Bicycle Helmets for the 2005 Season
: Our review of helmets being sold in 2005. Trends first, then individual models.
Index to manufacturers
Trends this year
There are some new helmets in 2005 that are worth a look if you are inclined to replace yours. The comments below
identify some actual advances in helmetry. At last there are some new models appearing with the rounder, smoother profile
that we think is best for crashing. (We have a page on snag points
At the high end, you will still find bigger vents and bigger prices, but no verifiable improvement in safety performance.
Giro is the price king for ordinary road helmets, with Lance Armstrong's helmet at $225, but some others are close
behind. Target and Wal-Mart both have models that meet the same CPSC impact standard at an everyday price of $7.14. And
for $15 they both have better looking and better fitting models.
Ring fit systems, the "one size fits all" solution, are more common this year. They work well for some, but not at all
for others, who find that they have to tighten the ring uncomfortably to get a stable fit. We have a page on ring fit systems
In the descriptions below we comment frequently on strap anchors, the little pieces that hold the ends of the straps. If
they stick up above the shell, they are an unnecessary impediment to smooth sliding when you hit the pavement. The best
helmets put the anchors below the surface of the shell, or at least recess the anchors to make a smooth surface. Some
just run the straps between shell and liner, eliminating the front anchors. If a manufacturer is asking you to pay a
premium price for a helmet, we think the least they should do is recess the strap anchors or put them under the
Foams are finally evolving. In addition to EPS, EPP and Zorbium there is now a foam on the market called Tau ReUp foam
used by Shain that encapsulates EPS beads in EPU to provide a limited level of multi-impact protection. Shain has
published data in their catalog showing that the foam can take four impacts at the same location before it fails to pass
on bike helmet drops in the lab. That's three more impacts than EPS, although it falls short of being a true multi-impact
foam equivalent to what you find in football helmets. In addition Pro Tec has a modified EPP as well that they are
calling SXP. They say it permits them to meet multi-impact standards without making their helmets thicker. And some Hopus
models have a layer of resilient APE foam in addition to EPS for multi-impact performance, a feature they call SIS. We
have a page on foams
We recommend looking for a helmet that
1. Meets the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. (Look for the sticker inside) For skateboard use find one that also meets
the ASTM F1492 Skateboard standard.
2. Fits you well.
3. Has a rounded, smooth exterior with no snag points.
4. Has no more vents than you need.
We always recommend checking Consumer Reports
for brand and model recommendations. They had a helmet article in their July, 2004 issue
, rating 29 helmets. Unfortunately, it covers only a handful
of the helmets on the market, and is already out of date. (We have more recent reports here
Since there is no lab test data available for most helmets we do not make brand and model recommendations. We do
recommend steering away from models with obvious disadvantages like snag points on the outer surface. And it will not
surprise you that it is advantageous to have lots of thicker, less dense foam in a helmet, leading to our recommendation
that you find one with no more vents than you need. It is frustrating for us not to have specific model recommendations
based on impact performance, but the data just does not exist in the public domain.
Some Interesting New Models
- Alpha Micro Shell V-13: J&B's low-cost line for bike stores includes this very round and smooth helmet with
decent vents, taped-on shell and a rear stabilizer selling for under $20 in a bike shop. Often the roundest, smoothest
helmets are in the least expensive lines.
- SixSixOne All Ride: new for 2005 and an exciting (to us) helmet that proves it is possible to design a
rounder profile helmet with contemporary styling. There is no rear snag point. The All Ride has lots of vents, multiple
shell pieces covering most of the foam all the way down, a ring fit system with dial adjustment, bug mesh in the front
vents and a removable visor. The shell could be smoother, the strap anchors better recessed and the front vent area
could be greater, but this is a good looking helmet. Retail price on the website is $70, but a dealer could be down
around $50. In late 2005 Sixsixone dropped the Allride from its catalog due to slow sales, but the remaining stock was
made available to dealers at a lower dealer cost. The good news is that what appears to be the same helmet design is
available as the Limar 801, and Limar is not dropping it.
- Bell Citi - Marketed for the commuter and in-town user. Bell's Metro was introduced in 2004, with a
design marred by the addition of rubberized surfaces below the shell, but featuring one of the few remaining pony tail
ports, a useful feature. there are plenty of vents and a large frontal vent area, indicating that cooling should be
very good. The Citi is an improvement with a lower price that drops some of the "features" of the Metro for a plainer,
better helmet. Strap anchors are only partly recessed and stick up well above the shell. Retail is $45 for the Citi or
$70 for the Metro.
- Bell Deuce and Bell Impulse: down near the bottom of Bell's mass merchant line are these two gems,
round and smooth and fully discounted. Inmolded construction. Look for them at a big box store near you, or find them
on the Internet for $15 plus shipping.
- Limar 801: new for 2005, this commuter-style helmet has the rounder, smoother lines and is the shape we
recommend. This one has mesh in the vents for bug protection and a ring-fit system. It retails for $75.
- Michelin MX Urban: another commuter style helmet with very large vents and rounded lines, but not as round
and smooth as the Metro or the Sixsixone All Ride. Inmolded with a ring-fit system. Translucent gray visor. Retails for
$45. With a black visor and different graphics it is the Street.
- Shain BK51 Urban: Shain's 2005 round and smooth commuter model. The external strap anchors are partly
recessed, and the vents are very unusual crescent shapes. It appears to have better than usual rear coverage, but we
have not measured it. There is a light or light mount on the rear. Standard EPS foam, no inner shell, removable visor.
We don't have the retail price.
- Shain BK 1000: a multi-impact helmet using their "Tau Multi Impact Technology" foam, with huge vents, a
moderate rear snag point and internal strap anchors. Shain's catalog includes results of lab tests that show their
helmet handling four hard impacts in the same spot before registering over 300g. Retail price is $218, up there with
Lance Armstrong's Giro.
- Chrono Time Trial Helmets
Chrono models represent a niche market but most manufacturers have one for image purposes. For time trialing and
pursuit events on a track the exaggerated aero tail of these teardrop-shaped helmets probably poses no snagging
problems, and the rest of the shape is ideal for meeting the pavement very hard. A growing number of them now meet the
CPSC standard and can be sold in the US. Louis Garneau started the trend in 2002 with his Chrono model, and this year
there are others from Lazer, Limar and Shain.
The "skateboard" helmets now on the market are mostly bicycle helmets in the classic skate style. They are fine for
bike riding, as long as the sticker inside certifies that they meet the CPSC standard. If you need a multi-impact
helmet for aggressive, trick, extreme skating or skateboarding with daily crashes, look for a true multi-impact skate
model that has a sticker inside saying it meets ASTM F1492. A search for "dual certified" on this page will
bring them up, or we have them listed on our page of dual certified helmets. Beware of
some inferior models still available in skate shops that only meet a feeble European EN standard. The CPSC regulation
covers only bicycle helmets, and there is no US law that says a skate helmet has to meet any standard whatsoever.
Fortunately the selection of dual certified skate/bike helmets began expanding during the 2004 season. The biggest
advance for skateboarders is still the revamping of the Pro Tec line in 2004 with a new foam that is a vast
improvement over most of the earlier Pro Tec designs.
Smallest and Largest Helmets
Bell's Kinghead remains the biggest lid you can find, but their new Triton (Sequoia in 2005) is nearly as large. We
have a page up on helmets for large heads. The smallest helmets advertised are the L.A.S
Baby and the Atlas Drago, both for 45cm heads, available in Europe but not a US model. Pryme has a BMX
helmet (!) nearly as small at 46 cm. Ask your pediatrician about his one before buying! We have a page explaining tiny helmets, and another page asking if you really want
to take your baby along.
If your head is the rounder shape sometimes associated with Asian parentage, do a search for the term "Asian" on this
page to find helmets that manufacturers tell us fit rounder heads. Unless we have missed one, only two manufacturers
make that claim: Selev and Sportscope. Alternately, you can try to
find a helmet made for the Japanese market, where heads are round. We have a page up on fitting
Outside the US
In markets outside the US you will probably find helmets that meet your national standard or the European standard.
The CEN bicycle helmet standard can be met with thinner foam and a less protective helmet than what is required to
meet the US CPSC standard. (We have a page up on that.) Some European helmets may exceed
the CEN standard by a wide margin, but there is no data available to us to find out which ones they are. Even major
US brands sometimes produce less protective models for the European market to make them thinner and lighter so they
can be competitive there. (We can pick up a CEN standard helmet and feel the difference immediately.) For that reason
we recommend buying a helmet with a US CPSC sticker inside if you can. Those helmets are available from a number of
European or Asian manufacturers as well as US producers. If there is no CPSC sticker inside the helmet it does not
meet the CPSC standard.
- Asian Sourcing
Asian sourcing has become the rule for most helmet companies for at least part of their lines. Many of the familiar US
brands are made companies in China and Taiwan. Some are still made in the US, Italy, Australia and Germany. Origin does
not necessarily determine a helmet's quality. Some inexpensive Chinese helmets are the equal of anything made in the US
or Europe, and some European helmets made to the CEN standard may have a high quality look and feel but too little foam
to meet the CPSC standard.
- "Women-Specific" Designs
Women-Specific has been a buzz phrase in the industry for a decade, but the designs are mostly no different from
Lance's helmet. Hold up the "women specific" model and the men's of the same size beside it and you will readily see
that they came from the same mold, and the only difference is in colors and graphics. The Bell Metro/Citi, is
the last remaining helmet we have found this year with pony tail ports, and designers do not seem to have found
anything else to do for women but cosmetics. Ironically, the pony tail port was invented by a male helmet designer for
his pony tail, and a number of helmets had them when there were more males wearing their hair long. The addition of
rear stabilizers to helmets made the pony tail port more difficult to use, but the Bell Metro will take a good
three-to-four fingers of pony tail if you are willing to thread it through. The manufacturers believe that women will
pay more for bikes that fit and clothing that makes them look good, but not necessarily for true women-specific
helmets. And we are not sure what you could do to a helmet to make it work better for women other than a ponytail port.
Some manufacturers now recommend that women wear their pony tails lower down on the head or tuck the hair up under the
Although we don't calculate averages, prices seem about the same as last year, with older models sometimes slipping
down a bit as the design ages. The lowest prices in discount stores begin at $7.14 (Wal-Mart and Target) but are mostly
in the $15 to $35 range. In bike stores where you can get help with selection and fitting you would expect to pay more,
and the prices generally start over $30 and go up as high as you want. For many buyers the fitting help is worth the
extra you pay in a bike store.
As always, availability looks good for most models, since there is adequate supply and demand remains tepid.
What We Did Not Find Again This Year
There is still no helmet on the market identified as an "anti-concussion" or softest-landing helmet. You get protection
from catastrophic injury, while lesser blows are assumed to be survivable. And nobody advertises that their helmet can
take blows that exceed the CPSC standard, although Consumer Reports testing
indicates that some can.
With our legal climate we may never see that happen, since advertising a helmet like that would expose the manufacturer
to lawsuits whenever someone was injured in it, whether or not the helmet performed well.
There has been almost no effort to apply standard electronic and wireless technologies to bicycle helmets. You should be
able to find a helmet with a rear-facing camera and a heads-up display to replace your old mirror, but you can not. You
should be able to find one with a Bluetooth wireless headset that you could use with an intercom system or your Bluetooth
cell phone, but you can not, although the German company Vemar is selling a motorcycle helmet equipped that way. The
efforts to build in lights have not been impressive, although there are a few helmets with LED flashers built into the
rear and you can always add a flasher with a hook-and-loop mount. Bell even sells a saddle with a powerful built in 5 LED
flasher, but their only helmet model with a mount for a flasher is the Citi/Metro. It looks like we will be waiting at
least until 2006 for those things to develop.
Here is an index to our reports for other years.
The typical helmet listed below is made of EPS foam with a thin plastic shell taped or glued onto the foam. It has at
least some vents, nylon or polypro straps, a plastic buckle, no reflective trim and either a ring fit ("one size fits
all) or squishy foam fitting pads inside. If no contrary information is in the writeup for each brand or model, those
features are assumed. Many have a rear stabilizer wrapping around the back of the head, which we note only if it has some
unusual feature. We also note the largest and smallest sizes available where relevant, and any bright colors. Prices are
the Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price, what you might pay at your local bike shop with fitting services included. You
may find discounts available. Internet pricing is lower (no fitting help over the wire), particularly on prior years'
models. If you are searching for a model and don't find it here, use our search function
check our writeups for previous years
to see if it has been discontinued.
Abus is a German company also known as a manufacturer of high-security padlocks. They have a unique ratcheting strap
fastener with a toothed tab sliding into a slot that we have only seen on Abus and Uvex helmets. It would have to be
adjusted carefully to be sure it does not bear against the line of the jaw. Their rear stabilizers are also adjusted by a
ratchet device. Visors mount with pins. Some models may have bug-proof mesh for the front vents. Abus' bicycle helmets
include helmets for toddlers, youth and adults. All of the models on their website are certified only to European
standards and will not be sold in the US. Sizes run from 46 to 62 cm. Some of their models appear to be reasonably well
rounded, but we have not seen them in person for more than three years, so it is difficult to comment based on the photos
on the web. Abus models on the website include:
- Smile Klick: for toddlers. Fits down to 46 cm. Ring fit system.
- Star Quicktec: for toddlers. Has a less rounded design with molded in visor. The Piccolino Quicksafe
appears to be the same helmet with different graphics. The Janosch Quicksafe version has "Janosch" character
- Galaxis Zoom 2: for toddlers and youth. One size fits from 48 to 59 cm.
- Airmaxx Zoom: Appears to be a youth version of the Airstream Zoom. Ring fit system, visor.
- Extreme Quicksafe: Adult model with ring fit system and visor.
- Airstream Zoom: Adult model with ring fit system and visor.
- Airflow Zoom 2: For adults. This was once introduced as a US model, but now is listed as meeting only Euro
- Ramp Quicksafe: adult economy model with visor.
- Ambition Zoom: Well-rounded adult helmet.
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 a
ring fit system 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.
See Lucky Bell
AJ Industries / Zone
We have no 2005 info. Please see our 2004 writeup
All Pro and All Top
See THH below.
Alpha helmets have been found in the US under two brands, but not as Alpha. Some 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 2002 they added the C-Tec, with squared-off ribs but a rounded shape overall. In 2003 they
introduced some models that are inmolded, notably their G4 model, although most are taped on. For 2005 they informed us
they are working on a skate model with a thin shell that will be inmolded. The manufacturer says their retail prices run
in the $35 range. Alpha also makes hockey, ski and batting helmets. The brand known as Alpha Helmets in the US has been
made by Strategic Sports and distributed in the US by J & B Importers
below. J&B is dropping the Alpha
name in 2006.
Armor Pro is a brand imported by San Diego Speed, located in Pomona, California. They have classic skate-style helmets in
chrome, yellow and black, retailing for about $30.
Atlas is a Swedish manufacturer. We have not seen them in the US. Their website says their helmets meet the European CEN
standard. They have an extensive line, including:
- Hardtop Mini: A toddler helmet that fits heads as small as 45 cm (17.8 inches) in diameter that they say is for 6
months up to 2 years. (The six months is not recommended!--see this page). Colors include a
nice visible yellow.
