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Bicycle Helmets for the 2001 Season

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Here is the current year




Summary: Our review of helmets being sold in 2001. Trends first, then individual models. Index to manufacturers last. See this page for more recent years.




Trends for 2001


Helmet lines for 2001 showed few real improvements over the 2000 season. Prices are trending slightly upward, particularly in the mass merchant channel. Demand for bicycles improved during 2000, and helmet sales increased as well, by perhaps 20 per cent. From the consumer's point of view there are very protective helmets out there for reasonable prices, and very stylish ones for a few dollars more.

All helmets manufactured for the US market after March 10, 1999 must meet the national CPSC standard. Very few of the older ones are still on sale. We recommend looking for a helmet that:

    1. Meets the CPSC standard. (Look for the sticker inside)

    2. Fits you well.

    3. Has a rounded, smooth exterior with no snag points.

    4. Has no more vents than you need.

Some of the better ones were identified in the most recent Consumer Reports helmet article back in 1999, but most models on the market were not tested for the article and few are still being sold.

Beware of skateboard helmets with no CPSC sticker inside. Some of them look exactly like a bike/skate multipurpose helmet from the outside, but the foam inside is not designed for the impacts a bicycle rider should expect. Be sure to look for a CPSC sticker before using a skate-style helmet for bicycling!




Trends: Vents are still big, but
sharp lines may be softening


Vents are still big!

A major theme for the last three years has been more and larger air vents. Manufacturers tout the number of vents in their helmets, a meaningless parameter that we will not even mention in the descriptions below. If all else were equal, more vents would be a Good Thing, but as usual all else is not equal. Opening up larger vents usually requires harder, more dense foam and squaring off the edges of the remaining foam ribs to squeeze out the most impact protection possible from the narrower pieces still there. Since we believe that rounder shells and less dense foam are virtues in a crash, we don't recommend hyper-vented helmets unless you really need the added ventilation. See our rant on this subject titled Vents and Square Lines: Problems with some designs.


Fewer designs are squared-off

The fashion among helmet designers in recent years has favored squared-off edges of the foam remaining around the vents, and the addition of sharp lines in the exterior plastic just for style. The elongated "aero" shape has dominated in the upscale models as well. The aero shape is a less than optimal design for crashing. Fortunately we saw some moderation of this trend in the helmets for 2000, and that has continued this year. Rounder shells reduce any tendency for a helmet to snag on the surface when you hit. They also eliminate the aero tail that can shove the helmet aside as you hit, exposing your bare head. Here is the symbol of the campaign we have been conducting for rounder, smoother helmets:

Rounder, Smoother, Safer Button

We are not so naive as to believe that is has worked, Our reasons for avoiding helmets with squared-off lines are also on our page titled Vents and Square Lines: Problems with some designs.


More Trends

Other trends this year include a continued but disappointingly slow movement toward brighter colors, mirroring what is happening in bike colors, bike clothing and automotive colors. Visors continue to lose ground, as manufacturers have not found them particularly profitable. They had been used in prior years to promote a meaningless difference between visorless "road" helmets and visored "mountain bike" helmets. The distinction is largely artificial, since both types of helmets are designed to the same standard and in most cases both will be used at times for the other type of riding.

Another continuing trend is packaging helmets with other accessories, particularly in the skate market, where a number of manufacturers have knee pads and wrist protectors with their "multi-sport" helmets. Most of those multisport helmets are certified to the same CPSC bicycle helmet standard as a normal bicycle helmet. The list of those certified to Snell's N-94 multi-purpose standard is still very short.

A trend that would normally not be apparent to the consumer is that during 2000 many manufacturers moved their production to Asia. Many helmets for the US market are now coming from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and soon from India. The disadvantages of high transportation costs have been overwhelmed by the rising cost of factory labor in the US. Asian manufacturers and tool producers have improved their ability to produce helmets. Some quality control concerns remain, however. Under CPSC rules the US manufacturer or importer is responsible for ensuring that a bicycle helmet imported here meets the CPSC standard. But other types of helmets, labeled for skating, snow sports or some other activity other than bicycling, can potentially be imported by someone who is not too careful about certification and quality control standards. Some manufacturers dealing with the move to Asia have limited the number of new models for 2001 until the new arrangements are functioning smoothly.


New Technology

To date we have not seen any exciting new materials or major advances in technology in this year's helmet lines. Even the perennial rumors of "miracle" impact foams have been quiet this year, although major manufacturers continue to research them actively. No manufacturer has yet achieved the self-fitting helmet that is today's most critical need. (We have more on that on our page on the ideal helmet.) The most novel new feature introduced this year was a spoiler found on Limar's F-105 Triathlon model. Your Porsche has a spoiler, so why not your helmet?


Bell Still Covers the Largest Heads

The Bell Kinghead is still the only choice if you are one of the small minority of riders needing a helmet to fit up to size 8 1/4 with a maximum circumference of 29.5 inches. (Most people can turn it sideways.) See our page on very large helmets for details.


Standards

In March of 1999 the US Consumer Product Safety Commission bicycle helmet standard became law. Bicycle helmets manufactured for the US market after March 10, 1999 are required to meet that standard by law. That took most of the steam out of the standards issue. But there are two reasons to continue to look for the standards sticker. First, there may still be a few older models out there manufactured before 1999 that do not meet the CPSC standard, and can still be legally sold. You find them on the dusty bargain tables. We have seen the $85 list price 1998 Bell Evo Pro at $30, for example. Some of those older helmets may be good buys. If they meet the ASTM F-1447 standard they would be very close to meeting CPSC.

In addition, since the CPSC standard applies only to bicycle helmets, there are other helmets on the market that don't meet it, but just are careful not to say they are for bicycling. They can be for skating, skateboarding, surfing or tiddlywinks, as long as they are not labeled for bicycling. They can even be identical on the outside to a bike helmet made by the same manufacturer, sold in bike shops or in discount stores on the same shelf as the bicycle helmets, with the same packaging and only the wording on the sticker inside and on the box different. So a measure of "buyer beware" is still required. We recommend that you look for a sticker inside the helmet saying it meets the CPSC standard. If it is not there, pass it up.

Even when you do find the CPSC sticker, there is a very small risk that the helmet does not actually meet the standard. Several manufacturers have had recalls in the past year, mostly of skateboard-style helmets that also had a CPSC sticker attached. See this page for info on that. Unfortunately, CPSC refuses to release their lab test data, even when we pressed under a FOIA request. (By contrast, the Department of Transportation publishes at least the bare bones of their test data for their motorcycle helmets on the Web.) Without any lab test data at all, we are really stuck with just the manufacturer's label saying they meet the CPSC standard, unless the helmet is certified by Snell or SEI, or if it happens to be included in the limited selection tested by Consumer Reports every other year.

In addition to the legally-required CPSC sticker, the independent Snell Memorial Foundation's Snell B-95 sticker is an even better indicator of quality, since Snell tests helmets in their own labs. Snell also has an ongoing test program where they buy helmets in the market for follow up testing. But most of the "Snell" helmets on the market meet only Snell's B-90 standard, comparable to CPSC. Snell's N-94 multipurpose standard is even better, but only a few manufacturers have models certified to it. We can't explain all those B-numbers to most consumers, so we no longer make a big point of telling people to look for a Snell sticker. You can find more info on the Snell Web site if you need it.

The Safety Equipment Institute is another independent organization certifying bicycle helmets, this time to the CPSC standard. So you don't have to take just the manufacturer's word for it if there is an SEI sticker in the helmet. Unfortunately, not many manufacturers are using their program now that the CPSC standard is legally required. Here is their list, with only a couple of helmets on it, none from major bike helmet manufacturers.


Consumer Reports Picks

The most recent article on helmets in Consumer Reports was in June, 1999. They awarded their highest impact protection rating to the Globe model from Louis Garneau (see below). They had previously rated the Globe as a Best Buy. But the top rating went to a discontinued Bell model, the EVO-2 Pro. We would favor the helmet with the best impact protection, if it fits you well and the ventilation is adequate. We were more impressed with some of Louis Garneau's other models, but apparently CU did not test others. We did like the very bright yellow that is one of the Globe's available colors.

Globe helmet

You can find the helmet article on the Consumer Reports Web Site, but it will cost you a fee or a paid subscription. Otherwise, read it in your local library, or check out our brief summary. Since it was based on helmets for the 1999 season, most of the models rated are no longer available.



The Helmets



ABUS

Abus is a German company better known as a manufacturer of high-security padlocks. But they also have a line of bicycle helmets including seven for kids or toddlers, and nine for adults. The Web site says they meet German and European standards, so you may not see them in the US unless they can meet the more stringent CPSC standard too. We have not seen their 2001 line in person, so we can't comment on their ratcheting chin fastener, which may be unique.


Action Bicycle

The Hard Head line of helmets is produced for Action Bicycle by Strategic Sports in Hong Kong. Their models include the Acclaim, an otherwise standard adult helmet with visor and rear stabilizer that has an internal headband for size adjustment and retails for $35. Other models include a full face BMX helmet for $80, a child helmet at $20, and a skateboard helmet that retails for $36, or $40 in full chrome.


Advent

We have not actually seen the Advent line since 1998. At that time they had a line with four ASTM/SEI certified helmets, including the z-Jet, Z-Fire with rear stabilizer, zbop and the child's Peekaboo. We do not yet have any info on their 2001 models.


AGV

See Fox below.


Alpha Helmets

Alpha helmets are made by Mien Yow Industries Ltd. in Taiwan. They have a line of well-rounded models led by the complex-looking Vortex and including one model with a flashing led taillight built in. For 2001 they also have the C-Tec, with squared-off ribs but a rounded shape overall. Alpha helmets are made of EPS foam, rather than the EPU generally favored in Taiwan. Shells are glued on rather than molded in. The manufacturer says their retail prices run in the $35 range. Alpha also makes skating, hockey and batting helmets. Their skate helmet is certified to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and retails for $30.


