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Bicycle Helmets for the 2007 Season


This is history!

Current year here


Summary: Our review of helmets being sold in 2007. Trends first, then individual models. Index to manufacturers last.


Trends this year


There are new helmets in 2007 that are worth a look if you are inclined to replace yours. There are some new models appearing with the rounder, smoother profile that we think is best for crashing, now called the "compact" shape. At least one of them was rated superior by Consumer Reports lab testing last year. Other than that there is no major technological advance that compels you to replace your current helmet.


We recommend looking for a helmet that:

1. Meets the CPSC bicycle helmet standard.

2. Fits you well.

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

4. Has no more vents than you need. More vents = less foam.


We always recommend checking Consumer Reports for brand and model recommendations. They had a helmet article in their June, 2006 issue, but tested only a fraction of the models described below. The article is free.

Some Interesting New Models


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. Current helmets provide good protection from catastrophic injury, but lesser blows are assumed to be survivable. And nobody advertises that their helmet can take blows that exceed the CPSC standard by a wide margin, although Consumer Reports ratings based on their lab testing have indicated that some can. With our legal climate we may never see that kind of advertising, since it would expose the manufacturer to lawsuits whenever someone was injured in the helmet, whether or not it performed well. That reduces the incentive to produce a more protective helmet that exceeds the standard by a wide margin.

This year there are still not many new efforts to apply electronic and wireless technologies to bicycle helmets. You should be able in 2007 to find a mainstream helmet with a rear-facing camera and a heads-up display to replace your old mirror, but you can not. The Bluetooth headsets for use with an intercom system or cell phone are not in bike helmets, although you can use one if it tucks behind the ear well and Activeblu will sell you for $150 an add-on that clips to your helmet instead of your ear to access the cellphone in your pocket. (We don't recommend that, since you need to keep your wits about you to ride a bicycle safely, and cell phones are too much of a distraction.) There are a few more helmets with LED flashers built into the rear but riders can easily add a flasher with a hook-and-loop mount. There is one company making built-in batteries to power helmet accessories, but we have not seen one in the market yet. We wish the companies producing hot new games and innovative cell phones would design new products for the helmet market. Then we could complain about their price.







The Helmets


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 webbing straps, a plastic buckle, no reflective trim and either a ring fit ("one size fits all") or soft foam fitting pads inside. The BMX models are "full face" (with chinbar) and have thicker hard shells shaped like a motorcycle helmet. Downhill racing models are similar but lighter, and unless noted are certified only to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard rather than the ASTM F 1952 standard for downhill racing helmets. Chrono helmets are teardrop-shaped time trial helmets. "Skate style" helmets are the classic Pro-Tec round, smooth shape with ABS plastic hard shells. If no other information is in the writeup for each brand or model, those features are assumed.

Many helmets have a rear stabilizer wrapping around the back of the head, but we note those only if they have some unusual feature. Stabilizers add some stability and comfort but are not part of the retention system and are not tested for strength in labs certifying helmets to standards. They can not substitute for careful strap adjustment. We also note the largest and smallest sizes available where relevant, and any bright colors. Prices are the Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price, the price you might pay at your local bike shop with fitting services included. Discount store and Internet pricing is usually lower (no fitting help included!), particularly on closeouts of prior years' models. If you are searching for a particular model and don't find it here, use our search function to check our writeups for previous years to see if it has been discontinued.

We have a page of definitions for most of the terms used below, and a second page explaining helmet types.


Models



Abus

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. It is easy to tighten with one hand if your straps loosen from sweat on a ride. Their rear stabilizers are also adjusted by a ratchet device. Visors mount with breakaway pins. Some models may have bug-proof net for the front vents. Abus' bicycle helmets include helmets for toddlers, youth and adults. As far as we know 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 five years, so it is difficult to comment based on the photos on the web.


Action Bicycle


The Acclaim line of helmets produced for Action Bicycle includes the Metro, a nicely rounded design with a ring fit system, and the Evo II, a standard adult helmet with visor, rear stabilizer and ring fit system that retails for $35. Other models include a full face BMX helmet for $80, a vented child helmet called the Solo at $20, and a skateboard helmet that retails for $36, or $40 in full chrome.


Aerogo


See Lucky Bell below.


AGV


See Fox below.


All Pro and All Top


See THH below.


Alpha Helmets


Alpha helmets have previously 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 retailing for about $30, although most still have taped on shells. Their Pro-Alpha skate model was added in 2006, along with their MF2 Skater Classic. They are also introducing a "four season" model for bike and ski. For 2007 they have made some graphics upgrades. The manufacturer says their retail prices run mostly in the $20 to $25 range. Alpha also makes hockey, ski and batting helmets.


Angeles


Angeles is primarily a tricycle and baby buggy manufacturer. We have not seen their trike helmets in person, but the Angeles Toddler Trike Helmet available from Best Price Toys at $22 to $30 is among the smallest toddler helmets on the market, designed for heads as small as 18"/45.7cm. It is advertised as meeting both the CPSC standard and the Snell B95A standard.


Answer Products


See Knucklebone below.


Armor


Armor is the brand distributed by SDS Skateboards (formerly San Diego Speed) in the US. They have a skate model with the usual hard ABS shell that comes as the Old School Series, Pro Series, Graphic Series and Camouflage Series. It is the classic skate shape with small vents and CPSC certification. For 2007 they introduced a bright, very visible yellow. They also list a CSA Canadian standard and the ASTM F 1447 bicycle helmet standard, but not the ASTM F 1492 skateboard standard. Retail runs from $20 to $35. Their snowboard helmet has adjustable vents and is called the Nightstalker. It retails for $20 to $25.

We have also seen the Armor brand used by Taiwan Johnson Industries Co, Ltd as the Armor Manufacturing Corporation, but do not know if the two companies are related.


Atlas

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 ten helmets for 2007, including child, skate and adult models. Some of their child models have the "green" European child buckle that breaks more easily to avoid trapping a child on playground equipment or trees. Their Dorado commuter helmet is identical in appearance to the former SixSixOne AllRide or Limar 801, round, smooth but very up-to-date designs that prove that rounder helmets need not be boring. If it were certified to the CPSC standard we would be recommending that you check it out, but it only has CEN certification. That one would be made in China, but we don't know about the rest of their line.


Avenir

The Avenir brand is distributed by Raleigh. 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. Models include:


Azonic

Azonic/O'Neal USA has mostly hard shell, no-vent full face helmets for BMX. They have removable inner liners for cleaning and the standard large bolted-on BMX 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 or M-2005 motorcycle helmet standards, exceeding by a wide margin any bicycle helmet standard in the world. (We are not able to identify the models on the Snell lists, where they probably appear under KBC or THH. Look for the Snell sticker inside the helmet to be sure.) O'Neal has a new Surround Sound option with two speakers in the helmet. It retails for $35. We were not impressed with the quality of the sound.


