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Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

The Helmet Update

Volume 29, #6, December 30, 2011

Previous Issues



Our Helmets for 2012 report is up

We have posted Helmets for 2012.

Our review finds no radical safety improvement this year that would compel you to replace your current helmet. Almost all of the helmets meet standards and offer good if not excellent protection. We have tested a sample of cheap and expensive helmets and found no real performance differences. We recommend looking for a helmet that fits you well and has a rounded, smooth exterior with no major snag points.

Highlights:

  • Rounder profile "compact," "city," "urban" or "commuter" models are still growing in number. We list 65 of them.

  • Several manufacturers have fit systems with fixed side strap junctions to compete with the True Fit system on Bell's discount helmets. But they do not have the internal strap anchor cage that makes the True Fit system work, and the samples we tried at Interbike did not fit us as well. That includes Bell's own high-end bike shop helmets.

  • Slip-planes to reduce rotational forces are now found in some POC models, Lazer child models and later this year in the TSG Kraken skate-style model. We still regard them as unproven technology, since a helmet will slip on your head anyway in an impact. We would consider one for a skate-style or extended coverage helmet that couples closely to the head.

  • "Mountain" helmets with extended rear coverage are available from THE, Acclaim, Azonic, Giant, Fox, POC, Pro-Tec and SixSixOne. But most only meet the CPSC bike helmet standard, so that extra rear coverage is not always proven.

  • Consumer Reports last helmet article was published in 2009 and covered only child helmets.
The full report with listings of more than 150 brands is on our web page.




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