- Hardtop: Another toddler helmet for 2 to 7 years.
- Twinky: One size larger helmet for 2 to 7 years in adult shape, with ring fit system and molded in visor.
- Dolphin: Another 2 to 7 years helmet in elongated adult shape, inmolded.
- Rockskipper: Youth helmet in elongated adult shape, inmolded.
- Drago: Unique shape -- wish we knew Swedish -- fits 45 to 57 cm.
- Hotshot: Basic adult helmet, should be cheap.
- Hotshot Inmold: inmolded version, nicer colors, visor, rear snag point.
- Sport: Elongated vents, visor, somewhat protected rear snag point.
- Marlin: Nicely rounded, visor, fits up to 61 cm.
- Stingray: Standard adult helmet.
- X-treme Sport: Skate style on top with scooped in rear to avoid a round shape.
The Avenir brand is distributed by Raleigh and made by Strategic. They have a variety of inmolded and taped-on models,
mostly with moderate rear snag points, rear stabilizers, pinned-on visors, and prices ranging from about $40 to $60.
- S9-C: inmolded with a two-piece shell covering both upper and lower sections, with a pronounced rear snag
point, a dial fit stabilizer and recessed strap anchors. Retail $50.
- TX1: Taped-on shell, with a large area of reflective trim in the rear.
- R-17: Rounded shape, recessed strap anchors, locking strap junctions, and a dial fit rear stabilizer. $40
- Sonic TXIB: Taped shell, dial fit, moderate snag point in rear, reflective material in rear.
- Sonic Comp: inmolded, very small rear snag point, retails for $25.
- Sonic Jr.: Toddler helmet with ring fit, dial adjustment.
Azonic/O'Neal USA has mostly hard shell, no-vent full face helmets for BMX. They have removable inner liners for cleaning
and large, sturdy, bolted-on visors, a potential snagging hazard. Their BMX helmets are made by KBC in Korea or THH in
Taiwan, and are said to all be certified to the Snell M-2000 motorcycle helmet standard, therefore exceeding by a wide
margin the DOT motorcycle helmet standard, and by an even wider margin any bicycle helmet standard in the world. (We are
not able to identify the models on the Snell lists, but look for the Snell sticker inside the helmet to be sure.)
- 546: A classic motorcycle-style BMX helmet with ABS plastic shell and a bolted-on visor, a potential
snagging hazard. Said to meet Snell's M-2000 motorcycle helmet standard. Retail is $110. Comes in a child size for
- ASX: Similar to the 546, retailing for $90.
- T-55: Anther BMX helmet, but this time with vents and meeting the CPSC bike helmet standard. Retails for
- 695: Listed in the 2005 Azonic price list at $130, but we have not seen it.
Bell is still the largest company in the bicycle helmet market. They also own Giro, although the two have separate helmet
models. They have been making bicycle helmets since 1975. We spend more space on their line than most others because
people want the info. Their new Citi
is a less expensive variation of the 2004 Metro, a rounder design pitched to
urban commuters. Bell has 20 models in this year's lineup, but some are the same model without a visor, or in a larger
size for big heads or a smaller size for women. 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, now included on the adult "sport" models.
Bell has reintroduced a reflective logo for 2005, and is no longer using hook-and-loop to hold padding in. (The adhesive
on hook-and-loop pads tends to deteriorate over time, particularly in a hot car or trunk.)
At the top of Bell's line are their molded-in-the-shell models, called the Fusion Series. For the 2005 year all are
hyper-ventilated and all have rear stabilizers. Among them:
- Citi/Metro: The Metro was introduced in 2004, with a unique rounded exterior. It is pitched for the commuter
market. It did not sell well in 2004, partly because Bell did not advertise it, as if they did not really believe in
it. Now for 2005 there is a less expensive version called the Citi. It eliminates the rubberized coating on the lower
half of the helmet, and changes the fit system from pads to a "universal" ring fit. That may or may not work out well
for you. Both models come with plenty of vents and a visor, and have only partially recessed strap anchors. Both have a
really useful pony tail port that makes it easier for those with long hair. The Metro can be outfitted with a whole
range of accessories: a flimsy mirror that folds back into the visor for storage, an innovative winterizing kit with
ear muffs and vent plugs, a rain cover with hot reflective trim and a red LED flasher that attaches to the helmet's
rubber strip in the back. White is the only really visible Metro color, but the Citi comes in yellow. Retail is about
$70 for the Metro (down $10 from last year) and $45 for the Citi. If you buy the Metro with all accessories at full
retail it will come to a tidy $110, $25 less than last year. These two are worth a look for their rounded exterior, and
if the ring fit works for your head the Citi would be preferable if only because it eliminates the rubberized section.
We found that the straps on the Metro would not stay in place when adjusted, and would have to be sewn or locked with
rubber bands wrapped under the fittings to be usable. For a less-expensive but equally well-rounded alternative, see
the Impulse below. At $15 to $35 it is still inmolded.
- Sweep: Bell's top of the line for 2005, with 11 choppy snag points on the rear giving it a porcupine effect.
Has a lower shell molded on, and some nice bright colors. Retails for $115 to $130 depending on the model.
Bicycling magazine gave the Sweep its lightweight and ventilation high marks in its Jan/Feb 2005 issue, but
complained that the helmet did not have any carbon fiber in it. That tells you more about the magazine than the
- Ghisallo: Bell's top of the line for 2002 was this design named for an Italian saint. Somewhat better
rounded than some of Bell's other top models, but still features a rear snag point. It has fewer but very large vents,
and there is a nicely visible white. Retail price is still $100.
- Furio: Another Bell road model with more rounded lines than some but still sporting a snag point in the
tail. No visor. Retail is $60, down $15 from last year.
- X-Ray: This model was Bell's top of the line for 2001. It features a top and bottom outer shell. It is a
hyper-ventilated model with long vents and a rear overhang with points that present a potential snag hazard. It has
Bell's rear stabilizer that tightens by turning a small geared wheel. For 2005 it gets Bell's new visor, with height
adjustment. Two-tone colors, none of them very bright. Retail is still $100.
- Influx: A Mountain bike helmet with visor and a pronounced rear overhang to snag on. What appears to be the
same helmet is available in the Euro market as the Alchera, or with visor as the Delirium. Internet discounters in the
US market have the Alchera for $43 and up, while the 2005 Influx retails here for $60. Models from prior years are
heavily discounted. Not all of Bell's Euro models are certified to the CPSC standard, but those sold in the US must
- Aquila: This 2001 design was redone for 2002 to upgrade the construction to inmolded. For 2005 it has the
"universal" ring fit system. Has three points in the rear and a snap in visor. Reasonable vents. Comes in red and white
for visibility. Retail is still $45.
- Arc FS: Bell's 2002 design for its "entry level" helmet, upgraded for 2004 to inmolded construction. Also
known as the Ukon when it has a visor, and the Bella with feminine graphics. This year Bell is producing
an extra large size and initiallty called it the Sequoia, but changed the name to Triton. It fits heads up to
25.5 inches/64.8cm in circumference. These helmets have a better rounded shape than most of Bell's line. Has a
one-size-fits-all ring fit. Despite the upgrade to inmolded last year, retail is still $30 for the Arc and $35 for the
three with visors: the Ukon, Triton or the Bella. The same design is also available as a "youth" helmet as the
Cognito with multi-color graphic designs and a visor, retailing for $35 or as the Craze without visor for
$30. This is the least expensive inmolded Bell model for adults and youth, and probably one of the better values in the
- Amigo: A new design in 2000, upgraded in 2004 to inmolded construction. The Amigo is 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, visor and bug net in the vents. Nice selection of graphics including one orange model. Retail is still
Kinghead: This $30 helmet 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/65.8cm around). It is still the largest bicycle helmet we know of, at
.4 inches larger than the Triton above. It has a beautifully rounded exterior and internal strap anchors. 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. Note that the Kinghead is an older design with a taped-on shell rather than
having the Triton's inmolded construction, but its impact performance meets the same CPSC standard. The Kinghead also
fits with pads rather than the "universal" ring fit system on the Triton. The Kinghead is not in the current Bell
catalog, but if you need a very large helmet you can contact a Bell dealer, or check out mail
order outlets on the Internet. There are still some left in a warehouse, and Bell still has the tooling if they
ever need to make more. (Kinghead appears on the Bell website only in the copyright notice in the 2005 catalog.) If
you have a head that large and the Triton won't fit, check out our page on helmets for large
- L'il Bell Shell: a toddler helmet with vents, previously known as the Half Pint and not related to
the L'il Bell Shell of the 1980's and 90's. Has such a well-rounded shape that even we have no complaints. There are
sticker kits available to allow kids to personalize their helmet. Retail is still $30.
- Boomerang: 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 L'il Bell Shell, and is
almost as well-rounded on the exterior. Cartoon graphics, and there is a bright yellow model. Has a soft foam visor.
No-pinch buckle. Retail is $30.
Bellistic: Bell's BMX/downhill racing model is still in the lineup for 2005. It has a fiberglass shell, vents
and the well-rounded shape that is traditional in BMX helmets. Unfortunately it also has a bolted-on visor, always a
potential snag point. It has a full chinguard but there is no impact foam padding in it. It resembles a motorcycle
helmet with vents, weighing two full pounds. There are no really bright colors, but this one will not be used much on
the road anyway. Made for Bell in China by Zhuhai Safety. The retail price this year is
$75, down $5 from last year.
- Faction: Bell's "skate-inspired" BMX/skate model is a 2004 hard shell design with a dual-density foam liner.
In previous designs by LT back in 1991 this technique was used to take the sting out of lesser bumps with the softer
layer, but backed up by a harder layer that could still perform on the big hits. In the Faction the technique is used
to provide a different liner density in the front to meet the CPSC standard while avoiding a thicker helmet. The
Faction has the admirably round, smooth exterior of the classic skate helmet, with small rectangular vents on top,
front and rear. Curiously, the weight is the same as the Bellistic full face model, 32 oz. There is a nice selection of
graphics featuring five different skateboard celebs and including visible white. This model has dual
certification to both the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and the ASTM F-1492 multi impact skateboard standard. The
Faction retails for $30.
Bell has helmets made to the CEN European standard that according to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News
pass the US CPSC standard and cannot be sold in the US market. Foremost among them is the Bell Meteor II
trial helmet, constructed by adding foam under Bell's older time trial shell. Apparently there was not much room left,
since this one is available only in small and medium, fitting heads up to 59cm in circumference. Bell says it weighs in
at 315g. This is one you may have seen in Tour de France time trials. There is a similar Giro model. If you want a time
trial helmet that is certified to the much tougher CPSC standard and can be used in a US race, check out our comment on
Chrono Helmets above.
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 occasionally discontinued models from the bike store
line, but seldom include the inmolded models. The cheaper ones generally have low-end graphics, chintzy fit pads, slippy
straps and cheaper packaging. Most do not have rear stabilizers. But they are designed to the same CPSC standard as any
other helmet on today's US market, so they provide fine impact protection. The rounded profiles we consider optimum still
persist in this line, since they are cheaper to produce, and the Consumer Reports testing of other
indicated that the thicker foam may actually provide better impact protection than some of the thinner, more
ventilated, more expensive pro models. Models include the adult Reflex, Radar, Adrenaline, Protos and Impulse
Youth sizes include the Edge, Aero, Blade and Deuce
. Child helmet models are the Star, Racer and Rex
Toddler helmets include the Shadow, Zoomer and Bellino
Two models in the low-priced line deserve special attention: the Deuce
and the Impulse
are the same helmet
in adult and youth sizes. Both have the same radically round, smooth shape of the Bell Metro and Citi. Both are inmolded,
the only models in this series that are made with that higher-quality construction. They have reasonable vents. The price
will likely be right when you find them in a big box store. You can find one on the Nashbar site for $15, an astoundingly
low price for a round and smooth inmolded Bell. Unfortunately, they only had the black model when we checked. For a few
dollars more you should be able to find the Impulse in a more visible color, and we know there is a mauve version.
Bell's skate models in this low-priced series include the Rage, Mirra and Wicked
. All are dual certified
the CPSC bicycle and ASTM F-1492 skateboard standards.
This line sells for low prices: $15 to $40. They are available to non-profits for much less than that, through Safe Kids
USA. 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.) Bell also produces toddler, skate and child bike helmets for the Fisher-Price brand, and you may see them
as X-Games, Barbie, or Hot Wheels brands. Some models come bundled with bike or skate accessories. Reports from the field
indicate that you should steer clear of the Bell models with plastic "self-fitting" straps, an uncomfortable feature that
led kids to avoid fastening the straps at all. For current production Bell has phased out the plastic in favor of fabric
For Bell's crash replacement policy it is best to call 1-800-BELL or search their website. We found it in the helmet
manuals, in .pdf format. As of January, 2005 you send back the damaged helmet with a letter describing your crash "in as
much detail as possible," a dated cash register receipt (you did
save your receipt, and you can
right?) with a check for:
- For Fusion series helmets: $35
- For cheaper models: $20.
We really don't understand the need for the cash register receipt. The helmet is identifiably a Bell, and has their name
In 2001 Bell became the only helmet manufacturer who joined the Consumer Product Safety Commission's Product Safety
Circle. We are not sure how much that actually means to the consumer, but they have pledged to follow ten safety
principles, designate a corporate safety officer and publicize their successes in implementing the principles.
In late 2004 Bell Sports was purchased by Fenway Partners, a private-equity holding company. Through them Bell Sports in
early 2005 repurchased the Bell motorcycle helmet manufacturing company that it had spun off in 1991. Most consumers were
probably unaware of either change. Fenway-Bell also owns Sports Instruments, a maker of heart rate monitors, bike
computers and watches.
Bianchi is marketing team helmets to match their bikes. They have several models: the Team Bianchi 909 at $180 and the
Team Bianchi 530 at $120 are available in the US. There is also the Celeste Puro F105 at $120, and Motorex Racing F-107
at $120 (available in trademark Bianchi celeste blue), The helmets are made by Limar of Italy, and correspond to Limar
models of the same number. See Limar
Bravo is the house brand of Asctechs.com/El Sol Trading. They have a skate-style helmet said to be certified for
bicycling, skateboarding and snowboarding. The helmet has the classic skate shape. It may be dual certified to bicycle
and skateboard standards, but we have not seen it and cannot comment on what standards it actually meets, since the
website is vague on that. Pricing is in the $20 range, and there are some bright colors along with the usual black and
Briko is an Italian company who began breaking into the U.S. market in 1998 but has been slow to push its line here. All
of their helmets are made in Italy. They have an innovative "twin cap" construction technique bonding two separate liners
to leave air channels. They use reflective trim on their US models, and all of their models for the US market are
inmolded. Our data are not current for 2005.
- Solo: Introduced in 2003, the Solo is a slick looking design with a two piece cover inmolded. It has a ring
fit and a medium snag point on the back. It retails for $140.
- Meltemi: Another new model, also inmolded, with noticeable exterior strap anchors, usually avoided in top of
the line helmets.
- Twinner: One of Briko's older designs. Has three very large vents in the front, setting 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. In 2002 Briko added a full lower wrap-around plastic shell. Graphics accent the unusual
features. Retail is $120.