Barbieri


Barbieri Accessories began in 1985 with a revolving brush chain cleaner, adding other accessories like carbon fiber and titanium mini pumps. Perhaps to round out their accessory line, they have a single helmet model called simply "Helmet." It is a distinctive design, with a bump out shelf in the back. It has a visor and rear dial stabilizer. It is certified to the CEN standard for the European market.


Bell


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. 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 and pastel color 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. It is now included on the adult "sport" models, presumably for seniors with loose neck skin.

At the top of Bell's line are their molded-in-the-shell models, called the Fusion Series:

Bell's European Market Helmets

Bell has helmets made to the CEN European standard that according to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News will not pass the US CPSC standard and cannot be sold in the US market. Foremost among them is the Bell Meteor II chrono helmet for time trials. This is one you may have seen in Tour de France time trials.

Bell's Discount Line

Bell has a separate 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 if adjusted carefully. Many of them are still produced in the US--millions of helmets each year. The rounded profiles we consider optimum have always persisted in this line, since they are cheaper to produce, and Consumer Reports testing of other brands indicated that the thicker foam in cheaper models may actually provide better impact protection than some of the thinner, more ventilated, more expensive upscale helmets. 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 youth and adult sizes. Both have the same radically round, smooth shape of the Bell Metropolis and Citi. Both are inmolded, a higher-quality construction technique that is unusual in the discount store series. They have reasonable vents. The price will likely be right when you find them in a big box store. We found a sample at Wal-Mart for $24.88 in May, 2006. The Impulse/Deuce is made in USA.

Bell's skate models in this low-priced series include the Rage, Mirra and Wicked. All are dual certified to the CPSC bicycle and ASTM F 1492 skateboard standards, at least in the medium and large sizes. They may not be dual certified in the small size. You must look at the sticker inside the helmet to be sure.

This line sells for low prices: $15 to $40. They are available to non-profits for much less than that, through Safe Kids International. 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 for helmet programs.)

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.

Bell's Replacement Policy

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 December, 2006 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 find it, right?) with a check: In 2004 Bell Sports was purchased by Fenway Partners, a private-equity holding company. The Giro part of Bell was included. Through Fenway, Bell Sports in early 2005 repurchased the Bell motorcycle helmet manufacturing company that it had spun off in 1991. Then Bell merged with Riddell, known as a football helmet maker. In 2006 Riddell Bell merged with Easton Sports, and in 2007 the company is Easton-Bell Sports, owned by Fenway Partners, Jim Easton, and The Ontario Teachers Pension Fund. Most consumers are probably unaware of any of those changes, and as far as we can tell they have not changed the company's technical competence or product quality.


Bern Unlimited


Bern's motto is "Head Protection for Any Action Sport." Their helmets are skate/ski shaped, so they are very well rounded except for the rigid visor on one. None has enough ventilation for bicycle use in warm weather. Some of them use Brock Foam, a formulation that provides multi-impact protection, but those are not certified to meet the CPSC standard. Some Bern helmets are sold in the US as bike helmets, so they do meet CPSC. Some are inmolded. Others have interchangeable liners for water sports, ski and winter sport use, including underneath layers and a knit winter cap. There is a pony tail port on ladies models. There is a channel in the foam liner for glasses and a removable goggle strap clip on the rear. An optional wired music system is available on winter sport models at $40. They have paired male/female models, with pastels for the ladies. The bicycle models include the Nino for kids, meeting the CEN and CPSC bicycle helmet standards and the ASTM F 2040 ski helmet standard. There is a visible white option. The girl's model is the Nina, in white and pastels. Sizes range from 49 cm to 62.5 cm.

Retail prices for Bern's models are in the $40 to $70 range, but can be much higher with options.


Bianchi


Bianchi markets 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.


Bravo


Bravo is the house brand of Asctechs.com/El Sol Trading. They have a Signature Series skate-style helmet said to be certified for bicycling, skateboarding and snowboarding. The helmet has the classic skate shape. If the website is to be believed, it is dual certified to bicycle and skateboard standards, but a search for "standard" on their site did not return any hits. Some models of the Signature Series also have "a special moldable inside to mold the shape of your head after just a few days of wearing." We don't know what that may be. Sizing on some is given by measuring your head, but others are labeled "one size fits most." Pricing is in the $25 to $35 range, and there are some bright colors including chrome along with the usual black and moss green. Asctechs has full face and other helmets as well, but not a word on their site about what standards they may meet.


Briko


Briko is an Italian company who began breaking into the U.S. market in 1998 but has been slow to push its line here. Briko has dropped all mention of standards on their web page, so the models below are available in Europe but probably not in the US. They have an innovative "twin cap" construction technique bonding two separate liners to leave air channels. They use reflective trim on some models, and all of their models are inmolded except the taped-on Taku and the fiberglass X Contact. We don't have their pricing.




Carrera


Carrera is an Italian company better known for winter sport helmets that is bringing their bicycle line to the US market slowly. Their helmets have 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.


Casco


Casco is a German company whose helmets we have not seen. In addition to bike helmets they make helmets for equestrian, snow and firefighting use. Their upscale helmets include the Warp II used by Jens Fiedler, an almost perfectly round and smooth track sprinter's helmet with an above-the-nose shield completing the rounding. It has no vents, costs 250 Euros and only meets the CEN standard, but the shape is flawless for crashing. Casco claims it is equally flawless for aerodynamics "according to the latest findings of the automobile industry." This seems like a reaction to the aero tails that have set the fashion in bicycle helmets for the last decade, and we were surprised to see it selling well in Europe for the riders who actually do benefit from the aero advantage.

Casco's other upscale lines, called the Upsolute models, are inmolded. Some are unique designs, but since we have not seen them we refer you to the website for a look. They include a Skate and Bike model that according to the web page received an award for easy fitting from a German consumer magazine. There is also a Generation II helmet for all ages, with a nice shape and apparently good coverage but a strange screwed-on perforated plate in the front. Some of their less expensive Classix models are also inmolded, but the cheapest ones are not. Classix include a full-face BMX model, a classic skate helmet and a toddler model. The website says that inmolded CASCO helmets with their add-on Monocoque-Inmold are heat-resistant up to 100 degrees C (212 degrees F), a claim we have never seen before from any manufacturer. Baking EPS foam at that temperature for any period of time normally results in deterioration, and the only really heat-resistant shells we know of are fiberglass.


