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.
- The biggest news for 2007 is that rounder, smoother "compact" or "commuter" models are growing in number. The older elongated, pointy styles are beginning to look dated. We have been waiting a long time for the fashion pendulum to swing, and it is happening now.
- At the high end, you will still find big vents and high prices, but no verifiable improvement in safety performance. You can pay more than $200 if you want to, but Target and Wal-Mart both have models that meet the same CPSC impact standard at an everyday price of $7.14. And for about $15 they both have better looking and better fitting models. Wal-Mart has a round, smooth Bell Impulse for $25 that is molded in the shell, a high quality construction technique.
- Ring fit systems, the "one size fits all" solution, are taking over the less expensive lines. They work well for some, but not at all for others, who find that they have to tighten the ring uncomfortably to get a stable fit. To compare on your own head, try a Bell Citi and Metro, essentially the same helmet except for the fit systems.
- There are no new radical impact foams this year.
- Carbon fiber use is spreading slowly, limited by fiber price increases over the last year. It does allow lighter construction, but there is so little of it used in a bike helmet that the weight saved is minimal except in heavy BMX helmets. Manufacturers are searching for ways to use titanium, another expensive product that saves very little weight in a helmet. The Kevlar craze is mostly behind us.
- Strap adjustment fittings are not improving. We find many of them slip too easily, resulting in the "strap creep" that is responsible for many of the too-loose straps out there. We have noted the really good ones. You can check that when you buy.
- Strap anchors on many helmets still stick up above the shell and are an unnecessary impediment to smooth sliding when you hit the pavement. The best helmets put the anchors below the surface of the shell, or at least recess the anchors to make a smooth surface.
We recommend looking for a helmet that:
1. Meets the CPSC bicycle helmet standard.
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.
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.
Some Interesting New Models
Rounder, Smoother Helmets
We recommend smooth helmets that do not snag when you crash. The selection of well-rounded models has expanded in 2007, including:
- Abus Dorado/Limar 801
- Bell Deuce/Impulse discount helmet
- Bell City, Metro, Variant
- Casco Warp II time trial helmet
- Giro Xen
- GPR/PLIM Urbanus
- KED Event (Euro Model)
- Kent V-10
- LAS Hitek and Compact (Euro)
- Michelin MX Urban and MX Street
- Oktos (several)
- Pro-Tec Cyphon
- Shain BK51 Urban
- Specialized Instinct
- THE/Vigor F14
- Uvex Hawk
- Vcan S22-C
- Vigor X3
- Most skate-style helmets (usually too hot for bicycling)
Other interesting models worth a look
- Bell Citi - Consumer Reports Best Buy
- Bell Slant - Consumer Reports Best Buy
- Bell Boomerang - For toddlers, Consumer Reports Best Buy
- Schwinn Intercept - Youth model, Consumer Reports Best Buy
- Specialized Aurora - Consumer Reports' highest impact protection rating.
- THE/Vigor F14 (New, extra coverage with good vents)
- Uvex Magnum and XP100 (New, extra coverage)
Many manufacturers now have quality molded in the shell helmets priced in the $30 to $40 range. That includes the Bell Solar, Bell Impulse/Deuce, Briko Mistral, Cratoni Neon, Giant Talos, Giro Transfer Sport, Lazer Topaz, Louis Garneau Pacifica, Rudy Project Pyovra, Schwinn Atlas, Serfas Cosmos Plus, Specialized Air Force, Trek Vapor 3 and Vigor Fast Traxx. See descriptions below.
There are many, many more very decent cheap helmets on the market that are not molded in the shell, including the Schwinn Intercept mentioned above. We can't list them all. In the US we are fortunate to have a mandatory national standard ensuring at least a minimum quality level.
- Cratoni Titan Pro: Camera/light mount.
- Reflectec line: Reflective shells.
- Ironman line: very bright built in LED flashers.
Extra Large Helmets
See our page on helmets for very large heads.
Extra Small Helmets
The smallest helmet advertised is the Etto Ettino, said to fit down to 41 cm heads. Following that are the L.A.S Roadspeed Baby, the Atlas Hardtop Mini and the Atlas Drago, all for 45 cm heads, available in Europe but not in a US model, and several others with 46 cm helmets. Pryme has a heavy BMX helmet nearly as small at 46 cm., if you can imagine putting that kind of weight on your baby. Ask your pediatrician about this one before buying! We have a page explaining why tiny helmets may not be a good idea with another page asking if you really want to take your baby along.
Downhill Mountain Bike Racing Helmets
Four manufacturers now have helmets certified to the ASTM F 1952 Downhill Mountain Bike Racing Helmet standard: Giro, Lazer, Specialized and Troy Lee. Coverage and impact requirements are more stringent than the CPSC bicycle helmet standard.
Chrono Time Trial Helmets
See our page on chrono models. They do not make sense for street use.
Most women-specific designs differ only cosmetically from a "male" helmet. Hold up the two together and you will readily see that they came from the same mold, and the only difference is in colors and graphics. The pony tail port all but disappeared after males stopped wearing their hair long. The addition of rear stabilizers to helmets made the pony tail port more difficult to use, but a number of helmets like the Bell Metro, Serfas Curva and Serfas Rookie will take a good three-to-four fingers of pony tail if you are willing to thread it through. Others who claim "pony tail compatibility" are noted below, and a search for pony in this page will find them all. Many women now wear their pony tails while riding lower down on the head or tuck the hair up under the helmet to keep it off their neck in summer.
The "skateboard" helmets now on the market in big retail stores are mostly bicycle helmets in the classic skate style. They are fine for bike riding, as long as the sticker inside certifies that they meet the CPSC standard. If you need a multi-impact helmet for aggressive, trick, extreme skating or skateboarding with daily crashes, look for a true multi-impact skate model listed below or on our page of dual certified helmets. Dual certification to bike and skateboard standards is the biggest advance in skateboard helmets in recent years, denoting superior protection.
Helmets for Rounder Heads
If your head is the rounder shape sometimes associated with Asian parentage, only two current manufacturers in the US market claim to fit rounder heads: Selev and Cratoni. Cratoni says some of their helmets fit round heads with just a different pad set. That suggests that you might be able to resolve the problem with pad changes. We have a page up on fitting rounder heads with more details.