- Spark: A slightly more conventional design with twin layers, multiple vents and sharp ribs, with a
pronounced snag point in the rear. Has a unique visor mount with hollow fittings that go in the front vents. Retail in
the US is $120.
- Hurricane: Retail in the US is $60.
- Mistral: a single layer road helmet with conventional lines and conventional vents. Retail is $40.
- Toronado: A nicely rounded helmet made in a single layer, with conventional venting. Retail is $80.
- Taku: A child's helmet in the adult style, with a medium snag point on the rear, a dial fit system and a
pinned-on visor. Retail is $25.
Briko has a number of other helmets for the European market that are not available in the US. These include:
- Crono: Briko's entry in the time trial/pursuit aerodynamic helmet market. Has a clear plastic face shield,
and comes in three graphics combinations. We don't know what standards it might meet.
- Racing Junior: conventional vents, comes in a nice yellow.
Carrera is an Italian company better known for winter sport helmets that is bringing their line to the US market slowly.
Their helmets have the Italian stylishness, moderate to large rear snag points, large vents, and some reflective trim.
External strap anchors stick up, and one of their models even has a spoiler. The only model we have seen in person is the
. It is new for 2005 and has striking graphics and a unique fit system. Inmolded construction, moderate rear
snag point. It retails for $120. For just $12 more you can get an All Weather Protector, a plastic shell that fits over
the helmet and covers all vents, anchored by the external strap anchors.
Catlike is a Spanish company named for its founder, whose bicycle racing nickname was "the cat." Their line includes
eight models. We don't know about standards or market availability, so check the website if you are interested. Catlike
had a recall in 2003 of its Kompact model, so check our recalls page
if you need info on that.
- Whisper: New for 2005, the Whisper has a unique nubby outer shape and many vents. We would reject it for the
external shape, but if you want something different you will not see many of these on the road. Inmolded. Some very
visible colors including orange. Retail is $180.
- Kompact 2: Large oval vents, full shell wrapping around the bottom. Inmolded. Has pronounced rear snag
points as well as external strap anchors sticking up. Nylon visors with push-point attachments. Many graphic
combinations including solid and multi colors, some highly visible, helping to match team colors. Lots of reflective
trim. This is the US-only model. The European Kompact is promoted on European racers including Jan Ulrich.
Retails for $140, up $10 from last year.
- Shield: Large vents for a skate-shaped helmet, "ducktail" effect in the rear, with what Catlike claims is
additional lower rear protection. Inmolded.
- Evolution: Modest vents, moderate rear snag point, inmolded. Available in a nice bright yellow.
- Airlock 2: Smoother shape except for a pronounced rear snag point. Taped on shell. Available in orange.
- Kid Tiger: Toddler helmet with vents and child graphics. Has a molded in visor.
- Kid Basic: Toddler helmet with vents. Very nicely rounded shape. Available in highly visible orange and
- Chrono: Catlike has a chrono helmet for 2005 that will meet the European standard, as required in European
- Viper: Full-coverage motorcycle style helmet with face bar and vents. Visor fastened with two unfortunate
bolts to make it a snag hazard. There are both fiberglass and carbon fiber versions.
This German company with an Italian name has an extensive lineup of 20 models, but fewer models for the U.S. market this
year. Some of their helmets have a suspension system called the Head Ring with an adjustable head band to fit all sizes.
Some models have a "soft shock" liner, but the catalog and website fail to explain what that is all about. Cratoni's
child models fit heads as small as 18.5 inches/47 cm and their largest adult models fit up to 23.5 inches/62 cm. Their
one-size-fits all models cover from 20.5" to 23.5"/52 or 53 cm to 60 cm. Cratoni's retail prices seem higher than most,
but dealers may adjust that.
- Ceron: The top of Cratoni's line is a hyper-vented helmet with sharp shell lines and the usual rear snag
points. Inmolded, with a lower shell as well. Uses visible carbon fiber bridges in the front shell to open up larger
vents, and possibly to make sure it meets the US standard. Has the Soft Shock liner. The scarlet red version is bright
and visible. Retail is about $130.
- Achillon: The Ceron design without carbon fiber. Retails for just under $100. Not a US model.
- Tremor and Tremor Tribal: A somewhat better-rounded helmet but with a very pronounced rear snag point.
Inmolded, with the Head Ring adjustable headband to fit heads 53 to 60 cm. Not a US model.
- Zethos: Lots of long skinny vents and what might be described as a flat deck or spoiler sticking out at the
top rear. Comes in five shades of black, including "used-look graphite." Cratoni bills it as a competition model. Not a
US model. Also comes as a "Crocodile Trophy" model with sunglasses included.
- Xenon: A somewhat better-rounded helmet with many large vents. Inmolded, with the Head Ring adjustable
headband to fit heads 53 to 60 cm. Retails for about $75. Not a US model.
- Radon: New for 2005, and probably Cratoni's best-rounded model, with large vents, bug net in the front vents
and available in an XXL model that fits up to 65cm heads. This is a US model meeting the CPSC standard.
- Argon: Mountain bike (with visor) model with squared off ribs but no rear snag point. Has bug net. All
colors are dark. Not a US model.
- Neon: Another well-rounded design, again with bug net in the vents and retailing in the US for $35.
- Heli: A "junior" helmet inmolded with visor, reasonably rounded lines and modest vents. Has the Head Ring
adjustable headband, fitting sizes 53 to 60 cm. Has bug net in the front vents. Retails for $60. Not a US model.
- Mad X: Well-rounded youth helmet with the ring fit system. It has a 40 piece sticker set for
- Rapper: Another youth model, with more squared-off lines giving it a snazzier appearance, but no rear snag
point. Ring fit system and bug net in the front vents. There is a visible red/silver finish available. Not a US
- Kid Cross: A well-rounded youth helmet with minimal venting, visor and bug mesh in the front vents.
Available in a Crocodile Trophy version. Not a US model.
- Honey: A toddler model with vents that comes in a beautiful yellow. Ring fit system for 48 to 52cm heads.
Not a US model.
- Fox: A child helmet with reasonable vents and the adjustable Head Ring suspension. Rounded shape but has a
molded in visor. Bug mesh in front vents. Not a US model. Fits heads as small as 18.5 inches/47 cm. Retails for about
$30. Not a US model.
- Interceptor: Cratoni's upscale downhill racing model, with full chinbar, a fiberglass/carbon fiber shell and
a visor bolted on. It comes in flashy graphics or solid colors and has mesh protecting the front vents. It retails for
$400 or an eye-watering $600 for the special Nicolas Vouilloz model. We do not know which standards the Interceptor
- Ramp: Another full-face downhill racing model, with a hard shell. Vented. Comes in white or black. Not a US
- Chrono: Cratoni's time trial and pursuit event model, now upgraded to meet the European impact standard as
required for UCI racing. Not available in the US.
- Mach I: a chrono shell with no impact management liner.
Cratoni will replace a helmet crashed within three years of purchase for 50 per cent of the recommended retail price.
Ecko has been around since the early 1980's, first in California, then Idaho, now Arizona. Although they don't have a
website and we have not seen their current catalog, Ecko has usually produced BMX racing and skateboard helmets. The BMX
shells are fiberglass, with both open face and chinbar models. Visors are snap on, and are designed to pop off in an
impact to avoid a snagging hazard, a very desirably safety feature. 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 2005 line, and do not know if they are actually still manufacturing,
but their helmets are available from some suppliers.
Esco Sport Product Corp. is a Chinese company producing electric and gas scooters, bicycles and carts. Their helmets are
certified to CEN standards, not CPSC, so they are not available in the US market. Their website was not up the last time
we checked in January, 2005.
Epsira Oy (Knock)
Epsira Oy is the Finnish manufacturer of Knock helmets, advertised as CEN approved (European standard) and in one case as
meeting a Swedish standard. They are supplied to such organizations as the Finnish postal service (in very visible
yellow). Most of their designs appear to have nicely rounded contours and would qualify in the US as commuter helmets.
They have several models, including the H3, Knock, Inmotion 2 and Champion. Their
Yad model, probably new for 2005, is easily the strangest shape of
any helmet we have seen on the web. Some of their Knock child helmets have large team logos and cartoon characters called
Moomins. 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, but in January of 2005 we could not access the English version of their site. We are
not aware of a U.S. distributor for their products, or if they meet our CPSC standard. Sizes run 48 to 62 cm.
First Team sells mostly ice skates, inline skates and street hockey equipment through mass merchant channels such as
Wal-Mart. The website has two "Ultra Wheels" adult model, Helmet 1 and Helmet 2. Helmet 1 is a classic skate-style model.
Helmet 2 is a very smooth and round helmet with vents, looking more like a bike helmet than a skate helmet. The web page
says only that they are "certified" without identifying the standard. First Team had to recall their Guardian
helmet during 2000. See our recalls page
for more information.
Flash is a Taiwanese brand of inexpensive child and adult helmets. We have no web link and no further information on them
Fly Racing has a line of motorcycle BMX racing equipment, including full face helmets. All have bolted on visors, but at
least the screws are plastic rather than metal, and would be more likely to break off when you need them to, rather than
jerking your neck. If you want another snag point, Fly will sell you a rear fin to add to your helmet. It mounts without
screws or glue, so hopefully would pop off in a crash. Fly is one of the few brands whose catalog has replacement parts
for their helmets, including mouthpieces, visors, screws, pads and buckles. Sizing runs from 52cm/6 1/2 up to 66cm/8 1/4,
a very wide range indeed. Along with their own brand, they distribute helmets made by Gmax and by THH. All of their
models meet the DOT motorcycle helmet standard. Their Lite, 606 and Gmax GM26X models meet the tough Snell M-2000
motorcycle helmet standard as well, offering a level of protection considerably above that of any normal bicycle helmet.
- FL606 III: retails for $90, and meets both the DOT and Snell 2000 motorcycle helmet standards. It has a
snap-out liner and comes in six outer adult shell sizes and three youth sizes. No vents. There is a matte chrome model
for $20 extra.
- FL-303 II: Fiberglass shell, retails for $70 in painted colors or $80 in chrome.
- Gmax GMX-36X: Updated for 2005, with polycarbonate shell, retailing for $70. Meets the DOT motorcycle helmet
- Gmax GM-36Y Youth: Polycarbonate shell, smaller and lighter youth size. $70 retail.
- Gmax GMX-26X: Polycarbonate shell, comes in nine sizes from XXS to XXXX. Retails for $90, or in chrome for
$120. Snell certified except for the XXXX size, only DOT.
- FL-39 II: BMX and downhill racing model with full-face fiberglass shell retailing for $70. Has small vents
and radical graphics. Updated for 2005.
- Lite III: made with carbon fiber/kevlar, weighing in at 2.75 pounds for the large size, and meets DOT and
the tough Snell M-2000 motorcycle helmet standard. No vents. Snap out liner. Retails for $200 or $240 for the "replica"
models styled for Fly racing team members.
- THH TX-10: Full-face DOT-approved motorcycle helmet. ABS plastic shell, relatively lightweight for this type
of helmet. Retails for $60 in black, $70 with graphics and $80 in chrome.
Fox Racing has two BMX models in sizes from 18 3/8" to 25 3/4":
- Tracer: a standard BMX helmet with a chin bar for face protection and a bolted on visor. It has a
polycarbonate shell and small vents under the visor. It retails for $140 depending on finish and graphics, with a kids
version running $100. It appears on Snell's M-2000 motorcycle helmet certification list and of course is certified to
the less demanding US DOT motorcycle helmet standard as well.
- Pro Pilot: another standard BMX helmet with a chin bar for face protection and a bolted on visor. Shell is
made with fiberglass. Six sizes. Retail is $300.
Fox Racing helmets are made by AGV, an Italian company that has made motorcycle helmets since 1949.
Free Agent has one model, a very well-rounded classic skateboard-style helmet that comes in one shell size with three pad
sets of different thickness. It has an EPP liner, good for multiple impacts. It is dual certified
to meet the CPSC
standard for bike helmets. It retails for $25 to $35 in standard colors or $5 more with a chrome finish, and can be found
on the Internet for as little as $20 plus shipping. It may fit larger heads better than most skate-style helmets.
Geartec is handled by KHS in the US as Geartec or DBX. In 2004 they recalled their DBX Engage (Geartec VT-3), DBX Ravage
(Geartec FX-2), and Geartec ESPY. See our recall page
Giant supplies a full line of bikes and accessories to bike shops. Their helmets have good quality locking strap
junctions. They are made by Strategic, including:
- Argus: top of the line, with a two piece shell wrapping around the bottom. ring fit with a dial adjuster.
Inmolded, with nice internal strap anchors. Retail is $75.
- Talos: similar to the Argus, but without the wrap-around lower shell. $55.
- Scion: new for 2005. Has ring fit and a rear snag point.
- Eos: inmolded with ring fit, nicely recessed strap anchors and a moderate rear snag point.
- Youth: inmolded, moderate snag point, visor for $35.
- Skeeter/Jewel: youth model, ring fit system, with taped-on shell and a very small snag point in the rear.
Retail is $25.
- Melon: skate style, comes in matte, colors and chrome for $25.
- Pup: toddler model, retails for $25.
In its seventh year as a subsidiary of Bell, Giro's production facilities and testing are fully integrated with Bell's,
but Giro designs still have a unique fit. Giro has been a trend leader for both style and construction techniques, and
sometimes has a radical new model at the top of their line, but in 2005 they will be selling mostly the same models as
last year. They have dropped their Switchblade downhill model and in 2004 they extended inmolded construction to even the
less expensive helmets in their line. The line has been gradually evolving toward a more rounded profile over the past
several years, but still has high-end models with more pronounced snagging points. Some of Giro's helmets have reflective
surfaces on the rear stabilizers, an ideal place for those who ride in the bent-over position. Visors are mounted with
plugs that snap into the helmet shell and have an adjustable angle. Our unscientific hand test showed them to pop out
easily on impact. Consumer Reports
found Giro's cheaper models more protective than the top of the line in
their 2002 article
. Giro and other manufacturers have hyper-ventilated models produced for the
European market that meet the CEN standard but are not certified to meet the tougher US CPSC standard.
- Atmos: The top of Giro's line, introduced in 2004, selling at a steep $190 retail or $225 for Lance
Armstrong's Lone Star version. The Atmos has interior "roll cage" reinforcing, exterior carbon fiber reinforcing and an
extensive three-piece shell molded on. All that is primarily to permit opening up bigger vents while still meeting the
CPSC standard, not necessarily improving the impact performance above prior levels. Bicycling magazine named the
Atmos tops in cooling (along with the 2004 Specialized S1) in its January/February 2005 issue. In addition to several
moderate snag points on the rear, this model has forward facing points in the middle. We would avoid this one for that
feature if no other, since it contributes nothing at all to the function of the helmet. But if you want Lance's helmet,
this is it. Comes with a carrying case.
