So I dropped my helmet, bounced and landed on the grass. Should I be worried if I accidentally dropped my helmet from 2 feet height? Is it ruined?
Probably, It depends on the surface you dropped, the height, or how well it’s built. Seeing no sign of damage externally doesn’t mean that it’s good internally. Dropping your helmet from a parked motorbike will most likely be fine. To be on the safe side, get it checked out at the nearest store. It is advisable to get helmets that are DOT or ECE certified.
How to maintain your helmet?
Helmets are pretty tough, but it doesn’t mean that you can throw it around. It’s main job is to protect your head, store it somewhere safe when you’re not using it. It is not recommended to store heavy items inside your helmet or hang it on your bike’s mirror or on a hook. These will create an indentation in the foam of your helmet.
Normally, the outer layer of the helmet is made from fibreglass, plastic or carbon fibre. Internally, it is stuffed with layers of shells and foams, designed to break itself to absorb the impact and shock before it reaches your head. This is why you should also protect the inner layer of your helmet too, as it also takes care of you.
When damage is seen obviously on the outermost layer, it is definitely time to get a new helmet as it may not be as effective as its maximum capability. Though it might still protect you from many scars, you are seeing a possibility of internal injury of your head. Do not take the risk!
Where should I place the helmet?
Get a decent helmet bag to store your helmet while you’re travelling or doing a track day. It holds your helmet securely and some have extra storages for your gloves and personal items.
The last thing that you’ll want to do is to put your helmet on the back seat. This is a common mistake most bikers make, including myself. Most of us have probably been there, accidentally knocking it off while moving the bike, or while you’re putting gas in, sometimes I even forget about placing the helmet there.
A cool trick I’ve seen people do is they hang their helmets on the straps to the front or rear foot peg. It wouldn’t do much damage to the helmet if you knock it off by mistake, since it is not that high above ground. Best solution is obviously keep it on your head while you’re on the move.
How long before replacing?
I have encountered this question a lot. A simple answer to this question is to “replace your helmet every five years.”, like almost all manufacturers and retailers told us to.
My last helmet which was used for 5 years, took care of it well and it still looks and feels like new. We sure have this thought over our mind, why “every five years”? Is this some kind of marketing-speak to sell more helmets rather than a legitimate safety concern?
Well, based on the experts, a lot of things can happen inside the helmet, which may not be visible to the naked eye. Helmets will deteriorate over time, and lose some degree of their effectiveness over time, even to an unused helmet. Once again, get a quality built helmet and replace them every five years.
Signs you might need a new helmet
Although there is no definitive research on helmets’ 5 years expiration lifespan, it also depends on how well you kept it, the usage of your helmet, and initial build quality.
If you’re looking for a new helmet, you are in the right place. Check out if more expensive motorbike helmets are safer.
#1 – Usage
If you wear your helmet on a daily basis, constant wear and tear occurs, therefore weakening the integrity of your helmet over time.
You can compare it to riding your bike everyday. As the miles and time stack, you’ll either perform maintenance checkup or get a new one.
#2 – Helmet’s quality
When you just got your new helmet, it’s nice and shiny, fits perfectly to your head, even if you shake your head, it remains in position. A loosened helmet probably means the padding inside has become compacted, may be time for a replacement.
Your helmet chin strap is a critical component to keeping your helmet on your head. Check your straps! Is it working correctly as it should? If your helmet is still in good condition, you don’t need to replace your helmet. Find yourself a chin strap replacement.
#3 – Deteriorating
The outermost layer shell usually does not deteriorate as fast as internal ones, if you find the shell of your helmet becomes brittle, or begin to fall apart, don’t hesitate, replace your helmet immediately. The shell is the first point of contact during impact, any cracks in the shell will instantly expose your head to injury if you are in an accident.
The internal layers deteriorate faster than we can imagine, typically the foam inside. If you start to see helmet flakes on your hair or shoulders, that’s a good sign you should get a helmet replacement.
Race Car Helmet vs Motorbike Helmet
On the eyes, both helmets do not differ much. However, it is very important to differentiate the two. Just like we don’t mix car engine oil with bike’s. They are made for different purposes. Well, even if they do share the same objective.
Car helmets are built to take impact in the same place repeatedly. Picture yourself strapped on in a racing car with roll bars around you. The car helmets are to protect your head from hitting the roll bars and the steering wheel. You will not get enough cushioning of protection if you use a car helmet compared to motorbike helmets.
Motorbike helmets do not only have to protect against violent impacts, it must be able to withstand enormous abrasion caused by slipping.
Aerodynamic and Ventilation
Motorbike helmets play a major role of protecting the riders. It usually has a wider visor cutout to provide better vision for the riders. The helmets for bikes also have to be good on aerodynamics. I believe that the more comfortable the helmet is, the less distraction it is on the road. Especially the noise inside the helmet, where aerodynamic plays a major role here. You wouldn’t want a noisy helmet with an unbalanced surface helmet which will cause your head to move while riding in speed, embarrassing… and dangerous.
Fire testings are required for racing car’s helmets. That’s because the driver may be trapped inside a burning car after the collision, therefore it has to be flame resistant. Whereas for the bikers, riders rarely deal with fire, and it’s very uncommon to see bikers being trapped in their vehicle.
Make it comfortable for you
Now, it’s time for a new helmet! When looking for a new helmet, you’re looking for a helmet that suits the shape of your head. It’s always good to try the helmet on before purchasing.
Sometimes, a new helmet is not as comfortable as the old ones. When it happens that you feel some pressure points in the helmet, it can be uncomfortable or painful when worn for a long period. Try applying pressure and push against the foam to the spots with your finger, or a screwdrivers handle.
So there you go, you now know when to replace your helmet, and which kind of helmet to go for. Your helmet can last longer if you take care of it properly and perform regular maintenance. Check your helmet regularly, it may look fine on the surface but may have hidden cracks inside of the helmet that can go undetected by the human eye.
Please do not wear car racing helmets while riding, you need a helmet that works. Keep your helmet on while riding.