Outside the US
In markets outside the US you will probably find helmets that meet your national standard or the European standard. The European CEN bicycle helmet standard can be met with thinner foam and a less protective helmet than the helmet required to meet the US CPSC standard. (We have a page up on that.) Some European helmets may exceed the CEN standard by a wide margin and pass CPSC, but there is no data available to us to find out which ones they are. Major US brands sometimes produce less protective models for the European market to make them a little bit thinner. lighter and better ventilated so they can be competitive there. (We can usually pick up a CEN standard helmet and tell the difference.) For that reason we recommend buying a helmet with a US CPSC sticker inside if you can, even if you live in Europe, for the better impact protection. Those helmets are available from a number of European or Asian manufacturers as well as US producers. If there is no CPSC sticker inside the helmet it does not meet the CPSC standard. The Australian standard is comparable to CPSC, so US manufacturers market the same models there. Canada has its own standard, but it is similar to the CPSC standard and most models sold there are the US ones. Japan has its own standard.
Although we don't calculate averages, prices seem up a little from last year. Older models that were being discounted as the design ages have gone up a little too. In some cases this is just keeping up with inflation. European brands have risen faster here in response to the strong euro. The lowest prices in discount stores here still begin at $7.14 (Wal-Mart and Target) but are mostly in the $15 to $35 range. In bike stores where you can get help with selection and fitting you would expect to pay more, and the prices generally start over $30 and go up as high as you want. For many buyers the fitting help is well worth the extra you pay in a bike store. For an idea of what the lowest prices would be you can check Ebay or the internet retailers.
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.
Here is an index to our reports for other years.
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.
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 Web site 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.
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.
See Lucky Bell below.
See Fox below.
See THH below.
All Pro and All Top
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 molded in the shell, 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 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.
See Knucklebone below.
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 is a Swedish manufacturer. We have not seen them in the US. Their Web site 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.
The Avenir brand is distributed by Raleigh. They have a variety of molded in the shell 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:
- Sonic: Taped shell, dial fit, moderate snag point in rear, reflective material in rear. Retail is $25.
- Sonic Comp: Molded in the shell, very small rear snag point, retails for $40.
- Sonic Jr.: Toddler helmet with ring fit, dial adjustment. $15 retail.
- Diamondback BMX Hucker: Classic skate-shaped model in glossy or matte black for $20.
- Diamondback FF: BMX model with a fiberglass shell and bolted on visor. $85.
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.
- 907: Carbon fiber and Kevlar shell, full chinbar, retails for $300. The visor is bolted on, but the bolts are plastic and hopefully might break when you need them to.
- 307: A classic motorcycle-style BMX helmet with polycarbonate shell. Meets the DOT motorcycle helmet standard. Retail is $90.
- 308: Polycarbonate plastic shell, Meets the DOT motorcycle helmet standard. Retails for $90.
- 707:Another polycarbonate shell model. Meets the Snell Foundation motorcycle helmet standard. $150.
- Fury: has an "injection molded fiberglass" shell with vents. Meets the CPSC and CEN bicycle helmet standards. Retails for $70.
- Skidlid: A vented skate helmet with an ABS shell and some angular lines unlike the classic skate shape. Retails for $27 in matte black or gray.
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 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:
- Variant: Bell's newest model for 2007 is pitched for mountain biking. It has the new "compact" shape without an elongated rear, and qualifies as a "rounder, smoother" helmet, but comes off as a lot more stylish than the Metro/Citi. It has top and bottom outer shells, both molded in the shell. Lots of vents. Muted colors. Retail price is $100. Worth a look.
- Citi/Metropolis: The Metro was introduced in 2004, with a unique rounded exterior. It is pitched for the commuter market, as a "Life+Style" type helmet, "distinctively non-Lycra and intentionally toned-down." For 2005 Bell added a less expensive version called the Citi. It eliminated the rubberized coating on the lower half of the Metro, and changed the fit system from pads to a "universal" ring fit, so it really qualifies as a different model despite the identical profile. The ring fit may or may not work out well for you. The Citi was rated by Consumer Reports in their June, 2006 article as one of only four helmets they tested with superior impact performance. Both models come with plenty of vents and a visor, and have only partially recessed strap anchors. Both have a useful pony tail port in the stabilizer for those with long hair. The Metro can be outfitted with a whole range of expensive accessories: a flimsy mirror that folds back into the visor for storage, an innovative winterizing kit with ear muffs and vent plugs, a rain cover with hot reflective trim and a red LED flasher that attaches to the helmet's rubber strip in the back. Bell brought back a yellow Citi--brighter than the 2005 color--and introduced a safety orange Metro in 2007. The Metropolis still comes in white, but yellow is the only visible color for the Citi. Bell also added reflective trim on both helmet and strap. Retail is up slightly this year to $74 for the Metropolis and $48 for the Citi. The Metro with accessories is $115. If the ring fit works for your head the Citi would be preferable if only because it eliminates the rubberized section that could interfere with sliding when you hit the pavement and jerk your neck. We found that the straps on the Metro would not stay in place when adjusted, and would have to be sewn or locked with rubber bands snugged under the strap fittings to be useable, but that is a common problem. For a less-expensive but equally well-rounded alternative, see the Impulse below. At $15 to $35 it is still molded in the shell, and seems like a real bargain at Wal-Mart's $25 price.
- Slant: The Slant was introduced in 2006 with mid range pricing, now up a bit to $54. It has three modest snag points in the rear. This one was rated by Consumer Reports in their June, 2006 article as one of only four helmets they tested with superior impact performance, and awarded the CR Best Buy tag. Worth a look for that reason.
- Sweep: Bell's top of the line for 2007, with 11 choppy points on the rear giving it a porcupine effect. Has a lower shell molded on, and some nice bright colors. Retail is up $15 this year to $130 for the Sweep R and $145 for the XC model with visor.
- Ghisallo: Bell's top of the line for 2002 was this design named for an Italian saint. Somewhat better rounded than most of Bell's other top models, but still features a modest rear snag point. It has fewer but very large vents, and a few bright colors. Retail price is up $5 to $105.
- Furio: Another Bell road model with more rounded lines than some but still sporting a snag point in the tail. No visor. Retail is up slightly to $64, after falling $15 last year.
- Influx: A mountain bike helmet with visor and a modest rear snag point. What appears to be the same helmet is available in the Euro market as the Alchera, or with visor as the Delirium, but we do not know if they are certified to the CPSC standard.
- Venture: The 2006 design for Bell's "entry level" helmet, with a single snag point in the rear. The same design is known as the Solar when it has no visor, and the Vela with feminine graphics. Bell is producing an extra large size and calling it the Triton, fitting heads up to 65 cm (25.5 inches) in circumference. All have a one-size-fits-all ring fit. Retail is $30 for the Solar and $38 for the three with visors. The same design is also available as a "youth" helmet as the Alibi with multi-color graphic designs and a visor, retailing for $38 or as the Trigger without visor for $30. This is the least expensive molded in the shell Bell model for adults and youth sold in bike stores, and probably one of the better values in the Bell lineup, along with the Deuce/Impulse reviewed below under Bell's discount line.