- Monza: Another new 2004 design, the Monza manages to be pointy both coming and going. Although the snag
points are moderate, they contribute nothing to the function of the helmet and in our opinion should be avoided. Retail
Pneumo: Introduced in 2001, this model continued Giro's tradition for breaking new ground in ventilation. 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. It has external strap anchors, a cheap construction technique that we always
find surprising in a high-cost helmet, but since the shell is not round and smooth anyway it probably does not make
much difference in sliding resistance. There is a pronounced pointy rear overhang to possibly snag in a crash. Upper
and lower shells are molded in. Comes with a visor. Retail is still $140. For better Giro impact protection, you have
to pay less, according to Consumer Reports.
- Eclipse: A 2000 design, this one has a rounded exterior that unfortunately ends in a severely pointed shelf
projection in the rear. Inmolded, with recessed strap anchors. Giro says it is their "most compact and streamlined"
model. Comes in a women's color this year. Retail is still $80.
- Xen: We thought of this as a skate-style helmet when we first saw it in the 2003 lineup, but when mounted on
a head and positioned for best coverage in front, the apparent extra rear coverage turns out to be mostly an illusion.
But that should not deter you too much, since this helmet has good features if you ignore the advertising. Now billed
as a "mountain" helmet, the Xen (pronounced zen) has a nicely rounded shape far superior to most Giro models, but
retains the huge Giro vents and the Giro price at $125 retail (or $140 for the Special Edition camouflage with matching
carrying case). The shell is a full wrap-around. Worth a look for the shape if you are a Giro fan. If you really want
additional rear coverage in a Giro, see the Semi MX below.
- E2: The top of Giro's "mountain" line in 2000. The E2 has squared off lines and huge vents. The lines were
somewhat more rounded than Giro's 1999 models, but they used one very pronounced rear "shelf" projection that almost
looks as if it were designed to hook something in a fall. It comes in very visible orange and white or in darker
patterns, and for 2005 there is a "women's" color, lavender. The price is still $125 retail.
- Havoc: The Havoc was Giro's roundest, smoothest high-end model in prior years. It is still in the 2004
lineup. The rear snag point has been almost eliminated in this model. The Havoc unfortunately has external strap
anchors, surprising in a helmet at this price, marring that otherwise improved outer shell line with a potential
friction point. Very large vents, molded-in upper and lower shell. Retails for $70, a lot less than when it was first
- Animas: The Animas has the usual rear snag point and a two piece molded shell. It retails for $100.
- Semi MX: The Semi is an innovative design and the roundest helmet in Giro's line. Originally introduced for
"crossover" users involved in dirt jumping, MTN-X, Slalom and Freeride. Has a hint of the retro style favored by the
skate breed, but with considerable updating of lines. Very smooth and round. It even has nicely recessed strap anchors.
The vents are reasonable but look small compared to other Giros. The design is marred only by a screw-on visor added in
2002 rather than the pinned visors on other Giros, and you have to take it on faith that it will pop off without
jerking your neck if you catch it on a tree limb. We would recommend using it without the visor, since there are no
tests for visor performance in the CPSC standard. Without the visor this would be an upscale vented skate-style helmet,
but it is not certified for skateboarding. Retails for $50.
- Encinal: Giro's model for "everyday" riders, with a more rounded shape than other Giro road models and
well-recessed strap anchors. Plenty of vents. Retails for $45. Received Bicycling Magazine's award as Best
Helmet Under $50 in their July, 2004 issue.
- Indicator: Replaced the Torrent II as Giro' least expensive 2005 model at $35. A step backward, since the
Indicator has a pronounced rear snag point, but at least the strap anchors are under the shell. Has a ring fit system.
Also comes in a "women's" model called the Skyla. Without a visor, it's the Transfer at $30, Giro's
lowest adult price point and still inmolded. For youth it's the Flume and is priced at $35.
- Atlas II: The extra large size version of last year's Torrent II, fitting 60cm to 64cm heads, and retained
in the line as Giro's largest helmet. Compared to other Giro's the design is smooth and round, with a minimal snag
point in the rear. Retail is $35.
- Rodeo: A "youth" helmet for kids who are old enough to pedal. Nicely rounded except for a front overhang
providing a rigid visor. Has the universal ring fit system, which may make good sense for child helmets where parents
want a quick fit and worry about head growth. The shell is taped on, not molded. Retails for $30.
- Me2: A toddler helmet, but vented, looking very much like a small version of the Rodeo with more oval vents
and without the universal fit system. Nicely rounded except for a front overhang providing a rigid visor. Said to have
a low profile in the rear to permit a more natural seating position in trailers, where thicker helmets can push a kid's
head forward unless they have a pad behind their back. The shell is taped on, not molded. Retails for $30.
- Mad Max II: A downhill racing helmet with a motorcycle-style full fiberglass shell. It has a nicely rounded
exterior, marred only by the bolt-on visor, and is well vented for this type of helmet. Weighs 2.7 pounds, retails for
$100, down $25 from prior years. For 2005 there is a new carbon fiber model at $190.
Giro has a time trial/pursuit helmet that according to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News
will not be sold to
consumers. Lance Armstrong and the Posties used the Giro Advantage
and Rev VI
time trial helmets in the
2004 Tour de France time trials. The Advantage may some day be available to consumers, but the Rev VI was designed only
for Lance. We don't know what impact standards they may meet, but probably they are designed for the European CEN
This year Giro helmets fit heads from 18.5" (51 cm) to 25" (64 cm).
Giro will sell you a uniquely-shaped case called a "pod" or another called the Tour Bag that is to keep that expensive
helmet pristine, but let your helmet dry out after a summer ride before putting it in there!
Giro recommends replacing their helmets after 3 years. Their crash warranty is a discount from retail prices for the
first three years. They also offer a credit toward the purchase of a larger Giro helmet for parents whose children
outgrow a child model.
See Fly Racing
Go On Sport - GOS
Go On Sport is the first new Australian company entering the US market in years. They hope to introduce 5 models here for
2005, in the $20 to $50 range. Their helmets are inmolded, and some have two-piece wrapunder shells. They are
manufactured in China by Lucky Bell and Strategic.
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. Three appear on the Snell B-95 certification list, the N6
, the V10
. They should be available in mass merchant channels, and some may find their way into bike stores.
GPR makes helmets in China to be sold under other brands. They are a large manufacturer for the European market, and were
looking to bring their lines to the US in 2004, but we have not seen them here yet under their own brand. You can see at
least one of their interesting new designs in a patent search.
We have not seen the GT helmet line this year. For 2004 it included:
- Taleous: has a moderate rear snag point, internal strap anchors and a glued on shell but without tape around
it for trim.
- Trax: a toddler design with vents and taped on shell.
- XR-20: glued shell, minimal rear snag point, internal strap anchors.
- Ollie: a classic skate-style helmet with ABS shell, made by Strategic Sports in China. Billed as a
"multisport" helmet, but it has a one-crash EPS liner and may not be certified to any other standard but the CPSC bike
helmet standard. (check the labels inside).
- Rampage: Another skate-style helmet, with small vents.
- BMX: Fiberglass shell BMX style helmet with vents, no energy management padding in the chinbar, and no rear
snag point, but an unfortunate bolted-on visor.
We do not have current pricing on the GT line.
Happy Way Enterprises
This Taiwanese manufacturer has a slick looking line of Expanded PolyUrethane (EPU) helmets. All are fully inmolded
models, including the D2
and the Vivid
for adults and a G6
model for toddlers. They are near the $40
retail level. 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 inmolded models. Happy Way
sells mostly in Europe, but in the US they sell to importers and OEM's with their own brands. Their sizing fits 47 to 62
Headstart PTY (Australia)
Once one of at least three helmet companies called Headstart. This one had nine adult models under the Gear
name. Their web page is "under construction."
This Headstart is located in Malaysia, and should not be confused with the Canadian manufacturer called Headstart
Technologies or the Australian company above. When we last heard, Malaysia's Headstart was represented by Damar in New
York. We are not familiar with their helmets.
This formerly Canadian manufacturer and user of EPP foam has moved to the US and changed its line, supplying helmets
imported from China with the usual EPS liners. We have not seen their new line.
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 fill small orders. Their models start at about $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 mostly certified to Snell's tough
B-95 standard. They have rear stabilizers and full cover shells, features almost never seen in this price range. Sizes
range from 19.3 inches to 24.5 inches (49 to 62 cm)
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. We don't see
their helmets on the web any more, so they may not be still producing them.
Hong Kong Sports
HKS has five helmets on Snell's B-90 list, including the M3, M5 V-01
and two Schwinn models. They manufacture for
a number of other US brands as well, some of them well known.
Hopus is a Taiwanese company with an extensive line of helmets featuring the only hard shell bicycle-style helmets we are
aware of for 2005. They say their hard shells are all made with industrial grade ABS for best impact performance. Some of
them have a layer of resilient APE foam for multi-impact performance, a feature they call SIS. Hopus also has thin-shell
models, some inmolded. Their 2005 catalog currently shows photos of 17 models, all CPSC and CEN certified. Most of their
models are sold with other brands on them. Their models include:
- A-6 Plus, E-2 Epoch Ex-1 Extreme and Ex-5 Extreme: Four road-style helmets, all inmolded, and all featuring
a lower shell for full coverage. They have a nicely rounded shape with minimal rear snag points. The A-6 Plus is new
this year and is the top of the Hopus line at $75. It has aluminum mesh molded into the shell and covering the
- A-6 Plus, A-8 Plus and Elf-1 Elf polycarbonate hard shell bike helmets with very nicely rounded lines. All
- B-1 Bravo: An unusual inmolded toddler helmet with vents, fitting sizes as small as 50cm.
- MF-2, MF-5, MF-6, MF-7, MF-8 and MF-9 May Flower all skate style models that debuted in 2004, with similar
hard shells but variations in the vents. The are inmolded with hard polycarbonate shells, a unique combination. They
have the well-rounded shape of skate helmets.
- AG-2 Argo: Rounded skate-style helmet with hard ABS shells.
- FSK Free Skating a hard shell skate-style helmet with an ABS shell and EPS foam liner.
- MF-3 Avenger is billed as a multi-sport helmet and available as a "snow series" model with ear flaps and a
goggle retainer in back, although it is advertised as meeting only the CPSC and CEN bicycle helmet standards. Has a
very round smooth skate-style shape, and the ABS hard shell, with more vents than the MF-2 below. There is a very
visible metallic yellow model. Retails for $20 to $40.
- MF-2 Classic is a round, smooth skate-style helmet with minimal vents. This snow series model for winter
sport use has ear flaps and a goggle retainer in the rear. Certified to the ASTM F2040 snow sport standard as well as
the CPSC and CEN bike standards. Can be had with very visible flame graphics and a nice metallic orange.
- AG-2 Argo is a round, smooth skate-style helmet with a hard ABS shell and minimal vents. It is inmolded. Has
a snow series model for winter sport use with ear flaps and a goggle retainer in the rear.
- MI-4 Mission is a skate-style helmet with angular vents and a mostly round and smooth outer shape. Has the
same inflatable airbag rear pads as the AG-3. Certified to the CPSC and European bike helmet standards.
- D-1 Diki a rare child helmet with ABS hard shell. Has vents and an overhang in front to provide a partial
visor. The XS fits heads as small as 52 cm.
Hopus has sizes in most models to fit 50 to 62 cm heads, but some models only go to 60 cm. This company is your best bet
if you are looking for a bike-style helmet with a hard shell. You can contact them through their website to ask who sells
their helmets in your market.
J&B is an old established bicycle wholesaler with warehouses all over the US. Their products are sold in bike stores. For
2005 they have added a high end line of L.A.S. helmets from Italy with price points ranging from about $70 to almost
$200. See L.A.S
below for more. J&B's lower cost Alpha line for 2005 has models beginning at about $15
retail to about $30. One has a full lower shell at $15, unusual at that price point. 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 only $25. One toddler model goes for $16 with rear
stabilizer. Their add-on visors should run about $4 in a bike store, and are mounted with hook-and-loop. They have Alpha
helmet pad replacements retailing at about $3. At the dealer level, shipping is free on J&B orders over $500. J&B has
an active program for schools and non-profits
either through a local shop or direct. Their
Alpha helmets are made in China by Strategic.
KBC has one model on the Snell B-95A bicycle helmet standard list, the AZX
. They have 19 additional motorcycle
helmet models on the tough Snell M-2000 list. We have never seen the AZX model, but the KBC helmets available from
dealers on the web are full-face motorcycle-style helmets for BMX selling for about $200. If you have the KBC Midnight
Flame, Classic Cruiser or TK-9
model, you can do a search for the DOT report of failure to meet the DOT motorcycle
helmet standard, dated October of 2003. That standard is much more severe than bicycle helmet standards, but if a
manufacturer labels a helmet as DOT-compliant and it is not, we consider it serious. Note that unlike CPSC, DOT makes its
Kent is a supplier of low-cost helmets to toy and discount stores. Some may also be labeled XFactor. They have toddler
and child models at retail price points of $10 to $17 (with vents), and a child helmet called the V9
for $11 that
also comes as the V9 Pro
with a lower shell and nicer graphics for $17. Their youth helmets are mostly in the $11
to $22 range. Some are nicely rounded while others have longer overhangs in the rear. For 2005 Kent has a BMX helmet at
$35 with and ABS shell and an unfortunate bolted-on visor. Kent has an "Aggressive Series" skate style helmet with a hard
shell in the classic skate shape and a multi-impact EPP liner for $20 to $22 depending on finish. If it is dual
it would be a good bike/skateboard helmet, but we have not seen one and the website mentions only the CPSC
Knucklebone brand accessories and clothing for BMX are from Answer Products. Their carbon-fiber shell ACF
model has a full chinbar, no vents and a price tag around $190. It has the usual bolted-on BMX visor. The web page also
lists a Holeshot
model that may come with S&M Bikes
logos. Their Jumper Pro
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 a very visible white or orange. It also is certified to meet the CPSC bicycle helmet
standard, but not the ASTM F1492 Skateboard helmet standard. It retails for $40.
Kong is an Italian climbing company. (Probably named for the King Kong gorilla movie character who climbed all over the
New York skyscrapers.) They have one helmet called the Scarab that goes beyond dual certified to be certified to European
standards for rock climbing, skateboarding, bicycling, horsback riding and whitewater. All of those standards are easier
to meet than the US equivalent, and the Scarab can't be sold in the US as a bicycle helmet unless it meets the CPSC
standard, but it is an interesting concept. The Scarab has a ring fit system with dial adjustment. It appears to have
external strap anchors. We don't know the retail price.
Kryptonics is a skateboard equipment manufacturer originally founded to make skateboard wheels in 1965. Their helmets are
made by Mien Yow in China. They are one of the companies marketing helmets that are dual certified to both the ASTM F1492
Skateboard standard and the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. Some of their helmets come with kits that include other padding
- Signature Series: dual certified, with a transparent colored shell and black and white EPS molded
together. $35 to $40 retail.
- Limited Series: dual certified, comes in three themes: a spiked helmet (!), a camo model and a bright
stars and bars. You can easily guess which one we recommend. ABS shell, EPS liner. We would avoid the spiked model on
general principles, although we have never actually seen the spike or how it is mounted and do not know how dangerous
it might be in actual use. The web text says it is detachable foam. $40 retail, also marked $30 in some stores, seen in
Tucson, Arizona on sale for $15 in December of 2005.