Catlike


Catlike is a Spanish company named for its founder, whose bicycle racing nickname was "the cat." Their line includes eight models. All are inmolded except the toddler helmet. In the fall of 2006 they were looking for a US distributor, and working on CPSC certification for their various models. Catlike had a recall in 2003 of its Kompact model, so check our recalls page if you need info on that.


Chrysler-Jeep


A helmet made to go with the "Jeep" bicycle line. We don't know anything about them except that in mid-2007 they are being sold out by BicycleSurplus for low dealer prices that with shipping charges and normal profit should result in about $15 retail. The adult size is blue and white, and the youth size is red and white.


Cratoni


This German company has an extensive lineup. Some of their models are European, while others are also available in the U.S. market. All of their adult helmets are inmolded. All have at least some reflective trim.



Cratoni's child models fit heads as small as 18.5 inches / 47 cm and their largest adult model fits up to 25.6 inches / 65 cm. Their ring fit models cover from 20.5" to 23.5" / 52 cm to 60 cm. Cratoni has several models that they sell in Asia just by changing the interior padding to fit rounder heads. (We have a page up on fitting rounder heads.) Their suggested retail prices seem higher than most, but dealers may adjust that, and Internet pricing is considerably lower.

Cratoni will replace a crashed helmet for 50 per cent of the recommended retail price.


Dainese


Dainese was originally an Italian motorcycle gear company, but they have branched out into other sports. They have two helmet types, BMX motorcycle-style and a skate-style model. The motorcycle models all have full face chinbars and little pointy lumps on the outside. They all have large polycarbonate visors. They all look like motorcycle helmets, but the certifications are different and indicate that there are differences in their impact performance. They include:


Ebon


Ebon is made by Co-Union Industry of Taiwan. Their five helmets are inmolded, including the toddler models, with modest-to-pronounced rear snag points. They use a ring fit system. Their strap adjustment pieces slip too easily. Visors are attached with pins to flip off in a crash, as they should. Prices should be in the $25 and up range.


Ecko


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 desirable 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 2006 line, and do not know if they are actually still manufacturing, but their helmets are available from some suppliers.


Eleven81


The Eleven81 helmet line is distributed in the US market by Hawley Company. We have not seen them, but all are inmolded and have a ring fit system. They also have bug net in the front vents, indicating European heritage, but we don't know who manufactures them for Hawley. Most are available in white or other bright and visible colors. Hawley offers a consumer-direct lifetime crash replacement guarantee


ESCO


Esco Sport Product Corp. is a Chinese company producing electric and gas scooters, bicycles and carts. Their bike helmets are certified to CEN standards, not CPSC, so they are not available in the US market.


El Sol


See Bravo above.


Epsira Oy (Knock)


Epsira Oy is the Finnish manufacturer of Knock helmets, certified to the European CEN standard. They are supplied to such organizations as the Finnish postal service in very visible orange. Most of their designs appear to have nicely rounded contours and would be called commuter helmets in the US. Vents are modest in keeping with the Finnish climate. They have several models, including the H3, Knock, Inmotion 2 and Champion. Their Yad model below is easily the strangest shape of any helmet we have seen on the web, with a huge bumpout in back that we would not recommend. Knock Yad helmet Some of their Knock child helmets have large team logos and cartoon characters called Moomins. All of Epsira Oy's helmets have either reflectors or a reflective band around the helmet. One previous model had reflective straps. Epsira Oy makes other EPS products and has some info up on EPS.


>Etto

Etto is a Scandinavian manufacturer with 22 helmet models on their website. Some are interesting designs, but unfortunately they are never seen in the US. The website does not discuss standards or pricing. All Etto models have at least some reflective material on the back, and most have bug net in the front vents. Their most innovative feature--a slow release buckle for youth helmets to prevent "hanging" on playground equipment called EttoTech--was still under development when we checked with them at the end of December, 2005, and has almost disappeared from their website.

Etto dealers will replace crashed and damaged helmets "at only a small part of the cost."


Fuji

Fuji has been a major bicycle supplier to the US market for many years. For 2007 they have a helmet line to complement their bikes, with model names matching bike models in most cases. Fuji provides a full replacement guarantee.


Fly Racing

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. All of Fly's models meet the DOT motorcycle helmet standard. Their Lite and 606 models, as well as the THH TX-10 model that they sell, are on the Snell M-2005 motorcycle helmet standard list as well, offering a level of protection considerably above that of any normal bicycle helmet, including a chinbar with energy-managing padding. Fly's catalog has replacement parts for their helmets, including mouthpieces, visors, screws, pads and buckles. Sizing runs from 52 cm (6.5 inch) up to 66 cm (8 1/4 inch), a very wide range indeed. Along with their own brand, they distribute helmets made by Gmax and by THH.


Fox


Fox Racing has added for 2007 a downhill racing model and a skate helmet to its three BMX models. All three BMX helmets appear on Snell's M-2005 motorcycle helmet certification list, indicating superior protection including energy-managing foam in the chinbar. And of course they are certified to the less demanding US DOT motorcycle helmet standard as well. :

Fox helmets come in sizes from 18 3/8" to 25 3/4". Fox has other models on their website that are promoted for motorcycle use. Fox Racing helmets are made by AGV, an Italian company that has made motorcycle helmets since 1949.


Free Agent


Free Agent has a very well-rounded classic skateboard-style helmet that comes in one shell size with three pad sets of different thicknesses. 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. They supply a full face BMX helmet to their team riders, but we have not seen that one.


Garneau


See Louis Garneau below under "L"


Gear


See Headstart below.


Geartec


Geartec is handled by KHS Bicycles 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 for details. We don't seem to see their helmets marketed to bicyclists any more, and the promised website never materialized.


Giant


Giant supplies a full line of bikes and accessories to bike shops. Their helmets have good quality locking strap fittings.


Giro


In its ninth year as a subsidiary of Bell and its 20th since it was founded, 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. In 2007 they will be selling Lance Armstrong's 2004 Atmos again, but are adding two models including one better rounded "compact" style. The line had been gradually evolving toward a more rounded profile over the past several years, but still has high-end models with more pronounced snagging points and the lower end of the line got more pointy in 2005. All of their helmets are inmolded. All high-end Giros use fitting pads, but the least expensive ones are ring fit. Most are available in white or another visible color. 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 pins 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, probably because the cheaper ones have smaller vents and more foam. 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.



Giro also sells helmets in Europe. Their catalog says they are certified to the European standard, so they may not have the same protection as the US models listed above even if the names are the same.