- Amigo: Introduced in 2000, upgraded in 2004 to molded in the shell construction. The Amigo is a helmet for kids that is built like the one their parents use. The very nicely rounded exterior is smoother than Bell's adult helmets. Has ring fit, a rear stabilizer, visor and bug net in the vents. Retail is $30.
- Kinghead: The Kinghead is highly recommended for those who fit it, but it is made only in Extra Large for riders with head sizes up to 8 1/4 (66 cm, or 26 inches around). It is still the largest bicycle helmet we know of, at .4 inches larger than the Triton above. It has a beautifully rounded exterior and internal strap anchors. We had asked numerous manufacturers back in the 1990's to make an extra large helmet, but only Bell stepped up to the plate. It was Bell's contribution to consumer safety, not corporate profits, since the helmet will fit only a very small number of riders, and was never expected to make the company any money. Note that the Kinghead is an older design with a taped-on shell rather than having the Triton's molded in the shell construction, but its impact performance meets the same CPSC standard. The Kinghead also fits with pads rather than the ring fit system on the Triton. We have been iformed by riders with 66cm heads that it actually fits them. The Kinghead is not in the current Bell catalog, but if you need a very large helmet you can contact a Bell dealer, or check out mail order outlets on the Internet. Something called the Bell Store has them listed at $35, along with the Triton. If you have a head that large and the Triton won't fit, check out our page on helmets for large heads.
- L'il Bell: a toddler helmet with vents, previously known as the Half Pint and not related to the L'il Bell Shell of the 1980's and 90's. Has such a well-rounded shape that even we have no complaints. There are sticker kits available to allow kids to personalize their helmet. Retail is still $30.
- Boomerang: A 2000 model, somewhat like an Amigo, but made for toddlers, with the additional rear coverage required by the CPSC toddler helmet standard. Looks much more like an adult helmet than the L'il Bell, and is almost as well-rounded on the exterior. Cartoon graphics. Has a soft foam visor and a no-pinch buckle tab. Retail is $30. The Boomerang was rated by Consumer Reports in their June, 2006 article as one of only four helmets they tested with superior impact performance. It was the only toddler model with that distinction.
- Bellistic: Bell's BMX/downhill racing model is still in the lineup for this year. It has a fiberglass shell, vents and the well-rounded shape that is traditional in BMX helmets. It also has the traditional bolted-on BMX visor, providing a potential snag point. It has a full chinguard, but like most other downhill racing helmets there is no impact foam padding in it. It resembles a motorcycle helmet with vents, weighing two full pounds. There is one bright red and white color combination. The retail price is up $5 to $80.
- Faction: Bell's "skate-inspired" BMX/skate model is a 2004 hard shell design with a dual-density foam liner. In previous designs by LT back in 1991 this technique was used to take the sting out of lesser bumps with the softer layer, but backed up by a denser layer that could still perform in the big hits. In the Faction the technique is used to provide a different liner density in the front to meet the CPSC standard while avoiding a thicker helmet. The Faction has the admirably round, smooth exterior of the classic skate helmet, with small rectangular vents on top, front and rear. There is a nice selection of graphics featuring five different skateboard celebs and including visible white and yellow among the numerous colors. This model has dual certification to both the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and the ASTM F 1492 multi impact skateboard standard, but only for the larger sizes. The small size does not have the ASTM F 1492 skateboard sticker. The Faction retails for $35, up $5 from last year.
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 molded in the shell 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 molded in the shell, 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 Web site. 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:
- For Fusion series helmets: $35
- For cheaper models: $20.
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'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 molded in the shell. 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 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 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 Web site 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 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 molded in the shell except the taped-on Taku and the fiberglass X Contact. We don't have their pricing.
- Arrow: The top of Briko's line. It has huge vents, carbon internal reinforcing and a pronounced snag point on the rear.
- Spark: A slick looking design with with twin layers, multiple vents and sharp ribs, with a pronounced snag point in the rear. Has a unique visor mount with hollow fittings that go in the front vents.
- Zonda: A single layer road model, with noticeable exterior strap anchors, usually avoided in top of the line helmets. The women's version is the Zonda Rose.
- Spitfire: a single layer road helmet with conventional lines and conventional vents, with points in the rear. Available in a visible white.
- Mistral: a single layer road helmet with conventional elongated lines and conventional vents. Available in visible white.
- Echo: A skate-style helmet with vents. Comes with vent plugs for winter use and a visor.
- Taku: A child's helmet in the adult style, with a medium snag point on the rear, a dial fit system and a pinned-on visor. Retail is $25.
- X Contact In 2006 Briko added a downhill mountain bike racing helmet with a full chinbar and a fiberglass shell to their line.
- Crono: Briko's entry in the time trial/pursuit aerodynamic helmet market. It has two large rear vents, a clear plastic face shield, and comes in three graphics combinations. It is certified to the European EN 1078 standard. We don't see it in their 2007 catalog on the Web, but it is probably still available to racing teams.
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 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.
- Energy: introduced in 2005 with striking graphics and a unique fit system. The wedge shape slopes up to a center ridge, then down in back to a moderate rear snag point. Molded in the shell construction with a separate lower shell. It retails for $120. For $12 more you can get an All Weather Protector, a plastic shell that fits over the helmet and covers the front vents, anchored by those protruding external strap anchors. Comes in a nice bright yellow as well as red and white.
- Dragon Fly: a normal helmet made truly strange by the addition of a spoiler in the rear that provides a sharp and pronounced snag point. There is a winter vent-blocking add-on shell, and another "MTB" shell that leaves the vents open but provides a visor.
- Apache: more rounded top profile but ends in a moderate but high snag point giving it a blocky appearance in the rear. Smaller vents than the Energy
- Carapacho: Carrera classifies this one as a cap, not a helmet. A truly unique design with only six vents, but they are huge, raising questions about what standard it could pass since it would seem that a normal hemispheric anvil would be likely to crash right through a vent. Has a rear visor and an optional front clear plastic windshield. To top it off, there is a thick serrated rubber spine down the center from back to front. We would have to rate this one the headgear we would least want to crash in.
Casco's other upscale lines, called the Upsolute models, are molded in the shell. Some are unique designs, but since we have not seen them we refer you to the Web site 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 molded in the shell, but the cheapest ones are not. Classix include a full-face BMX model, a classic skate helmet and a toddler model. The Web site says that molded in the shell CASCO helmets with their add-on Monocoque-Inmold are heat-resistant up to 100°C (212°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 is a Spanish company named for its founder, whose bicycle racing nickname was "the cat." Their line includes eight models. All are molded in the shell 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.
