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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings -

I have a Specialized "Decibel" helmet I purchased last May ('07) that is starting to have the outer clear protective layer delaminate from the helmet in several spots. The clear began to look cloudy, and the other day I noticed it was pulling away from the helmet. Obviously, it is about time for a replacement (then again, maybe I can get a few more months out of it).

So - how long do you typically get out of a helmet. Mine made it just over a year and about 7k miles. Given I live in Nor Cal, where summer temps are 100+, but I thought I would have gotten more use/life from the helmet.

TIA....


Bruce in Redding
 

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... there is no clear cut answer to the question... delamination of the outer hard shell is fundamentally cosmetic as the EPS (or like) foam beneath is the true energy absorbent part of a lid...

Now, EPS foam can and will degrade over time, but since conditions used by riders can vary significantly, the only published data on replacement time coincides suspiciously with a marketing element from the helmet makers themselves... 2 years.

As for me, I've got and still use a Specialized pre hard shell Sub 6 from the mid to late nineties. As mentioned above, the EPS foam is the workhorse here... and while I understand that a visual inspection is not the definitive way to determine... the foam in this lid "looks" good. Indeed, I've got just over 20 lids and none save those thwunk'd in crashes have been retired. The concept of bicycle helmets is "ride many-crash once". Once the EPS foam deforms, absorbing energy in a crash, it's done. Otherwise... I'm sure others will have opinions.

A year seems too soon to me.
 

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nor_cal_rider said:
Greetings -

I have a Specialized "Decibel" helmet I purchased last May ('07) that is starting to have the outer clear protective layer delaminate from the helmet in several spots. The clear began to look cloudy, and the other day I noticed it was pulling away from the helmet. Obviously, it is about time for a replacement (then again, maybe I can get a few more months out of it).

So - how long do you typically get out of a helmet. Mine made it just over a year and about 7k miles. Given I live in Nor Cal, where summer temps are 100+, but I thought I would have gotten more use/life from the helmet.

TIA....


Bruce in Redding
From Spec's website:
What is your helmet warranty?

Question
Is there any kind of warranty on your helmets?

Answer
All of our accessories, including helmets, have a 1 year warranty from the date of purchase against manufacturer's defects in workmanship or materials.

If you feel you have a problem with your helmet and it is still within the warranty period, take it to any authorized Specialized dealer. Make sure to bring your receipt.


You're only a couple of months past the 1 year mark, so IMO it's worth pursuing a warranty claim. My guess is you'll be offered a discount on a new helmet.
 

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On the basis of no evidence at all, I replace helmets about every three years when I see something that fits me on sale (I wear a size 8, hard to find in a sport of midgets). I read a report several years ago (actually quite a few years ago, when foam shells were new) that they had a life expectancy of about that long. Probably they're better now--the early ones had some problems--but they don't cost so much that I want to stretch it out.
FWIW, I still have three or four old ones around and use them occasionally when I can't find the newest one or if I'm away from home, and they don't show signs of deterioration.
 

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From riding motorcycles on track days the simple thought is that 5 years the foam starts to degrade and does not protect to its fullest. From what I have heard bike helmets are the exact same. With your helmet only being slightly older than 1 year I would contact the shop you bought it and see if they can warranty it. It seems odd to me that a helmet would start to come apart, that is unless you left it in your closed car or trunk on a daily basis, heat will also effect helmets. If they do not warranty it they will sometimes offer a discount (Giro, I believe offers 30% within the first couple of years, even if damaged from a crash).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanx for all the replies....

Talked to Spez Cust. Service (thats a joke to call it that) and was told they will cover it for 1 year from date of purchase. Even stated that some of last years Decibels had some quality issues. However, I am 2.5 months beyond the purchase date (confirmed by my meticulous/borderline anal records and the LBS's computer) - so per the CS rep, I'm SOL.

While there is nothing structurally wrong with the helmet, it really pisses me off to be treated like an idiot when I called to ask about the warranty coverage. Guess it's back to Bell or Giro for my next "skid lid."

Bruce in Redding
 

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Giro

I once had a Pneumo from 2003 that started to develop a crack near the forehead region in 2006. I took great care of it so I figured it was a manufacturers defect. I emailed Giro with some info I found on Google about a Pneumo defect and they immediately sent me a new helmet! That's good customer service...I think I will stick with Giro/Bell helmets.
I'm also real careful when setting down my helmet..always top side up and avoid hard knocks on furniture, doors, etc. I think minor dings and drops will add up over the years and diminish the shock absorption properties. Yes, the foam will last forever but it is the ability to expand and take it the shock that is important.
 