Answer Products

Answer Racing has the same two BMX racing helmets for 2001, with updated graphics.
  • M8: a smooth and well-rounded full face helmet with carbon/kevlar shell. No vents. It unfortunately has a bolted on visor, a potential snag point, but is certified to the tough Snell M-95 and DOT motorcycle standards.
  • M6: a smooth and well-rounded full face helmet with a polycarbonate shell and lower price than the M8. No vents, bolted on visor. Certified to the Snell M-95 and DOT motorcycle standards.
Answer's helmets are made in Korea by KBC for Performance Bicycle Components.


Atlas

Atlas is a Swedish manufacturer. They have an XS child helmet that fits heads as small as 17.8 inches in diameter that they say will fit children as young as six months (not recommended!--see this page). We have not seen them in the US and their Web site does not indicate they meet the CPSC standard, so they may not be available here, although some of their descriptions say the helmet meets the old ANSI standard and the ASTM standard. Their Hot Shot adult helmet appears to be a very nicely rounded design, with a glued on shell, that they say meets the ASTM standard, but again without mention of CPSC. Their Sport model appears to have a rigid visor, which could be a potential snagging hazard. They managed to add a rear ridge on their otherwise well-rounded A.X.S skate helmet that is certified only to the European standard, but described as " Quite simply a helmet that can withstand almost anything."


Azonic

Azonic/Santa Cruz/O'Neal USA has two hard shell, no-vent full face helmets with removable inner liners for cleaning. Both have large, sturdy, bolted-on visors, a potential snagging hazard. The 541 model was redesigned for 2000. It has a polycarbonate shell and meets the Snell motorcycle helmet standard (M-95), therefore exceeding by a wide margin the DOT motorcycle helmet standard and by an even wider margin any bicycle helmet standard in the world. It weighs 3 pounds and costs $120. (We could not find it on the Snell list, however, and would have to assume that it is made by another company who had it certified by Snell under their own name.) The Azonic price list shows a "kid" size 541 retailing for $100. Azonic's other model, with O'Neal graphics, is lighter, with construction described as "fiberglass and a space age blend of Carbon-Kevlar." It retails for about $150. The AZX has its heavy ABS visor bolted on with two bolts, a potential snagging hazard.


Bell

Bell is the dominant company in the bicycle helmet market, with perhaps as much as 70 per cent of the world market, almost certainly over half. (Annual sales including non-helmet products are running at the level of $244 million.) They have introduced three new models for 2001. Bell has a new rear stabilizer on some models using a small wheel for adjustment similar to the system Cratoni and Louis Garneau have been using for several years. Some models have Bell's no-pinch buckle, a nice design with a tab behind it that keeps the skin from getting in while you push the two pieces together.

At the top of Bell's line are their molded-in-the-shell models, called the Fusion Series. For the 2001 year all are hyper-ventilated and all have rear stabilizers. Unfortunately they dropped the Rubicon/Envy Pro model that had been the best rounded of their high-end helmets. Among them:

  • X-Ray Pro Bell's new top of the line features a top and bottom outer shell. It is a hyper-ventilated model with long vents and a two-point rear overhang that presents a potential snag hazard. It has Bell's new rear stabilizer that tightens by turning a small geared wheel. It also has new visor attachments, with small plugs to cover the holes when the visor is off. One of the nicer colors is a bright orange. Again this year Bell's top of the line would not be our choice due to the external profile. Retail price will be $100, about $25 less than last year's top Bell helmet.
  • Phi Pro: The Phi (pronounced "Fie" by Bell) was the top of Bell's line in 2000, and features the top and bottom outer shell. It is a hyper-ventilated model with long vents and a pointy rear overhang that presents a potential snag point. It does not have a visor. This year's colors are red, gray and light blue. The retail price is $100, down $25 from last year.
  • Nemesis 2 Pro: A 1998 design with huge vents and the unfortunately squared-off ribs and large rear overhang to go with them. For 2001 the Nemesis 2 has retained the white model and has new color combinations, including a maple leaf "Oh Canada" model with very bright colors that should make it show up well on the road. The retail price this year is $80, down $5 from last year. It also is sold as the Vengeance Pro without the visor for $70.
  • Image 2000 Pro: Last year's complete redesign of the old Image Pro. The shape is marred by one of the worst rear shelf overhangs in Bell's line. Has a visor with mounting points that "snap" into the shell. Again this year the price is considerably below the top models at only $65, down $10 from last year. The non-visor Esprit version has been dropped for 2001.

Bell's lower-cost helmets are produced with the shell glued on and taped at the edge rather than fused in the mold. Since that design gains less strength from the shell, the vents have to be a little smaller, but should be entirely adequate for almost all riders. Prices for older models are lower this year.

  • Aquila Pro: A new design for 2001, with three points in the rear. It has a new sliding fastener retention system and a snap in visor. Comes in white, tangerine, blue and black.
  • Paradox Pro: Large vents, and a nicely rounded shape except for a pronounced rear shelf point. Suggested retail with visor is $40, the same as last year. There is a nice bright yellow model, plus blue and gray. Or you can have the same helmet without the visor as the Solair Pro for only $30. It has the lowest weight of any of Bell's adult models at an advertised 8.9 oz. The Paradox also comes in a "youth" version with different graphics as the Stryker Pro, $40 with visor or as the Blast Pro without visor for $30. The Blast can be had as a bright pink "in bloom" model and a part-orange "fire dragon" model, both with Pinchguard buckle.
  • Kinghead Pro: This $30 helmet has a beautifully rounded exterior. It is highly recommended for those who fit it, but it is made only in Extra Large for riders with head sizes up to 8 1/4 (25.9 inches around). It is still the only bicycle helmet made for those with very large heads. We had asked numerous manufacturers to make this helmet, but only Bell stepped up to the plate. This is Bell's contribution to consumer safety, not corporate profits, since the helmet will fit only a very small number of riders, and is never expected to make the company any money. If you need a very large helmet, you can contact a Bell dealer, or check out mail order outlets on the Internet, since we have yet to see any Bell publicity for the Kinghead.
  • Amigo Pro: A new design in 2000, a helmet for kids that is built like the one their parents use. The very nicely rounded exterior is smoother than Bell's adult helmets. Has a rear stabilizer, and for 2001 it has a visor.
  • Li'l Bell Shell Pro: a toddler helmet with vents, previously known as the Half Pint Pro. Has such a well-rounded shape that even we have no complaints. The June, 1999 article in Consumer Reports said the Half Pint Pro was "the clear choice" for toddler helmets at that time, before the 2000 and 2001 models appeared.
  • Boomerang Pro: A 2000 model, somewhat like an Amigo, but made for toddlers, with the additional rear coverage required by the CPSC toddler helmet standard. Looks much more like an adult helmet than the Li'l Bell Shell, and is almost as well-rounded on the exterior. Cartoon graphics with a bright yellow visor. No-pinch buckle. Retail is $30.

BMX and Downhill Racing

Bell has BMX and downhill racing models in their line for 2001, all with fiberglass shells imported from China, all vented and all with the well-rounded shapes that are traditional in BMX helmets. Unfortunately they also have bolted on visors, always a potential snag point. They all resemble motorcycle helmets with vents, and weigh about two pounds. The downhill model is the Bellistic, a fiberglass model with a full chinguard. Some Bellistics were recalled in 1999 for strap problems, but there have been no further recalls. The price this year is $115, or $125 in chrome finish. The BMX models are the $125 Rhythm Pro with chinguard (the Bellistic in flashier graphics) or the $90 Qualifier Pro with an open face design.

Bell's skateboard-style helmet this year is the Trail Rider Pro, replacing the old Vert XT Pro. The Trail Rider is listed as a BMX helmet, but it has the admirably round, smooth exterior similar to the classic Pro-Tec skate helmet, with round vents on top and oval ones in the rear. It comes in chrome or four dark colors, and retails for $30.


Cheaper Bells

Bell has another entire line of low-priced helmets sold at discount stores and mass-merchant outlets. (More than one fourth of the company's sales are through Wal-Mart alone.) They are sometimes discontinued models from the bike store line, and generally have low-end graphics, chintzy fit pads and cheaper packaging. Most do not have rear stabilizers. But they are designed to the same CPSC standard, so they provide fine impact protection. The rounded profiles we consider optimum will persist in this line for years to come, since they are cheaper to produce, and the thicker foam may actually provide better impact protection than some of the sexier, thinner, more expensive Pro models. This line sells for low prices: $10 to $30. They are available to non-profits through the National Safe Kids Campaign for even less. Because of Bell's name recognition, they are among the best sellers in the low end market. (Check our page on inexpensive helmets for further info on sources of low-cost helmets from various manufacturers.) The adult models include:

  • Reflex: Bell's lowest priced model at $10. Nicely rounded, with seven small vents. Comes in black or very visible white. No rear stabilizer.
  • Sonar: For $15 you get a few more vents, more ribs on the exterior and a rear stabilizer.
  • Storm: For $25 Bell adds graphics, visor, better fit pads, their no-pinch buckle and more vents. The Synchro, Zodiac and Lynx appear similar and sell in the $25 to $30 range, some with visors and some without.
  • Vert-XT: A skate and skateboard helmet shaped like the classic Pro-Tec skate helmet, but with an EPP multi-impact liner.
Bell also produces toddler, skate and child bike helmets for the Fisher-Price brand.

Consumer Reports did not test bike helmets for the 2000 season. Among Bell's 1999 models they liked the Evo Pro 2, now discontinued.

Bell has announced a new helmet called the Ghisallo Pro for 2002, and you can see it in use in the July 2001 Tour de France. They say on their Web site that it will be available in the spring of 2002. It appears to have huge vents, but you can't tell much from a photo.

On January 25, 2000, Bell announced that riders can trade in their old helmets and get $20 off the price of a new one. The details are available on Bell's Web site.

Bell is the only helmet manufacturer who has joined the Consumer Product Safety Commission's Product Safety Circle. We are not sure how much that means in practical terms, but they have pledged to follow ten safety principles, designate a corporate safety officer and publicize their successes in implementing the principles.

In sum, Bell is still the largest bicycle helmet manufacturer. With their brand recognition they are still the one to beat.