This year Giro helmets fit heads from 48 cm (18.75") to 63 cm (24.75"). A graphic in their catalog shows that they consider the 63 cm size as the tail of the bell curve distribution of head sizes.

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.


Gmax


See Fly Racing above.


Go On Sport - GOS


Go On Sport is the first new Australian company entering the US market in years. They hoped to introduce five models here beginning in 2005, in the $20 to $50 range. Their helmets are inmolded, and some have two-piece full wrap shells. They are manufactured in China.


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 and the V-12. They should be available in mass merchant channels, and some may find their way into bike stores.


GPR-PLIM


GPR makes helmets in China to be sold under other brands. They are a large manufacturer for the European market, and have been looking to bring their lines to the US for some time. You can see at least one of their interesting new designs in this patent. We do not have pricing for GPR. Their models include:

GT


We have not seen the GT helmet line this year.


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 them. 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 cm. heads.

Headstart PTY (Australia)

Once one of at least three helmet companies called Headstart. This one had nine adult models under the Gear brand name.


Headstart (Malaysia)


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.


Headstart Technologies


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).


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


Hopus is a Taiwanese company with an extensive line of helmets. They are known for innovative construction techniques. They say their hard shells are all made with industrial grade ABS for best impact performance. Some of them have a layer of resilient foam for multi-impact performance, a feature they call SIS. Hopus also has thin-shell models, some inmolded, and a unique fiberglass model that is inmolded. Their US models are all CPSC, but others may meet only CEN and be intended for the European market. Most of their models are sold with other brands on them. They have an extensive line, including:



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.


Integrated Helmet Technology - IHT


IHT's Akuma subsidiary produces military and motorcycle helmets with interior electronics. They have one model, the Falcon with sharp-ridged lines and a modest rear snag point. It has a rechargeable Lithium ion battery system powering a rear LED light (not a flasher). The lithium cell is protected from charging and discharge problems. The battery is said to be good for 13+ hours before recharging. IHT is currently selling only to public service organizations such as police, fire and EMS departments. The retail price is $70. The same Integrated Lighting System lights are on some of the Ironman helmets below. You can find a review of the Falcon LE on the International Police Mountain Bike Association's website. This page has a photo of the Falcon.


Ironman


Ironman has six models for 2007, all with rear snag points, large vents and ring fit systems. All are inmolded with recessed strap anchors, making the low-end model probably a good value. Most have good-sized patches of Reflectek brand reflective material, and tabs under the buckle to prevent pinching. Ironman helmets are manufactured by Kuji Sports.


J&B Importers - JBI.Bike


J&B is an old established bicycle wholesaler with warehouses all over the US. Their products are sold in bike stores. J&B's lower cost Airius line has models beginning at about $15 retail to about $30. The profiles tend to be the well-rounded ones we favor. Colors are solid, with some metallic finishes. Their add-on visors should run about $4 in a bike store, and are mounted with hook-and-loop. They have Airius helmet pad replacements retailing at about $3. J&B has an active program for schools and non-profits either through a local shop or direct. Their Airius helmets are made in China.


KB


Abbreviation for Knucklebone below.


KBC Helmets

KBC has manufacturing facilities in Korea and China. They have one model on the Snell B-95A bicycle helmet standard list, the AZX. They have more than 20 motorcycle helmet models on the tough Snell M-2005 motorcycle helmet 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, 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 reports public.


KED


KED is a German company that has manufactured helmets for other brands for more than ten years, but now has its own line. Many of their models have LED flashers built into the rear, with a replaceable $3 battery/chip unit to power them for 120 hours. (We were not particularly impressed with the light output.) Their helmets with glued on shells are made with a cold-gluing process that leaves no space underneath the shell and makes the helmet look inmolded. Gluing the shells on allows them to put the strap anchors under the shell, a good feature. KED's strap adjusters tend to slip. They put a thoughtful pad under the buckle to prevent skin pinches. All models have bug net in the front vents. Models include:

KED's catalog has a listing of useful spare parts for their helmets, an unusual feature. It includes visors, fit pads, ring fit parts, the led battery/chip replacement, buckles and more.


Kent Bicycles


Kent is a supplier of low-cost helmets to toy and discount stores as well as bike shops, some labeled XFactor. They have adult, youth and toddler models at retail price points of $11 to $22. Their child helmet called the V9 for $11 also comes as the V9 Pro with a lower shell and nicer graphics for $17. Some of their youth and adult models are nicely rounded while others have longer overhangs in the rear. Their adult V-10 model is very smooth and round. They have a youth BMX helmet at $30 with an 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. As far as we know, their skate style models are certified only to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. For 2007 Kent has some very nice "chromatized" colors, with paint applied over a layer of chrome.


Knucklebone


Knucklebone brand accessories and clothing for BMX are from Answer Products. Their "KB" branded Jumper Pro model is the familiar skateboarders profile, very smooth and round, with an EPS foam liner. The website says, "Many have followed since we first introduced the Jumper, but no one has been able to match the level of protection and quality the KB Jumper helmet offers." This despite the fact that the helmet is not certified to the ASTM F 1492 skateboard standard, as a number of competitors are. It has a painted and clear-coated shell that includes a chrome model and a very visible white or orange, and retails for $40. When the web page was still up (dated 2002) it listed a BMX Holeshot model with a full chinbar and sliding forehead vents, and a cheaper version called the HS-1.


Kong


Kong is an Italian climbing equipment company. They have one helmet called the Scarab that goes beyond dual certified to be certified to European standards for rock climbing, skateboarding, bicycling, equestrian use 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. It is also used for spelunking. The retail price appears to be about $150.


Kryptonics


Kryptonics is a skateboard equipment manufacturer originally founded to make skateboard wheels in 1965. Their helmets are made by Mien Yow in China. We see them in discount sporting goods stores. They are one of the companies marketing helmets that are dual certified to both the ASTM F 1492 Skateboard standard and the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. Some of their helmets come with kits that include other padding for skaters.


Kuji Sports


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. Retail prices are $7.14 to $35. Kuji also produces Ironman brand helmets.


LAS


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 2007 in US bike stores with distribution handled by Trialtir, who have a catalog of US models. LAS has some radical designs, with the emphasis on style. There are some nice bright colors available. Models include:

The regular LAS line can fit heads from 51 cm to 64 cm (20 7/8" to 24") Only the Roadspeed Baby is sized at 45 cm.