- Whisper: New for 2006, the Whisper has a unique nubby outer shape and many small oval vents. We would reject it for the external shape, but if you want something different you will not see many of these on the road. Molded in the shell. Some very visible colors including orange.
- Diablo: complete with small "horns" on the outer shell. Has rotating cam locks on the strap adjustments, but they slip. Available in women's colors.
- Kompact Pro: molded in the shell with a full shell wrapping around the bottom and large oval. Has pronounced rear snag points as well as external strap anchors sticking up. Nylon visors with push-point attachments. Many graphic combinations including solid and multi colors, some highly visible, helping to match team colors. There are also women's colors. Lots of reflective trim.
- Shield 2: a skate-shaped helmet with large oval vents. It has a "ducktail" effect in the rear, with what Catlike says is additional lower rear protection. Molded in the shell. Retail is $80.
- Tiger: Toddler helmet with taped on shell. Has vents and child graphics, and a molded in visor.
- Chrono: Catlike introduced a new chrono helmet for 2007 that they said would meet the European standard. It is molded in the shell.
- Junior: Youth model.
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.
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 molded in the shell. All have at least some reflective trim.
- Ceron: The top of Cratoni's line is a 2006 hyper-vented helmet with sharp shell lines and the usual rear snag points. Molded in the shell, with a lower shell as well. Uses carbon fiber reinforcements, with the bridges visible in the front shell. Ring fit. The scarlet red version is bright and visible. Also comes as the Achillon with a pin-mounted visor. Retail for either is about $150.
- Titan Pro has an interesting style with large squared off ribs and large vents. The rear is rounded with a bumpy profile. It is molded in the shell with three shell pieces. It also has an aluminum reinforcement in the top that forms the base for a headlight or camera mount with quick release. Cratoni has tested the mount to release when impacted with a 15kg weight dropped 80 cm. We would want a mount that released easier than that. The Titan Pro retails for $130. The similar Titan without the aluminum plate or the camera/headlight mount retails for $90.
- Tremor: A somewhat better-rounded helmet but with a very pronounced rear snag point. Molded in the shell, with ring fit for 53 to 60 cm. US model, retailing for $100. There is a special Giro d'Italia graphics edition. Also comes with visor as the Tremor XC.
- Zethos: Lots of long skinny vents and what might be described as a flat deck or spoiler sticking out at the top rear. For 2007 it comes in some brighter colors, including orange. Ring fit. US model. Retail is $90.
- Xenon: A somewhat better-rounded helmet with many large vents and a strange "rim" around the rear. Molded in the shell, with the Head Ring adjustable headband to fit heads 53 to 60 cm. US model. Retails for about $70.
- Radon: Introduced in 2005, and probably Cratoni's best-rounded model, with large vents, bug net in the front vents and available in an XXL model that fits up to 65 cm (25.6 inch) heads. This is a US model meeting the CPSC standard. Ring fit with an adjustment for the ring level inside the helmet, and one of the helmets Cratoni sells for Asian heads. Retails for $70. For 2007 Cratoni has added an optional winter microshell with no vents that pins on and a set of earpads for $20 extra.
- Argon: Mountain bike (with visor) model with squared off ribs but nicely rounded in the rear with no snag point. Has bug net. Not a US model. Retail is about 50 euros.
- Neon: Another well-rounded design, again with bug net in the vents and retailing in the US for $40.
- Heli: A "junior" helmet molded in the shell with reasonably rounded lines but an elongated shape. Visor, modest vents, ring fit, bug net in the front vents. Not a US model. Retails for about 50 euros.
- Mad XL: a vaguely skate-style helmet with limited vents and the ring fit system. The wedge shape slopes upward in an almost flat plane to the top, then angles down again to large square vents in the rear. Also comes as the Mad X child helmet. US model, retailing for $50.
- Chopper: new for 2007, Cratoni's entry into the skate-style bike helmet. Two small vents, hard shell, large bolted on visor. Better side and rear coverage than most bike helmets designed to the CPSC standard. Ring fit with adjustable internal anchors to permit changing the ring angle. Retail is $60.
- Rapper: Another youth model, with more squared-off lines giving it a snazzier appearance, but no rear snag point. Has a visor effect in front. Ring fit system and bug net in the front vents. There are some bright colors available this year. US model. Retail is $40.
- Kid Cross: A well-rounded youth helmet with minimal venting, visor and bug net in the front vents. There is a visible yellow. Available in a Crocodile Trophy version. US model. Retail is $20, or $30 with accessories.
- Honey: A toddler model with vents that comes in some bright colors and graphics. Flatter in back to facilitate carrying the user in a trailer without tilting their head forward. Ring fit system for 48 to 52 cm heads. Not a US model. Retails for 25 euros.
- Fox: A child helmet with reasonable vents and ring fit. Rounded shape but has a molded in visor. Bug net in front vents. Fits heads as small as 47 cm (18.5 inches). Not a US model. Retails for about 30 euros.
- Interceptor: Cratoni's upscale downhill racing model, with full chinbar, a fiberglass/carbon fiber shell and a visor bolted on. It comes in flashy graphics or solid colors and has steel bug net protecting the front vents. Small top vents. It retails for $180, down significantly from last year. We do not know what standards it meets.
- Ramp: Another full-face downhill racing model, with a hard shell and bolted on visor. Small top vents like the Interceptor, but better rounded. Comes in visible white. US model. Retails for $80.
- Kid Cross: Similar to the Honey, but has a molded-in visor. Comes in very bright colors. Coverage would probably not meet the CPSC standard for helmets for kids under 5.
- Chrono: Cratoni's time trial and pursuit event model meets the European CEN standard. Short shell does not fully meet the shoulder or back. Not available in the US. Retail is 140 euros.
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 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:
- D-Raptor Fiber LE: transparent fiberglass shell with a dual-density EPS liner. US model. Retails for $300.
- D-Raptor A-Fiber 2: transparent "fiberglass and aluminum fiber" shell or white with colored trim, with a dual-density EPS liner. European model certified only to EN 1078.
- D-Raptor Graphic: fiberglass shell, dual density EPS liner. US model. Retails for $300.
- D-Raptor Graphic 3: fiberglass shell, dual density EPS liner. European model certified to EN1078.
- Big Raptor Watersports Helmet: appears to be the same motorcycle-style helmet, with the same big BMX-style visor that looks like it could increase the bucketing potential when your head is under water. Fiberglass shell, single-density EPS liner. Certified to the European ECE 22/05 watersports standard, using lighter impacts than a bicycle helmet standard. Despite the appearance of a motorcycle helmet, this one would not be suitable for bicycle riding, and we would not wear it for water sports either. European model. Appears to be identical to the Big Raptor FMX, described as a "freestyle mx" helmet.
