Usually when we buy helmets, we are affected by marketing campaign. Then there is fit and feel of course, but our initial interest is usually spiked by the ad from helmet manufacturer. Usually they all claim to offer ultimate protection, and as a consumers we have no way to check their claims. Most if not all helmets pass DOT testing, but what does it tell us?
DOT test is a god bless for budget helmet manufacturers. Even lowest quality helmets usually pass it with flying colors, and it allows their producers to claim their helmet is just as safe as more expensive models. This is the main selling point of many budget helmets these days.
What I always wondered is how different helmets compare to each other. Is full face saver than the flip up? Same test under exactly the same conditions, with published results for our consideration. A couple of years ago Motorcyclist magazine published controversial “Blowing The Lid Off” article, testing several helmets at the time. If anything, the article just proved that all helmets are not alike, even if they share DOT stocker.
I just discovered this website: http://sharp.direct.gov.uk/home .It may be old news, but I have never seen it, and it has some nice information. UK Government agency purchases helmets from retail stores, tests them and publishes the results. We can look at them, and compare helmets side by side.
I’m quite surprised that my uber expensive Schuberth C3 didn’t do that well. My equally expensive Arai Quantum has “poor” side impact rating? Nolan N103 that I ditched because it was heavy and uncomfortable has 5 star rating?Wow. Seeing this web site before would definitely impact my purchasing decision.
A note of concern: they say every helmet is subject to 32 different tests (front, side, rear and crown are the most obvious ones). I’m curious if they use new helmet after each test. As we all know, helmet styrofoam can only absorb the impact once, and the helmet should not be re-used afterwards. I’m wondering if this somehow affects the result of the test. Then, when we crash we do not replace our helmets as we bounce down the road.