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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Go to your local Target or WallyMart and you can find road helmets made by Bell or Giro for about $20 to $40. Go to a bike shop and slightly nicer looking helmets by the same companies easily cost 10 times as much. To a layperson the look essentially the same, gray foam with a plastic exterior. I have to believe that the both offer similar levels of protection otherwise some Government agency or a class action lawsuit would be all over them. So whats the justification for charging roadies so much more than Joe Public? Are we all suckers for marketing?
 

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Short answer not much difference. Long answer is the degree of specialization, research, and benefits. Aerodynamics, customization for a specific purpose, weight, ventilation all without sacrificing protection factor in. I personally choose to use the lesser expensive ones. My commuter helmet is a $20 Schwinn. My road bike helmet is a $40 Giro. Do what you like.
 

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You can buy a mtb at walmart too. It has two wheels and shimano parts. Is it equal to what you would get at your LBS? I used to have a Schwinn Homegrown hardtail mtb that was made by Yeti. Is it the same quality Schwinn you are buying at Walmart? They were both blue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My kids use $20 Bells and I use a $200 Bell Volt. I don't buy that theres 10x more R and D and better ventilation in my helmet. Of course everyone in my club can spot a WalMart helmet a mile away so I had to spend the big bucks on the Volt. Yes I'm a bike fashion victim.
 

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It is about getting the best. If you want the best, you pay for it. You can get $16 jeans or $350 True Religion jeans. How much you spend is your choice. Life is all about choices. They continue to make more expensive products because people will buy them. Example being the new $10,000 Cervelo RCA frame. Is it that much better than a Cervelo R5 frame that can be had for 1/4 the price? Not to me, but someone will buy them.
 

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Every component in cycling has similar price scale.

$4 bottle cage or $150 bottle cage

$6 tire or $180 tire

$20 spandex or $300 bibs

...and everything in between.

Yes, a cheap helmet protects the same, as it has to meet the same standards. A pricier helmet isn't better in terms of protection but to meet the the same standards with less weight, better fit and cooling...yeah it should cost more.

But, the price scale doesn't keep pace with the actual value of each product; smart business says sell at what the market will bear and as long as there are people willing to pay 3 bills for a helmet...they will continue to be made.
 

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Because the Bike Shops rip off the public. Ask yourself, why is there so much lousy customer service from local bike shops? Because they are not all that bright. I picked up a helmet from Sports Authority store years ago and it does the job just as well as the fancy painted helmets from the bike shops and is every bit as comfortable. Go to the Bike Shops and try on the helmets and then buy the same helmet on-line. The joke is on them. My LBS charges $7 for a tube and I can get the same tube on-line for $3. They want to mark up prices that high, I don't buy from them.
 

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"To a layperson the look essentially the same"


That about sums it up...."The Look" (if you squint)...If a $20 helnet makes you happy, go for it.

Some people won't spend over $20 on a helmet.
I won't spend over $100.
Some people won't blink at $250.

Most people don'r "need" a helmet over $50.

If you don't like bike shops, buy all your stuff online, and install it yourself.
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Because the Bike Shops rip off the public. Ask yourself, why is there so much lousy customer service from local bike shops? Because they are not all that bright. I picked up a helmet from Sports Authority store years ago and it does the job just as well as the fancy painted helmets from the bike shops and is every bit as comfortable. Go to the Bike Shops and try on the helmets and then buy the same helmet on-line. The joke is on them. My LBS charges $7 for a tube and I can get the same tube on-line for $3. They want to mark up prices that high, I don't buy from them.
This guy with an axe to grind again. Yeah, we know your shop sucks and charged you a lot for a tuneup. We all know how much things cost on the internet, after all we all used the internet to find ourselves here. Don't buy tubes at the LBS; done.
 

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I spent $137 on my Catlike Whisper Plus because I liked the look of it. It had a different aesthetic appeal than the typical helmet, and I really loved the design. Unfortunately, the price I paid is what you'd expect for a sale. They're normally $200.
 

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the same reasons the lawnmowers, baseball gloves, TVs, Radios, mattresses, and on and on are cheaper at Walmart compared to places that specialize in those things.
Is there seriously something you just picked up on and need to have explained?
 

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They cost so much because they know can charge it and they know they will sell.

I think the sweet spot for helmet prices is between $90 to $125, anything beyond that buys you nothing other then a bunch of fancy words and maybe a wee bit lighter, any below that and you sacrifice cooling, weight, looks, and durability. But if you watch the internet for sales you can find expensive helmet fairly cheap; my Lazer helmet retailed for $130 and got it for $45 on model closeout. I would never pay full retail for a helmet, or other stuff that I buy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Actually I don't begrudge the LBS from trying to make a living. I know that if they sell it for $200 it costs them $100. They have to make ends meet just like us and after paying wages, rent, utilities, taxes etc their actual profit margin isn't that great. It's pure economies of scale why Walmart can sell everything so much cheaper, I get that. I'm just ranting because the companies have suckered me into buying the blingiest bike, components and accessories that are 10x more expensive than the entry level stuff which basically serve the same purpose.
 

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If I took a Walmart bike and compared it to say, a Trek 1.5 (10X the price or thereabouts), I can clearly see and feel the difference in quality and how the Trek could benefit my riding. If I took that same entry level Trek and compared it to my Crown Jewel, same thing, the IF has appreciable quality advantages that could benefit my riding.

Now if I took my $20 Bell helmet and compared it to a $200 Bell (10x the price), well, I can feel the difference in my wallet and nowhere else. Maybe I'm just not fast enough to see the aero and cooling advantages.
 

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If I took a Walmart bike and compared it to say, a Trek 1.5 (10X the price or thereabouts), I can clearly see and feel the difference in quality and how the Trek could benefit my riding. If I took that same entry level Trek and compared it to my Crown Jewel, same thing, the IF has appreciable quality advantages that could benefit my riding.

Now if I took my $20 Bell helmet and compared it to a $200 Bell (10x the price), well, I can feel the difference in my wallet and nowhere else. Maybe I'm just not fast enough to see the aero and cooling advantages.
Yup, sums it up pretty much. You get what you pay for in most instances meaning if you pay a lot more for an item it is usually much better quality and noticeable. But there are exceptions where there is no noticeable difference and marketing gimmicks are used to grab more of your money.

The helmets for 10x the price of other helmets have prettier designs on them. Who knows, maybe the pretty helmets are safer.
 

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the same reasons the lawnmowers, baseball gloves, TVs, Radios, mattresses, and on and on are cheaper at Walmart compared to places that specialize in those things.
Is there seriously something you just picked up on and need to have explained?
Major appliances, and power equipment, are often built to different (and cheaper) specs for the big box stores. I learned that to my dismay when I bought a Vermont Castings gas grill from Home Cheapos, and it didn't last two seasons. Couldn't get the parts to repair it because the originals were non-standard.
 

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The markup for helmets in the LBS is ridiculous, it is gouging. I think the OP is trying to make this point.
Yes, you must be right. This of course explains why SO many people get SO rich running bike shops. They're not low markup shops like Apple or Starbucks, no sir. Bike shops are the robber barrons of our time. And now back to reality.
 
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