- Kore Series: dual certified, classic skate style. Can be had in white for visibility. $30 retail.
Also comes in ladies' colors, pink and blue, with "ponytail friendly" padding.
- Ladies Series: dual certified, classic skate style. Comes in ladies' colors, pink and blue, with
"ponytail friendly" padding. Looks like the Kore series in pretty pink. $30 retail.
Kuji Sports is a Chinese company whose website says they ship over 3 million helmets to the US every year, but you have
not seen their brand here because the helmets are made for other companies. They have many models in bicycle styles,
including toddler and full-face models. Their Reflectek line has reflective shells and should be available at big box
stores like Wal-Mart, Kmart, Academy Sports, Dunham Sports, and others, some selling for under $20. They have an inmolded
reflective shell model too. We have not seen their reflective line. Kuji Sports has skate-style helmets as well. Retail
prices are $7.14 to $35.
LAS (or L.A.S.) is an Italian company with a line of high-end helmets that have been made in Italy since 1974. They are
available for 2005 in US bike stores with distribution handled by J&B Importers. Most of them have moderate snag points
in the rear. All have removable and washable straps and come with cloth storage bags. There are some nice bright colors
available. Models include:
- Haxial: Top of the line model with a unique flat aluminum shelf mounted about a half inch above the shell
that is supposed to direct air into the vents. We do not understand how it meets the CPSC standard for projections with
the front edge of that shelf sticking up, but they have documents to prove that a reputable test lab in the US has
certified them. Cheap-looking external strap anchors stick up above the shell. Has the European style bug netting in
front vents in cotton and aluminum. Retail should be about $170 to $220 depending on the finish of that unique
- Kripton: has a ring fit system and is available in the US market. Retails for $100
- Astrom: ring fit, available in the US, retail about $80.
- Compact: the roundest, smoothest helmet in the L.A.S. line, promoted for rollerblading as well as cycling.
Ring fit, available in the US market. Retail should be about $80.
- Jump: a round, smooth skate style helmet with small round vents. Meets the CEN European standard. Not
available in the US.
- Downhill and Thunder: Full-face downhill racing helmets with kevlar fiber shells. We don't know what
standards they meet or the pricing.
Roadspeed: a vented toddler model with an extra small 45cm (17.7") minimum head size for the "Baby" model.
This is the smallest advertised toddler helmet we have seen. Meets CEN European standards. Not available in the US.
See our page on taking your baby along before you look for this helmet! Our page on
tiny helmets has more.
- Chrono: time-trial aero helmet with a polycarbonate shell and an integrated clear partial front face shield.
Comes in a single size. We do not know what standards it meets.
The regular LAS line can fit heads from 20 7/8" to 24"/51cm to 64cm. Only the Baby is sized at 45cm.
Lazer is produced by a Belgian company, Cross HM S.A., established in 1919. Their extensive bike helmet line has seldom
been seen in the US in the past, but Lazer is now marketing through Quality Bicycle Products, a major distributor to US
bike shops. Their helmets are interesting, and appear to be well designed. The high end models have recessed strap
anchors, but they are still external. The catalog says Lazer helmets meet the relevant standards of each market: Europe,
the US and Australia, so some models will not be available in some markets. Lazer has extensively revised their 2005
- Cannibal: new for 2005, named for fabled Belgian racer Eddie Mercks' famous nickname. Molded in the
four-piece shell for overall shell cover. Carbon fiber reinforcement, moderate rear snag point. Comes with front vent
plug for winter if you want a warm wet head, probably most useful for those occasions when you discover during a ride
that your clothing is too light. Retail is $105. US model.
- Blade: introduced in 2004, the Blade has a five-part shell that comes all the way down the rear, many vents,
and a hard nylon piece in the rear to keep the snag point from getting dull. Has external strap anchors that should
have been eliminated at this price point. It sells for $140, down $10 from last year. US model.
- X3M inmolded, with a rear snag point. Retails for $50. Without visor it becomes the O2 but still
costs $50. With visor in smaller sizes it is the Cyclone youth model at $45, all US models. The same helmet
appears in some markets as the CycleOne "women's or youth model at $45 with a zebra stripe option. (Last year it
was known as the Kalima.)
- Devil: new for 2005, inmolded with four pieces providing full coverage, including the rear snag points. Two
heart-shaped vents, and of course a red option to fit the name along with a highly visible yellow. The external strap
anchors are painted in this model. Ring fit for 54 to 60cm heads. Retail is $75.
- Max Deluxe: a toddler helmet with cute graphics, some reflective, and an insect mesh in the vents. The
Max Dolphin and Max Shark models have a fin on the rear, a potential snag point that seems unnecessary in a
helmet that already has a rigid visor molded in to snag on. US/Australian model. It retails for $30.
- Factory Rider: a vented BMX or downhill helmet with full chinbar and carbon fiber shell. It has an
unfortunate fin on the top adding style and a snag point to a helmet that already has a bolted on visor you can snag.
They actually refer to the fin as a "stabilizer." If it catches on something it will tend to stabilize your head in one
place while you neck and body move on. Euro model only. Retail is a steep $300.
- Excalibur is similar to the Factory Rider but has a nicely rounded exterior with no fin and a fiberglass
shell. Euro model. It sells for $250.
- MX6 Chromium is another downhill/BMX helmet, this time with an injection molded plastic shell instead of
laminated fiberglass. That adds about 25 per cent to the weight, but fiberglass is generally a superior shell material.
Has the unfortunate fin and bolted on visor. Meets the US and Australian motorcycle helmet standards, but ironically
the fin probably precludes certification to the US CPSC bicycle helmet standard. Retail is $275.
- One a classic skate helmet with EPS liner meeting the CPSC standard, but apparently not meeting the ASTM
skateboard standard. Retail is $30, or $40 in chrome. US model.
- Chrono 2: new for 2005, this aerodynamic time trial helmet meets both the CPSC and Australian standards as
well as the CEN standard. Inmolded, unusual for a chrono model. One of the few helmets in Lazer's line with internal
strap anchors. Integrated eye shield. Two sizes fit 53 to 62 cm heads. No vents. US model. Retails for $170.
- Chrono III: 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. The website says candidly: "You do not
need to use it for its protective qualities. It does not correspond to any single safety norm."
Lazer is probably the only helmet company whose corporate accessories include an umbrella, possibly a comment on
Belgium's climate. Lazer has been around a long time in Belgium and has an extensive line of interesting helmets.
Limar is an Italian brand marketed in the US for 2005 by Bikeline. Their models usually have some bright color choices
and nice graphics. Some of them are not available in the US market. All of the inmolded models have external strap
anchors sticking up above the surface of the shell.
- 950: The top of Limar's 2005 line is a new model inmolded with a modest rear snag point and external strap
anchors that should have been tucked under the shell when the retail price is $175.
- 907: new for 2005, this one is inmolded with a full wrap-under shell and a ring fit system. The retail price
- 911: the top of Limar's line when introduced in 2004. It is inmolded with a full wrap-under shell. Although
it has angular lines, it is reasonably well-rounded and the rear has small snag points. Many narrow longitudinal vents,
some very small, give it a stylish look. Retail is $125.
- 909: The 909 is inmolded with very large vents including a heart-shaped one in the front. It has external
strap anchors and pronounced rear snag points. Retail is $175.
- 801: new to Limar for 2005, this commuter-style helmet is inmolded with a full two piece shell. It has
rounder, smoother lines and is the shape we recommend. This one has mesh in the vents for bug protection and a ring-fit
system. It retails for $80. It is the same design sold as the SixSixOne Allride.
- 720: inmolded including a lower shell. Long narrow vents in the front. Small but sharp rear snag point.
Retail should be about $100.
- 710: fewer but very large front vents, inmolded with wrap under shell piece. Small rear snag point. This one
retails for $75.
- 610: modest rear snag point and $50 to $55 retail.
- 520: angular lines and modest rear snag point, $40 retail.
- 320: at $30 this model has a taped on shell and rounder rear lines. It is Limar's least expensive US model
- Chrono 05: Limar's 2005 aerodynamic pursuit and time trial helmet with CPSC certification replaces last
year's Approved Chrono. Inmolded with three small vents in the rear and some unfortunate lumpy external strap anchors.
Retails for $200.
Some Limar models are available in Bianchi
Louis Garneau is a Canadian designer and manufacturer with an extensive helmet line along with many other products. Some
of their helmets are inmolded. On others they use polypropylene lower sections, and some models have a molded in lower
shell to protect the foam from nicks (reducing sliding resistance as well). Visors are mounted with pins, replacing the
former hook-and-loop fasteners to facilitate flipping off easily in impacts without melting off in hot cars the way hook
and loop adhesive can.
A few Louis Garneau models still have only partial shells, leaving EPS foam exposed. Bell pioneered the design years back
with its Evo Pro and eventually dropped it. We have always believed it is an inferior design technique, given the
evidence that plastic slides much better on pavement in an impact than foam. (Check this
link to lab testing on snagging
for more on that) We would recommend steering away from those models. In fairness,
Louis points out that he has kept the foam sections slightly lower than the plastic shell-covered parts and that wrapping
the shell over the ribs reinforces them against impact. And the Envoy model has lesser areas of foam exposed. If that
reassures you, you can ignore our advice, but we think the foam will still hit the road if you hit hard enough, and there
is no reason to risk that when there are lots of all-plastic shells out there, including some nice ones from Louis
For the European market Garneau has insect mesh in the vents of some models. Garneau uses the term "bonded polystyrene"
for its inmolded models. Some models may be available without visor for $5 less. Custom team graphics or stickers are
available for 2005. Some Louis Garneau models are designed for the Canadian market and may not be available in the US,
but all of the ones listed below are sold here.
- Oz-zy: the top of the Louis Garneau line was introduced in 2004. It is inmolded with large front vents,
curlicue shaped top vents, a wrap under shell, nicely recessed strap anchors and a moderate rear snag point. It comes
in visible white and orange, and the front label is reflective. A carrying bag is included. For 2005 the price is still
- Envoy: Another 2004 design, the Envoy has the partially exposed foam that we advise against. Large rear
overhang, with vents smaller than they look because of that exposed foam. Retail price is down by $10 to $100 with a
- Aki: this model has big areas of foam not covered by plastic shell (see comment above). inmolded with a full
wrap under shell, retails for $95.
- Energy: another 2004 design, the Energy has a little less rear overhang than some others in the line, but
has the exposed foam. It retails for $80 with visor.
- Rev: the Rev's exposed foam is well recessed, but the shell is taped rather than inmolded. It's shape is a
lot rounder and smoother than the upscale models, with almost no rear snag point at all. This is Garneau's largest
helmet, fitting up to size 24 7/8 - 63cm. Retail is $50.
- Quattro: Although less expensive than the Rev, this one is inmolded, and has only a moderate rear snag
point. In purple with flower designs it is the Eva for women. As a youth model is it is the Ed. Each one
retails for $45. Without visor it is the Murano and sells for $40.
- Oregon: the least expensive adult Garneau, a nicely rounded design with a minimal rear extension. Taped on
shell and less ventilation. Retail is $30.
- Grunge 2-V: introduced in 2001 for the youth market aged 6 to 15, this one has some angular lines and a rear
overhang, with a glued-on shell and a visor. Wild graphics, some very bright. Retails for $40.
- 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 and
several for the feminine side. The smallest model is size 6, for a 48cm (18 7/8 inch) head. Retail is $30.
- Terrible: Toddler helmet whose name ironically echoes the French phrase "l'enfant terrible." Has a molded in
visor extension and glued-on shell. Graphics include Felix again in firefighter garb. Designed for kids 5 to 10. This
one has a dial-fit rear stabilizer. The retail price is still $35.
- Street: A skateboard-style helmet with a hard shell and the beautifully rounded traditional skateboard
profile. The vents are skimpy and the colors are drab or black, but if you are crashing at high speed this is the
profile you want. Has CPSC bicycle helmet certification and ASTM snowboard certification but is not dual certified to
the ASTM skateboard standard. Retails for $35, or you can have the camo version for $45.
- Buzz 2: Garneau's downhill helmet. Inmolded 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 the
usual BMX/downhill bolts, so if you catch your visor on a limb, look out! The retail price has been lowered
considerably to $140.
- Rocket: A brand new 2005 chrono design from LG, the maker of the first chrono meeting the CPSC standard in
2002. This is Garneau's second generation, and there are improvements in the form of a longer, slicker shape with a
full shell covering all the impact foam, a curved buckle that fits facial contours and can be manipulated with one
hand, and four small vents in the front. This is a teardrop-shaped helmet for time trial or pursuit events, not really
intended for street use although you will inevitably see some on the road, where the chrono tail makes no sense. Retail
price is $180. The windscreen is available separately for $30.
- Prologue-V: The most exciting thing in the 2002 Louis Garneau lineup was the world's first chrono model with
CPSC impact protection. Designed for time trialing. Round and smooth in front, with a long aero tail. Glued on shell,
polycarbonate face shield. A genuine innovation at the time. Retail this year is $125 with visor.
- 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 for the first year.
Lucky Bell is a Hong Kong company producing EPU helmets mostly for other brands but with their own Aerogo brand. They
have 11 bicycle models, most of them round and smooth, with small to reasonable vents, nicely recessed strap anchors and
visors. They include the 390, 391, 392, 393, 395, 396, 397
(with upturned rear snag point) and 399
diagonal ribs) for adults. There are also two skate-style models, including the 801
with vents in blue or a bright
yellow and the 901
classic skate style, as well as the 991
snow sports helmet.
MET is an Italian manufacturer whose helmet line we have not seen, but they have a fine website. The comments below are
vague because we are limited by the info on the web. MET has models for road and offroad biking, a BMX model, youth and
toddler models and a chrono shaped time trial racing helmet. Almost all of them have snag points in the rear and the
elongated shapes that we do not consider optimal. MET says their road and off-road helmets differ in the placement of the
vents to optimize them for the type of riding intended, in addition to adding a visor for off road use. Most of their
helmets are inmolded, and some have lower wrap around shells as well. Strap anchors are under the shell in some models, a
nice touch. Logos are reflective, although generally small. The top of the line models are radically different in
appearance. Their Element
model is described with the line "We have not just designed a helmet and then put holes
in it, we have created a helmet around the air flow." That is great advertising copy. Among others on the website, the
and Drop Off
models seemed to have very nicely rounded contours. The Parachute
removable chin guard that splits into two pieces to fit in your pack. An interesting concept, although it is hard to say
how rigid it would be in a crash, and it apparently has no impact padding. The Testagrossa
is produced for larger
heads, and fits up to 64 cm. The toddler model is said to have a flattened rear to avoid cocking a child's head forward
when sitting in a child carrier. Met's helmets are all made in Italy. You can order replacement visors and replacement
pads directly from them through their website. We wish more manufacturers would do that, since finding replacement pads
is sometimes a real challenge. MET's helmets are not available in the US and Canada. You can read their fascinating
explanation on the website. Regarding standards, all they say is "Each and every Met helmet passes the safety standards
that apply in the countries in which they are sold, EN 1078 label in Europe or AS/NZS 2063 in Australia/New Zealand for
instance." They candidly say they have not designed a helmet specifically for women, but all their helmets are designed
for both men and women, a refreshing statement.