Lazer


Lazer is produced by a Belgian company, Cross HM S.A., established in 1919. Their helmets have not been well known in the US in the past, but Lazer is now marketing through Quality Bicycle Products, a major distributor to US bike shops. Their high end models have recessed strap anchors. Lazer says their helmets meet the relevant standards of each market: Europe, the US and Australia, so some models will not be available in some markets. The Genesis, Blade, Magma and X3M come in a female model with pastel colors and bright colored straps, said to be "pony tail friendly."


LED Helmets


LED is a Canadian company based in Alberta. They have one "one size fits most" helmet, with five flashing LED's around the helmet attempting to cover 360 degrees. We have not seen them, but the company provided test lab results showing the helmets meet the ASTM F1447-02 standard, so they should meet the CPSC standard as well. All of the results were good, with reasonable g levels. We don't know what power source they are using for the LED's or how bright they are. Retail should be "in the low to mid 30's."


Limar


Limar is an Italian brand. Their models usually have some bright color choices and nice graphics. Some of them are not available in the US market. Many of the inmolded models have unfortunate external strap anchors sticking up above the surface of the shell. Kid's models have pinch protector tabs on the buckle. Pricing varies by $5 to $10, so we cite the high end of the range, and you may find it for less. Limar has rounded out its line with helmets from other manufacturers, a common practice. According to Limar, all helmets listed below comply with the CEN, Australian and CPSC bicycle helmet standards.



Some Limar models are available in Bianchi colors.

Limar has a 3 year crash replacement guarantee, offering a replacement helmet through the dealer at half off.


Louis Garneau


Louis Garneau is a Canadian designer and manufacturer with an extensive helmet line along with many other bicycle 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.

A few Louis Garneau models still have only partial shells, leaving EPS foam exposed. Bell pioneered that design quirk 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 for more on that) We would recommend steering away from those models. In fairness, Mr. Garneau points out that he has kept the foam sections slightly lower than the plastic shell-covered parts and that wrapping the shell over the squared off ribs on some models reinforces them against impact. 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 full plastic shells out there, including some nice ones from Louis Garneau.

For the European market, Garneau has bug net in the vents of some models. Some models are available without visor for $5 less. Custom team graphics or stickers are available. 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.



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


Lucky Bell


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 (with 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


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 to 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 Bad Boy and Drop Off models seemed to have very nicely rounded contours. For 2006 there are "Commuting" models, Volo and the very nicely rounded Maxtrack. The unique Parachute "Free-Ride" model has a skeleton-like 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. (One user emailed us that the helmet rotated easily in a crash because of the chin guard and left the face unprotected.) There are two models for large heads, the Testagrossa and the Predatore. Both fit up to 64 cm. The chrono model is the Pac III, a long-tailed design with two vents. The Loopy toddler model is said to have a flattened rear to avoid cocking a child's head forward when sitting in a child carrier, and to be "22% stronger" because it is inmolded. 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. The last time we checked, MET's helmets were not available in the US and Canada. 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.


Michelin

Michelin, best known in the US for tires, launched a new line of helmets in 2005 in conjunction with Zefal, best known in the US market for pumps and accessories. Since known brands sell more helmets, both companies may be hoping that the well-known brand name will help. The helmets all have at least some reflective trim, and all but the skate helmet are inmolded.


Mien Yow Industry

See Alpha above.

Mongoose

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." We have not seen their line for 2007. They have dropped their unique full face protection helmet for kids. We don't see it in Toys R Us any more and do not know if anyone is retailing it.


Netti - Atom


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, and they have eliminated the standards information from their website. Netti models for this year include:


Nutcase

Nutcase has a single classic skate helmet with ABS hard shell in many kooky graphics designed to convince stubborn kids that wearing a helmet is cool. Their helmet is certified only to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard, not the ASTM skateboard standard, despite the "multi-sport" including skateboarding on the box. The retail price is $35 for the models sold in bike shops. There is a second helmet from a different manufacturer that will be sold at big box retailers and may cost less, but the graphics will be different.


Oath

Oath has a single classic skate helmet with ABS hard shell in white and pastel colors. It is a Vigor brand.


Oktos


Oktos is a French company selling accessories and sunglasses as well as helmets. They sponsor European racing teams. Their helmets are made in China to the European CEN standard and marketed in Europe. All appear to have taped on shells except the Aereo. They fit sizes 54 to 62 cm. We have not seen their 2007 line, but for 2005 Oktos had six models:


Pacific/Schwinn

See Schwinn below.


Polybid

Polybid is an Israeli company. They produced a unique folding helmet we reviewed in prior years under the Motorika brand name. That helmet seems to have disappeared from the US market. The last time we saw their other helmet designs they were all round and smooth, and all featured glued-on shells. Their helmets do not appear in English on the website, and we don't read Hebrew.


Primal Wear


(Not to be confused with Pryme)

For 2005 Primal Wear had helmets with wild graphics to go with their similarly designed clothing line. We don't find them on the website any more.


ProRider


ProRider is a supplier of BMX and bicycle helmets from China and is also the home of the CNS (Children - N - Safety) National Helmet Program, selling directly to schools and non-profit organizations. Many of their helmets are Snell-certified in addition to meeting the CPSC standard, and have the rounder, smoother shapes that we believe are best when you crash. 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

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. They have a line of inexpensive Asian-made helmets to complement their other bike accessories. The catalog shows at least ten models, including adult, child, BMX and skate style. Some of the adult models are inmolded. At least four are listed as CPSC certified, so may be available in the US.


Pro-Tec/Vans


Pro-Tec was one of the original skate helmet companies in the 1970's, and popularized the classic skateboard-style helmet with a round, smooth hard shell and small round vents. The company has changed hands a couple of times since then, and in 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 certified to meet both the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and ASTM F 1492 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. The helmets look exactly the same as older Pro-Tec models, and Pro-Tec continues to sell the older, less protective designs that some buyers insist on 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 you buy. We have been encouraged by the changes Pro-Tec made beginning 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 below.


Prowell Helmets

Prowell is a Taiwanese company producing a line of helmets in EPU foam. Most of their models are inmolded, some with lower shells as well. They generally have a high quality appearance, seeming solid (and a bit heavy) in the hand. There are 14 models in the line ranging from radical elongated styles with rear snag points to more rounded commuter helmets and child models. Most of Prowell's models should retail for about $25. The company manufactures helmets for other brands.


Pryme Protective Gear


(Not to be confused with Primal Wear above.)

Pryme is owned by Seattle Bicycle Supply. The line includes helmets for BMX, downhill racing, whitewater, snowboarding and skate use, most of them with catchy names.

Pryme has a useful sizing chart on their website. Their helmets are made in China.


