Helmet life

big_harv Posts: 512
NOT a helmet debate, but a question-

I have a Specialized lid that I have worn for about 10 years with no knocks, crashes etc. I'm wondering if it can deteriorate over time due to weather or simply being plastic/ polystyrene. Should it be replaced? Fashion or sales notwithstanding..


  • I replace my helmets every ~4 years maximum.
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    Planet X are selling helmets for £10 in their sales this week.
    I'd probably treat myself to a new one just in case.
  • sungod
    sungod Posts: 16,535
    unless the manufacturer got something wrong, expanded polystyrene in a helmet liners will not degrade in 'normal' use (i.e. away from harmful chemicals, radiation etc.)

    water, sweat, mould, bacteria etc. (barring something engineered to do it) won't touch it, it's also fairly resistant to uv (causes surface degradation), this is why the stuff is such an environmental problem - in the conditions prevailing across most of the surface of the planet it goes on forever, gradually getting ground into smaller and smaller bits

    helmet shell material can vary, polycarbonate seems common, it's really tough, uv resistance can be improved with additives

    nylon straps might be the weakest bit due to uv degradation, if they are looking nasty it's time to think about changing, but that'll probably take quite a while

    mechanical wear and/or damage are the only reasons most of us will ever need to replace a helmet
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • lesfirth
    lesfirth Posts: 1,382
    I replace my helmets every ~4 years maximum.

    I would like to know why. Apart from just liking a new one I can not think of any other reason.
  • kajjal
    kajjal Posts: 3,380
    I tend to only replace them when I see another I like the look of. One had damage so was replaced due to it but apart from that.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    I've known helmets to crack without major impacts. And you'd only notice the crack if did a helmet check like you sometimes get at races. Happened to my mates Giro. I've certainly not thought to check mine out that way anyway.
  • cooldad
    cooldad Posts: 32,599
    My helmets mainly fend off low flying branches and things off road, and get replaced when I find a good deal on a new one.

    I do buy ahead though, so have a couple I use, and one still in the box.
    I don't do smileys.

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  • Technology/ design moves on in helmets, why wouldn't you want to protect you most important asset with the best available.
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • big_harv
    big_harv Posts: 512
    Technology/ design moves on in helmets, why wouldn't you want to protect you most important asset with the best available.

    Indeed. Is it likely a Specialized Decibel bought in 2007/8 is that much behind current tech, if at all. I was just curious to people's opinions to their supposed lifespan since I couldn't find any actual science. Interesting replies. Thanks.
  • navrig2
    navrig2 Posts: 1,844
    I replace mine when the straps smell and you can't get rid of it by washing..... :mrgreen: :oops:
  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    Ditto, I tend to replace mine due to hygiene reasons.
    This was interesting http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitne ... le-helmet/

    though despite the bluff and bluster - they concluded there wasn't any evidence to say a helmet was less effective after 5 years.

    I would question any comparisons to motorcycle lids. They really don't do the same job.
  • Depends on the life of the helmet, 10 years is going some!
    2010 Specialized Tricross (commuter)
    2014 Whyte T129-S
    2016 Specialized Tarmac Ultegra Di2
    Big Mitch - YouTube
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    First one was an immense polystyrene affair with a fabric cover. Made me look like a hi-viz button mushroom, and sweat like an MP having his browsing history scrutinised. I ditched it in favour of something more compact and stylish as soon as they became available; Cratoni I think it was. That one lasted about 10 years before part of the retention mechanism snapped rendering it useless. Got a previous year's model Giro Atmos in the sale, which is still going strong maybe 6 years on. Only not on my head any more since my son insisted on buying it off me cos it matched his bike. So I then got a discounted Aeon, which barring accidents may well see me to the end of my cycling days.

    I have to say that switching to the Atmos made me realise how much lighter and better ventilated helmets had become in 10 years. Apart from MIPS I can't imagine I'm missing out on any revolutionary improvements by not replacing the thing more frequently?