Michelin, best known in the US for tires, has launched a new line of helmets for 2005 in conjunction with Zefal, best
known in the US market for pumps. Michelin has a network to distribute tires, lubricants and other accessories to bicycle
stores, so adding helmets will help to round out their product line. Since known brands sell more helmets, they may be
hoping that the well-known brand name will help. The helmets all have at least some reflective trim.
- MX Sport: inmolded with reasonable vents and a moderate rear snag point. Also known as the MX Tribal
for the mountain bike market. Both retail for $40.
- MX Pro Race: inmolded with a medium snag point, very large vents and a ring fit system. The visor can be
replaced with an air flow deflector.
- MX Comp: small rear snag points, ring fit system, $70 retail.
- MX Urban: another Bell Metro-inspired commuter style helmet with very large vents and rounded lines, but not
as round and smooth as the Metro or the Sixsixone All Ride. Inmolded with a ring-fit system. Translucent gray visor.
Retails for $45. With a black visor and different graphics it is the Street.
- MX Adventure: child helmet with large vents, elongated shape, rounded rear profile. Retail is $35.
- MX Bib: toddler helmet with vents, inmolded as few toddler helmets are, nice bright colors and graphics. The
extra small size fits 48 to 52 cm heads. Retail is $25.
Mongoose is a supplier of a full line of bicycles and accessories targeting the "extreme sports kid," a male between 7
and 17 years of age "driven by attitude." For 2005 their line is from PTI, and it includes:
- All Terrain: although it is an ABS hardshell helmet, this one has a very thin shell. It has the elongated
bicycle helmet shape with a modest snag point in the rear and a visor. Made in China by HKS. Retails for $20.
- Explorer: minimal rear snag point, tapeless glued on shell, snap-on visor, ring fit system with dial fit.
Retail is $20.
- Full Face: an ABS hard shell BMX-style helmet open-face helmet with an unfortunate bolted-on visor. Retail
- BMX Hard Shell: A skate-style helmet departing from the round and smooth style to add lines that the auto
industry would call "muscular." No chin bar. Retail is $17.
- BMX Child Full Face Helmet: This is the full face model from PTI that is the only child's full face model on
the market. It may have vision obstruction problems for the wearer, so be sure to take the rider to the store to try it
on. Sold at Toys 'R Us and other discount stores for under $20, this one has a full wraparound chinbar with full
thickness EPS padding. There is no other helmet in this year's lineup with full thickness EPS padding in the chinbar,
including lots of expensive downhill and BMX helmets. There is a visor, and the helmet is vented for active pedaling by
kids who are "driven by attitude." PTI has these made in China.
Netti is an Australian company that has been around since 1948 as a distributor of cycling goods. They say they are
Australia's biggest manufacturer and distributor of bicycle clothing and helmets. We have not seen their helmets in the
US market for a long time, but their website is very good about identifying the standards met, and they do have models
certified to meet the US CPSC standard as well as the Australian AS2063 standard, which is in some respects more advanced
than our own. Netti models for 2005 include:
- Cyclone: inmolded with a two piece shell. AUS$100
- GTi Competition i-Series - inmolded. Kevlar fibers in the straps, with a claim of "simple to achieve
absolutely perfect fit." AUS$70
- Pangea: Upper and Lower glued on micro shell. AUS$50
- STRIKE: "Extra strength" glued on micro shell. AUS$45
- Qantum Pro: Nicely rounded shape, two piece glued on shell, comes in an extra large size rated to 64cm
- Qantum: Nicely rounded shape, AS2063 Certification, comes in small and medium only. AUS$40
- Climax: Full face downhill racing or BMX helmet with vents, a composite carbon fiber shell and CPSC
- Instinct: Full face BMX-style helmet with a fiberglass shell, vents. AUS$150
- AXN: Full face for Down Hill & BMX, fiberglass shell with more vents than usual for this type of helmet.
CPSC Certification. AUS$200 Graphics model is AUS$230.
- Assault-Jr: Full face downhill or BMX helmet with CPSC Certification. XS/S only. AUS$140
- Blade 2: Hard ABS shell, classic skate shape, but bicycle standard CPSC and AS2063 certification, not
skateboard. AUS$45 Also in graphics model for AUS$50.
- Minimax: Toddler model with heart-shaped vents. Comes in extra small. No certification listed. AUS$40
- Pilot: Child/youth model with ring fit, bright graphics and AS2063 Certification. AUS$45.
Oktos is a French company selling accessories and sunglasses as well as helmets. They sponsor European racing teams.
Their helmets are made by Strategic Sports to the European CEN standard and marketed in Europe. All appear to have taped
on shells except the Aereo. They fit sizes 54 to 62cm. Oktos has six models:
- Aereo: top-of-the-line with a pronounced snag point in a unique rounded shelf selling for 56 Euros.
- V17: nicely rounded profile, may be inmolded, retailing for 56 Euros.
- V13 Trainer: a 2004 design with nicely rounded profile, glued-on tapeless shell and bug net retailing for 32
- V16: reasonable vents, rounded lines, ring fit system, bug net, retailing for 25 Euros.
- Quick Fly: a vented child's helmet with molded in visor and glued, tapeless shell, that comes in yellow with
a Dalmatian motif like Louis Garneau's Felix. Retail is 19 Euros.
- W10: nicely rounded profile, lower shell, bug net, retailing for 30 Euros.
Polybid is an Israeli company. They produce a unique folding helmet we reviewed in prior years under the Motorika brand
name. The last time we saw them their other helmet designs are all round and smooth, and all featured glued-on shells.
The website has only a flash movie now, and we don't use flash.
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
. Many of
their helmets are Snell-certified in addition to meeting the CPSC standard, and have the rounder, smoother shapes that
are best for crashing. Pro Rider is one of only two companies with a helmet on the Snell N-94 multisport list, their
"7-Vent" model. Prices are very low, in the under $10 range and as low as $4 including shipping when purchasing in large
quantities for a helmet program. They will also sell to individuals at slightly higher prices but still below $10.
Pro Supergo is apparently not affiliated with the Supergo bike shops in California or with the former Supergo helmets we
remember from the 1970's. The helmets are produced in Taiwan by Prowell. (See below)
Pro-Tec was one of the original skate helmet companies in the 1970's, and popularized the classic skate-style helmet with
a round, smooth hard shell and small round vents. The company has changed hands a couple of times since then, and for
2004 they brought out an almost completely revamped line, much improved from earlier years. Pro-Tec now uses a new foam
they call SXP that replaced the lower grade protection of prior years with full performance liners that are dual
to meet both the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and ASTM F1492 Skateboard requirements. The SXP foam is a
different formulation of Expanded PolyPropylene, allowing Pro-Tec to upgrade their protection while still meeting
multiple impact tests without making the helmets thicker. It is a multi-impact foam, although it does lose some
performance with multiple hits in the same location. We have more comments on our foam page
helmets look exactly the same as older Pro Tec models, and Pro Tec continues to sell the older designs through skate
shops, so you will have to examine them in the store for the standards sticker inside or be very careful about the model
- Classic: round and smooth, with small round vents and good coverage, the classic Pro Tec design but updated
with the higher-performance multi-impact foam it always needed and is now dual certified to meet both the CPSC
bicycle helmet standard and ASTM F1492 Skateboard requirements. . Comes in visible white and yellow as well as the
standard dark colors. Retails for $40.
- B-2: another round and smooth design, but this time with oval vents, a rad departure for the skate crowd.
Dual certified. Comes in visible yellow as well as the standard dark colors. Retails for $40.
- Ace Freestyle Signature: An updated skateboard style helmet with larger oval vents and minor reshaping of
the shell lines. It still has a round and smooth shape. For bicycle riding you must get the dual certified Ace
Freestyle, not the outwardly similar Ace Skate, which is sold for skating in skate shops rather than bicycling and is
not certified to the CPSC standard. Add a big bolted-on visor to the Ace Freestyle and you have the Dig. Add a
chinbar and you get the AceSpade, retailing for $70.
- Shovel-Head: a BMX design with a full face chinbar, fiberglass shell and vents. It has a snap-in liner that
you can wash separately. Retails for $120.
We were encouraged by the changes Pro Tec made in 2004. They supply so many helmets to the skateboard community that
the long overdue improvements in their line represented significant progress. If you have an older Pro-Tec and want to
stay with the brand, it would make sense to replace it with a new one now. For an alternate manufacturer using the same
new foam, see Shain
Prowell is a Taiwanese company producing a line of helmets in EPU foam. Several of their models are inmolded, 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.
Most of Prowell's models should retail for about $20. The company manufactures helmets for other brands, notably Vigor,
and supplies the Pro Supergo line for Supergo.
(Not to be confused with Pryme, the next manufacturer)
Primal Wear has helmets with wild graphics to go with their similarly designed clothing line. They have five helmet
- Epok: elongated shape with rear snag point, retailing for $50.
- Vision: another elongated model, but with a much smoother rear and larger front vents. Inmolded, dial ring
fit. Retail is $40.
- Evolution: Smaller vents, rear snag point, ring fit, retailing for $30.
- Scream: a classic skate-style helmet with small round vents. Unlike most skate helmet models, they have a
very visible yellow/black color scheme. Retail is $25.
- Discovery: toddler and child helmet with an adult shape and vents. Retail price is $20. Should not be used
on a child in a trailer without adding a cushion behind the child's back to prevent the elongated shape from pushing
the child's head forward.
Pryme Protective Gear
Pryme has a line of helmets for BMX, downhill racing and skate use, most of them with catchy names. We don't have
official MSRP pricing for Pryme this year, so we are quoting what we have seen on the Internet, and it should be
- Pryme Evil Carbon: introduced in 2004, a full face model for BMX and downhill racing. Hard shell, minimal
vents, bolted on visor. Retails for $170.
- Pryme Evil: the fiberglass version is only $90. Comes in an extra small fitting a 5 3/4 head (46cm / 18
1/8") and Pryme's largest size, fitting up to size 7 7/8 heads (63cm / 24 13/16")
- Pryme US: introduced in 2004, a full face model for BMX and downhill racing. Hard shell, vents, bolted on
visor and a cool skull medallion on the chinbar. Retails for $90.
- Pryme Al: Another full face model, with mesh-protected vents, fiberglass shell, bolted on visor. Retail is
- Pryme FF: Full face model with a fiberglass shell, vents and a bolted on visor, retailing for $70 in either
the adult version or the Pryme Child FF for smaller riders.
- Pryme 8 Skateboard style helmet similar in shape to the classic Pro-Tec. Has small vents, EPS liner, meets
the CPSC standard. Retails for $30, or maybe a little less, with the chrome and "high fiber" finishes more
- Pryme Mortal: Skateboard style helmet similar in shape to the Pryme 8 but with a skull logo replacing the
vents in the front and only four small ones in the top. Retail is $25.
Pryme has a useful sizing chart on their website. Their helmets are made in China by Zhuhai Safety.
Originally known as Protective Technologies International, PTI Sports is one of the largest and perhaps least known
helmet producers in the US. They claim that their $62 million in sales in 2003 made them the second largest US helmet and
accessory company after Bell. Their products are marketed as Schwinn, Mongoose or PTI brands through discount stores such
as Target, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and Toys `R Us, usually at prices in the $10 to $30 range. In 2001 they announced a new
line of helmets and other accessories promoted with cyclist Greg Lemond's name. They subsequently dropped that branding,
and were reportedly sued by Lemond for $3.46 million for breach of contract. In mid-2002 PTI licensed the Schwinn brand
from its current owner, Pacific Cycle USA, and have been marketing Schwinn-branded helmets since then. For their 2005
helmets, see Schwinn below. PTI had one helmet recall in 2004 involving three toddler helmet models and a total of 9,000
helmets outstanding. We have details on our recalls page
. You will find PTI products under
above and Schwinn
Qranc seems to have disappeared, at least from the US market. Their US phones have been disconnected, and the web link
has been dead since December of 2000. A search on OGK turns up only stale motorcycle helmet pages. We still list them
here only because people keep asking us where they are.
Rage with Solo Sound System
A round smooth skate-style helmet. Certified to CPSC, with no indication that it meets the ASTM skateboard standard even
though it has a skateboard on the box. This one's main feature is twin speakers molded into the helmet liner, with a jack
at the rear to plug in your mp3, CD player or skateman. We found the music sound quality abysmal, worse than the little
stuffed bears with voices inside. Fit pads cover the speakers if you are not careful. Might work ok for voice intercoms
or news, and it's better than riding with your ears plugged up with earphones. Retails for $39. Rage is produced by Gen-X
Sports of Canada, a Huffy subsidiary since 2002 that in 2004 sold the Gen-X name
and will produce
products under the Huffy brand. We don't have further news for 2005.
Rand sells through mass merchant channels like Kmart and Rose's. Their helmets feature Barbie and Sesame Street
characters among others. They had to recall their L.A. Crusin'
helmet during 2000. See our recalls page
for more information.
Reevu has had two models of a unique helmet with a built in rear view mirror in a housing that begins at the front lip of
the helmet and curves back over the center to provide a wide angle mirror. The housing is made of DuPont nylon, and can
be popped off to clean the polycarbonate mirrors inside. We tried one and posted a review
finding it an interesting concept but not a great helmet or mirror. Reviews on the web by users are generally favorable,
but say it takes some getting used to and you must fit carefully to get the mirror lined up well. The mirror may be
obscured by eyeglass frames. A favorable email comment to us by a two-year user noted that objects in the mirror are
closer than they appear, like the convex rear view mirrors on the passenger side of cars. We have not seen it for sale in
the US yet, possibly meaning that it does not meet our CPSC standard. Two Reevu models have been available in the UK. The
LX is the basic model, available for 30 to 50 UK pounds. It appears to have few front vents. The more expensive LDX has
more vents and sells for up to 65 pounds. Both have a ring fit system for size 55 to 61 cm. heads. The design raises some
snag hazard questions because the mirror housing sticks up in the back. This helmet is an interesting development but the
website in March, 2005 has only the vaguest of references to meeting standards: "Reevu cycle helmets' designs have been
tested to destruction. It has been designed to conform to all relevant international impact standards for protective
cycle helmets." Our sample had a sticker saying it meets the European EN1078 standard, but we would steer clear of this
one until there is a model that is certified to meet the CPSC standard. The company has evidently ceased to manufacture
the two models, and is working on a new one.
See Kuji Sports
REM is an Italian brand with a line of inmolded helmets. We don't see them in the US market. Models include the X-5,
X-2, Spry, Delfino, Frizz, Blackride full face, Free Ride full face, R-105
toddler and two skate style helmets: the
R-206 and Sport
. Some of their models have vent "pipes" and some have double layer liners, with an upper cap
inmolded and a softer liner below. There are air channels between the layers. Their website mentions only European
standards, but says their helmets meet the standard of any country where they are sold.