Briko

Briko is an Italian company who began breaking into the U.S. market in 1998. They have an innovative "twin cap" construction technique bonding two separate liners to leave air channels. Their rear stabilizer design has stickers inside showing an adjustment scale on each side to make it easier to balance the two sides, and a sliding pad on each side in the back. Both of their US market models are molded in the shell, including:
  • Twinner: Three very large vents in the front set this helmet apart from any current US design, but the vents narrow considerably as they pass into the double layer liner. There is a rear shelf but it is rounded. If you are looking for something that you won't see on other riders in your club, this may be your helmet. No visor. Graphics included red, blue white or yellow with gray stripes on the sides. Retail is a very high $170.
  • Tornado: A more conventional design with multiple vents and sharp ribs, but a minimal rear shelf. Single layer, molded in the shell. Solid colors include red, blue, silver and a highly visible yellow. Retail in the US is $100.

Briko has a number of other helmets for the European market that will not be available in the US in 2001. We do not have retail pricing for them. They include:

  • Mistral: a single layer road helmet with conventional lines and conventional vents.
  • Crono: Briko's entry in the time trial/pursuit aerodynamic helmet market. These helmets are for aerodynamics, not crash protection. Has a clear plastic face shield, and comes in three graphics combinations.
  • Toronado: Single layer, conventional venting.
  • Pin Point: Single layer, taped on shell.
  • Racing Junior: conventional vents, comes in a nice yellow.



Cyclelink

Cyclelink comes from Cycle Acoustics. Their line in 2000 had a wireless intercom for bicyclists that can be mounted on the helmet, and a helmet with the two-way radio built in. The microphone boom arm had a breakaway mount, the helmet had an exceptionally smooth outer profile, and one of the models had a range up to two miles. We have not seen their line for 2001. It can be tough to pass impact standards with built-in lights or radios.


Cratoni

This German company with an Italian name has an extensive line but is concentrating on fewer models for the U.S. market. They advertise that the "soft shock" liner on some models "can absorb 25% more impact than the material used in 1996," whatever that means. They use it on the Maniac, Twister, Mountain Champ and Interceptor. Some models have a suspension system called the Head Ring with an adjustable head band similar to the old Bailen of the 1980's. Other have a "Soft Shock" liner , described in Cratoni's catalog as "25% more shock absorption - a new Cratoni exclusive helmet material. Super protection and feather light. This innovative Soft Shock material offers about 25% more impact resistance than the material used from 1996 on." (Please don't ask us what that means!) Cratoni's child models fit heads as small as 18.5 inches/47 cm and their largest adult models fit up to 24.5 inches/62 cm. Cratoni's retail prices seem considerably higher than most.

  • Maniac: A hyper-vented helmet with sharp shell lines and the usual rear shelf projection. Molded in the shell, with a lower shell and an inner shell as well. It comes in different trim as the Competition or Sport, with a very short road visor or a longer mountain bike visor. Has the Soft Shock liner. Protection in the rear comes down low enough to require an arch cutout for neck clearance. The Competition model has some nice bright colors. Retail is about $150.
  • Twister: A much better rounded helmet with fewer vents than the Maniac. Available with a visor as the Mountain Twister. Molded in the shell. We are not fond of the "lip" in the front that is billed as a molded-in road visor. Has the Soft Shock liner. Comes with a larger snap-on visor. Some nice bright colors in the Competition model. Retails for just under $100.
  • Xenon: A somewhat better-rounded helmet with many large vents. Molded in the shell, with the Head Ring adjustable headband. Should retail for about $75.
  • Mountain Champ: Next down in Cratoni's lineup looks a lot like the Xenon with fewer and smaller vents, required because it is not molded in the shell. Has the "Soft Shock" liner. Has a visor, comes in part-black, with the other part either red, yellow or blue. has mesh protecting the front vents from insects. Retails for $60. Without the visor it is designated the Champ, and may be less expensive.
  • Tourismo: A youth helmet with smoothly elongated lines and a modest rear projection. Has the Head Ring adjustable headband.
  • Evolution: We agree on the name, but to some it will appear to be a throwback. A very well-rounded smooth-shelled helmet with the Head Ring adjustable internal sizing ring. Would be well suited for a spare "guest" helmet. "Affordable." Has mesh protecting the front vents. Unfortunately, the Cratoni catalog does not list CPSC among the standards it meets, so it probably will not be available in the US market.
  • Heli: A "junior" helmet molded in the shell with visor, reasonably rounded lines and modest vents. Has the Head Ring adjustable headband. Retails for $60.
  • Fox: A child helmet with reasonable vents and the adjustable Head Ring one-size-fits-all suspension. Rounded shape but has a molded in visor. Has mesh protecting the front vents. Fits heads as small as 18.5 inches/47 cm. Retails for about $30.
  • L'il Pilot (Pilota): Another child model similar to the Fox. Has mesh protecting the front vents. According to the catalog it "meets all European Standards and even the higher standards of the US CPSC." Retail is about $38.
  • Interceptor: Cratoni's downhill racing model replacing last year's V-1, with full chinbar, a fiberglass/carbon fiber shell and a visor bolted on. It comes in some flashy graphics or solid colors and has mesh protecting the front vents. Has the Soft Shock liner. It retails for $400 (up about $100 from the V-1) or an eye-watering $600 for the special Nicolas Vouilloz model. We do not know which standards the Interceptor meets.
  • Mach 1: Cratoni's time trial and pursuit event teardrop-shaped model. Not available in the US because it "has only an aerodynamic function and is sold on special request, offers no crash protection values and has no CPSC certification."
Cratoni will replace a helmet crashed within three years of purchase for 50 per cent of the recommended retail price.

Cycle Express

Cycle Express has a girl's pink Hearts and Flowers model that was the subject of a recall during 2000. There is more detail on our recalls page.


Diamondback

Diamondback has a full line for bike dealers, including a BMX helmet with vents and a full chin bar, in sizes extra small through large, retailing for about $70. They also have a very well-rounded freestyle skating helmet with CPSC certification retailing for about $30. Their helmets are made in China.


Dreamer Design

Dreamer is a producer of the three-wheel strollers that runners use to take the kids along. They have a helmet that comes in toddler or youth sizes. The toddler model has a foam tube that covers the chin strap. Retail is $25. The catalog does not mention CPSC, but says these helmets are Snell B-90 approved. We could not find the Dreamer name on Snell's October 2000 list. These helmets are not required to meet the CPSC standard, since they are not advertised as bicycle helmets. The helmets pictured in the Dreamer Design catalog are all badly adjusted.


Ecko

Ecko has been around since the early 1980's, first in California, then Idaho, now Arizona. When we last saw their line for 1998, Ecko had BMX racing and skateboard helmets with ANSI stickers but no ASTM certification. The shells were fiberglass, with prices at $129 and $139 for the full-face model. (In December of 2000 we found them discounted to $65 and $75 for full-face.) Visors are snap on, and designed to pop off in an impact to avoid a snagging hazard. Sizing is U.S. 6 to 7 3/4. Ecko also distributes the RAD, billed as a multisport helmet. It has very small vents and a very well-rounded exterior surface, but we don't know what standards it might meet. We have not seen their 2001 line yet.


Edge

We have not seen the Edge line for 2001. In fact, their Web site appears to be shut down in December of 2000, and we found them only on the Web page of an Australian distributor. They had the Odyssey for 1999, a hyper-vented helmet molded in the shell with a nice round profile produced at that time by US Foam Co and certified by Snell to its B-90 standard. It retailed for $85. The others in their line are BMX helmets by Troy Lee Designs, with hot graphics and the usual bolted-on visors that we do not recommend. The TL COMP-RF has a removable chin bar and can be found with a chrome finish, while the similar non-chrome model is much less expensive. The TLCOMP, a BMX helmet without face protection, retailed for $120.

Epsira Oy (Knock)

Epsira Oy is the Finnish manufacturer of Knock helmets, advertised as CE approved and in one case as meeting the Swedish standard. They are supplied to such organizations as the Finnish postal service (in very visible yellow). Their 2001 designs appear to have nicely rounded contours. One previous model had reflective straps, a feature we have not seen before or since. Epsira Oy has other EPS products and some info up on EPS. We are not aware of a U.S. distributor for their products, and of course you won't see them here unless they can meet the CPSC standard.

First Team Sports

First Team sells mostly ice skates, inline skates and street hockey equipment through mass merchant channels such as Wal-Mart. They had to recall their Guardian Junior helmet during 2000. See our recalls page for more information.

Flash

Flash is a Taiwan manufacturer handled by BikePro, Inc. Their child helmets retail at $8, and adult models are $10 to $12. They are said to be certified to the CPSC standard, although the samples we saw at Interbike had only ASTM/CE stickers in them.


Fly

Fly Racing has a line of motorcycle BMX racing equipment, including two full face helmets. Both have bolted on visors, but at least the screws are plastic rather than metal. The FL606 retails for $89, and meets the DOT motorcycle helmet standard. The Lite model is made with carbon fiber/kevlar, weighing in at 2.75 pounds for the large size, and is advertised as meeting the Snell Motorcycle standard M-95. It retails for $200. (We did not find it on Snell's current list, but it could be there under another manufacturer's name.)


Fox

The Fox brand is from AGV, an Italian company that has made motorcycle helmets since 1949. They market one BMX model in the US under the Fox Racing banner: the Flite. It appears on Snell's tough M-2000 motorcycle helmet certification list and AGV certifies it to the US DOT motorcycle helmet standard as well. The Flite is a standard BMX helmet with a chin bar for face protection and a bolted on visor. It has small vents under the visor. It retails for roughly $200 depending on finish and graphics. We did not find it on the AGV Web site, but that's mostly devoted to their motorcycle helmets. As far as we know, AGV has no crash replacement policy.


Free Agent

Free Agent has one model, a very well-rounded skateboard helmet that comes in one shell size with three different sizes of liner. It was said to meet the CPSC standard for bike helmets. It retails for $30 in standard colors or $35 in chrome, and can be found on the Internet for as little as $22 plus shipping.


