Consumer Reports Publishes
A helmet article on the web
Summary: Consumer Reports has published its best report on bicycle helmets in recent years. CU rated 23 models.
They gave excellent impact protection ratings to the Scott Arx Plus, Bontrager Circuit, Lazer Cyclone, Poc Trabec, Louis
Garneau Sharp, Giro Reverb and Raskullz Mohawk. A Cannondale was rated as a Don't Buy Safety Risk after questionable
Impact protection ratings
The Consumers Union lab tested and rated 23 models. They gave excellent impact
protection ratings to the Scott Arx Plus, Bontrager Circuit, Lazer Cyclone, Poc Trabec, Louis Garneau Sharp, Giro Reverb
and Raskullz Mohawk. Most others were Very Good, and the single lowest-ranked Good model (Bern Macon EPS) would still
pass the CPSC standard.
We focus on the impact tests as CU's biggest contribution to consumer information, and our key criterion for helmet
choice. Most helmets regardless of price are designed to the same impact standard, and not to exceed it by very much. CU
provides the only publicly published window to those who do.
Interestingly, the only tested helmet with a radically different liner, the Smith Forefront, scored only Very Good, lower
than seven helmets with standard EPS foam liners.
Fit is our second key criterion, and CU rated excellent the Scott Arx Plus, Smith Forefront, Bell Array and Bontrager
Solstice Youth. Rated Poor were the Giro Reverb, Razor V17 and Raskullz Mohawk.
Only the Specialized Echelon rated Excellent for ventilation. Again the Smith Forefront, with a liner partially made of
hollow Koroyd[tm] straws, was rated only Good. Eight models rated Poor.
CU has a sidebar with the helmets they recommend for various needs: Customizable fit, ventilation, pricey but worth it,
cheap and safe, lightweight, multisport. We would begin with the best impact performers, eliminate those with poor
ventilation and try the remaining ones for best fit.
We did not agree with the CU rejection of the Cannondale's Teramo because it that helmet apparently passes the CPSC
standard strap test. We have a page up on that
. A video on the CU website presented the broken
buckles and the Cannondale response. CU reported the buckles to CPSC, but there was no recall of the Cannondale helmets,
the most telling indicator that the helmets meet the relevant standard. The CU test was not much more severe than the
standard, but the standard already requires a very strong strap.
CU did a good job of discussing recent concussion concerns and the state of the art in helmet design. They dispensed with
the MIPS technology claims in a very level-headed assessment.
What We Missed
This is CU's best recent helmet article and certainly worth a look if you are researching a new helmet, although the
number of helmets included was 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
much more comprehensive, but has no lab test results for impact performance, severely limiting its usefulness.
Here is a link to our reviews of previous Consumer Reports