment


            • #7
              Very good point. Fit is the most important factor to safety. You can have the best helmet, if it is too loose... you won't benefit from the some of its safety properties .

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by AWSE View Post
                Aww, my helmet isnt listed
                $680 Shoei TZ-R but looking at those prices it is surprising.
                It is mate, it is the Shoei raid 2. 4 stars , better than mine .

                Comment


                • #9
                  My helmet (HJC CS-R1) is a one star helmet

                  Thanks for this, I'm sure it's not the be all and end all of safety comparisons but I'll be sure to get at least a 3 star helmet next time.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    extending a bit further...

                    as a new rider, are you safer:

                    a) Spending 1k on a new helmet that is awesome and fits well?
                    b) Spending less on a helmet and using the rest on a couple of rider training/trackday courses?


                    Just a little more to add in regards to 'getting your moneys worth' as far as safety goes.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      B obiously, nothing is safer than avoiding an accident .


                      But the point of the thread was that even the most expensive helmets don't shine in their safety capabilities while some cheapo infact do.

                      But it is all relative, some might suggest that the extra confort of an expensive helmet reduce riding fatigje, I can certenly vouche for this, my riding confort increased dramatically after I went for a XF1000.



                      Food for though...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        ^^ Same for me after going from a loose as all fuck crappy $100 RJays to my fully padded almost tailor fit Shoei.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by -Stevo- View Post
                          extending a bit further...

                          as a new rider, are you safer:

                          a) Spending 1k on a new helmet that is awesome and fits well?
                          b) Spending less on a helmet and using the rest on a couple of rider training/trackday courses?


                          Just a little more to add in regards to 'getting your moneys worth' as far as safety goes.
                          I'd have to say option B! I don't think you get much extra in terms of safety by spending a ton of cash on a helmet. At a point, they all level-off and you're paying for all the options.

                          Buy good gear, spend some time learning how "not" to crash, and you should be good to go. Heck, you might even have enough money to get some decent gloves...
                          PATRICK A. MCNEALY
                          Superbike Toy Store

                          Email us at: [email protected]

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            That site has been around for a while, personally i take it with a grain of salt. They test now up to an amazing 8.4m/s, thats what, 30km/h? At those speeds the cheapo polycarbonate(plastic) helmets might perform well, put them in a high speed situation and things change. I wonder if there is a reason all the top racers in the world wear complex laminate helmets like arai and shoei, maybe they do it just for show and havent read the Sharp report yet?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sean'o View Post
                              That site has been around for a while, personally i take it with a grain of salt. They test now up to an amazing 8.4m/s, thats what, 30km/h? At those speeds the cheapo polycarbonate(plastic) helmets might perform well, put them in a high speed situation and things change. I wonder if there is a reason all the top racers in the world wear complex laminate helmets like arai and shoei, maybe they do it just for show and havent read the Sharp report yet?
                              Interesting point of view.

                              I'm a bit puzzled why they don't perform extreme testing . As you said... 30km/h... not much and even then the AS1698 does even less.

                              I'm guessing it is too expensive to run more thorough testing?...

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