Gear

Gear Helmets currently has one helmet on the Snell B-95 list. We have not seen it. They also have the Sphinx - 007 on the very short list of helmets that SEI has certified to the CPSC standard.


Giro

In its fourth year as a subsidiary of Bell, Giro's production facilities and testing have been integrated with Bell's, but for new designs Giro still seems to have retained its independence, and their helmets still have a unique fit. Giro is a trend leader, and usually has a radical new model at the top of their line. Their Helios started the hyper-vent trend in 1997, but has since been discontinued. Most of their current models have squared off lines and the "shelf" effect in the rear, a potential snagging point in a fall. In 1999 Giro dropped its hook-and-loop visor mounts, which we considered ideal, in favor of short plastic pieces that plug into the shell and are supposed to pop off when the visor snags on something. In 2000 Giro introduced reflective surfaces on the rear stabilizers of some of its models, an ideal place for those who ride in the bent-over position because the surface is more likely to be pointed directly back at the cars behind than the surface on the helmet itself.

  • Havoc: The biggest news in Giro's line for 2001 is the Havoc, their roundest, smoothest high-end model in at least three years. This one is worth a look for that alone. Giro compares it to their E2, but the rear snag point has been almost eliminated. The Havoc unfortunately has external strap anchors marring the otherwise improved outer shell line with a potential friction point. Very large vents, molded-in upper and lower shell. Retails for $100.
  • Pneumo: The top of Giro's 2001 line continues their tradition for new extremes. The oversize vents, channels and graphics combine to make it appear to have less material than any other helmet we have seen certified to the CPSC standard. Has external strap anchors, which we consider inexcusable in a high-cost helmet, but since the shell is not round and smooth anyway it probably does not make much difference. There is a pronounced pointy rear overhang. Upper and lower shells are molded in. Comes with a visor. Production models were not ready for the fall Interbike show, but competitors' lab techs were salivating over the prospect of putting a Pneumo to the CPSC tests in hopes of failing it. This is Lance Armstrong's Tour de France Helmet, and it retails for a very high $160.
  • E2: The top of Giro's line last year, now billed as the Mountain helmet of Olympian Alison Dunlap. The E2 has squared off lines and huge vents. It has in-mold construction. The lines were somewhat more rounded than Giro's 1999 models, but they have used one very pronounced rear "shelf" projection that almost looks as if it were designed to hook something in a fall. This one still sells for $160 retail. It comes in very visible yellow and white or in dark green.
  • Exodus: Formerly the top of Giro's road line, essentially a more squared-off Helios, with what we first considered a pronounced shelf projection at the rear but now see as a modest rear line as times have changed. It has in-mold construction and sells for $125 retail.
  • Gila: Redone for 2000, when it got in-mold construction. It has some of the rear shelf effect, but is much more rounded than most Giros, on a par with the Havoc. Retails for $70, down $5 from last year.
  • Eclipse: A 2000 design, this one has a rounded exterior that ends in a severely pointed shelf projection in the rear. Molded in the shell. Giro says it is their "most compact and streamlined" model. Still retails for $100, but for that price you can have a Havoc with a visor.
  • Stelvio: Top of Giro's glued-on shell line (not molded in the shell), this one was introduced in 1999. The construction method means the vents are a little smaller and the contours a little more rounded, but the Stelvio still manages to have a slightly pointy rear shelf. Retail is still $50.
  • Mojave: Nicely rounded profile without a rear shelf effect. Moderate vents. Has a visor and is billed as a mountain/road helmet.
  • Torent: A new 2001 design, similar to the Mojave or Gila, with fewer but larger vents, a glued-on shell and a more rounded profile. Retail is $45.
  • Transit: Replaced the Laguna as Giro's $35 helmet. Reasonably rounded, with almost no rear shelf. Since the $30 Riviera was eliminated this year this is the lowest you can pay among the bike shop helmets and wear the Giro brand. (See the Metro below for a discount store model at the same price.) Our guess is that it is probably as protective as anything in the line, with the possible exception of the Mad Max II. Metro: a nicely rounded design with a minimal rear overhang. Reasonable vents, visor. Retail is $35, but sells in the mass merchant channel in our area for $30.
  • Livewire: A very stylish helmet for juveniles 8 years old and up, shaped like Giro's smoothest and most rounded adult models and still selling this year for $40.
  • Wheelie: A kids helmet for those who are old enough to pedal. Nicely rounded. Has reflective graphics on some models and a normal visor. Retails for $30.
  • Minimoto: A toddler helmet, but vented. Very round and smooth. Has a soft foam visor and retails for $30.
  • Mad Max II: A downhill racing helmet with a carbon fiber layer on its chinbar, lower shell and a beautifully rounded exterior, marred only by the bolt-on visor. Weighs over 2 pounds, retails for $125.
  • Switchblade: Giro's lighter weight helmet for downhill racing with the optional chinbar lets you use it on the road without the face protection. It has larger vents than other downhill helmets, and an in-mold shell. The rear is squared off but does not have a "shelf" projection. It retails for $180.
  • Semi: Giro's skateboard helmet (advertised for "dirt-air-street-ramp") has a hint of the retro style favored by the skate breed, but with some updating of lines. Very smooth and round, although being Giro they had to add some ridges on the outside. Molded in the shell, unlike most skateboard helmets, and retails for a hefty $60.
Giro's crash replacement policy offers 20 per cent off the retail price of any helmet in their line, and is handled either through the dealer or through Giro.

In all, Giro continues to offer an innovative line of high end helmets, and continues to promote them with racing connections.

Golex (Zhuhai Golex)

Golex is a Chinese producer of bicycle, skateboard, BMX, motorcycle and other types of helmets. There are at least 24 models in their catalog. Two appear on the Snell B-95 certification list, the N6 and the V10. They should be available in mass merchant channels, and some may find their way into bike stores.


GT (GT/Schwinn)

GT merged with Schwinn in 1999, but their helmet lines are still separate. GT incorporates some helmets made by Troxel into its full line of bikes and bike shop accessories, offering dealers additional discounts on bikes if they also carry the helmets. The line is extensive. GT's mid-priced helmets have nicely rounded profiles. GT's visors are attached with hook-and-loop material so they flip off easily in a crash, which we consider ideal for those who really need a visor. All GT models have at least some reflective material in the back and front.

  • Pegasus: GT's flag-bearer is molded in the shell. It has vents everywhere and the kind of sharp lines and projections in the rear that we don't appreciate. Still, it's comparable to the more extreme Bells and Giros, and the price is only $80. Can be found in visible white.
  • Teros: A much more rounded helmet than the Pegasus, with fewer vents and a more reasonably rounded rear "shelf." Molded in the shell. Retail is $55, down $5 from last year. Visible colors include white and yellow.
  • Cosmos: At $50, a nicely rounded design with a very pronounced rear shelf. Molded in the shell and made in China. Also comes in the Yewt version as a youth helmet for $40. Drab colors.
  • Orion: GT's entry level helmet, and one of their best-rounded designs, introduced in 1999. Retails for $30. Available in visible white.
  • Li'L Thunder: A toddler helmet with vents, Disney graphics and a very nicely rounded shape. Has a rear stabilizer done in cloth rather than plastic to respond to parents' unwillingness to put a hard plastic stabilizer on a small tot. $34 retail.
  • GT Stunt: The hard-shell smooth and round profile pioneered by Pro-Tec in the 1970's and beloved of skateboarders. Demonstrates that with the right foam and shell this design can meet the CPSC standard. The roundest helmet in GT's line. Heavy compared to their other models.
  • Dyno BMX: A standard BMX design at $90 with a chinbar for face protection. Visor bolts on, a potential snagging hazard. No vents.

GT replaces crashed helmets for $20.

With the exception of the Pegasus it seems to us that the GT line is still more rounded than some others, and offers some interesting helmets at reasonable price points.



Hallbay Pty Ltd (Headgear)

Hallbay is an Australian company that has taken over the Headgear line. Press releases indicate that several of their models are certified to the European standard, but give the impression that further work is being undertaken to make them meet US and Canadian standards. In past years Hallbay's name had appeared on Snell's certification list. This brand is seldom if ever seen in the U.S. market as either Hallbay or Headgear, and we have no further information about them.

Hamax

Hamax is a Norwegian company whose line we first saw in 1997, but they were not at Interbike this year and we don't know if their line will be marketed in the US this year. Their Web page says only that the helmets are certified to European standards.


Happy Way Enterprises

This Taiwanese manufacturer has a slick looking line of Expanded PolyUrethane (EPU) helmets. Some are fully molded in the shell models, while some have glued-on shells, but prices are the same at about $40 retail. Adding a rear stabilizer or 3M reflective tape adds about a dollar and a half each. The EPU makes the helmet a little heavier than an EPS helmet, but some consumers like the solid feel of the molded in the shell models. Happy Way sells mostly in Europe, but here they sell to importers and OEM's with their own brands, and are usually looking for distributors in the US. Their helmets used to be certified by Snell, but no longer appear on the Snell list.

Headstart PTY (Australia)

One of at least three helmet companies called Headstart. This one seems to specialize in the "licensed character" type of helmet, with Looney Tunes, Cartoon Network, Wiggles, Little Miss and Mr Men, No Rules and a Barbie.


Headstart (Malaysia)

This Headstart is located in Malaysia, and should not be confused with the Canadian manufacturer called Headstart Technologies. Malaysia's Headstart is represented by Damar in New York. They have nine models on Snell's B90/B-95 list. Many are graphic variations, including cartoon characters.


Headstart Technologies (Canada)

This Canadian manufacturer of EPP helmets markets mostly to Canadian schools and other public programs. Price points for the line are low, and the EPP makes them multiple-impact helmets.


Helmets R Us (formerly Century Cycles)

This unique West Coast distributor of bicycle products has taken on the Zhuhai Safety lines labeled T-Star and Celuk to sell to dealers or non-profits at very low prices. They will take small orders. The glued-on models go for $5 each, with skateboard helmets at $6.50 and downhill mountain bike helmets that look identical to major brands for just $30. See the writeup below on Zhuhai Safety for descriptions. They are certified to Snell's tough B-95 standard. We have a page up on inexpensive helmets with information for contacting Century.


