Monday, May 19, 2008

9 How Bicycle Helmets Are Made

In a previous post, we looked at how bicycle helmets protect the head. Now lets look at how they're produced. Surely any helmet design will look good on paper but effectively manufacturing it under cost and time constraints is entirely another thing. But I must admit I have something against the way that shell and foam are attached, as in taped (watch the video)! Of course, there are other ways to piece them together. Bell uses what they term 'co-molding'. That drop test also seems insufficient, keeping in mind the many scenarios in which a cyclist can crash. Video courtesy of user RameshKumar123.

Now one wonders how popular cycling helmets out there are so expensive. Does R&D and testing take up the costs or are there more factors involved? And what is so state-of-the-art about the latest research on bicycling helmets? Isn't the same knowledge used pretty much year after year or is it otherwise? Marketing trendiness of "pro-helmets" with a thousand vents must also be near the top of the list for the hefty price tags. Feel free to drop a comment.


How Bicycle Helmets Are Made


  1. Anonymous4:55 PM

    Often cheaper helmets do they same job, have the same standards and are sometimes even lighter than some top of the line models. In the end, a crash will render both useless whether it was 35 dollars or 200.

  2. That's not the actual crash test. They do the actual crash testing when they're designing the helmet. That's just a quality control test, or "conformity" test as the video stated.

  3. How old is that video??

    Related to your question of cost-- how is it that the majority of helmets are now made in China yet they still cost the same. Bigger profits for Bell/Giro?

  4. Anonymous7:13 PM

    Interesting video thanks for sharing. But I won't be queuing up at the shop for the helmet they show here. Not quite my style :-)

  5. Yeah this video is old. Did anyone notice reference to Louis Garneau, towards the end of the video.

  6. Anonymous6:48 AM

    I just got a new helemt, a Bell. It seems, like apparel and bikes, the less there is the more you pay!

  7. I was just looking at getting a new helmet. I understand it's suggested to get a new helmet every 5 years. Have you heard this?

  8. Don : I'm not aware of any such rule, unless the helmet has taken a hard spill couple of times. Eitherways, most people do end up buying newer helmets over time as fads change, don't they?

  9. >I understand it's suggested to get a new helmet every 5 years. Have you heard this?

    I think that's a cross-over from motorbiking, where it's reccommended that you replace your helmet something like every 3-5 years. There are arguments made that the foam degrades, though I think the only scientifically accepted cause of this is UV exposure, which will clearly depend on how much you use the helmet.

    Regardless, my helmet usually gets small dents and marks in the foam from being stored, transported and used. I think I've probably brought a new helmet every year for the past 5-6 years, but this is more because I get the itch to try something new than anything else.


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