This European manufacturer markets sunglasses and sporting attire from founder Rudy Barbazza. We are not sure which
models you may find in which markets, since some of their racing helmets do not meet the CPSC standard and would not be
legal here, and their website does not discuss standards. We have been informed by a user that at least one model, the
, is CPSC-certified. In addition to the Ayron, bicycle models include the Skurya, Kaena, T-rex Ferox,
Bayor, Pyovra and Bocya
. There is also a skate model called the Skyanto
, the full-face Korassa
time trial chrono models: the Synton Supercomp
and Synton Open
. In general their models have the usual rear
snag points and external strap anchors. As you move toward the lower end of the line the shapes improve to rounder,
smoother designs. Some are inmolded. Visors are attached with hook-and-loop. Rudy Project has some interesting
innovations, and perhaps they will find wider US distribution at some point. You may have seen their helmets on Tour de
France riders. We have one complaint from a rider who experiences strap creep with his Rudy Project helmet and suggests
you look carefully at the strap locking mechanism before buying. That would actually apply to any helmet on this
The Schwinn brand is now the property of Pacific Cycle USA. In mid-2002 they licensed the Schwinn brand to PTI
who now markets Schwinn-branded helmets. We usually see them in big box stores or on the Internet at
retailers like Amazon. They have some very inexpensive models, but the better ones that can be fitted well start at about
$16. Most of their adult models also have a "youth" size. The line for 2005 includes:
- Atlas: an inmolded design with a moderate rear snag point, and a two-piece shell with ridges and many vents.
It has a dial fit system and external strap anchors but they are faired-in reasonably well. Retail is $40.
- Thrasher: updated for 2005, reasonably rounded except for a small snag points in the rear, with strap
anchors below the shell. It is not inmolded, but apparently uses only glue to attach the shell and boasts of "tapeless
technology." Retail is $25.
- Rocket: taped on shell with faired-in strap anchors, moderate rear snag point, sells for about $25.
- Titan: another "not-taped-on" design with moderate rear snag points that is included with other accessories
in a package selling for about $25.
- Aeros: sharp ridges on the taped-on shell but a small snag point on the rear. Vents are small and taper down
to very small by the time they get through the liner. Retail is $10.
- Kids Toddler or Playschool: Taped shell with a small visor effect in the front. Also comes in a package with
other accessories. Has vents and the appearance of an adult helmet. In a larger size it is the Kids Child
- Missing Link: a vented "multisport" design, but certified only to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. Well
rounded, with some edges showing but no rear snag point. ABS hard shell. Retails for $20.
Selev is an Italian company with models mostly for the upscale road rider market. They will distribute in 2005 through
Trialtir in the US, assuming their helmets pass CPSC certification. Their helmets are all inmolded. Two of them are said
by the manufacturer to fit rounder Asian heads better than others. Their models include:
- Ego: top of the line at $169 retail, with a pronounced rear snag point, lots of vents, external strap
anchors and a ring fit with dial. Said to fit rounder heads well.
- Atom: moderate rear snag point, recessed strap anchors, ring fit with dial, retailing for $150. Another
helmet said to fit rounder heads well. Includes US and British flag graphics.
- Matrix: modest rear snag point, five piece full shell molded on, lots of vents, click-slide tab rear
stabilizer. Retails for $130.
- Alien: Pronounced rear snag point, lots of vents, recessed strap hangers, click-slide tab rear stabilizer,
retails for $110.
- Felix: Pronounced rear snag point and sharp ridges on the shell, retails for $100.
Despite the Euro-sounding name, Serfas is a US-based company, known for grips and for saddles, where there are actual
differences between men's and women's models. All Serfas helmets have a ring fit system that accommodates sizes from 52
to 63cm. Their helmets are made in China by Fang Master. This year's lineup includes:
- Cosmos: New for 2005, now inmolded, still the roundest, smoothest helmet in the Serfas line and the least
expensive at $35. It has no snag point, recessed strap anchors, and a dial fit. Also known as the Flea in youth
size, also retailing at $35. The same design base is used for the Curva. It has a notched area in back that is
one of the last surviving pony tail ports, and the only real Women Specific Design we have found for 2005.
- Rookie: a well-vented toddler helmet with an elongated but well-rounded shape and taped on shell. Dial fit,
and one of the last remaining ponytail ports. Retails for $30.
Serfas has a one year crash replacement policy, through the dealer.
Seven 20 is a skate brand. They have one skate-style helmet made for Mosa Sports (Pro Tec) in China. The ones we have
seen are certified only to a European standard, EN 1385. Retail is about $25, but we have seen them at Sports Authority
and Modell's for $15. Not recommended for bicycle riding because it is not certified to meet the CPSC bicycle helmet
requirements. Not recommended for skateboarding because it is not certified to the ASTM F-1492 skateboard standard.
Shain (pronounced "shine") is an established Italian brand that was new to the US market in 2004. Their big news for 2005
is the use of a new foam they call Re-Up, or "Tau Multi Impact Technology." Their unique catalog courageously includes
results of lab tests that show their helmet handling four hard impacts in the same spot before registering over 300g.
That is not true multi-impact performance, but a lot closer to it than any standard EPS helmet can manage. Under normal
bicycle use you would not have to throw the helmet away after the first impact, and if you are a reasonable rider this
helmet should be good for five to ten years of normal crashes. This is the same foam formulation that Pro Tec is using
for some of its skate helmets. All of Shain's helmets meet the US CPSC standard.
But Shain has another wrinkle as well, supported by data published in their catalog. They have added an inner shell to
some of their standard EPS helmets, and claim that it permits EPS to withstand two hits in the same spot. Inner shells
are not a new idea--Louis Garneau and others have had them for years--but Shain is the first to claim that they can meet
standards with two hits at the same spot due to the inner shell. We have a page on helmet
Shain helmets have some European features like bug mesh in the forward vents on some models. All are inmolded except the
toddler helmet. They also have reflective logos, a feature we appreciate even though the logos are too small to add much
to the cyclist's visibility at night. Shain has an extensive line, but not all are available in the US. The line
- BK51 Urban: Shain's 2005 answer to the Bell Metro. This is a round, smooth helmet! The external strap
anchors are partly recessed, and the vents are very unusual crescent shapes. It appears to have better than usual rear
coverage, but we have not measured it. It has a light or light mount on the rear. Standard EPS foam, no inner shell,
removable visor. We don't have the retail price. This one is worth a look.
- BK1000: new for 2005, the top of Shain's line is a multi-impact helmet using their new foam, with huge
vents, a moderate rear snag point and internal strap anchors. The fit foam is layered for wicking and snaps in and out
for washing. Retail price is $218, up there with Giro and the other high end helmets.
- BK 100: formerly the top of Shain's road line, an inmolded model, with plenty of vents and plenty of snag
points both in the rear and projecting up from the front surface. We are surprised that the front projection meets the
CPSC limit on surface projections. Updated for 2005 with their new foam. The shell wraps under and there is an inner
shell for full coverage. The strap anchors stick up entirely above the shell, adding another potential snag point that
we would not normally expect to see with the retail price as high as $157.
- BK 90: another high-end inmolded design with a pointy rear snag point and external strap anchors. This one
at least has no front point sticking up. It has the new foam for 2005, the inner shell, and metal mesh in the vents.
One version has a visor. Retail is $159.
- BK 81 and BK 82: a much better-rounded helmet, this one has only one objectionable bump on top that is done
for pure style. Inmolded in both a full inner shell version for $116 and a single shell for $55. There is also a
mountain bike version with visor.
- BK 71: the exterior of this one has lots of ridges and a small rear snag point. Retail is $115. It comes in
a very pretty Lady version and another less expensive version selling for $80.
- BK 40: rounded exterior except for a modest rear snag point and a molded in visor lip. Inmolded. Retails for
- BK 600: downhill racing helmet with a carbon/kevlar shell with BMX full face lines, vents and bolted on
visor. There is bug mesh in all the vents. Retails for $99.
- BK500: Shain's chrono time trial model is actually a road helmet with an additional fairing added on the
exterior and a clear face shield. There are three small front vents. Normal EPS foam with the inner shell. It retails
- BK11: Toddler helmet with vents. Taped on shell. Retail is $34 with graphics, or $26 in solid colors.
- RK540: new for 2005, an adaptation of a ski helmet. Very round and smooth except for the external strap
anchors and strange studs with elastic cord for mounting front and rear lamps. Normal EPS foam. Extended coverage,
minimal vents. Might be a winter helmet. In Alaska. Retail is $133. Colors include a nice visible yellow and a
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
export to 20 countries, including the US.
Shenzhen Qukang Industry Development
Although we have not seen their 2005 line, this Taiwanese manufacturer makes both EPS and EPU helmets. Their EPU helmets
are inmolded, and they attempt to assuage the environmental concerns about EPU on their site. The styles are
well-rounded, but vents look small. They have a fiberglass BMX model. We don't have current pricing. You may see their
helmets with other brands on them.
SixSixOne is primarily a BMX and skate equipment company. They have bicycle, BMX/Downhill and skate style models in their
line. They seem to have many dealers in the UK.
- All Ride: new for 2005 and an exciting (to us) rounder, smoother helmet with contemporary styling. There is
no rear snag point. The All Ride has big vents, multiple shell pieces covering most of the foam all the way down, a
ring fit system with dial adjustment and a removable visor. This one is worth a look if the ring fit works for you.
Retail price is $70 on the website, but may be less at a dealer.
- Bravo XC bicycle model with pronounced rear snag points and lots of vents, made by Strategic Sports. Retail
- Comp XC bicycle model, inmolded with a moderate rear snag point. Retails for $50.
- Flight: new for 2005, this is a full-blown motorcycle helmet meeting the tough Snell M2000 standard.
Full-face, and the Snell standard requires that the chinbar be padded. There are small vents in the chinbar and the
rear. The otherwise round and smooth shell has an unfortunate little tailpiece sticking up in the back for style, and
we are surprised that Snell permits that kind of projection. The visor is bolted on with "oversize" bolts, making a bad
feature potentially worse. The shell materials include Kevlar, carbon fiber and fiberglass. Retail is $350 or more. The
catalog contains the curious statement "EPS foam liner conforms to your shape for a perfect fit." We suspect they meant
the fitting foam, not the EPS liner, which normally conforms to your shape only when you hit something and the hard
- Launch: another 2005 design, this one a lighter weight motorcycle-style helmet meeting only the DOT standard
instead of Snell. The shell material is polycarbonate. Vented chinbar. Retail is $120.
- Full Comp downhill model is vented, with a polycarbonate shell and bolted on visor, retailing for $80
- Full Bravo: downhill model is vented, with a fiberglass shell and bolted on visor, retailing for $120.
- Full Bravo Carbon: a full-face BMX model with vents, with carbon fiber in the shell, retailing for $180.
- Dirt Lid skate helmet is the classic round, smooth design with round vents and ABS hard shell, retailing for
$20. It meets only bicycle helmet standards, not skateboard. The $80 carbon fiber version is still on the website but
has been dropped from the dealer catalog for 2005.
- Mullet: another skate model with slightly updated lines and larger vents at $30. Certified only to the CPSC
bicycle helmet standard, not to a skateboard standard. Comes only in dark colors this year.
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, and squishy EVA foam. It is 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. We don't know what
standard it may meet. The Scabs brand also appears on the Ricks Thorne Signature Pro
Model, which is certified to
the CPSC standard for bicycling and promoted as a BMX helmet. Available in visible white in addition to the standard dark
colors. The two are similar, so check for the CPSC label if you want a helmet for bicycling. If you need a skateboard
helmet, look for one that meets the ASTM F-1492 standard instead.
Solid (Headlight Helmet AB)
This Swedish manufacturer has helmets under their Solid brand with reflective outer shells in silver, yellow, red, blue
and black. The silver and yellow would probably be a lot more reflective than the blue and black, but they say all of
their helmets meet the Swedish standard for reflectivity, even after ageing. The site mentions only European standards.
Shell designs are well-rounded, with minimal rear snag points. "Headlight" apparently refers to light weight, not to
lights added to helmets.
Specialized is one of the major U.S. helmet manufacturers and a supplier of a wide range of bicycles and components. All
of their adult bicycle-style helmets are inmolded. For 2005 they have straps in one model attached directly to the
interior nylon and carbon fiber reinforcing, eliminating the nasty external strap anchors found on some competitors'
high-end helmets. They also have a "U Turn" strap junction piece with a fliptab lock that they claim will eliminate strap
creep. (We have not tried it.)
- Decibel: new for 2005, this one has carbon reinforcing struts visible, the standard pointy rear snag points
and huge vents. Has the trademark Specialized brow vent. Has the straps attached directly to the interior nylon
reinforcing, eliminating external strap anchors and has the "U Turn" strap junction piece to prevent strap creep.
Bicycling magazine rated its cooling below that of the old Specialized S1 and the Giro Atmos in the
January/February 2005 issue. Available in a nice bright yellow as well as white. Retails for $170
- Aurora: another 2005 design, similar to the Decibel but with slightly smaller vents and no carbon struts,
but still has the Specialized brow vent and no external strap anchors. Available in "women's specific" mauve. Retail is
- Telluride: Specialized's top mountain bike helmet has very large top vents to let air rise out of the helmet
when the rider has very low forward speed while riding off road. This is perhaps the only adaptation we have seen to
date that is actually specific to mountain biking, but we don't know if it works or not. Inmolded, with lots of ridges
and some rear snag points. Retail is $60, down $10 from 2004.
- Chamonix: this one has some shelf effect in the rear but a more rounded snag point. Comes in a women's color
and retails for $45, up $5 from last year.
- AirForce: Specialized's lowest-cost inmolded design retails for $35. It has a ring fit system with two
sizes, visor and eight colors. Also available as the Air Force Youth.
- Kid Cobra: Even the classic round, smooth toddler helmet has been given slightly squarer lines, but not to
an extreme. Glued-on shell, decent vents, cute graphics. Comes in toddler and child sizes for $30.
- Deuce: a skate-style helmet for bicycling with a hard shell and small oval vents. CPSC certified, but not
certified to the ASTM F-1492 skateboard standard. Retails for $30.
You can call Specialized at 408-779-6229 to find out what their current replacement policy is.
Spiuk is a Spanish supplier of a wide range of bicycles, components and clothing. Their helmets are coming to the US
market in 2005. They have some nice bright color combinations on all models including team graphics. Their models for
this year include:
- Nexion: inmolded with large front vents, a full shell on the lower portion, and pointy rear snag points.
- Atom: inmolded with a full wrap-under shell and two rear snag points. There is cotton bug net in the front
- Child helmet - Casco de inño: a toddler helmet with vents and nice graphics.
- Chronos: a time trialing shape with two large rear vents.
We do not know anything about what standards the Spiuk products might meet.
Sportcraft (Sportscope) has one basic model, introduced in mid-year 1999, constructed of segments of foam closely
connected by an inner mesh. It may help those with a rounder Asian head who find that most US-made helmets feel like they
have corners inside. During 2003 the Sportscope brand was apparently sold to Sportcraft, a different company entirely
despite the similarity in names. You can find the helmets on the Sportcraft website. There is at least one new model with
a "Lighted Jewelry Design," that runs on AAA batteries and is motion-activated, but we have not seen it. In fact, we are
not seeing the Sportscope/Sportcraft helmets around any more in the US market.