Her Sheen Enterprise

This Taiwanese firm makes a line of five helmets in Expanded PolyUrethane (EPU). They had been making EPU car parts for years before expanding into helmets. Colors are mostly drab, but there is a white or stars-and-stripes model available for most models. The profiles are nicely rounded, and prices are down in the under-$10 range FOB Taiwan. Her Sheen was looking for a US distributor when we last talked to them in 1999.


Hong Kong Sports

HKS has five helmets on Snell's B-90 list, including the M3, M5 V-01 and two models made for Schwinn. They manufacture for a number of other US brands as well, some of them well known, but we do not have any info on their own HKK line, if they have one.


J&B Importers

J&B's Alpha line for 2001 has models beginning at about $7 retail to $40 tops. One has a full lower shell at $15, unusual at that price point. A molded in the shell model runs about $40. They have an N6 model in expanded polyurethane (EPU). Most of the profiles are the well-rounded ones we favor. Their skate model has the unfortunate old-time name of Skidlid. Colors are solid, with some metallic finishes, including a skateboard helmet in full chrome for $40. Their toddler helmet goes for $15. Their BMX model has a bolted-on visor and face protection. J&B has an active program for schools and non-profits either through a local shop or direct. Their helmets are made in China, and the EPU model is probably made in Taiwan.


KBC Corp.

KBC has two models on the Snell B-95 list, the AZX and the Fox Flite. We do not know if the Fox Flite is the same model listed above under AGV or not, but we have found references on the Web to AGV KBC helmets. We have never seen either model, but the KBC helmets available from dealers on the Web are full-face motorcycle-style helmets for BMX selling for about $200. The Flite comes in XXL, but we don't know how large a head it can accommodate.


Kent International

A supplier of low-cost helmets to toy and discount stores, Kent has 17 models on Snell's B-95 list, certified to the toughest bike helmet standard in the world. Unfortunately, that's all we know about them.


Knucklebone

Knucklebone sells accessories and clothing for BMX. Their fiberglass-shell Holeshot BMX model has a full chinbar, no vents and a price tag of $110. It has the requisite bolted-on visor, and the catalog says it meets the ASTM and CPSC bicycle helmet standards. We have seen it discounted as low as $70 on the Internet. Their Jumper model is the familiar skateboarders profile, very smooth and round, with an EPS foam liner. It has a painted and clear-coated shell that includes a chrome model and another in "black chrome." It retails for $40.

Knucklebone will replaced crashed Holeshot helmets for $20. The Jumper is replaced free.

Krusher

Krusher has a line of BMX and trick cycling gear, including a helmet in the basic smooth, round skateboard style, certified to the CPSC standard. It retails for $18 and comes in red, blue or black.


Lazer

Lazer is produced by a Belgian company, Cross S.A., with a full line of bike helmets seldom seen here in the US. Their helmets are interesting, and their advertising is a little different: "..Quick Grip System" allows everyone to adapt the helmet to his morphology, even when riding your bike. Loosening a bit during hill climbing and come back to a firmer grip during down hill can be done in a snap." We don't know for whom that advice is intended, but we would not try that at home! We don't have retail prices for Lazer for 2001, so these are the 2000 price points and may have changed. The Web page lists only ASTM and ANSI among the US standards, so if there are any models in their line not certified to the CPSC standard you won't see them in the US market.

  • Bullet is a new model for 2001, with longitudinal vents and ribs that have a reasonably smooth shape marred by external strap anchors that project above the shell and a small but sharp lip on the rear. Molded in the shell, with a bottom shell as well. We don't know what the retail price is.
  • Millennium was a 2000 model, retailing for $125. It has a reasonably rounded profile, but has the external strap anchors and one vent that has a forward-facing arrow-shaped upper lip. It is molded in the shell with large vents. One of the colors is a nice bright yellow.
  • Revolution is another 2000 design, again with the external strap anchors, angular lines and large vents. It is molded in the shell.
  • Mirage: New for 2001, unless we just missed a name change. Molded in the shell with long longitudinal vents. The ribs are reasonably rounded, but it has the external strap anchors.
  • Fugitive: Another molded in the shell design. This one has a visor "in the form of an American baseball cap." We've only seen it on their Web site, so are not sure if "double in mold shells" would mean upper and lower, or inner and outer.
  • Intense: Another new one for this season, with rounded profile, large vents, a lower shell not joined to the upper shell, and Lazer's external strap anchors. Molded in the shell.
  • Elegance: Looks like the Intense, with the large vents of a molded in the shell helmet, but the shell is glued on instead. Another new one for this season, with rounded profile, large vents, a lower shell not joined to the upper shell, and Lazer's external strap anchors.
  • Evasion: Similar to the Intense and Elegance. Glued on upper and lower shell.
  • Max is a toddler helmet with nice graphics
  • Excalibur is a vented BMX model with bolted- on visor that sells for $200, or in carbon fiber with an aluminum reinforcing ring as the Factory Rider for $300.
  • Chrono: No vents, not designed for impact protection, just a swoopy aero shell for pursuit and time trail pros. Top is dimpled like a golf ball. Can't be sold in the US, of course.
Lazer's replacement program has some drawbacks. It provides for replacement at 30% of initial cost only during the first two years of use, and does not cover the BMX helmets "because of the risk inherent to their discipline."

Lazer has been around a long time in Belgium and has an extensive line of interesting helmets.


Limar

Limar is a European brand marketed in the US by Trialtir. Their models usually have some bright color choices and nice graphics. Some of them may not be available in the US market, and some of the models below from Trialtir's 2001 lineup do not appear on Limar's European Web site.

  • F-107: The F-107 was introduced in 1999, followed by the plus in 2000. The F107 is molded in the shell. It is a typical hyper-vented model, with ribs perhaps more rounded than most but having a pronounced rear "shelf" point. Unfortunately it has an external bump for the strap anchors sitting up above the surface, a potential friction point in a crash. The F-107+ model has a shell on the lower section and includes a detachable visor. There is a reflective patch on the rear and some of the color combinations are very bright. Retail is $130, or $140 for the plus model.
  • F-111: A new mountain bike model promised in April 2001, with many small ribs and many vents. The rear is a bit pointy but has no overhang. Molded in the shell. May not be seen in the US market.
  • F-105: A new 2001 design, molded in the shell with a polycarbonate shell. It is available in three configurations: road, MTB with visor and lower shell, or Triathlon with -- we are not making this up -- "a rear spoiler for improved aerodynamics." That's an industry first! Your Porsche has a spoiler, so why not your helmet? (We have not actually seen one yet, but will no doubt find other things about it objectionable when we do.) The vents are large, giving it "killer aesthetics." Our most positive comment about the F-105 is that the external strap anchors are partially tucked into a crevice in the shell rather than up on the surface of the helmet where they would hit the road and provide a friction point. Retail for the road model should be about $100, but you will have to pay extra if you want that innovative spoiler.
  • F-104: This one is nicely rounded but still has the rear shelf effect. It has moderate ventilation and for 2001 is molded in the shell.
  • F-18: A new design for 2001, characterized as an "entry-level racing helmet." Angular, choppy lines, moderately pointy rear projection. It is molded in the shell and has lots of vents, plus a visor. Retails for $75.

Models below are not in Trialtir's catalog and may not be seen on the US market, but should be available in Europe:

  • F-40: A more rounded profile, with almost no rear shelf. Has an insect net protecting the front vents.
  • F-16: Nicely rounded with very little rear shelf effect, but with a rear lump in the center of the shell where a longitudinal ridge ends in a pronounced bump. Another triumph of style over function!
  • Primo: Very round exterior, modest vents. Comes in large only (56 to 62 cm).
  • Downhill: Full-face downhill racing helmet.
  • Chrono: Limar's aerodynamic pursuit and time trial helmet, not designed for impact protection. Has a "flexible shell" and no straps.
  • Winner: Another well-rounded design, again available in bright yellow.
  • Jolly: Well rounded youth helmet.
  • Junior: Well-rounded toddler/youth helmet with small vents.
  • Kid: Toddler/youth helmet. Extra small fits 46cm at smallest.
  • Quack: A toddler helmet with a duck's bill visor.

Limar's sizing runs from the smallest for 46cm circumference heads to the largest for 62cm heads.

Trialtir will replace a crashed Limar for the first two years for $35.


Louis Garneau

Louis Garneau is a Canadian designer and manufacturer whose helmet line has grown over the years to a very impressive collection, with the exception of some of the newer models. Some of their helmets are molded in the shell. On others they use polypropylene lower sections, and some have a lower shell to protect the foam from nicks (reducing sliding resistance as well). Visors are mounted with hook-and-loop fasteners to facilitate flipping off easily in impacts.

For 2000, and again for 2001, Louis Garneau has added some new models with only partial shells, leaving EPS foam exposed. This is a partial throwback to the days when EPS helmets had no shells. Bell pioneered the design some years back with its Evo Pro and have since dropped it. Why any responsible helmet designer would do this is beyond us, given the evidence that plastic slides much better on pavement in an impact than foam. (Check this link for more on that) We would recommend steering away from those models: Bikini, Le Mask and Wings.

