Check your helmet!

When I was packing for last week’s SoCal coaching adventure, I happened to look inside my helmet.


From a helmet’s perspective, insulating your brain from impacts is a destructive process.

Helmets are disposable. When you crash, check for damage. If you see any compression or cracks, replace the helmet. If it’s a big crash, you should probably replace the helmet. If the helmet is old, it might be past its expiration date.

Read this:

YIKES! My wife won’t let me wear this again.

Thanks again to Jason Emmanuel for this Specialized Tactic helmet. It’s been my daily hat for two years, and it’s apparently saved me a few times.

Sending the Tactic to the Smithsonian. Starting fresh.

Do what I say, not what I did
Check your helmet after every crash. Don’t wait two years to randomly peak inside.

Inter cranial braaap!


Know more. Have more fun!

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15 replies
  1. Rick says:

    Wise advice that many people don’t know or if they do they ignore it. Helmets are indeed expensive, but I guess one has to ask them selves “how much is the stuff between your ears worth?”

  2. BrianS says:

    What helmet did you decide on as a replacement? I switch between a Tactic and last years S-Works helmet I picked up on clearance from the Specialized website. Helmets are worth their cost.

  3. leelikesbikes says:

    I am replacing this Tactic with a Specialized Vice.

    Also replacing an old TLD D3 full face with a Specialized Dissident.

    NICA gave me an S-Works XC helmet that I’m using right now, but I really prefer the fuller coverage, as well as the visor.

  4. BrianS says:

    Strange I thought all of the S-Works mountain helmets came with visors. It’s basically the same as the S3 MT for this year.

    Mentioning the TLD D3 reminds me I still need to pull the liner to see if it has any compression marks or damage from the last fall I had where it only made contact with the Leatt on the back after going over the bars.

    Looking forward to meeting you Friday at STP for the skills clinic. Rocky Ridge is a challenge going up and down right now with the recent rains changing the landscape a little.

  5. BrianS says:

    Every time the rain comes the rocks on Rocky Ridge appear to get bigger. I rode last weekend and a few sections on the way down caused me issues that I can normally get through. With the rain a few nights ago it should be different again. Lars said you might do a pre-ride tomorrow so enjoy!

  6. leelikesbikes says:

    We are gonna pre-ride our brains out.

    But which Trail Head Cyclery demo bike shall I roll? … Ibis Mojo SL? Stumpy 29? One thing is certain: Lars will have that bike dialed.

  7. BrianS says:

    I am partial to the Enduro but I have to admit the proto carbon 29er FS looks really good and the Butcher control on the front makes it even better. If I only rode a medium and not a large. Any of the fleet Lars has would do well.

  8. Davis says:

    Along the lines of helmet safety, I was wondering if anyone one has heard of the arguments for half shells being safest for your neck? The idea being that a full face creates a fulcrum at your neck. Of course a neck brace would solve this but without the brace what are the trade offs between the two?

  9. tony says:

    My lids:

    full face
    1 year old 661 Evo…easy fit for me and very affordable protection at $100 on sale.

    new TLD D2…crazy good looks (blue history) and nice snug fit. Great deal at Jenson, but still gonna make this baby last as long as I can .

    Trail lids:
    Fox Flux ’09 (tan camo…AGGRO! grrr) had to add some padding and now fits much better.
    great coverage but looks crazy big on the noggin. Air foil makes me ride faster…not.

    Giro Encinal very nice fit, light and airy. All day comfort.

  10. tony says:

    as for full face dangers in crashes, my experience has been both personally and witness to straps tearing away or helmet shifting under extreme crash situations. unless the helmet is so snug and strapped on so it can’t budge at all, after initial impact, the g force and other mayhem will usually make the helmet shift, ride up or down, or result in strap tearing away.

    of course, I’d rather not think about any of this craziness

  11. chance says:

    Straps tearing is very surprising? You’ve seen this? That is one of the testing points to be able to sell them in the US and get those stickers on the back. The G force need to tear those straps would most likely break that person’s neck. As for shifting around, unless it was fixed to your head that will happen but the snugger fit the better. I don’t know about the half shell being the safest, but I see your point about the fulcrum but you leave your face completely exposed. I woudl think a neck brace and full face would be the best you could do.
    Good write up Lee, really got me thinking about it. looked at my helmet, it looks fine but its about 3 years old now so thining of replacing it just because! Any ideas on the POC helmet or the Giro Feature? I like that back of the head protection.

  12. Marc says:

    If your helmet has absorbed only one decent (not like dropping it on the ground)impact–the foam has compressed even if you can’t see it! If you hit that spot again you will pay the price–I do helmet testing as part of my job.

    I know how it hurts to spend $100+ and have to toss (cut the straps off so someone else doesn’t use it) what looks like a perfectly good helmet, but becoming a vegetable, or worse really puts a damper on your Braaap…

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