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The Helmet Update

Volume 26, #3 - December 29, 2008

All issues index

Helmets for 2009

Summary: We have posted our review of helmets being sold in 2009. It covers trends, new developments and individual models. In brief, there is no radical safety improvement this year that would compel you to replace your current helmet. Almost all of the helmets we describe meet standards and offer good if not excellent protection.

There are new helmets in 2009 that are worth a look if you need a new one. There are more new models appearing with the rounder, smoother profile that we think is best when you crash. The legally required CPSC standard ensures good protection in the US market. Without comparative test data we usually do not know if a model exceeds the requirements of the standard and offers superior protection. We hope for a new article from Consumer Reports during 2009 with some test data on the current crop of helmets.

The rounder, smoother "compact," "city," "urban" or "commuter" models that we recommend are still growing in number, and most manufacturers have at least one in their lineup now. The higher priced helmets have big vents, but no verifiable advantage in impact performance.

There are no new radical impact materials in bicycle helmets this year. Strap adjustment fittings--buckles and side pieces--badly need improvement. Most of them slip too easily. Ring fit systems, the "one size fits all" solution, have taken over for most of the less expensive and mid-range models.

We still 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 have a long list of rounder, smoother helmets for 2009, and sections on Value Helmets, Extra Large Helmets, Extra Small Helmets, Helmets for Rounder Heads, Helmets for Narrow Heads, "Women-Specific" Designs, Made in USA Helmets, Models available outside the US, Cooling performance, Prices and a very long section describing almost all of the helmets you will see on the 2009 market.

As always, we appreciate feedback!

The Helmet Update - Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
Randy Swart, Editor
4611 Seventh Street South
Arlington, VA 22204-1419 USA
(703) 486-0100 (voice)
(703) 486-0576 (fax)