  • Bikini: New for 2001, a throwback design with small strips of plastic shell and areas of bare foam in between. As always, we consider this a poor design. The rear overhang is blunt but pronounced. Colors are mostly muted, and even the yellow model doesn't look terribly visible with a snakeskin pattern and the skimpy shell. Molded in the shell, what there is of it. Retail is $130. Available with visor as the Bikini- V for $140.
  • Le Mask: Another model with large areas of foam are not covered in plastic, this one was introduced in 2000. A good design to avoid, retailing for $75.
  • Wings: Somewhat similar to the Genius, but styled for mountain bikers. Hyper vents. Molded in the shell. No shelf in the rear. Unfortunately it has foam areas on top that protrude through the plastic shell, an unnecessary style feature that could increase sliding resistance in a fall. Retail is $75.
  • Globe: A much better rounded design than the upscale models, although the ribs and rear overhang are still pronounced. Full plastic shell, glued on. Chosen by Consumer Reports as a Best Buy in the December, 1997 supplement to their 1997 article on helmets. It was the only helmet in the June, 1999 Consumer Reports article that achieved their highest impact rating. Retails for $50.
  • Genius: The top of the line when it was introduced in 1998, it has a multitude of vents, too many ribs on the shell to suit us and a price tag of $100, down $20 from last year. It is molded in the shell. Small sections of the outer shell have a rippled washboard effect, which can only be for styling. But the rear shelf effect is better than some, and as other designs have appeared with even more squared-off lines and sharper ribs the Genius has become relatively less objectionable.
  • Alien: Sharper lines and more but smaller vents, designed for Mountain bikers. Glued-on shell. Still retails for $60.
  • Poséidon New for 2001, with a swoopy effect reminiscent of waves or seaweed. Modest rear overhang and one patch of open foam on the top uncovered by shell. Glued-on shell. Drab colors. Retails for $55.
  • Pro-Am and Pro-Am V: Introduced in 2000. Has lots of ribs, including some that are not even associated with vents but were just thrown in for style where a smooth section would have been better. Plain colors and visible white. Retails for $45 with visor or $40 without.
  • Le Tour and Le Tour V: Introduced in 2000 and nicely rounded, although it still has some of the "washboard" ripples in the shell where they are not functional. Glued-on shell. Plain colors and very visible white. Retail is $35 with visor and $30 without.
  • Grunge 2V: A new model in 2001 for the juvenile crowd aged 6 to 15, this one has a some angular lines and a rear overhang, with a glued-on shell and a visor. Wild graphics, some very bright. Retails for $20. Available outside the US without a visor as the Grunge 2 for $37.
  • Baby Boomer: Toddler helmet for the 5 and under crowd, round and smooth, with a few vents and cute graphics, including the black and white Felix graphic that is styled after Louis' own Dalmatian, as well as Felix-the-fireman, Felix-the-Red-Baron, Felix-in-a-strawberry-patch and two for the feminine side. The smallest model is size 6, for a 48cm/18 7/8 inch head. Retail is $35.

  • Terrible: Toddler helmet whose name echoes the French phrase "l'enfant terrible." Has a molded-in visor and glued-on shell. Graphics include Felix again in VW bugs, fireman's garb and a police car. Some flower designs have Louis Garneau jerseys to match. Designed for kids 5 to 10. The retail price is $35.
  • Roller: Garneau's 2000 model for in-line skating helmets is molded in the shell and has a beautifully rounded profile. The vents are skimpy for hot weather, and the colors are drab or black, but if you are crashing at high speed this is the profile you want. Has CPSC certification. Retails for $60.
  • Buzz 2: A 2001 update of Garneau's unique downhill helmet. Molded in the shell with vents covered with mesh to keep the bees out. It has a full face guard with vents and mesh of its own. Unfortunately the hook-and-loop visor attachment has been replaced with Troy Lee-style bolts, so if you catch your visor on a limb, look out! The retail price has dropped sharply from $350 to $200.
  • Windscreen: Not a helmet, but an accessory, this is a polycarbonate lens that wraps around a helmet--almost any helmet--and is held on by hook and loop. The edges are unprotected, and you could probably slice meat with them, even if it did not shatter in a crash. We would favor something with protected edges, like a pair of glasses or goggles. Not offered in the US market.

Louis Garneau still has a free replacement guarantee, but only for the first year.


Lucky Bell Plastics

This Hong Kong manufacturer produces helmets under the Lucky Bell and Alpha brand names. For info on the Alpha line, see J&B importers above. Lucky Bell once had three models on Snell's B-90 list, the Aerogo 338, Aerogo 339 and Aerogo 388. The Aerogo 368 was Snell B-95 certified. For 2001 they have dropped off the Snell list completely.


Mongoose

Mongoose did not have their 2001 line at Interbike, but their catalog has five typical BMX models and one "all purpose freestyle helmet" certified to the CPSC standard. We have seen one of their full face youth models selling locally for $49.


Motorika

In 1997 Motorika introduced its folding helmet called the Snapit. This is a true hard shell helmet made with GECET foam and a nylon glass-reinforced shell. The shell is made in two pieces and designed to fold one half into the other in a crescent-shaped form much like a piece of cantaloupe. We did not like the ridge where the two pieces meet when the helmet is unfolded in the wearing position, which we feel could present a potential snag point. For that reason alone we would recommend avoiding this one. It comes with a hip-hugger belt so you can wear it after folding. It has ASTM certification, and we don't know if it is certified to meet the CPSC standard or not. It weighs 16 oz, not bad for a hard shell, but about 6 oz more than most of the helmets on the market today, and it feels heavy. The introductory retail price was $79, which seemed high to us for a niche product. We have seen it in gadget catalogs, but not in stores. We have not heard from Motorika what their 2001 plans are. In March, 2001, we saw their helmet being sold new on Ebay for $16.49 including shipping.

Nashbar

When his Bike Warehouse name was contested in the 1970's, Arnie Nashbar renamed his company Bike Nashbar, and built it into a substantial mail order business. Along the way they developed their own brands to complement the products from other companies. Nashbar now carries Bell, Giro, GT and Specialized, but their lowest price points are often their own Nashbar brand. For 2001 their catalog has the Nashbar Hi-Flow model. It has what appears to be a very nicely rounded exterior, with pony tail port, retailing for $32 plus shipping. The Web page also has the Aero/adj model for $30 plus shipping.

NHS

NHS sells through mass merchant channels. They had to recall one of their helmets during 2000. See our recalls page for more information.


Odyssey

Odyssey is a BMX products company. Their BMX helmet for 2001 is the Apache 2, with a fiberglass shell, full chin bar, some vents, and (unfortunately) a bolted-on visor. The helmet is made in Hong Kong by Strategic Sports, and suggested retail this year is $110 in normal finish or $130 in full chrome.


OGK

See Qranc below.


Polisport

When we saw them at Interbike in late 1999, this Portuguese company had one basic helmet shape sold in four different levels of graphics, visors and trim for $15 to $36 retail. They all had well-rounded contours but a rear bump in the shell for a fitting that holds the strap. The models we saw had CE (European) certification but had not yet been tested against the more stringent CPSC standard. Polisport was not at Interbike this year, so we don't know their plans for 2001.


ProRider

ProRider is a supplier of BMX and bicycle helmets from China and is also the home of the CNS (Children - N - Safety) National Helmet Program, selling directly to schools and non-profit organizations. They have a multi-purpose helmet on Snell's N-94 multi-purpose list and their eight bicycling-only models are certified to Snell B-95, all with nicely rounded profiles. Their BMX helmets have a full chin bar, the usual fiberglass shell and unfortunately the usual bolted-on visors.


Pro-Tec

Pro-Tec has three bicycle models for 2001, all certified to both the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and the ASTM F-1492 skateboard standard as well. These three models are for bicycling despite the skateboard style. But Pro-Tec's Web site makes it clear that they have other models identical in outward appearance but have a different liner that is designed for multi-impact non-bicycle use and are certified only to a European standard because of the liners. Just be sure to look for the CPSC sticker if you are buying for bicycle use.
  • Classic Freestyle: The classic look of a skateboarders helmet, a retro design that has been around since the 1970's. Round and smooth, with small round vents and good coverage, it is still a favorite with the skate crowd. But this is the bicycle version, complete with a crushable EPS liner to meet the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. It is still certified to ASTM's skateboard standard, but has a different type of foam than the Pro-Tec sold for skateboarding, which is certified only to the European standard. So check the sticker inside to make sure you are getting the bicycle version, the Classic Freestyle, rather than the Classic Skate model. Comes in visible white and yellow as well as the preferred dark colors. Retails for $40 to $50.
  • Ace Freestyle: An updated skateboard style helmet with larger oval vents and minor reshaping of the shell lines. Again, for bicycle riding you must get the Ace Freestyle, not the outwardly similar Ace Skate, which is sold for skating rather than bicycling and is not certified to the CPSC standard.
  • Ace BMX: Adding an ABS chin bar to the Ace produces a full face BMX helmet with the Ace's vents and a large visor. Retails for $75.



Prowell Helmets

Prowell is a Taiwanese company producing a line of helmets in EPU foam, two of them appearing on Snell's B-95 certification list. Several of their models are molded in the shell, some with lower shells as well. They generally have a high quality appearance, seeming solid (if a bit heavy) in the hand, including the F-22 introduced in 2000. It has moderate vents, but a substantial lip projecting out in the rear. Their Raptor has a spring-loaded rear stabilizer. For 2001 there is a new child helmet. Most of Prowell's models should retail for about $20. The company manufactures helmets for other brands, and usually is seeking distributors in the US for their products.


Pryme Protective Gear

Pryme has a line of helmets for BMX, downhill racing and skate use, most of them with catchy names.

  • Pryme Evil: Top of the line full face model for BMX and downhill racing. Fiberglass shell, bolted on visor, minimal vents. Retails for $100.
  • Pryme Al: Another full face model, with vents, fiberglass shell, bolted on visor. Retail is $90.
  • Pryme FF: Full face model with a fiberglass shell, vents and a bolted on visor, retailing for $80 in either the adult version or the Pryme Child FF for smaller riders.
  • Pryme Mortal: Skateboard style helmet similar in shape to the classic Pro-Tec but with a skull logo replacing the vents in the front and only four small ones in the top. Promised as a 2001 model. Retail was not known when we asked.
  • Pryme 8 Skateboard style helmet similar in shape to the classic Pro-Tec. Has small round vents in the front and small oval ones on top. EPS liner, meets the CPSC standard. Retails for $30.

When this company has a hyper-vented model it will no doubt be the Pryme Airy.


PTI

Originally known as Protective Technologies International, PTI Sports is one of the largest helmet producers in the US. Their products are marketed through discount stores such as Target, Sam's Club and Toys `R Us, usually at prices in the $10 to $30 range. For 2001 they have announced a new line of helmets and other accessories promoted with cyclist Greg Lemond's name. Since PTI is one of the few publicly-held manufacturers, you can see their annual report on the Web. The filing for 1999 shows that PTI sold $51.6 million worth of helmets and bicycle accessories in that year. That probably puts them in second or third place among the US helmet producers.


