Reader Question: When to Get a New Helmet?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Marks asks: I have an old HJC helmet that’s super comfortable! It’s lightweight, easy to put on, and feels like an old, well worn baseball cap. Unfortunately, it’s 10-12 years old, and the helmet makers recommend replacement after 3-5 years. While I understand that everything wears out eventually; while I understand that almost everything has to replaced eventually; I can’ t help but wonder if the helmet makers are being self-serving. After all it’s in their interest for motorcycle riders to buy more helmets. Having said that, I have newer helmets, but I still like that old HJC.

My reply: This is one of those pros and cons, shades-of-gray things. Older helmets with non-styrofoam liners or other materials that shrink over time might not fit properly (leading to fatigue and other issues) and that’s always a good reason to replace the thing. But other than that – unless it struck the pavement hard (as during a wreck) – it is mostly a question of whether you like it vs. a newer one.

The standards are, of course, regularly changing. And on account of that, your helmet probably (almost certainly) doesn’t meet the current/latest saaaaafety standards. Does that mean it’s “unsafe”? I don’t think it does – for the same reason I don’t think a 2005 Mercedes S-Class that doesn’t meet the latest saaaaaaafety standards is “unsafe.”

For me, the primary considerations are: Does it fit well? Does it not feel heavy? Does it provide decent visibility? Does it ventilate well? If it does, I keep it until I feel the need for a new one that does a better job.

Here’s some good additional info on this topic.

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Got a question about cars, bikes, or Sickness Psychosis? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in! Or email me at [email protected] if the @!** “ask Eric” button doesn’t work!

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