An oft said answer to this question is this: “What is your head really worth?” It is much easier to justify the price of a helmet once you see it from the perspective of life or death, and this isn’t a joke – many people die because they neglected to get a good helmet. And while we recognize that not every rider needs a top-of-the-line helmet from the likes of Schuberth, Shoei, Arai and Bell, not everybody needs to get a second mortgage to pay for their helmet (that was a joke, by the way).
So, if you’ve read any of the other guides on this site, you’ll know that helmets have various features that can drastically affect their price. If you need a helmet with a removable liner, a flip-up sun visor, and a Snell rating, get ready to make it rain because it’ll cost you. On a positive note, you can still get comparable helmets from brand name companies that give you the safety and quality you want by only sacrificing a few luxuries and non-essential features, and having none of the bells and whistles the absolute best have.
When it comes down to it, you are the one who will ultimately choose how much to spend, and we can’t force you to fork out all your cash. However, we hope to have given you some insight on the various types of safety ratings, types of helmets, and other common features so that you can make your decision confidently.
When should I replace my helmet?
Sorry to burst your bubble (especially after that whole forking over your cash thing), but helmets don’t last forever. Actually, they last for only one crash. Whether that crash happens the next day after purchasing, or never, is what will dictate your helmet’s life span (helmets should still be replaced after 5 years even without any incidents). However, there are still a few things you should know.
The EPS liner found internally (the foam padding between the shell and comfort liner) is designed to collapse and breakdown and absorb the place of impact on the helmet. So with that in mind, does having a minor incident or simply dropping the helmet mean it’s ruined? Unfortunately, no one can say for sure. That’s really up to you if you want to take the gamble or not.
Mentioned above, even without any accidents, you should still get a new helmet every 5 years. And keep in mind, that time frame is for a good helmet. Uncle Bill’s old tin bucket helmet from the 80s is definitely not good enough to be used anymore. But really, why does this happen? This is because the EPS liner slowly loses its structural integrity over the years, and will no longer provide the same padding as it once could in the event of an accident.