Qranc/OGK Helmets

Qranc seems to have disappeared, at least from the US market. Their US phones have been disconnected, and the Web link above was dead in December of 2000.

Rand International

Rand sells through mass merchant channels like Kmart and Rose's. They had to recall their L.A. Crusin' helmet during 2000. See our recalls page for more information or this CPSC link.


Rudy Project

This European manufacturer was new to the US helmet market for the 2000 season, although they have been doing sunglasses and sporting attire under founder Rudy Barbazza since 1985. We are not sure which models you may find in the US market, since some of their racing helmets do not meet the CPSC standard and would not be legal here. In general their models have flowing, graceful lines in the rounded contours we favor. Most have no extreme shelf effects in the rear, although some do. As you move toward the lower end of the line the shapes improve to rounder, smoother, safer designs. Some are molded in the shell. Visors are attached with hook-and-loop. Rudy Project has some interesting innovations, and we hope they will find wider US distribution this year.


SCS (London) Ltd

Although this company has six models on Snell's B-90 list, they apparently do not market in the U.S., and we don't know their line.


Schwinn

The Schwinn helmet brand returned in 1999, represented by new models made for Schwinn in China. Visors are hook-and-loop mounted. There were very few changes in their line this year.

  • Typhoon 1.0 M has the most vents, comes in red or blue and retails for $50. It is molded in the shell, unfortunately with some raw foam showing that is not covered by plastic shell.
  • Typhoon Sport 2.0 has a full plastic shell and smaller vents. It lacks a rear stabilizer but retails for $36. Colors are red, blue and silver.
  • Thrasher: Child model with flowers or "Captain America" graphics for $35 retail.
  • Mini: Toddler model, vented, fitting heads as small as 18 1/8 inches, retailing for $31
  • Digger: Classic skate model with an EPS foam liner retailing for $33.
  • XS AA Pro BMX model with full face protection, no vents, a bolted on visor and a retail price of $130 when it becomes available.

Schwinn's sizing runs from the smallest 18 1/8 inches for the Mini model to 24 7/8 inches for the adult Typhoons.


Shenzhen Hezhen Bicycle Inc.

A Chinese manufacturer located in mainland Shenzhen. We have not seen their line, but they have informed us that they produce 15 models, including some BMX style with fiberglass shells and some rated as bicycle/skate helmets. They say they already export to 20 countries, including the US. Their Web page did not load completely for us in September of 2001, but selecting the "helmet" link on the left brought up the helmet page.


Shenzhen Qukang Industry Development

Although we have seen their 2001 line, this Taiwanese manufacturer makes both EPS and EPU helmets. Their EPU helmets are molded in the shell, and are offered with or without a plastic shell (EPU will form a "skin" in the mold similar to a shell in any event). The styles are well-rounded, and venting is not extreme. They have a fiberglass BMX model. Dealer prices for the standard bicycle helmets in quantity were under $5 for the 1998 year, but we don't have current pricing. You may see their helmets with other brands on them.


Shih Kwang International

Shih Kwang makes a helmet with a reading light molded into the front foam, fitting flush with the front lip of the helmet, and a rear led flasher embedded the same way. It retails for $40.


Sixsixone

SixSixOne is a BMX and skate equipment company. They have two models, one for BMX/Downhill and one for skate. The Bravo downhill model is vented, with a grooved exterior, face bar and bolted on visor, retailing for $120. The Dirt Lid skate helmet is the classic round, smooth design with round vents, retailing for $30. When we saw their samples they had no info on standards in them, so verify that the Dirt Lid passes CPSC before buying one for cycling. (Since the Bravo is a bike helmet it is required to pass or can't be sold in the US market.)


Smith Safety Gear - Scabs

Smith is a supplier of skateboard protectors and other gear. Their skateboard helmet is a classic Pro-Tec style with the small round front vents, EVA foam, not certified to the CPSC standard, and not recommended for bicycling. Carries the Scabs brand, a name that may resonate with 'boarders! It retails for $30.


Specialized

Specialized is one of the major U.S. helmet manufacturers and a supplier of a wide range of bicycles and components. Their 2001 helmets are all still certified to Snell's B-90 standard (none to B-95). There were at least some changes in all of their helmets for the 2000 season, in part based on wind tunnel research on vent shapes, but fewer changes for the 2001 model year. All models have reflective logos front and rear, but we were not impressed with the degree of reflectivity.

  • King Cobra and Queen Cobra: The top of the line has "mouth port technology" in the form of an air vent in the front where it will channel air to a sweatband. The shape is not smooth, although the pronounced ribs are rounded, as is the moderate rear projection that looks better now as we see others exceeding it. Molded in the shell, including the full lower shell. The "Braintrust" fit system has been improved for 2001. Has a snap-on visor. Retail is up $10 to $140. Picked by Bicycling magazine as the "Best Helmet" in their January, 1999 issue. The Queen Cobra was introduced for 2000, and is the same helmet with a lovely blue floral design.
  • Enduro Pro: pitched as a King Cobra for the off-road racer, with Specialized's sharpest and most pronounced rear shelf. (We don't know why an off-road rider would want an "aero" shape with a snag point in the rear, but maybe it's fashion.) Molded in the shell, with a spring-loaded rear stabilizer and a visor. Retails for $90.
  • Allez: A new model for 2001, replacing the discontinued Sub Zero as the least expensive Specialized model that is molded in the shell. More moderate vents than the Cobras and a more rounded rear treatment than the Sub Zero. Retails for $70.
  • Enduro Comp: Introduced in 2000, with a somewhat more rounded profile than the King Cobra, although the rear overhang is too pronounced. Glued-on shell. Retail price is $50.
  • Mountain Man: Introduced in 1999, with a glued-on shell and moderate vents. Has a visor and that rear shelf projection, only moderately faired in. Retails for $40.
  • Airwave: Not the budget model introduced in 1999, but a completely new 2001 design with a glued-on shell, moderate vents and a profile that is much less rounded than its predecessor. In particular, the rear now pokes up into a point where the old model was better rounded. The same redesign has been applied to the youth version, the Airwave Mega. Retail is $30, or $35 with visor.
  • Kid Cobra: Even the classic round, smooth toddler helmet has been given slightly squarer lines, but not to an extreme. Glued-on shell, vents, cute graphics.
  • BMX Full Face: No longer the Fatboy, but the title still says it all: a fiberglass shell BMX helmet with no vents, an unfortunately bolted-on visor and the influence of squared-off lines reflected only in the chin bar design. The retail price is $100.
  • P3: A new 2001 model skate helmet with small oval vents and the classic round and smooth exterior. Available in a commendably visible white and brilliant red. CPSC and Snell certification, retailing for $40.

Last year Specialized had a $20 kit of promotion materials for teachers. Call Shara at 800-432-4144 to find out if it is still available. You will also have to call them at 408-779-6229 to find out what their current replacement policy is. One cyclist who emailed them in mid-2000 got a response that they are currently giving a 20% discount on a replacement helmet.


Sportscope

Sportscope still has just one model for 2001, introduced in mid-year 1999, but it is radically different from any other helmet in this review. Constructed of segments of foam closely connected by an inner mesh, the Sportscope helmet can conform to your head, perhaps solving some tricky fit problems. We had some initial doubts about a flexible helmet, but we have seen the test results from reputable independent labs proving that it meets the ASTM, CPSC, Canadian, Australian and European standards with no difficulty, and showing that the toddler size also meets the impact requirements for the Canadian child helmet standard, which has a lower permissible g level than U.S. standards do, requiring a "softer landing." The helmet also meets the Australian standard's requirements for point loading, so the edges of the foam segments apparently do not dig into your head in an impact. We don't particularly like the ridges on the surface of the helmet between foam pieces, preferring a smoother shape for better sliding on pavement. (See Rounder, Smoother, Safer above.) And one of our testers found that the Sportscope helmet he tried seemed comfy for about 20 minutes, then began giving him a headache, evidently from pressure where the edge of one of the segments was contacting his egg-shaped head. So this one may not be for everybody, but if you have a particularly difficult-to-fit head it may be worth a try. In particular, those with a round head who find most helmets seem to have corners inside may find that the flex of the Sportscope's segments will accommodate better to their head shape. Sportscope is one manufacturer who sews all buckles in, preventing them from coming off and leaving you looking for our page on how to rethread a buckle. Available at Sports Authority and other mass merchant stores listed on the Web site for about $35.


Star

Star is a brand produced by Zuhai Star Safety. See under Z below.


Stickem Up.Com

Stickem Up is a long-time wholesaler of bike models, jewelry and other gift items. For 2001 they have added a skate helmet retailing for about $20 and a line of helmet covers for BMX models with wild graphics and a suggested retail of $30.


Strategic Sports

Strategic Sports produces helmets for a number of U.S. companies with the U.S. company's brand, and have informed us that they shipped 1.5 million helmets worldwide in 1998. For 2001 six of their helmets appear on Snell's B-95 list and one more on the B-90 list. We have comments on some models under the Action Bicycle and Odyssey brands above.


Time

Time exhibited their helmets in the US in 1999, but we have not seen them since, and they do not appear on their Web site.


Tong Ho Hsing (THH)

THH sends its line to the U.S. through Sunbeam Trading Company of Vernon, California. We have not seen their 2001 line and do not have current pricing. For 2000 they had 11 bicycle helmet models in all shapes and styles, including some very nicely rounded adult helmets, a toddler helmet, two BMX models and a number of others that appear to be equestrian, skate or hockey helmets. One of their BMX helmets is actually certified to Snell's extremely rigorous M-95 motorcycle helmet standard. Four of their helmets are certified to Snell's B-95 bicycle helmet standard. One of their models comes in XXXS size, but we don't know the minimum head size it accommodates.


Trek USA

Trek supplies a wide line of bikes and accessories to dealers, and their helmet graphics are designed to complement your Trek bike. Their Gary Fisher subsidiary has the same helmet line with different model designations and graphics. Some models have reflective panels. Their line for 2001 has five models.

