Consumer Reports Publishes
A helmet article on the web - 2012
Summary: Consumer Reports tested bike helmets in 2012 and rated 13 models. Only two rated above average
in impact protection: Specialized Echelon and the Bontrager Solstice Youth from Trek. In addition to those two, CU
checkrated the Bontrager Circuit, Louis Garneau Baristo and Bell Array. Two of the tested helmets were rated Poor for
impact: Nutcase Streetsport 8 Ball and Bern Brighton. The full report including ventilation ratings and more is
available to web subscribers , and in the July edition of the print magazine.
published a report on bicycle helmets on their web page in May, 2012. The models rated include 9
adult helmets, three youth helmets and one toddler model. Although that is a tiny sample of the hundreds of models on the
market, their ratings are the only independent lab test data publicly available.
You must be a Consumer Reports website subscriber to see
the ratings on their web page. You can also find the report in the July print edition, available at libraries or
Impact Test Results
Once again, none of the helmets rated Excellent for impact protection. The Bontrager Solstice
Youth and Specialized Echelon rated Very Good, with most others rated as Good: Bontrager Circuit, Louis Garneau Baristo,
Bell Array, Giro Indicator, Bell Muni, Giro Reverb, Bell Strata Youth, Schwinn Thrasher Youth and Bern Nino. Two were
rated Poor: Nutcase Street Sport 8 Ball and Bern Brighton. both are skate-style bike helmets. Those two did not meet the
impact testing at the level of the CPSC standard.
We focus on the impact tests as CU's biggest contribution to consumer information, and our key criterion for helmet
choice. But we recognize that almost all helmets regardless of price are designed to the same impact standard, and not to
exceed it by very much. We do not think the difference between CU's Good and Very Good rating is that significant. But
the Poor impact test rating is definitely cause for concern, and makes the helmet unacceptable.
The Louis Garneau Baristo rated Excellent, and rated a Best Buy. Most others rated Good.
Only the Bontrager models rated Excellent for strap adjustments. They are sold at Trek bike
What We Missed
This article is worth a look if you are researching a new helmet, although the number of helmets
included was very small. Most of the models are available only in bike stores, leaving out the millions of helmets sold
in discount stores. There were no Bell True Fit models
tested, the only major advance in helmet
fitting in the past decade. But testing is expensive, and no single lab, including the US Government, can afford to test
every helmet on the market. Our own listing of helmets for this season
is much more
comprehensive, but has no lab test results for impact performance, limiting its usefulness.
The Consumer Reports test lab
The Consumer Reports
test lab is highlighted in this video
on their website. It does not cover all
of the testing, but gives you an idea of how it is done. The equipment in the video is typical of many helmet test
labs. There are other fitting and buying tips as well.