Ebon is made by Co-Union Industry of Taiwan. Their five helmets are molded in the shell, 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 has been around since the early 1980's, first in California, then Idaho, now Arizona. Although they don't have a Web site 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.
The Eleven81 helmet line is distributed in the US market by Hawley Company. We have not seen them, but all are molded in the shell 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 availble in white or other bright and visible colors.
Hawley offers a consumer-direct lifetime crash replacement guarantee
- Crosstown, a "commuter style" helmet with a very round and smooth exterior, reflective plug in the rear and a ring fit system. This is the most remarkable model in the Eleven81 line.
- Open Road Pro is a road helmet with a modest snag point in the rear, molded in the shell with a double shell. It should retail for about $40.
- Open Road and Open Road MET are road models, molded in the shell with single shells and the ring fit system.
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.
See Bravo above.
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.
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 is a Scandinavian manufacturer with 22 helmet models on their Web site. Some are interesting designs, but unfortunately they are never seen in the US. The Web site 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 Web site.
- Hurricane: Molded in the shell with large vents, rear snag points, carbon fiber internal reinforcing.
- Typhoon: Molded in the shell with a very long snag point on the rear. Ring fit.
- On edge: molded in the shell with many small rear snag points. Ring fit.
- Cyclone: one of Etto's newer designs, molded in the shell with a little tab on the rear that appears as if it were added as an afterthought to make sure there was a snag point. Huge vents. Nice visible yellow available. Ring fit.
- Coolhead: molded in the shell with many vents and a modest snag point in the rear. Ring fit.
- Tornado: Molded in the shell with a wedge shape and modest rear snag points.
- Vortex: Molded in the shell with interior reinforcing and a nicely rounded shape for those with very large heads, fitting up to 64 cm. Ring fit. Black.
- Esperito: molded in the shell, with rounded lines that are chopped off flat in the back. Ring fit.
- FX-2: molded in the shell, nicely rounded with a minimal rear point.
- Storm: A 2007 model with taped-on shell. It has an elongated shape and overhang in the rear, with deep grooves and an aggressive looking V on the surface pointing forward. There is also a molded in the shell version called the Thunderstorm.
- Zephyr: Taped on shell, small rear overhang, external unrecessed strap anchors.
- Twister: youth helmet with taped on shell with rounded lines and a visor effect in front.
- Kolibri: molded in the shell, nicely rounded with a minimal rear point, the Kolibri is described by Etto as: "with its smooth shape and delicate design, has the characteristics that will appeal to the female part of the biking population."
- Mosquito: molded in the shell youth helmet with nicely rounded lines. Ring fit. Also comes in a Mosquito Girl female color scheme. Padded buckle to prevent pinching.
- Freesbee: child/youth helmet with a taped on shell, nicely rounded lines, good vents and ring fit. The model is called the Freesbee because it was intended to be equipped with a unique buckle-release system to open the buckle hydraulically if the child is "hung" on playground equipment or a tree for more than a few seconds. Etto says they are still tweaking it and it is not ready for prime time. In the meantime, the Freesbee is being sold with a standard buckle.
- Ettino: vented toddler helmet with rounded lines and taped on shell. Fits heads as small as 41 cm, the smallest helmet advertised by any producer. Shaped like an adult helmet, so it is not likely to meet the coverage requirements of the CPSC standard for US sale. Padded buckle to prevent pinching. Ring fit. Has a visor. May require that a child in a trailer or high-backed child seat have a thick pad behind the child's back to prevent the rear section of the helmet from pushing the child's head forward and down. If you are searching for a helmet this small, please see our page on taking your baby along.
- Impact XX: Downhill racing helmet with what appears to be a bolt-on chinbar and small vents. Pad fit. No longer on the Web site, so may be discontinued.
- Maniac: Classic skate style helmet with a hard ABS shell, the usual small vents and a special edition "with 'leather' accents." Oval vents in the front.
- Psycho: classic skate style helmet with a hard ABS shell and the usual small vents. Round vents in the front. Comes in chrome, colors and a "psycho" graphic with a skull and bones. Pad fit. Reflective material on the back. Etto also produces it for water sports with a neoprene liner replacing the EPS. They don't recommend that one for bicycling.
Etto dealers will replace crashed and damaged helmets "at only a small part of the cost."
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.
- Team: has an elongated shape with one modest rear snag point. Molded in the shell with a two piece shell and partially recessed strap anchors. Ring fit. Retails for $50.
- Crosstown: another molded in the shell model, but the strap anchors are not recessed. Ring fit. Retail is $40
- Blaster: taped shell, bug net in front vents, ring fit.
- Lil' Fuji: vented toddler helmet with a taped shell and bug net in the front vents. There is a tabbed buckle to prevent skin pinching.
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.
- FL606 IV: Meets both the DOT and Snell 2005 motorcycle helmet standards. It has a snap-out liner and comes in six outer adult shell sizes and three youth sizes. No vents. Retails for $90 with the matte chrome model $10 extra.
- Venom: Fiberglass shell, meets the DOT motorcycle helmet standard. Retails for $80.
- Gmax GMX-36X: Updated for 2005, with polycarbonate shell, retailing for $70. Meets the DOT motorcycle helmet standard.
- Gmax GM-36Y Youth: Polycarbonate shell, smaller and lighter youth size. $70 retail. Meets the DOT motorcycle helmet standard.
- Gmax GMX-46X: Polycarbonate shell, comes in nine sizes from XXS to XXXX. Retails for $80.
- Maverick: BMX and downhill racing model with full-face fiberglass shell retailing for $80. Has small vents and radical graphics.
- Lite IV: New for 2006, an "aero" model with more contours than other Fly helmets and a vented mouthpiece. Made with carbon fiber/kevlar, weighing in at 2.75 pounds for the large size, and meets DOT and the tough Snell M-2005 motorcycle helmet standard. No vents. Snap out liner. Retails for $200. "Replica" models with team member graphics are $240.
- THH TX-10: Full-face motorcycle helmet. ABS plastic shell, relatively lightweight for this type of helmet. Retails for $60 in black, $70 with graphics and $80 in chrome. Meets both the DOT and Snell 2005 motorcycle helmet standards.
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. :
- Rampage: a downhill racing model, new for 2007, with full face chinbar. Retail is $120.
- Flux: new for 2007 and not available until at least March. The Flux is a skate style helmet with large vents. It is molded in the shell with a two-piece shell and a "spoiler" in the rear. Retail is $99.
- V3 Pro Pilot: A vented BMX helmet updated in 2005 with a carbon fiber, kevlar and fiberglass shell. Titanium hardware. Retails for $375 with bag and extra visor. Also comes as the V3 Vertigo RC Replica.