  • Himal: A molded in the shell design with moderately squared-off lines and a small shelf projection in the rear. It has a molded in lower shell as well. One variation comes in blue EPS. For 2001 there are updated interior parts and visor. Retail is $85, or $110 for the Team version with reflective trim.
  • Euphoria: Glued on shell, new fit system for 2001. Retails for $50, or the Road Team version is $80.
  • Tempest: Similar lines to the Himal, but with a glued on shell and no lower shell. Retail price is $45.
  • Vapor: Squared-off lines, some rear shelf projection, glued on shell, reflective panel and a visor for $35 retail. Available with labels: Police, Sheriff, EMT and Fire.
  • Scout: A youth helmet based on the Vapor, with the addition of anti-pinch chin pads, selling for $35 with a rigid but supposedly shatter-resistant visor.
  • Little Dipper: Infant-toddler model updated in 2000 with more vents, better graphics, a soft rubber visor, an anti-pinch chin pad and a $35 price tag.

Trek has a one year free replacement policy for crashed helmets.


Troxel

Troxel markets its helmets under the Performance Headgear brand through GT. Check the GT writeup above. They are probably one of the least known of the major US manufacturers.


Troy Lee Designs

Troy Lee has a BMX line known for rad graphics. Their carbon/kevlar fiber shell D2 BMX helmet has an "aerodynamic fin" at the rear, an entirely unnecessary interruption in the ideal smooth outer surface of a helmet. With four small screened vents and chin bar it weighs 31 oz. and sells for $425, down $65 from last year, not including the optional larger Stingray visor at $22. Troy Lee also sells an add-on rear bump called a stabilizer to provide "visual enhancement." This year they have introduced one with a light called the High Tail Helmet Light for $32. For their fans, Troy Lee graphics are second to none, and are used on other brands as well. But they continue to use bolted-on BMX visors, claiming that the plastic mounts pull out when the visor is snagged, so if you wear one be sure not to catch your visor on anything. The D2 fits heads from 53 to 62 cm (21 to 24.5 inches). Troy Lee Designs will also paint you a custom design for something between $650 and $1425 (not including the cost of the helmet), and they limit production to 12 per week.


TSG

This German company sells a TSG skate helmet in the US similar in shape to the classic Pro-Tec. It also has another, the Odin, with a more "bucket" shape. Both are round and smooth. Both are advertised as certified to CPSC, but they had to recall one of their models during 2000. See our recalls page for details. Note that the company has a snowboard helmet that is very similar in appearance, but is not for bicycling at all and is not certified to CPSC, so for bicycle use be sure your TSG has a label inside that says it complies with the CPSC standard. Even if it does, if you bought it during 2000 you want to check on that recall.

TSG has a matched set that includes a helmet and protective pads for skate park rental programs. To deter theft, the helmet and pads are the same unusual blue. The helmet has "Rental" woven into the strap and on a prominent decal. The pads have "rental" on them as well. We do not understand why this idea has not been developed by a bicycle helmet manufacturer, preferably with an easy to clean interior to prevent passing lice to the next wearer.

TSG has a free crash replacement policy.


Tung I Hsing

This company has two models on the Snell list.


U.S. Foam Company

We do not know this company, whose name indicates they are probably a molder of EPS. They have one model, the Odyssey, on Snell's B-95 list.

Variflex

Variflex is an importer of helmets selling mostly skate equipment, scooters and accessories through mass merchant channels such as Sears, Target, and Toys R Us. They had to recall their X-Games Aggressive and some of their TSG models during 2000. See our recalls page for more information, and see TSG above.


Vigor Sports

Vigor Sports (Hong Jin Cycle Corp.) is a Korean company with a large and varied line of helmets. In the past, many of them were on the Snell B-95 and B-90 lists, but Hong Jin has dropped off of the current list. They are still one of only two manufacturers with helmets on the Snell N-94 multipurpose list. Their models that are not molded in the shell have 3M reflective tape around the shell edge, a nice feature seldom seen in this price range. The black tape is not 3M's most reflective product, but it represents a substantial additional cost and a real effort to make the helmets safer that we wish more manufacturers would adopt. See our cautionary note below about their skate helmets.

  • NOX: Now Vigor's top of the line, a typical hyper-vented design but made of EPU and molded in the shell, making it different from Vigor's EPS models, and making it likely that it is produced in Taiwan. Has an upper and lower shell, large vents and an unfaired rear shelf. The ribs are reasonably rounded. Has external strap anchors, a potential friction point, but they are tucked in among the ribs. The bright yellow we liked last year has been replaced by a Stars and Stripes model. Retails for $35. Also comes as the Jr. Nox with four fewer vents but the same rear treatment for $25.
  • Sequel: New for 2001, this is another EPU model, also molded in the shell, with upper and lower shell. It resembles the NOX, but has fewer vents and retails for $25 to $30.
  • Avenger: New for 2001, this is a youth version of the Sequel but has two fewer vents. EPU liner, molded in the shell with a lower shell.
  • HPX: An EPS model, with a nicely rounded profile and modest vents. The shell is glued on, so there is no need for external strap anchors, and it has 3M reflective tape around the shell. It also comes with a visor this year but costs $5 less at $25 retail.
  • Duo: A very nicely rounded model with glued on shell, EPS liner and reasonable vents. It has 3M reflective tape around the shell. Retails for a modest $20.
  • Cyclo-V: Introduced in 2000, this one has a very nicely rounded profile, modest vents, an EPS liner and 3M reflective material around the shell. Retail is $20 or less. Also comes in a youth version as the Avail.
  • Li'l Tyke: A toddler helmet, of course, with a very nicely rounded profile, vents, a pinchproof buckle, 3M reflective tape and an adjustable sizing ring. Comes only in xxs for 50 to 52 cm heads and retails for $20, down $5 from last year.
  • Zero G-1: BMX helmet with the typical well-rounded fiberglass shell and no vents. It is certified to Snell's N-94 multi-purpose standard. Convertible to open face like the Giro Switchblade by removing the chin bar, which Vigor calls a "rock deflector." The visor is unfortunately bolted on with aluminum screws. Retails for $110.
  • Zero G2: Another classic BMX design with Snell N-94 certification, small vents, full chin bar, fiberglass shell and bolted-on visor. It has a pointy effect at the end of the chin bar, where we would prefer a rounded surface. Retails for $110.
  • Zero G-4: A youth BMX design with a full face chin bar. Plastic shell. Comes in XS, XXS and XXXS sizes fitting down to 6 1/8 size heads. Retails for $100. The 2001 Vigor catalog says this one will be Snell N-94 certified, but as we near the end of 2000 it does not yet appear on Snell's list. Since it is a new design you may want to check the link to see if it has been added.
  • Vamoose II: A downhill racing design completely redone for 2001 with a shell made with "Kevlar, Spectra and F.R.P." It has some vents, but they are smaller than last year's Vamoose, and has a Troy Lee-style lump in the center rear, spoiling the rounded profile.
  • Rebel II: Another new 2001 design for BMX and downhill with a plastic shell with large vents and a bolted on visor.
  • Contender: This one was new in 2000 but has been redesigned for 2001, appearing to pick up some additional vents and upscale graphics. It is a downhill/BMX model with a fiberglass shell with vents and a bolted on visor with twin bolts.
  • Ten-Eighty: A skating helmet design with the classic smooth, round exterior, round vents, polyethylene shell and an EPS liner. It is listed as a bike, snow or skate helmet, and is CPSC-certified. It should retail for about $25, or about $5 more with extra-slick colors.
  • Five-Forty: A skating helmet design with two subtle ridges breaking up the classic smooth, round exterior, a polycarbonate shell and EPS foam liner. Certified to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard, and listed as a bike, snow and skate helmet. Retails for $30 to $35 depending on finish.

Note: Vigor has skate-only helmets that are not sold for bicycling that are not certified to the CPSC standard. Some of them look exactly like their CPSC-certified line. If you buy a Vigor for cycling, be sure that it has the CPSC sticker inside.

Some of Vigor's models from last year may still be around at discounted prices, including the nicely rounded and vented Lexus that has a pony tail cutout and a pinch-proof buckle.

Vigor has an extensive line, and most of their helmets are still Snell certified. Their crash replacement policy provides a replacement at about half the retail cost for the lifetime of the helmet.


World Industries

World Industries has a line of skateboard helmets that are also certified to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. Unfortunately the helmets they sold from October, 2000 to May 2001 have been recalled. We have a page up with the details. World has a new line, and they are mostly sold in skate shops. Prices are $40 for regular colors, or $50 for chrome or camo.


Zuhai Golex

See Golex above.


Zuhai Safety

This Chinese manufacturer (Zuhai Hindun Safety Helmets, also Zuhai USA Safety) has an extensive line of bicycle and BMX helmets. Most are sold by others as house brands, including some of the best-known in the US, with others labeled with the Caluk or T-Star brand. Their numerous (21 in the 2001 catalog) adult, youth and toddler models feature both nicely-rounded and sharply-edged shells. Some are molded in the shell, and some have lower shells. For 2001 there were three new models, the Series 10 road helmet, the Series 15 toddler model, the Series 17 skate helmet and two vented BMX/Downhill models, one of them a youth helmet. Two are on Snell's B-95 list, the Series 08 and Series 08 9. One of their helmets made for Bell was recalled for a strap anchor problem in 1995, but there have been no further recalls of their products. Sizing runs from 49cm/19.3 inches for the smallest to 64cm/25.2 inches for the large. Zuhai Safety helmets are provided at very reasonable prices for helmet promotion programs through Helmets R Us (above).


Zuhai Star Safety/Star Helmets

Zhuhai Star Safety (changed in 2001 to Star Helmets), another manufacturer located in Zhuhai, China, produces a number of models certified to Snell B-95 or other Snell standards under the Star brand. (Check the Snell list for details.) They also produce helmets for other sports. Check their Web site for details.


This article is frequently updated during the model year.






Index to Manufacturers






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