PTI


Originally known as Protective Technologies International, PTI Sports is one of the largest and perhaps least known helmet producers in the US. They claimed in 2003 that their $62 million in sales in that year 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 mid-2002 PTI licensed the Schwinn brand from its current owner, Pacific Cycle USA, and have been marketing Schwinn-branded helmets since then. You will also find PTI products under Schwinn below. PTI had a helmet recall in 2004 involving three toddler helmet models with a total of 9,000 helmets outstanding. We have details on our recalls page.


Pulse


The Pulse helmet is an innovative Australian design by Monash University student Julie-Ann Davies. It includes reflective shell material, rear light and a "Ear Drop" to let you listen to music or other output on the curb side as you ride. It's only a concept, not anything you can buy. Music and cell phones are fine if your bike is stationary, or perhaps on an offroad trail, but that kind of distraction is the last thing you want if you are riding a bicycle in traffic.


Rage with Solo Sound System


Rage has one model, a round smooth skate-style helmet. It is 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 unusual 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 earbuds. Retails for $39. Rage is produced by Gen-X Sports of Canada, bought by Huffy in 2002. In 2004 they sold the Gen-X name to produce products under the Huffy brand. Huffy filed for bankruptcy later in 2004, and we don't have further news.


Rand International


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 Helmets


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 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 a great mirror. We have not seen it for sale in the US yet, so 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 said to be working on a new one. In January of 2006 we found only obsolete references to the bike helmets on their website, and they are now marketing a new motorcycle helmet.


Reflectek


Reflectek is produced by Kuji Sports. They have one model with a fully reflective shell and another with a partially reflective shell that sells in discount stores like Wal-Mart, Kmart, Academy Sports, Dunham Sports, and others, sometimes selling for under $20. They are reasonably rounded helmets with a glued on shell, small snag point in the rear, adequate but not large vents and a ring fit system. There is also an inmolded "Pro" model too with a partially reflective shell at $40 retail, probably more often seen in bike shops. It has larger vents and a sharper rear snag point. The same reflective technology has been used on parts of two Ironman models as well. This photo probably overstates the reflectivity, but the contrast with the "normal" helmets is made evident by the camera's flash. Reflectek helmets We have comments and photos of one of the Reflectek helmets on our page on reflective helmets. It was also reviewed by Cycling Reviews.


REM


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.


Roar


Roar Helmets come from Shang Yang Industrial Co. of Taiwan and Vietnam. They have a line of nicely made CPSC-certified helmets, and their adult models are inmolded. Some have multiple shell pieces covering lower areas of the helmet. Most have modest rear snag points and recessed strap anchors. There are bright color options for each model. They have a unique strap fitting that tightens with a screw. They should all sell in the under-$50 range, but we don't have US pricing.


Rudy Project


This European manufacturer markets sunglasses and sporting attire from founder Rudy Barbazza. We are not sure which models you may find in which markets, but check their US web page for the ones certified to the CPSC standard. Most have partially recessed strap anchors and some have small reflective patches in the rear. They are nice looking helmets, most with bright color options including USA red, white and blue, and some Canadian graphics with maple leaves. Models include:

Rudy Project has some interesting innovations, and perhaps they will get wider US distribution at some point. You may have seen their helmets on Tour de France riders. We found that all of the samples we saw this year had cam locks that locked the strap very well.


SDS / San Diego Speed


See Armor above.


Schwinn


The Schwinn brand is now the property of Pacific Cycle USA. In mid-2002 they licensed the Schwinn brand to PTI. We usually see them in big box stores or on the Internet at retailers like Amazon. They have some very inexpensive models, and some better ones that can be fitted more easily starting at about $16. Most of their adult models also have a "youth" size. The line changes periodically during any given year, and we may not be up to date on them.


Selev


Selev is an Italian company with models mostly for the upscale road rider market. They obviously make an effort to produce unique-looking designs. Most of their helmets are inmolded, and the more expensive they are, the more snag points you get on the rear. The Italian website says they meet EN1078, the European standard. Two of them are said by the manufacturer to fit rounder Asian heads better than others. Selev has a truly unique page explaining with painstaking honesty their failure to deliver a chromed model. Their models include:


Serfas


Serfas is a US-based company, known for grips, saddles and other accessories. Helmets have disappeared from their website in 2007.


Seven 20

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. The one we saw is not recommended for bicycle riding because it is not certified to the CPSC or even the European bicycle helmet standard. Not recommended for skateboarding because it is not certified to the ASTM F 1492 skateboard standard.


Shain


Shain (pronounced "shine") is an established Italian brand that was new to the US market in 2004. In 2005 they began using a new foam they call Re-Up, or "Tau Multi Impact Technology." Their unique catalog courageously included 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 and is similar to the testing for ASTM's F 1492 skateboard standard. Under normal bicycle use you would not have to throw the helmet away after the first impact, so even if you ride a lot 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 upgraded skate helmets. All of Shain's helmets meet the US CPSC standard.

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--the Bailen Bike Bucket had this 20 years ago and 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 foams.

Shain helmets have some European features like bug net in the forward vents on some models. All are inmolded except the toddler helmet. They have the best strap fittings we have seen, the Duraflex 2, holding their setting despite any combination of pulling and tugging we could devise. 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, and we have not seen them in 2007. The line includes:

Shain will replace a damaged helmet "at a substantially reduced cost to the original owner."


Shenzhen Hezhen Bicycle Inc.

A Chinese manufacturer located in 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, but we don't know what brands they manufacture for.


Shenzhen Qukang Industry Development


Although we have not seen their 2007 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


SixSixOne is primarily a BMX and skate equipment company with a racing slant. They have bicycle, BMX/Downhill and skate style models in their line. They seem to have many dealers in the UK.


Streetboardz


Streetboardz is a supplier of skateboards and gear. Their skateboard helmets are mostly classic Pro-Tec style with the small round front vents. They carry a number of logos, including Triple 8, S-One, Zoo York, Capix, Bullet, Darkstar, ProSkate and Viking. Some are clearly indicated as certified to the CPSC standard and would be ok for bicycle riding. Retail prices mostly run from $25 to $40. But if you need a helmet for both skateboarding and bicycling helmet, we recommend that you look for one that is dual certified to both the CPSC standard and the ASTM F 1492 skateboard helmet standard.


Specialized


Specialized is one of the major U.S. helmet manufacturers sold through bike shops and a supplier of a wide range of bicycles and components. All of their adult bicycle-style helmets are inmolded. They have the 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 flip tab lock that they claim will eliminate strap creep. We found it slipped too easily on at least one of their samples. Most of the models below are available in a women's color scheme. In addition to the CPSC standard, many Specialized models are certified to Snell's older B-90 bicycle helmet standard, and the Deviant and Deviant carbon to the Snell B-95 standard, slightly tougher than CPSC. (Specialized is the last major US bike helmet maker to use Snell certification.) They have also now certified the Deviant and Deviant Carbon to the ASTM downhill mountain biking standard, F 1952.