Star Helmets (formerly Zhuhai H.N.Z. Star Safety Helmets), located in Zhuhai, China, produces a number of models under
the Star brand. Some are certified to the tough Snell B-95 standard, but we are unable to match the model numbers, so
check the Snell list
for details. Most should sell in the $10 to $20 range in the US
market, with the BMX models around $65 and ski models probably in the same range.
Strategic Sports produces helmets for a number of U.S. companies with the U.S. company's brand, and have informed us that
they rank among the world's largest helmet producers, with annual sales in the millions of helmets. For 2005 several of
their helmets appear on Snell's list. We have comments on some models under various other brands in this review, but you
are not likely to see the Strategic Sports name on any helmets in your market.
Tung Kuang / Tong Ho Hsing (THH or TKLI)
TKLI sends its line to the U.S. through Trans National Trading Company of Vernon, California. In China they are known as
Shanghai Tung Kuang, or in Taiwan as Tung Kuang I Light Industry Co. Ltd., appearing on the Snell certification list as
Tung Kuang I. They market their own Alltop and Allpro brands, but also produce helmets for other companies under
different brand names. Their EPS models are probably all made in China and have taped-on shells, while the EPP models
would come from Taiwan and may be inmolded. Most of their designs feature the round, smooth shapes that we prefer. Their
2005 models include:
- T-91: Introduced in 2003, a newer style elongated bicycle helmet. Inmolded with an unfortunate pronounced
rear snag point and external strap anchors. EPS liner. Some bright colors.
- T-93: EPU foam design with rounded lines and less rear overhang than the T-91.
- T-95: EPU foam design with a well-rounded shape.
- T-38: a nicely rounded design with moderate vents and visor. Bright new graphics for 2005. Snell B-95
certified. Retail should be about $16.
- T-37: a generally rounded but somewhat elongated design with moderate vents. Dark colors and red. Snell B-95
certified. Retail should be about $16.
- T-36: a nicely rounded design with smaller vents and visor. Brighter colors for 2005. Snell B-95 certified.
Retail should be about $12.
- T-35: a nicely rounded design with smaller vents. Again the graphics were updated for 2005. Snell B-95
certified. Retail should be about $12.
- T-29: toddler helmet with small vents, very round and smooth. Available in orange. Snell B-95 certified.
Should retail for about $10.
- T-22: Smaller vents than the T-23, updated graphics for 2005. EPU foam, visor, dial fit system. Inmolded.
Retail about $13.
- T-21: Smaller vents, EPU foam, some bright graphics, visor. Inmolded. Retail should be about $12.
- T-39: BMX-style helmet with chinbar. ABS shell, bolted on visor, retail around $65.
- AP-86, AP-87, AP-89: motorcycle-style BMX/downhill helmets with full chinbars.
- AB-77: classic skate helmet with standard dark colors plus some impressive gold, silver and
stars-and-stripes colors rarely seen in skate style helmets. We don't know what standards it may meet, so it may not be
certified for bike riding or skateboarding.
- AB-66: skate helmet with flared lower edge and a molded in visor. Has an optional clear face shield. Again
we don't know what standards it may meet, so it may not be certified for bike riding or skateboarding.
STKI also produces helmets for other uses, including military, baseball, motorcycle, equestrian, football and snow
See Podium above.
Trek supplies a wide line of bikes and accessories to dealers, and their helmet graphics are designed to complement your
Trek bike. Some models have reflective panels. Their line for 2005 includes inmolded models made here and taped-on shell
designs made for them in China. Most have ring fit systems.
- Anthem Carbon Elite: new for 2005, with carbon fiber internal reinforcing, very large vents, a multi-piece
shell (inmolded) and a small but sharp rear snag point. Ring fit system with dial adjustment and three shell sizes.
Retail is $100.
- Sonic Elite: inmolded design with rounded front lines but a pronounced rear snag point. It has a lower shell
as well. Ring fit system with three shell sizes. Retail is $80.
- Interval 2: inmolded with a minimal rear snag point and recessed strap anchors at $60. Also available in a
women's pastel color.
- Vapor 3: inmolded with squared-off ridge lines but a minimal rear shelf projection and the roundest,
smoothest profile in Trek's current lineup. reflective panel and a visor for $35 retail. Available with labels: Police,
Sheriff, EMT and Fire. Also available in a women's pastel color. Retail is $40.
- Vapor: taped shell, nicely rounded design.
- Scout 3: inmolded youth helmet based on the Vapor design, selling for $40.
- Scout: taped shell youth helmet based on the Vapor.
- Little Dipper 2: Infant-toddler model with a taped-on shell updated in 2000 with more vents, better
graphics, a soft rubber visor, an anti-pinch chin pad and a $30 price tag.
Trek has a one year free replacement policy for crashed helmets.
Troxel is a long-time producer of bicycle components that still markets some bicycle helmets under other brands, formerly
producing for GT, and now known as SafeTech. We have not seen their line for 2005, but they have four models on the
website, including toddler, youth, skate and adult models. Troxel is better known for their equestrian helmets.
Troy Lee has a BMX line known for rad graphics. Their top of the line $375 D2 Carbon
model has exposed carbon
fiber mesh in a sunken rear section, a style quirk that we would avoid. The $295 D2 Sprocket
has a fiberglass
shell with kevlar and carbon fiber reinforcements. Or if you don't want graphics you can have the D2 Tank
same price in a plain matte. Their 2004 line features a redesigned "Orbit" visor. Troy Lee pioneered the bolted-on BMX
visor, claiming that the plastic mounts pull out when the visor is snagged. Unfortunately there is no standard for
testing that, and nobody will do it for you at the bike shop or bike show, either, so we regard the visors as potential
snag points. The D2 fits heads from 53 to 62 cm (21 to 24.5 inches). Troy Lee will replace helmet liners after a crash if
the shell is not damaged.
This German company sells a TSG
skate helmet in the US in the classic skate style. It is advertised as certified
to CPSC. It comes in 38 colors and graphics schemes, including very visible fluorescent yellow, white or orange. TSG 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 has a rear goggle strap. We don't know what
standard it may be certified to, so for bicycle use be sure a TSG has a label inside that says it complies with the CPSC
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, and are supplied in a "super durable/washable" material. We don't see it in their
current catalog, but it still appears on the website. 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. It is
possible that renters don't want a helmet that says "Rental" on it, or possible that some would steal it for the same
TSG has a free crash replacement policy. Their helmets are made in Taiwan by Kar Cen.
Tung I Hsing
See THH above.
Uvex is best known for its optical products. They introduced their helmet line in the US market in late 2002. The helmets
are designed and made in Germany, and all of them are inmolded using Bayer's polycarbonate material. The have reflective
logos, nicely recessed strap anchors and front vent mesh for insect protection. They have a unique buckle that uses a
ridged tab that inserts and zips in that we have only seen on Abus and Uvex helmets. They have a ring fit system with a
dial adjuster. For 2005 the line includes:
- Factory Pilot 1 - FP1: top of the Uvex line, with huge vents, nylon internal reinforcing and a rounded
profile, retailing for $200, or $225 for the Team model. Billed as "the lightest helmet in the world" at 200 grams for
the small size and 260 grams for the large. Also available for women and youth.
- Wing RS: full wrap under shell, many vents and two rear snag points. Retail is $120, up $10 from last
- Supersonic RS: a more rounded design with much larger vents. Retails for $100. Bicycling magazine
picked it as the best value of the three helmets they reported on in their January/February 2005 issue.
- Bladenight: large vents and squared-off rear treatment, but skate-style coverage. Uvex considers the style
"aggressive and hip." Retails for $90.
- Boss Compact RS: a youth model with pronounced rear overhang and full wrap under shell retailing for
- Superhelix: new for 2005, with a reasonably rounded profile, visor and one bright color combination. Retail
- Cobra RS: well rounded, with a single shell that does not wrap under, selling for $60. The same helmet
without visor is the Explorer 2 for $50. It comes in a visible pearl white.
- Speedy: a child helmet with molded in visor. Inmolded, and has the same fit system and buckle as the adult
models. Reflective sticker. Fits 53 to 57cm heads. Retail is $40.
- Cartoon: a toddler helmet, and one of the few that is inmolded. Large vents. Reflective sticker. Fits 49 to
55 cm. heads and retails for $40.
- Downhill: new for 2005, inmolded, with chinbar and flame graphics, $150 retail.
- Factory Pilot 2: a time trail chrono model that meets European standards. It hums when it is off-center to
alert the rider to less-than-ideal aero performance. Retails for $500, the most expensive helmet in this review.
Variflex - VFX
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. For 2005 they have a line of skate, bike and toddler helmets. We have not
seen them and do not have their retail pricing. Variflex had to recall their X-Games Aggressive
and some of their
models during 2000. See our recalls page
for more information, and see TSG
above. They bill a number of their models as "multisport" helmets, but the website mentions only the CPSC
bicycle helmet standard. One of their skate models is a unique licensed Spongebob Squarepants model in bright yellow
called the Spongehead.
Vigor Sports (Hong Jin Cycle Corp.) is a Korean company with a large and varied line of helmets, some made for them by
other companies. They have some EPU foam helmets as well as more conventional EPS. Their models that are not inmolded
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 an effort to make the helmets safer that we
wish more manufacturers would adopt. See our cautionary note below about their skate helmets. Vigor made few changes in
their line for 2005 beyond updating graphics and prices.
- Lightning: made of EPU foam, but the shell is taped for style anyway. Rear snag point. Retail is $40. Also
comes with a lower shell as the Pro Lightning or Lightning Pro for $60.
- X3: another EPU design, a rounded shape with some ripples but no rear snag point and elongated vents
retailing for $35.
- Duo: the best rounded profile in Vigor's bike helmet line, a standard EPS foam model with elongated vents
and some bright colors. The XXL size fits heads up to 66cm, Vigor's largest bike model. Has 3M reflective tape all
around the shell. Retails for $25.
- HPX: A nicely rounded model with glued on upper and lower shells that has reasonable vents and comes in a
police graphic option. Retails for $30.
- B01: reasonably rounded, with minimal rear snag point. Inmolded with standard EPS foam. Retail is $35.
- FX2: inmolded with EPS foam and moderate rear snag point. Retails for $40.
- NOX: once Vigor's top of the line, made of EPU foam and inmolded. Has an upper and lower shell, large vents
and a protruding rear shelf. The ribs are reasonably rounded. Has external strap anchors, but they are tucked in among
the ribs. Retails for $36.
- Jr. Nox / Avenger has four fewer vents than the NOX and an elongated front visor molded in, but the same
rear treatment for $30. The Jr. comes in XXS, but with its elongated rear it would not be suitable for a child in a
trailer or high-backed child seat unless you put a thick pad behind the child's back to prevent the helmet tail from
pushing the child's head forward and down.
- Sequel: New in 2001, this is another EPU model, also inmolded, with upper and lower shell. It resembles the
NOX, but has fewer vents and retails for $32.
- Tecfire: a 2002 design with very large vents and a reasonably rounded profile spoiled only by the shelf
effect for the rear snag point. Inmolded. Has a dial fit system for the rear stabilizer and padded strap for chin
comfort. Comes in a nice bright yellow. Retail is up sharply to $66.
- Viper: another 2002 design, this one has a unique 8mm curved aluminum rod running lengthwise with the ends
buried in the foam but visible through the vents in the middle. We regard this as a gimmick. Otherwise it is a typical
hyper-ventilated design with rear snag points, a second shell covering the lower part of the helmet and a dial fit
system. Available as the mountain version with a visor or the road version without. Overall the appearance is chunky.
Retails for $90 without visor and $95 with visor.
- X3: EPU foam helmet with minimal venting and sharp ridges on the exterior but no rear snag point. 3m
reflective tape all the way around. Retails for $35.
- L'il Tyke: A toddler helmet, of course, with a very nicely rounded profile, vents, a pinch proof buckle, 3M
reflective tape and an adjustable sizing ring. Comes only in xxs for 50 to 52 cm heads and retails for $26.
- Vamoose II: A downhill racing design redone in 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. Retail is $120, up $15 from last year.
- Contender: full face BMX model with fiberglass shell and double-bolted visor. Retails for $90 to $100
depending on the finish.
- X5: a downhill/BMX model with a fiberglass shell with vents and a bolted on visor. Certified to the Snell
N-94 multipurpose standard. Retail is $120, up sharply from last year.
- Ten-Eighty (1080): A skate 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, but certified only to the CPSC bicycle helmet
standard. Has a nice bright yellow, and comes in chrome. It retails for $25 to $32 depending on the graphics.
Vigor's crash replacement policy provides a replacement of the same helmet or another current one at 30 per cent off of
retail cost for the lifetime of the helmet.
W Helmets (sometimes still referred to as Team Wendy) has one unique BMX/skate helmet for 2005, the Ripper 2
has the classic smooth skate shape and small round vents. It is dual certified
and recommended for bicycling,
skateboarding, rollerblading, skiing, mountain biking and snowboarding--but only if you buy the small or medium
. It has a hard polycarbonate shell, a round, smooth shape and minimal vents with mesh protectors. There is a
model with optional vent covers for winter use. The helmet is made with a foam liner they call Zorbium, designed to flex
in lighter impacts to cushion more, but stiffen up in heavy impacts to avoid bottoming out. The technical term for that
is "rate sensitive foam." The foam produces a true multi-impact helmet. The W Helmets website says their helmets are
certified to the CPSC adult and child standards as well as the ASTM F2040 standard for snow sports and the ASTM F1492
skateboard standard. But when we ordered one in size large it came with a letter saying that the large size meets only
the ASTM 1492 Skateboard standard, so it does not meet the CPSC bicycle helmet standard
. Worse yet, the one we
received had no standards sticker of any kind inside, which to us means that the manufacturer is not certifying it to any
standard. Beware if you wear size large, but otherwise, if the heat and weight do not bother you, this is probably a
versatile helmet. The four sizes are made to fit 52 cm to 60 cm (6 1/2 to 7 1/2 US size) heads. There is a ring fit
system with a dial adjuster. Weight is supposed to be 500 to 550 grams (heavy for a bicycle helmet) but our large sample
actually weighed 670 grams, or about a pound and a half. Retail price is $79 for the adult model and $69 for the youth
model. Still available on the W Helmets website in early 2005, although the letter we received said it was a discontinued
World Industries is a skateboard company with a line of skateboard helmets that are certified to the CPSC bicycle helmet
standard. Models include the Skullbo, Rockstar, Battle Helmet, Black Metal Helmet and Heavy Metal Helmet
helmets they sold from October, 2000 to May 2001 were recalled. We have a page up with the
. World Industries also markets Banshee helmet earphones that you attach to a skate helmet or snow sports
helmet. "No more having your headphones come off your head when you fall."
Zefal helmets appear in the US under the Michelin brand
This Chinese manufacturer (Zhuhai Hindun Safety Helmets, also Zhu Hai Safety Helmet Manufacture Co. Ltd and Zhuhai 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 adult, youth and toddler models
feature both nicely-rounded and sharply-edged shells. Some are inmolded, and some have lower shells. Their Series 08
model is on Snell's B-95 bicycle helmet standard list. 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. Zhuhai Safety helmets are provided
at low prices for helmet promotion programs through Helmets R Us
Zhuhai Star Safety
See Star Helmets
This article is frequently updated during the model year.
Index to Manufacturers