Helmet shelf life - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old Mar 20th, 2006, 3:41 pm Thread Starter
 
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Helmet shelf life

I've been shopping for a new helmet. I think I've found what I want, Arai Quantum II. And I've found it on ebay at a good price but they seller has disclosed that the helmet was manufactured in 8/02. That makes it over 3 1/2 years old. Is this a big deal? I haven't seen anybody recommending replacing your helmet every few years but maybe I just haven't been looking the right place. Any opinions?

Thanks,
Jerry
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old Mar 20th, 2006, 5:52 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephejl
I've been shopping for a new helmet. I think I've found what I want, Arai Quantum II. And I've found it on ebay at a good price but they seller has disclosed that the helmet was manufactured in 8/02. That makes it over 3 1/2 years old. Is this a big deal? I haven't seen anybody recommending replacing your helmet every few years but maybe I just haven't been looking the right place. Any opinions?
In spite of some old wives tales out there, an unused helmet has no shelf life. The two main "ingredients" are the polycarbonate shell, and the polystyrene foam (styrofoam) impact absorbing liner. Both of these materials are very VERY stable in a "storage" environment.

What can cause degradation over time is the user's hair oils, which can attack the styrofoam liner. But unless it is a used helmet, this is irrelivant.

Bob.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old Mar 20th, 2006, 6:14 pm
 
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Thumbs up Helmet

I agree with Bob. The Quantum II is a great helmet. Have you tried one on to ensure that it fits you properly? Each model in the Arai line is made for a different shaped gourd. Some are similar, but the are different. I own a Quantum II and it is the best helmet I have ever owned!

Cheers!

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old Mar 20th, 2006, 6:24 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephejl
I've been shopping for a new helmet. I think I've found what I want, Arai Quantum II. And I've found it on ebay at a good price but they seller has disclosed that the helmet was manufactured in 8/02. That makes it over 3 1/2 years old. Is this a big deal? I haven't seen anybody recommending replacing your helmet every few years but maybe I just haven't been looking the right place. Any opinions?
Assuming that's a new, never used helmet, it's fine.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old Mar 21st, 2006, 3:02 am
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new or used.

Hi
Are you putting a new or used head inside this helmet.
Not sure if this affects the shelf life of the helmet

Marty from Oz.
This is a bloody big Island
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old Mar 21st, 2006, 3:53 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephejl
That makes it over 3 1/2 years old. Is this a big deal?
Nope. It could have been with older, polycarbonates helmets. High-end helmets - but low-end too, now - aren't made by PC. Arai trademarked its CLC & S-CLC, most manufacturers use strong Kevlar percentages, and even cheap helmets are mainly made from fiberglass.

Point is, all of the above do not suffer from the "hardening" (and consequent loss of protection power) typical of the PCs. All the big firms recommend to substitute your helmet every 5 years, but that's because to the exposure to UV rays, little shocks and so on - making you buy a new helmet, though, is one of the most important reasons...

A new, unused helmet is perfect, even if it's two and a half years old. YMMV, but as long as I'm concerned, nothing beats an Arai for comfort. You may find it a little noisier than other helmets at speed, but if like me your head is "Arai-shaped" you won't ever change brand...

CYA, Ed

Edoardo Licciardello

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old Mar 21st, 2006, 12:24 pm
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Jerry,
I just got a Quantum II for my wife off Ebay. The seller was Powersport-Closeouts.
The manufacture date was 07/05. - $359 for solid color - Most dealers around me wanted $425-450. Great service.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old Mar 21st, 2006, 12:27 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FastEddie
Nope. It could have been with older, polycarbonates helmets. High-end helmets - but low-end too, now - aren't made by PC. Arai trademarked its CLC & S-CLC, most manufacturers use strong Kevlar percentages, and even cheap helmets are mainly made from fiberglass.
I think you are missing something here. The vast majority of new helmets sold today are made with an injection molded polycarbonate shell. They have absolutely no Kevlar in them, because they are injection molded, not laminated.

In particular, "cheap" helmets are almost ALWAYS injection molded from polycarbonate, since this is a FAR cheaper process than laminating one from fiberglass or kevlar cloth.

It is impossible to injection mold Kevlar. Kevlar is a fiber, not a resin, and therefore cannot be mixed with other plastics, as (say) ABS and polycarbonate are often mixed.

Helmets that have kevlar in them are made by a lamination process just like fiberglass helmets. Glass or kevlar cloth is applied layer by layer and saturated with polyester of epoxy resin.

By the way, polycarbonate does not harden with age. I know something about this; plastic design is what I do for a living. Clear polycarbonate that is not a UV-inhibited type, can yellow a bit with exposure to UV, but helmets are completely opaque. The pigment blocks all light (including UV) from penetrating. Since UV cannot penetrate, UV damage is impossible. In other regards, polycarbonate is extremely resistant to chemical attack, and enviroinmental damage, with one exception: It is sensitive to some solvents.

Bob.

Last edited by RFWILSON; Mar 21st, 2006 at 12:37 pm.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old Mar 21st, 2006, 11:44 pm Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the detailed and well supported replies. I went back to purchase the helmet and it turns out I got confused in the store trying them on. The helmet on ebay is a Quantum F rather than an Quantum II. That makes it a bit more difficult since I don't know where to find a quantum F to try on. I may have to go for a quantum II. But the Quantum F is brand new and only $245 shipped.

The other helmet that fit my ears correctly (I'm looking for a helmet that doesn't compress my ears since I bought Challenger earplugs and they work great but are more comfortable w/o pressure on the outer ears from the foam) was the HJC CL-14. It seemed to fit my upper head well but moved around a lot at the bottom. It seemed to be a lesser quality helmet but ok for the price. It seems to sell for about 1/3 the price of a quantum II.

OH yeah. The helmet that fit me like a glove and was super comfortable w/o the earphones was the Shoei X-11. I have a Shoei TZ-1 now and I guess Shoei fits me well but they have a bunch of styrofoam beside the ears. If I felt like cutting an earhole in the styrofoam I'd be ok but I'm reluctant to do that.

Thanks,
jerry
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 4:03 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RFWILSON
I think you are missing something here.
Wow. Thanks for the clarification, really.

Given that Arai and Shoei use laminated materials - so they're not supposedly made by Polycarbonates, righ? - the other helmets have turned back to 5-years life span? I mean, if you get a polycarbonate helmet from the 80s, here in EU they had a two-figures number on their back. That was be the expiration year, beyond which the helmet was to be deemed unsafe. Why is that?

See ya, Ed

Edoardo Licciardello

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