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Discussion Starter #1
I've seen mention of this many times, including coming from a manufacturer,

But, I've never seen a reason, or details of what happens to end a helmet's protection around 5 years?

Best from Tucson
Bob
 

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I have wondered the same thing. I bet I know why the manufacturers suggest this, $$$$. To buy a $250 helmet and only wear it a few years seems wastefull.
 

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There are many variables, but let me venture a few reasons why every 5 years.

1. Material degredation, especially the inner padding and foam liner. Depending upon use and where the helmet is stored this can be a safety concern in under 5 years or longer. 5 years is a good rule of thumb.

2. One other reason I can think of is the advancement of helmet technology makes most helmets safer today than 5 years ago.

That's about all I can think of right now. Perhaps others may add to this list.

Ultra LT
 

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UltraLT said:
There are many variables, but let me venture a few reasons why every 5 years.

1. Material degredation, especially the inner padding and foam liner. Depending upon use and where the helmet is stored this can be a safety concern in under 5 years or longer. 5 years is a good rule of thumb.

2. One other reason I can think of is the advancement of helmet technology makes most helmets safer today than 5 years ago.

That's about all I can think of right now. Perhaps others may add to this list.

Ultra LT
Yes material degradation is the major reason, both the liner and shell.
 

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Material degredation....
I guess it depends on how much Pastrami you eat....:rotf:

The EPS they use in modern helmets is designed to degrade much more quickly than helmets made ten years ago... This is designed in to sell more helmets...
Once again corporate greed factors into the equation...And yes it does degrade...


John
 

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BecketMa said:
I've seen mention of this many times, including coming from a manufacturer,

But, I've never seen a reason, or details of what happens to end a helmet's protection around 5 years?

Best from Tucson
Bob
After 5 years, a big bug or rock will have your name on it and hit your helmet right in the forehead and your helmet will shatter into a million pieces.....
I swear to god this is true . :histerica
 

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I'm not buying the built in shelf life of a helmet. If so, they would have a manufacturing date and or expiration date to protect them from liability. A helmet may sit on a dealers shelf for 2 years and then be sold for it's 5 year use life. The shell of most helmets is made of what, fiberglass. I don't see that breaking down, lots of 30+ year old fiberglass boats out there. The interior is expanded polystyrene (styrofoam). Wouldn't it be great for our landfills if this stuff actually did break down. If you drop your helmet, get a crack in the shell, it mechanically stops working, or the liner stinks to high heaven, then yes replace it. But I seriously question the 5 year life limit of a helmet.
 

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Travman said:
I'm not buying the built in shelf life of a helmet. If so, they would have a manufacturing date and or expiration date to protect them from liability. A helmet may sit on a dealers shelf for 2 years and then be sold for it's 5 year use life. The shell of most helmets is made of what, fiberglass. I don't see that breaking down, lots of 30+ year old fiberglass boats out there. The interior is expanded polystyrene (styrofoam). Wouldn't it be great for our landfills if this stuff actually did break down. If you drop your helmet, get a crack in the shell, it mechanically stops working, or the liner stinks to high heaven, then yes replace it. But I seriously question the 5 year life limit of a helmet.

I agree! 5 years allows manufacturers to keep their inventory moving. I'm not saying that material degradation is not taking place. It is! But, is the integrity of the helmet compromised after 5 years? Perhaps 5 years should be considered a "half-life". After 5 yeas, there is 50% life left in the helmet, after another 5 years, 25%, etc... and after 2 half-lives I can see that the helmet may no longer meet industrial standards for protection, provided that degradation was not accelerated by abuse. But, the manufacturers should show us the data!! Don't just say "replace your helmet every 5 years". Where is the data to support the claim?
 

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I want to guess it's because of the sun and ultraviolet light. Besides, just sniff a five year old helmet!
 

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I remember that HJC website was mentioning that glues used in their helmets, last 3-5 years.

BecketMa said:
I've seen mention of this many times, including coming from a manufacturer,

But, I've never seen a reason, or details of what happens to end a helmet's protection around 5 years?

Best from Tucson
Bob
 

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Did some googling around and found these sources - nothing "scientific," just general guidelines.

http://www.araiamericas.com/support.asp?page=support/warranty.asp

"Like most major helmet manufacturers, Arai subscribes to the Snell Memorial Foundation benchmark of five years as the suggested usable lifespan of a motorcycle helmet. Why? Think of a helmet in terms of your body. 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. If a helmet suffers an impact and any doubt exists as to its further ability to protect, it should either be returned to the manufacturer for competent inspection or discarded and replaced.

