Motorcycle helmets are not cheap, especially if you value your head and the contents of it, chances are you’ve spent a fair amount, on a reputable brand with good safety scores. Now imagine, the worst happens and you drop your helmet, accidentally knock it, or have an accident and don’t know what happened to the helmet. We get it, we’ve been there too. After the initial swearing rage and a visual check for damage, and accepting the new scratches, it’s good to go right?
Typically helmets are designed to be used once. The interior foam is designed to dissipate energy, away from the wearers head, but can damage itself in the process. A visual inspection from the outside, can’t see if there is any damage to the inside of the foam. Some helmet manufacturers are including a coloured layer to the EPS liner, as this top layer degrades, the differing colour underneath shows through.
Should I replace my helmet after a drop?
Even if the helmet hasn’t had an impact, UV rays, sweat from the wearer or even solvents from cleaning can deteriorate the external shell material or internal padding and foams making them weaker and less effective when actually needed.
This leaves riders with a big issue, which isn’t a simple decision, is the helmet safe to wear, or not? If not a replacement could be expensive, after all the standard advice seems to be if you have any doubt replace it with new.
Can I get my helmet inspected for damage?
A visual inspection is simply not enough to see any potential damage. Neither is removing the helmet liner and looking on the inside, as most damage to internal foam occurs to the shell side, i.e the hidden side. Modern technology advances are allowing new none destructive tests, safe on composite materials like motorcycle helmets.
UK based Helmet inspection company is one such firm, using laser technology to check helmets for microscopic or hidden damage. Using a laser the gently heat shell slightly, and allow it to cool, the rate of expansion from heating and cooling differs showing a potentially damaged area. These differing rates of cooling are picked up by ultra-sensitive cameras providing images and data, which is reviewed by technicians and specialists. Scans and images will be captured until a decision is conclusive.
How much does a helmet inspection cost?
The Castle Donington based firm charges £39.99 per helmet, including return shipping after the inspection, and can scan any helmet, including thermoplastic or composite shell helmets. An NFC sticker is added to your helmet storing its history of checks.
If the test does come back with bad news, the downside is helmets cannot easily be repaired leaving the only option to replace with new. The company has said it has inspected helmets older than the recommended 5-year figure, and some helmets which have been dropped but shown no damage.
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