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Talked to Spez Cust. Service (thats a joke to call it that) and was told they will cover it for 1 year from date of purchase. Even stated that some of last years Decibels had some quality issues. However, I am 2.5 months beyond the purchase date (confirmed by my meticulous/borderline anal records and the LBS's computer) - so per the CS rep, I'm SOL.
One year warranty on a $150+ helmet? What a load of crap. "Innovate or Die?" How about the innovation of making a high-end helmet that doesn't delaminate in 14-months? Regardless of it being only cosmetic, a helmet in that price range shouldn't have manufacturing/construction problems in 14 months.

While there is nothing structurally wrong with the helmet, it really pisses me off to be treated like an idiot when I called to ask about the warranty coverage. Guess it's back to Bell or Giro for my next "skid lid."
I hear you. I have three Specialized bikes and a lot of their equipment (probably $10,000+ on Specialized stuff), but I've been less than impressed recently with the lack of quality of their relatively expensive equipment. My latest Specialized winner - a lot of the finish on my Pave SL seat-post has crumbled off in six months. What I've gone through to get it to not creak wasn't worth the effort. Finally got fed up and replaced it with a Ritchey carbon seatpost, and problem solved.

I was seriously considering an S-Works helmet, but based on this and my recent experience with Specialized equipment, I'll pass and wait for the new Bells.
 

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I bought one of these (Specialized Decibel) in 2005, went on a 2.5 month tour and it was pretty much shot by the time I got back. My LBS replaced it for free (with the same model) which is now past warantee and suffering from the same problem. Pretty dissapointing considering the cost of the helmet.
 

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danielc said:
I once had a Pneumo from 2003 that started to develop a crack near the forehead region in 2006. I took great care of it so I figured it was a manufacturers defect. I emailed Giro with some info I found on Google about a Pneumo defect and they immediately sent me a new helmet! That's good customer service...I think I will stick with Giro/Bell helmets.
I'm also real careful when setting down my helmet..always top side up and avoid hard knocks on furniture, doors, etc. I think minor dings and drops will add up over the years and diminish the shock absorption properties. Yes, the foam will last forever but it is the ability to expand and take it the shock that is important.
Really, I have a July '02 Pneumo with two cracks at the very front tip.. Do you have a link? I've gotten a lot of use from the helmet, so I wouldn't expect a new one, but if they gave me one at cost I could be induced to get one..
 

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I ride 5-6 days a week in the summer - summer here lasts about 8-10 months, so my problem is the sweat that permeates the helmet pads and the styrofoam (that's what EPS is). I wash my helmet about every other month, especially the helmet straps. I routinely wash the helmet pads every month.

I buy helmets with internal reinforcement, the cheapest one that has this is the Bell Furio (my medium weighs 272 grams). The Pneumo use to have helmet-specific replacement pads in the box, but not any longer - however, the Atmos has helmet replacement pads when you purchase it. A medium size Pneumo weighs 292 grams (without that funky visor), it's lighter than the Bell Ghisallo which weighs 316 grams, but the Ghisallo has helmet-specific replacement pads.

I wear out helmets in about 3 years. The problem with buying a Pneumo, the shop doesn't have the helmet-specific pads, so you call Giro and their policy about small details is godawful - it almost rivals Scott (the ski division) with their disdain for the loyal customer.
The pads you get in the new Pneumo can pad any helmet - sort of. Now, Specialized you can get specific pads for most (past 2000) helmets.
 

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dhtucker4 said:
The problem with buying a Pneumo, the shop doesn't have the helmet-specific pads, so you call Giro and their policy about small details is godawful - it almost rivals Scott (the ski division) with their disdain for the loyal customer.
Really ? I have a 6 year old Pneumo that needed new pads. I called Giro to ORDER a set and they sent them to me free of charge.:thumbsup:
 

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wim said:
Agree with Mr. Versatile. I'm wearing a Bell Helmet I bought in 1994 and the styrofoam looks fine to me. The pads—well, the less said the better. :D
push on the foam. see what happens to it on a helmet a few years old.
then decide if you want your head in there.

the department of transportation sets guidelines on helmets for vehicles. motorcycles
also. that's why a $50 DOT-approved helmet protects like a $150 one.

if you drop it on the ground, it will no longer protect as well. they're designed to crumble,
in protecting their contents. never buy any used helmet.

i don't know if it's time, UV, alkaline from sweat, or manifest destiny. me and my friend's
foam gets really mushy after 2-3 years.
 
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