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After four years of sweat, sun, etc., you might want a new helmet just for cleanliness' sake(or at least replace the padding). But wouldn't the structural integrity of the helmet remain solid? I don't know, I'm just guessing it would be fine.

I replaced mine after a few years. Mine was a lower-end model, and the new ones today have much nicer attachment/tightening devices. Definitely worth the money.
 

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RoadBikeReview's Member
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BrokenSpoke said:
Bell helmets used to recommend every two years due to the degradation of the liner due to sun, pollution, sweat, etc... I don't know if it is still on there website but it is a guidline I still follow.
It says in their books that come with the helmet to get a new one every 2-3 years.
I got a new helmet in February, and sat down to read the instruction manual, cuz they're so funny at times :p
gotta love the disclaimers
-estone2
 

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Resident Dutchbag
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The softeners in the plastic shell degrade under the influence of ultra violet radiation making it brittle. it can then absorb less energy when you crash transferring more of it to your noggin. If you ride in say, Arizona your helmet gets "bad" earlier than when you ride in more cloudy whereabouts and it depends of course how much you ride. There's too many variables to say it will last X years but as time passes your helmet will get less safe and horribly unfashionable. If you feel like you are wearing a UFO it's definitely time to get a new one. ;)
 

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rogger said:
The softeners in the plastic shell degrade under the influence of ultra violet radiation making it brittle. it can then absorb less energy when you crash transferring more of it to your noggin. If you ride in say, Arizona your helmet gets "bad" earlier than when you ride in more cloudy whereabouts and it depends of course how much you ride. There's too many variables to say it will last X years but as time passes your helmet will get less safe and horribly unfashionable. If you feel like you are wearing a UFO it's definitely time to get a new one. ;)
I thought it was the foam and not the colored plastic on top of the foam that took most of the impact?
 

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Speedi Pig said:
How often do you replace a helmet that's never been crashed?

I've got one that's coming up on 4 years. Just gotta wonder what all of that sun, weather, and sweat have done to it.
This question comes up ALL the time. On the one hand you have the manufacturers and worriers saying "every 2 years, no question." It's usually presented something like rogger says where "something" in the plastic "wears out" and so the helment no longer works. On the other hand, you have some actual studies and practical experience that says you should replace it when it wears out. Examples of a worn out helmet would be a discolored shell, the foam getting all beat up and punky, straps fraying, pads no longer sticking, bad smells that won't go away even after washing, etc. I think WABA (Washington Area Bicycle Association) has some rational advice on their web site. 4 years of use with mega miles in high altitude, a lot of physical abuse in the trunk during transport, a corrosive sweater, and so on may mean the helmet is way past the sell-by date. 4 years of not many evening miles, never banged around, all hardware in good shape probably means that you have many more years of use.
 

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chuckice said:
the foam is the life saver...

The cracking of the shell takes away a lot of the energy, take the foam out of an old helmet and give it a good bang, then bang at a bunch of foam and note the difference. Not very scientific, but it's a good excuse to drink a few beers.
 

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zooog said:
This 2 year rule is quite funny....:)
Funny or not, it's my head inside the helmet. Having raced motorcycles for 15 years and raced bicycles for 18 years ( and tested the crash worthyness of more helmets than I would like to ) I follow a replacement plan that I am comfortable with. Ignore it if you like as it's your head.
 

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Downhill Juggernaut
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Mark McM said:
This question was posed to two helmet manufacturers in this Lennerd Zinn article from Inside Tri.

Summary:

Giro: Every 3 to 5 years.
Limar: Replace it when it breaks.

Real answer: Nobody knows. It is not in the interest of anybody who has the money or ability to perform such research to actually do it.
Something Limar does well. They replaced my 707 with a beautiful 907 after my crash.
 

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Since decent stylish helmets can be had from $80 to $180 I think they should be replaced often. If you live in the S.W., I'd say every 2 - 3 weeks. In cloud laden Ohio where I am, maybe every 5-6 weeks. :rolleyes: That's probably a good time-table for replacing your C.F. frame:D too.
 
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