- Tracer Pro: a standard BMX helmet with a chinbar for face protection and a bolted on visor. It has a polycarbonate shell and small vents under the visor. It retails for $140 depending on finish and graphics, with a kid's version for $100.
Fox helmets come in sizes from 18 3/8" to 25 3/4". Fox has other models on their Web site 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 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.
See Louis Garneau below under "L"
See Headstart below.
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 Web site never materialized.
Giant supplies a full line of bikes and accessories to bike shops. Their helmets have good quality locking strap fittings.
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 molded in the shell. 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.
- Ares: pronounced rear snag point, carbon fiber bridge showing and internal reinforcement, full wrap microshell. Three sizes fitted with pads. Retails for $100.
- Ixion: another pronounced snag point, this time with an aluminum bridge and internal reinforcing, full wrap shell, lever-flip strap locks and nice internal strap anchors. Three sizes fitted with pads. The women's model is the Athena. Retail for either is $75.
- Orion: pronounced snag point, recessed strap anchors in the full wrap shell. Ring fit, lavender for women. The larger version is called the Heracles, fitting up to 62 cm heads. Retail is $50.
- Talos: moderate snag point, ring fit with a dial adjuster. Molded in the shell, with nice internal strap anchors. Retail is $35.
- Scion: youth helmet, new for 2005. Has ring fit and a rear snag point. Retails for $35.
- Skeeter/Jewel: youth model, ring fit system, with taped-on shell and a very small snag point in the rear. Retail is $25.
- Pup: toddler model, very round and smooth, retails for $25.
- Atmos: The top of Giro's line is still Lance Armstrong's helmet, introduced in 2004. The Atmos has interior "roll cage" reinforcing, exterior carbon fiber reinforcing and an extensive three-piece shell molded on. All that is primarily to permit opening up bigger vents while still meeting the CPSC standard, not necessarily improving the impact performance above prior levels. Bicycling magazine named the Atmos tops in cooling (along with the 2004 Specialized S1) in its January/February 2005 issue. In addition to several moderate snag points in the rear, this model has forward facing points in the middle. We would avoid this one for that feature if no other, since it contributes nothing at all to the function of the helmet. But if you want Lance's helmet, this is it. Uses fit pads. Retail is down in 2007 to $175, or only $190 for the Livestrong Special Edition in dark green with a yellow ring effect on top evoking the yellow wristbands.
- Monza: has the compact shape, although there are small snag points on both the front and rear. Uses fit pads. Chosen by Bicycling magazine in their June 2006 issue as best helmet for $100 or less, but retail is now up to $105.
- Pneumo: introduced in 2001, this model broke new ground in ventilation. The oversize vents, channels and graphics combined to make it appear to have less material than any other CPSC helmet we had seen at that time. It still has external strap anchors, a cheap construction technique that we always find surprising in a high-cost helmet, but since the shell is not round and smooth anyway it probably does not make much difference in sliding resistance. There is a pronounced rear snag point. Upper and lower shells are molded in. Comes with a visor. Uses fit pads. Retail is $145. For better Giro impact protection, you have to pay less, according to Consumer Reports.
- Stylus: New for 2007, this one has the rounded exterior of the new "compact" shape, with minimal rear snag points. This one has better recessed strap anchors. Uses fit pads. Replaced the 2000 Eclipse model as Giro's least expensive high-end helmet. Retail is $84.
- Xen: Giro touts the Xen (pronounced zen) as having "the coverage of skate helmets," even though when you put it on and position it in front the extra side or rear coverage turns out to be mostly an illusion. But this helmet has a nicely rounded shape far superior to most Giro models, while retaining the huge Giro vents. The shell is a full wrap-around. There is a visible Acid Green available along with the darker colors. Worth a look for the shape if you are a Giro fan. If you really want additional rear coverage in a Giro, see the Flak below. Retails for $130.
- E2: Giro calls this one a "mountain" helmet, with squared off lines. particularly in the rear, and huge vents. There is one very pronounced rear "shelf" projection that looks almost as if it were designed to hook something in a fall. $130 retail.
- Hex: introduced in 2006, a reasonably shaped "trail riding" helmet with a shape similar to the Xen. It is not really smooth, but has a compact profile with no rear snag point. There is a visible yellow for 2007. Retails for $80.
- Havoc: The Havoc was Giro's roundest, smoothest high-end model in prior years, and their earliest with the compact shape. The rear snag point was almost eliminated in this model. The Havoc has external strap anchors marring that otherwise improved outer shell line with a potential friction point. Very large vents, molded-in upper and lower shell. Retails for $64, down again in 2007 and a lot less than when it was first introduced.
- Animas: The Animas has the usual rear snag point and a two piece molded shell. It retails for $105.
- Encinal: Giro's mid range model with a more rounded shape than other Giro road models and well-recessed strap anchors. Plenty of vents. Comes in bright red and visible white. Retails for $48. Received Bicycling Magazine's award as Best Helmet Under $50 in their July, 2004 issue.
- Indicator: Giro's least expensive model has a pronounced rear snag point, but at least the strap anchors are under the shell. Has a ring fit system. Also comes in a "women's" model called the Skyla. Without a visor, it's the Transfer at $30, Giro's lowest adult price point and still molded in the shell. For youth it has been shrunken in 2007 to the Flume, fitting down to 19.75 inches (50 cm). If you prefer a big rear snag point and the elongated shape, this one is worth a look.
- Atlas II: Giro's extra large model, now rated 1 cm smaller to fit 59 to 63 cm (23.25 to 24.75 inch) heads, and retained in the line as Giro's largest helmet. Still the elongated shape, with a snag point in the rear. Retail is $38.
- Flak: A skate-style model with ABS hard shell, small vents and good coverage. Plain colors or a very visible acid yellow. Meets only CPSC, not the skateboard standard. Retail is $35. For only $10 more you can have the Makai, the same helmet with graphics or in white and pastels, pitched as a "life+style" model for daily casual riding.
- Rodeo: A "youth" helmet for kids who are old enough to pedal. Nicely rounded except for a front overhang providing a rigid visor. Has the universal ring fit system for parents who want a quick fit and no worries about head growth. Bug net in the front vents. The shell is taped on, not molded. Retails for $30. In the smallest size it becomes the Me2, a toddler helmet with a different fit system. Said to have a low profile in the rear to permit a more natural seating position in trailers, where thicker helmets can push a kid's head forward unless they have a pad behind their back. Fits down to 48 cm (18.75"). Retail is $30.
