Heads up: this post contains an explicit number of puns.
Over the years, we’ve collected a small collection of cracked, ugly, laughable, and scary helmets people have left with us after buying a new one. I hung them all up in the Ride Away Room the other day and it got me thinking.
I often say “Helmets are more comfortable and less ugly than they have every been.” I believe that statement, even though some companies insist on developing newer and uglier options all the time. This post is not about whether or not you should wear a helmet, this is about whether or not you should get a new helmet.
The answer is generally “yes”, and not just because we sell them.
The myths around helmet lifespans vary, but the generally accepted lifespan is five years. It has been rumored that UV rays break down the styrofoam, or your sweat erodes away the adhesives (gross), or the foam “off-gases”. These are all myths. It boils down to the simple fact that after 5 years of regular use, most manufacturers cannot guarantee the helmet will do what it has to do when it has to do it. Five years of tossing it in the car, dropping it after a hard ride, throwing it at farm dogs, and letting the kids play with it can take its toll. Here are some other yes or no questions to help you determine whether you’re in the market:
Do you dislike wearing your helmet?
Is your helmet uncomfortable?
Do you have the same helmet your parents gave you when you were 6?
Do you have to use foam padding you bought at a craft store to make it fit right?
Have you dropped your helmet a number of times?
Have you hit your helmet in a crash?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time for a new helmet.
If you answered “yes” to that last question, you might be in luck!
A friend of NCC recently took a spill and brought in his cracked helmet for replacement. He wasn’t happy about having to replace it, but he was happy the helmet did its job. The conversation about “crash replacement policies” that ensued with the group of people present was interesting. Some people thought you get a 50% discount, some thought 25%, some thought 100%.
Every brand handles crash replacement differently. Our friend, we’ll call him Leo, had a Lazer 02 helmet; one of our best-sellers. Lazer’s policy is a 25% discount on a new helmet if the helmet is crashed during the original owner. You don’t have to buy the same model, but you do have to buy another Lazer, and it has to go through the bike shop. He took the opportunity to upgrade to an even better Lazer model.
We sell Lazer and Bontrager helmets. Bontrager’s Crash Replacement Policy is even better! If in the first year of ownership the helmet is cracked as a result of a crash, Bontrager will replace it for FREE. See!
I think both companies are pretty cool for offering these programs. You might ask yourself “Well, why don’t I just take a hammer to my helmet every so often so I can get a discount or a free replacement?” To which we would answer, “Because you’re not a jerk.”
Bontrager and Lazer both offer full lines of helmets for all styles of riders. We also have access to Giro and Kask helmets (upon request). Bontrager makes our best seller, the Quantum, and our lightest helmet, the Velocis.
There is some incredible technology coming along for bike helmets, and we’re eagerly hoping people will embrace them enough for us to bring them in. Before I share some of those new technologies, let me make clear that all of our helmets meet or surpass the current SPSC and Snell standards and these new concepts are simply offering added protection and connectivity.
One new technology that is being made available in some helmets is MIPS technology. MIPS is a system designed to reduce the chances of concussion by addressing rotational impact. Lazer features MIPS on select Beam, Helium, and Nut’z (youth) models.
Connectivity is turning heads in the helmet field, too. Lazer is offering their Genesis helmet with an integrated heart-rate monitor called Lifebeam. And while we don’t have these integrated in our helmets, we think the ICEdot technology is pretty smart. You can affix the ICEdot to any helmet, sync it up, and in the occasion of a crash, it will alert your emergency contacts of your location.
If you want to get ahead of the curve and replace your helmet for any reason, we’re offering a 20% off special on any instock Bontrager and Lazer helmets. Both companies feature great fit systems, comfortable padding, good ventilation, and surpass current testing standards. Simply mention this post to get the discount.