These are the reasons to replace your helmet after five years. Of course, if your helmet becomes less than snug in fit, or damaged, it should be replaced before the five year mark. And when you do, you may want to remember that Arai was the first company willing to warranty its helmets for the full Snell-recommended usable lifespan."


http://www.smf.org/standards/m/2010/m2010_final.htm (just above section A "Construction):

"Some helmets are made of materials which deteriorate with age and therefore have a limited life span. At the present time, the Foundation recommends that motorcycle helmets be replaced after five (5) years, or less if the manufacturer so recommends"
 

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I dunno 'bout you fellas, but since I ride in Florida and the heat is brutal most of the year, by the time I wash my helmet liner a bunch of times in 5 years, it's just worn out. And if it isn't removable, well....yuk!

I never got more than 5 good years from a helmet.
 

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Travman said:
............... If so, they would have a manufacturing date and or expiration date to protect them from liability. A helmet may sit on a dealers shelf for 2 years and then be sold for it's 5 year use life...................... .
Hey Travman, I believe that if you look around under the comfort liner in any helmet that is DOT approved you will find a tag/label with the date of manufacture stamped on it. Whenever I purchase a new helmet I always check for that info just to be sure that I'm not getting something that has been in inventory for a long time.
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Scottly said:
I dunno 'bout you fellas, but since I ride in Florida and the heat is brutal most of the year, by the time I wash my helmet liner a bunch of times in 5 years, it's just worn out. And if it isn't removable, well....yuk!

I never got more than 5 good years from a helmet.
I always wear a Slicks helmet liner when I ride.
It keeps your helmet like new inside and makes putting your helmet on easy on the ears.
 

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kk610lt said:
I always wear a Slicks helmet liner when I ride.
It keeps your helmet like new inside and makes putting your helmet on easy on the ears.
I'm not sure if I can do that. I wear a xxxL, and if I wait too long to cut my hair, it don't fit anymore. :(
 

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Lynn_Keen said:
Hey Travman, I believe that if you look around under the comfort liner in any helmet that is DOT approved you will find a tag/label with the date of manufacture stamped on it. Whenever I purchase a new helmet I always check for that info just to be sure that I'm not getting something that has been in inventory for a long time.
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Glad you mentioned this fact, it is an important consideration.
 

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Travman said:
I'm not buying the built in shelf life of a helmet. If so, they would have a manufacturing date and or expiration date to protect them from liability. A helmet may sit on a dealers shelf for 2 years and then be sold for it's 5 year use life. The shell of most helmets is made of what, fiberglass. I don't see that breaking down, lots of 30+ year old fiberglass boats out there. The interior is expanded polystyrene (styrofoam). Wouldn't it be great for our landfills if this stuff actually did break down. If you drop your helmet, get a crack in the shell, it mechanically stops working, or the liner stinks to high heaven, then yes replace it. But I seriously question the 5 year life limit of a helmet.

They do have a build date. Look under the liner on the inside of the shell. Every helmet I have has a date on it.

I don't worry about the five year thing. I've never had a helmet last more than two years.

It is curious that EPS will last 1000 years in a landfill but only 5 years in a helmet:)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm skeptical that a helmet no longer offers protection after 5 years.

I imagine that recommending a 5 year life span not only increase sales but also reduces liability issues. None of those benefit users.

From my point of view is a helmet offers “100%” protection when first bought, the question is what is the % after 5 years? If it is 98% the quaetion become “Is the extra %” worth the purchase price of the new helmet? If there are improvements in the new helmet other than safety, for me, it then becomes a matter of judging if the lower wind noise is worth the purchase price?

So far, the only information I've seen for Schuberth, is improvements that aren't safety related. The exception to that is the statement about a helmet's fit having excess room around the uses head.

Best from Tucson
Bob
 

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Given a finite budget, the money that would be spent for a new helmet every 5 years would be better spent on other/more riding gear such as leathers. boots, gloves, etc. I accept that a new helmet will probably give the best possible protection, but an older helmet will still give a very substantial amount its original protection too.

It is the lack of a helmet that to me is unthinkable, yet is so accepted.
 
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