- Remedy CF: A downhill racing helmet with a motorcycle-style chinbar. It replaced the Mad Max in 2006. This one was the first helmet we saw advertised as meeting the ASTM F 1952 downhill racing standard as well as CPSC, indicating better impact protection. Giro claims that the Remedy CF "manages up to 20% more impact energy," but they don't say what the comparison is with. It has a nicely rounded exterior, marred only by the bolt-on visor, and is well vented for this type of helmet. It retails as the Remedy in fiberglass for $120 1050 gr (37 oz.) or for $270 as the Remedy CF with carbon fiber 900 gr (32 oz.).
- Advantage 2: A new 2007 design and a welcome addition to Giro's lineup, its first chrono time trial helmet meeting the US CPSC standard. Giro's previous Advantage model had been sold only in Europe. Molded in the shell with five small vents. Like all chrono helmets, it is strictly for time trialers or track use. Retails for $250.
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.
See Fly Racing above.
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 molded in the shell, and some have two-piece full wrap shells. They are manufactured in China.
Go On Sport - GOS
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.
Golex (Zhuhai Golex)
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:
- Urbanus: a round, smooth commuter-style helmet with glued on shell and ring fit system. Bug net in front vents. European model certified to the CEN standard.
- Bike Helmet (Adults): molded in the shell with four shell pieces, rear snag point, ring fit. Bug net in front vents. European model certified to the CEN standard.
- Spina: molded in the shell with a moderate snag point, visor, ring fit. European model certified to the CEN standard.
- Venimos: molded in the shell with two shell pieces, recessed strap anchors, many vents, visor, ring fit. European model certified to the CEN standard.
- Virtus: glued on shell but still has external strap anchors in the front, many small vents, rear snag point, visor, ring fit. Bug net in front vents. European model certified to the CEN standard.
- Vici: glued on shell with fewer but much larger vents. Bug net in front vents. European model certified to the CEN standard.
- Vidi: glued on shell, very round and smooth with only seven vents, visor. Bug net in front vents. Certified to CPSC as well as the CEN standard.
- Aventicum II: glued on shell, well rounded profile, visor. Bug net in front vents. Two shell sizes accommodate up to 62 cm heads. Certified to CPSC as well as the CEN standard.
- Caddy: child helmet with six vents, bug net in front vents and certified only to the CEN standard.
- Veni: (completes the veni, vidi, vici model series) youth model with glued on shell, bug net in front vents, CPSC as well as CEN certification. Two sizes fit 46 to 56 cm heads.
- X: classic skate style helmet with hard ABS shell, small vents, pad fit, CEN certification.
We have not seen the GT helmet line this year.
This Taiwanese manufacturer has a slick looking line of Expanded PolyUrethane (EPU) helmets. All are fully molded in the shell 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.
Happy Way Enterprises
Headstart PTY (Australia) Once one of at least three helmet companies called Headstart. This one had nine adult models under the Gear brand name.
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.
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.
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).
Helmets R Us (formerly Century Cycles)
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.
Hong Kong Sports
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 molded in the shell, and a unique fiberglass model that is molded in the shell. 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:
- EX-9: a new 3007 model molded in the shell with a fiberglass shell, the first we have seen of that combination. It has stainless steel mesh internal reinforcing. The shape is elongated, with a small snag point.
- A-6 Plus, E-2 Epoch, Ex-1 Extreme and Ex-5 Extreme: Four road-style helmets, all molded in the shell, and all featuring a lower shell for full coverage. They have a nicely rounded shape with minimal rear snag points. The A-6 Plus is new this year and is the top of the Hopus line at $75. It has aluminum mesh molded into the shell and providing bug net for the vents.
- A-8 Plus and Elf-1 Elf polycarbonate hard shell bike helmets with very nicely rounded lines. All are molded in the shell.
- B-1 Bravo: An unusual molded in the shell toddler helmet with vents, fitting sizes as small as 50 cm.
- MF-2, MF-5, MF-6, MF-7, MF-8 and MF-9 May Flower all skate style models that debuted in 2004, with similar hard shells but variations in the vents. They are molded in the shell with hard polycarbonate shells, a unique combination. They have the well-rounded shape of skate helmets.
- MF-6: Skate style helmet molded in the shell with an ABS shell. It meets the ASTM F 1492 skateboard standard but not the CPSC bicycle standard, so will not be sold in the US market. Retail is $30.
- AG-2 Argo: Rounded skate-style helmet with hard ABS shell.
- FSK Free Skating a hard shell skate-style helmet with an ABS shell and EPS foam liner.
- MF-3 Avenger is billed as a multi-sport helmet and available as a "snow series" model with ear flaps and a goggle retainer in back, although it is advertised as meeting only the CPSC and CEN bicycle helmet standards, not ski helmet standards. Has a very round smooth skate-style shape, and the ABS hard shell, with more vents than the MF-2 below. There is a very visible metallic yellow model. Retails for $20 to $40.
- MF-2 Classic is a round, smooth skate-style helmet with minimal vents. This snow series model for winter sport use has ear flaps and a goggle retainer in the rear. Certified to the ASTM F 2040 snow sport standard as well as the CPSC and CEN bike standards, so it is a true multi-sport helmet. Can be had with very visible flame graphics and a nice metallic orange.
- AG-2 Argo is a round, smooth skate-style helmet with a hard ABS shell and minimal vents. It is molded in the shell. Has a snow series model for winter sport use with ear flaps and a goggle retainer in the rear.
- MI-4 Mission is a skate-style helmet with angular vents and a mostly round and smooth outer shape. Has inflatable airbag rear pads. Certified to the CPSC and European bike helmet standards.
- D-1 Diki a rare child helmet with ABS hard shell. Has vents and an overhang in front to provide a partial visor. The XS fits heads as small as 52 cm.
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 Web site to ask who sells their helmets in your market.
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 Web site. This page has a photo of the Falcon.
Ironman has six models for 2007, all with rear snag points, large vents and ring fit systems. All are molded in the shell 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 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.
- AU-1: a 2007 design, molded in the shell with a wrap-under shell and a moderate snag point. Designed for police, EMS and security personnel, with impressively bright superflux LEDs.
- Kona Elite Series: for bike shops and running shops, selling for $200. Includes some carbon fiber internal reinforcing and some on the surface, but on the sample we saw it was not impregnated with resin, so would add little strength. Elongated design with small sharp rear points. Comes with a carrying case.
- Endura: new for 2007, an elongated design with a two piece shell wrapping under and three small snag points. This one has a good patch of reflective material with multi-angled surfaces.
- Pro Series: for Big Box stores, selling for $80. Has a second wrap-under shell and some reflective surfaces using the same technology Kuji uses for the Reflectek line. More compact shape with a sharp dropoff at the rear.
- Ultimate: new for 2007. Has a pronounced rear snag point, and a large reflective patch, selling at Wal-Mart for $30.