Specialized is one of the few manufacturers who sell replacement pads and visors. You can find them on their website under spare parts.

Specialized will provide a 20% discount voucher for any crashed helmet, but requires proof of purchase and may substitute another helmet if the one that was crashed is no longer available.


Spiuk


Spiuk is a Spanish supplier of a wide range of bicycles, components and clothing. They have some nice bright color combinations on all models including team graphics. Strap anchors are recessed. Their models for 2007 include:


Sportscope/Sportcraft


Sportcraft (Sportscope) has one basic model, introduced in mid-year 1999, constructed of thick segments of foam closely connected by an inner mesh and able to flex slightly. That 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. In 2007 the Sportcraft website says they no longer offer helmets. We are not seeing the Sportscope helmet around any more in the US market, although their old website is still up, and you may find some old stock discounted somewhere.


Star


Star Helmets (formerly Zhuhai H.N.Z. Star Safety Helmets), located in Zhuhai, China, produces a number of models under the Star Sport 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.


Stash


Stash is a folding helmet designed to be stored in a smaller space than a standard helmet. It looks like a better design than the 1990's Motorika, a hard shell model that bombed in the US market. The shape is admirably round and smooth. Both sides fold into the middle to store it compactly. The manufacturer of the Stash says it meets the CEN EN 1078 European bike helmet standard. If it does, it would be roughly equivalent to any one-piece Euro helmet, and there would be no impact performance reason to avoid using it. At an advertised 300 to 330 grams (about 12 oz.) it would be about a half to a third heavier than a standard thin-shell CEN helmet, but that should not make much difference to any rider, particularly for short trips in town. Since there is no mention of testing to the US CPSC standard, this one probably cannot be sold in the US. The typical CEN standard helmet does not meet our more severe impact tests. The Stash has protruding lumps for the hinges that might not pass our limits on protrusions as well. Although their web description of lab test results indicates the author had some serious confusion about helmet testing, this is a really innovative design that might well encourage people using bikes in town to wear a helmet, particularly those who regularly borrow or rent a bike for short rides. Comes with a pouch, and the company has shoulder bags and backpacks with special Stash compartments. Comes in visible white with chrome trim, as a commuter helmet should. The two sizes fit heads from 55 to 62cm (21.7 to 24.4). The Stash retails in the UK market for 50 pounds (US$100).


Strategic Sports


Strategic Sports produces helmets for a number of U.S. and European companies with the other 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 2007 ten of their helmets appear on Snell's list. We have comments on models under a number of other brands in this review, but you are not likely to see a Strategic Sports brand name, since they avoid publicity.


Team Wendy


(Also known as W Helmets) has one unique BMX/skate helmet, the Ripper 2. It has the classic smooth skate shape and small round vents. The website says it is dual certified and recommended for bicycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, skiing, mountain biking and snowboarding. But we found out by purchasing one some years back that only the small or medium sizes were dual certified, not the large, although the website did not tell you that. We don't know if that has been resolved or not. 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, and generally does perform well. The Team Wendy site says their helmets are certified to the CPSC adult and child standards as well as the ASTM F 2040 standard for snow sports and the ASTM F 1492 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 according to the Team Wendy site, although the letter we received with the one we bought said it was a discontinued model.


THE Industries


THE, founded by Toby Henderson, has mountain bike fenders, saddles and other accessories. The company added helmets to its product line in 2006, with four helmets from Vigor Sports. Two were delayed until early 2007. One of them caught our attention last year as a rounder, smoother model with style and really good coverage, and we hope it will appear on schedule.


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 mostly have taped-on shells, while the EPP models noted below would come from Taiwan and are all inmolded. Most of their designs feature the round, smooth shapes that we prefer, but some of the models have vents that we would find too small for summer use in the US. Their models include: STKI also produces helmets for other uses, including military, baseball, motorcycle, equestrian, football and snow sports.


Tirreno


Tirreno is a house brand of Performance Bicycle shops. The bicycles of that brand are made in Taiwan, but we don't know who makes the helmets or where.


Top Gear


Top Gear is the house brand for Helmets R Us, a bulk supplier of many models of inexpensive helmets to helmet promotion campaigns. They also sell retail to individuals at about $10 per helmet. They have a unique "Face Saver" model with a chinbar at $14. They also have a Model 17 skate style helmet that is dual certified to the CPSC bicycle standard and ASTM F 1492 skateboard standard at $9.45 with a minimum $30 order.


Trek USA


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 2007 includes inmolded models made here and taped-on shell designs made for them in China. Most have ring fit systems. Trek dropped their Anthem series for 2007, probably an aftermath of the 2006 recall of the Anthem C Elite and Anthem C Elite WSD models. See our recall page for details. Other Anthems were not recalled. For 2007 they have:

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


Troxel


Troxel is a long-time producer of bicycle components that still markets some bicycle helmets under their SafeTech brand. We have not seen their line for 2007, but they have four models on the website, including toddler, youth, skate and adult models. All are round and smooth, without any rear snag points. Troxel is better known for their equestrian helmets.


Triple Eight


Triple Eight appears to be primarily a skate and ski helmet company. We have not seen their helmets, but their website shows a number of skate-style models. There is a footnote saying that some of them can come with liners that meet the CPSC standard, so we assume that some do not. There is no mention on the website of the ASTM F-1419 skateboard standard, although there is standards info for the ski helmets including the ASTM standard for ski. If the Triple Eight helmet you are considering does not have a CPSC or ASTM standard sticker inside, it does not meet either standard, since one of the requirements to meet the standard is to have the identifying label inside. One of the Triple Eight vendors on the web says the model they are selling is only approved for skate use. There is no legal requirement for a skate-only helmet to meet any standard at all. Without a standards sticker you have no way of knowing how the helmet will perform in a crash.


Troy Lee Designs


Troy Lee is a motorcycle helmet and gear manufacturer with a BMX line known for rad graphics. They originated the bolted-on visor style that makes the visor a potential snag point, claiming that the plastic mounts in the helmet will 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 still regard the visors as potential snag points. Their bicycle line is named D2 for Daytona 2 and has three models. Troy Lee has a stylish-looking blinker in a chrome housing to add to the back of your helmet. It runs on watch batteries for 300 hours and costs $32. Since it is an add-on we assume it would break off properly in a crash.

Troy Lee will replace helmet liners after a crash if the shell is not damaged.


TSG


This Swiss company sells skate helmets in the US in the classic skate style, and one BMX model. It is advertised as certified to EN1078 and CPSC, both bicycle helmet standards. Note that the company has a snowboard helmet that is very similar in appearance but has a rear goggle strap anchor. We don't know what standard it may be certified to, so for bicycle use be sure any TSG helmet has a label inside that says it complies with the CPSC standard. TSG's skate helmet fit heads from 56 to 59 cm. Their full-face helmets fit heads from 56 to 64 cm.

TSG has a free crash replacement policy.


Tung I Hsing

See THH above.


Txed


Txed is a Chinese company new to us for 2007. They have 15 models in the low price range. All the bicycle models we have seen have taped-on shells and recessed strap anchors. They have a full face fiberglass BMX helmet and an ABS hard shell skate model as well. The US company is Friendly Toys Corp of Santa Fe Springs, California.


Uvex


Uvex is best known in the US for its optical products. Their helmets are designed and mostly made in Germany, and all of them are inmolded using Bayer's Makrolon polycarbonate material. They have reflective logos, nicely recessed strap anchors and front vent net for insect protection. They have a unique buckle that uses a ridged tab that inserts and pushes in, that we have only seen on Abus and Uvex helmets. It is adjustable with one hand while riding, particularly useful to take out the slack as you sweat on longer rides and the strap loosens. All of their helmets have a ring fit system with a dial adjuster. For 2007 the line includes:

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 2007 they have a line of skate, bike and toddler helmets under the brands Maple, VFX Gear, World Industries, Shrek and Nickelodeon. We have not seen them and do not have their retail pricing. They bill a number of their models as "multisport" helmets, but the website mentions only the CPSC bicycle helmet standard, not the ASTM skateboard standard or any other standard. One of their skate models is a unique licensed Spongebob Squarepants model in bright yellow called the Spongehead. Unfortunately it does not come in adult sizes.


Vcan


Vcan is produced by Shanghai Hehui Safety Products, and includes a line of helmets that vary from beautifully rounded and smooth to angular with very large rear snag points. Some are inmolded. Price points run from $9 to $40 retail, and there are some nice designs at that modest level, including strap anchors that are recessed or internal on all models. All are ring fit. Most are sold under other brands. Their most notable model is the VS-610. It is a round, smooth design that is well vented and looks as good as the elongated models. It is very similar to the Limar 801, but the sample we have has only a CEN sticker in it. Vcan also has skate and snow helmets, including a ski helmet introduced in 2006 in a striking wood grain finish.


Vigor Sports - VSI


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 models with EPU "double impact" foam as well as more conventional single impact EPS. Their models that are not inmolded have a band of 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 some 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. Some of their models have strap fittings that lock very well. Most are ring fit, and all but two of the adult models have visors. Vigor has promised to produce the THE F-14 pictured above and THE B-1 as well. Vigor made many changes in their line last year, but fewer for 2007.

Vigor's accessories include a breathable helmet bag for $20 and a "drysock" designed for shoes but usable in a helmet. It contains a lot of desiccant of the type found packed in electronic gear to dry your helmet out in case you have to pack it somewhere after a ride.

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.


World Industries


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. The helmets they sold from October, 2000 to May 2001, imported by Variflex, were recalled. We have a page up with the details. 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."


X-Factor


See Kent International.


YoLite Industrial Co.


YoLite supplies reflective helmets from China in quantities of 3,000 or more. They say that the entire surface of the helmet is reflective. We have not seen them and the website does not have them listed, so we do not know what standards they might meet. At the consumer level they would probably have a different brand name.


Zefal


Zefal helmets appear in the US under the Michelin brand.


Zhuhai Golex


See Golex above.


Zhuhai Safety


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 under their own 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. Sizing runs from 49 cm (19.3 inches) for the smallest to 64 cm (25.2 inches) for the large. Zhuhai Safety helmets are provided at low prices for helmet promotion programs through Helmets R Us (above).


Zhuhai Star Safety


See Star Helmets above.


This article is frequently updated during the model year.




Index to Manufacturers

Abus
Action
Angeles
Aerogo / Lucky Bell
AGV
Alltop, Allpro (Shanghai Tung Kuang)
Alpha
Answer
Atlas
Avenir
Azonic
Barbie
Barbieri
Bell
Bern Unlimited
Bianchi
Briko
Bravo
Carrera
Casco
Catlike
Chrysler-Jeep
CNS - ProRider
Cratoni
Dainese
Diamondback (Avenir)
Ebon (Co-Union)
Ecko
El Sol
Eleven81
Embon or Ebon / Co-Union Industries
Epsira Oy
Fang
Fisher-Price
Fly Racing
Fox Racing
Free Agent
Gear
Geartec
Gen-X
Giro
Gmax
Go On Sport - GOS
Golex
GT-Schwinn
GPR-PLIM
Happy Way
Headstart PTY Ltd
Headstart (Malaysia)
Headstart Technologies
Helmets R Us
Hong Kong Sports
Hopus Technology
Hot Wheels
Huffy
Integrated Helmet Technology - IHT
Ironman
J&B Importers
Jeep (see Chrysler-Jeep)
KB (KnuckleBone)
KBC
KED
Kent
Knock
Knucklebone
Kong
Kuji Sports
L.A.S.
Lazer
LED
Limar
Louis Garneau
Lucky Bell / Aerogo
MET
Michelin (Zefal)
Mien Yow Industry
Mongoose
Netti
Nutcase
Oath
Oktos
Performance Headgear
PLIM (GPR-PLIM)
Polybid
ProRider - CNS
Pro-Tec
Pro Supergo
Prowell
Primal Wear
Pryme
PTI
Rage
Rand
Reevu
Reflectek
REM
Roar
Rudy Project
SafeTech
San Diego Speed
Schwinn
Selev
Serfas
Seven 20
Shain
Shanghai Tung Kuang (Alltop, Allpro)
Shenzhen Hezhen Bicycle
Shenzhen Qukang
Sixsixone
Solo Sound System (Rage)
Specialized
Spiuk
Sportcraft/Sportscope
Star
Stash
Strategic Sports
Team Wendy - W Helmets
THE
Tirreno
Tong Ho Hsing (THH)
Trek
Troxel
TSG
Tung I Hsing
Tung Kuang I Light Industries
Txed
Uvex
Variflex - VFX
Vcan
Vigor Sports
W Helmets (Team Wendy)
World Industries
X-Games
YoLite Industrial Co.
Zefal (Michelin)
Zhuhai Golex (Golex)
Zhuhai Safety
Zhuhai Star Safety