- Extreme: another Wal-Mart model, with an average snag point in the rear, selling for $30. No reflective material.
Abbreviation for Knucklebone below.
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, check here 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 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 molded in the shell. 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:
- Esox: moderate vents and somewhat blunted rear snag points, ring fit with unique side adjustment, LED flasher, includes a separate very thin helmet lock that retracts into a plastic housing. (Sometimes used in the US for minimal short-term bike security.) CE and CPSC certification. Optional visor. Retail is $150.
- Champion: pronounced rear snag point, very large vents, LED flasher. CE and CPSC certification. Retail is $100. With visor it becomes the Champion Visor.
- Street: well-rounded with a slightly upswept but minimal rear snag point, LED flasher, CPSC certification "only for American market," whatever that means, and CEN. Will retail for $90. Also comes as the Street Junior for youth.
- Meggy: toddler helmet with good-sized vents and both CE and CPSC certification "only for American market." LED flasher. There are some licensed cartoon character graphics.
- Zeitfahren: KED has two chrono models: the short version is called the Track and looks like a regular bike helmet but is smooth-skinned with no vents except in the rear. The long version is the Time Trial and has a long tail that will extend to the rider's back. It has no vents. Both have CEN certification only.
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 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 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 Web site 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 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 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 is a Chinese company whose Web site 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.
- Signature Series: dual certified, with a transparent colored shell and black and white EPS molded together. $35 to $40 retail.
- Limited Series: dual certified, comes in three themes: a spiked helmet (!), a camo model and a bright stars and bars. ABS hard shell, EPS liner. We would avoid the spiked model on general principles, although we have never actually seen the spike or how it is mounted and do not know how dangerous it might be in actual use. The Web text says it is detachable foam. $40 retail, but boxes also have a printed price of $30 in some stores.
- Kore Series: dual certified, classic skate style. Can be had in white for visibility. $30 retail. Also comes in ladies' colors, pink and blue, with "pony tail friendly" padding.
- Ladies Series: dual certified, classic skate style. Comes in ladies' colors, pink and blue, with what is described as "pony tail friendly" padding. Looks like the Kore series in pretty pink. $30 retail.
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 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 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 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 molded in the shell 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.
- Genesis RD: introduced in 2006, a high end model molded in the shell with multiple shell pieces wrapping around the lower foam sections. Has the elongated shape with rear snag points and a new ring fit system adjusted with a toothed wheel at the top rear that turns a long screw. Even though the Genesis is CPSC certified, we would avoid this model because we would not want to crash on that spot. Retail is $170, or 7,000 euro for the presentation model reported in Bicycling in September of 2006 that features a 1.18 caret diamond on a gold nameplate. In mountain bike trim with visor it is the Genesis XC at $180 retail.
- Blade RD: an elongated model with a five-part shell that comes all the way down the rear, many vents, and a hard nylon piece in the rear to keep the snag point from getting dull. Has external strap anchors that should have been eliminated at this price point. It sells for $109. US model.
- X3M Molded in the shell, with a rear snag point. Retails for $50. Without visor it becomes the O2 but still costs $50. With visor in smaller sizes it is the Cyclone youth model at $50, all US models. The same helmet appears in some markets as the CycleOne women's or youth model at $45 with a zebra stripe option.
- Devil: an elongated model molded in the shell with four pieces providing full coverage, including the rear snag points. Has two heart-shaped vents, two forward facing horns along the surface and of course a red option to fit the name, along with a highly visible yellow. The external strap anchors are painted in this model. Ring fit for 54 to 61 cm heads with a Big Devil XXL model fitting up the 64 cm, Lazer's largest helmet. Retail is $75. CPSC certification. With four more vents, a visor and some cosmetic changes it becomes the Magma, and the extra large Big Magma XC.
- Topaz: introduced in 2006, the roundest and smoothest helmet in Lazer's line, molded in the shell with moderate vents, a ring fit system, visor and CPSC certification.
- Max Deluxe: a well-vented toddler helmet with cute graphics, some reflective, and bug net in the vents. The Max Dolphin and Max Shark models have a fin on the top, a potential snag point that seems unnecessary in a helmet that already has a rigid visor molded in to snag on. US/Australian model. It retails for $30, or an extra $5 for the models with the fin.
- Factory Rider: a vented BMX or downhill helmet with full chinbar and carbon fiber shell. It has an unfortunate fin on the top adding style and a snag point to a helmet that already has a bolted on visor you can snag. They actually refer to the fin as a "stabilizer," perhaps because if it catches on something it will tend to stabilize your head in one place while your neck and body move on. Said to meet the ASTM F 1952 downhill mountain bike racing helmet, indicating a higher level of protection than the CPSC standard. Will be introduced in the US in 2007. Retail is $300.
- Excalibur: BMX full face model with a nicely rounded exterior and a fiberglass shell. Euro model. Available in white. Retails for $250.
- Voltage: downhill/BMX helmet replacing the X5 Boomerang, this time with an injection molded plastic shell instead of laminated fiberglass. That adds about 25 per cent to the weight. Meets the US DOT motorcycle helmet standard. Available in XXXS size fitting 49 cm heads. Retail is $275.
- One a classic skate helmet with EPS liner meeting the CPSC standard. Retail is $30, or $40 in chrome.
- Chrono 3: Lazer's version of the chrono shape has a short tail style. It is molded in the shell with unfortunate external strap anchors, three small vents and a ring fit system. It has both CEN and CPSC certification. Retails for $190.
- 969: new for 2007, Limar's top of the line is an elongated design with a two piece molded shell and a modest snag point. Retail is $150.
- 960: introduced in 2006, molded in the shell with a two piece shell, pronounced rear snag point and carbon fiber internal reinforcing. The strap anchors are fully recessed, as you would expect on a helmet retailing for $150. The road model without visor is the 959: molded in the shell with a modest rear snag point and external surface strap anchors. Has carbon internal reinforcing.
- 911: the top of Limar's line when introduced in 2004. It is molded in the shell with a full wrap-under shell. Although it has angular lines, it is reasonably well-rounded and the rear has small snag points. Many narrow longitudinal vents, some very small, give it a stylish look.
- 910: molded in the shell with a three piece shell and the pointiest rear snag point in Limar's line. Very large vents including a heart-shaped one in the front that leaves an unfortunate point there. The strap anchors are recessed into the grooves in the shell, and there are some bright colors including orange. The front vents are designed to work with the visor. Retail is $150. Without the visor it comes as the 909 and retails for $130.
- 908: molded in the shell with a two piece shell. Sloping front and rear give a somewhat angular wedge shape rather than curved top. Rear snag points. Some bright colors. Retail price is $110.
- 907: molded in the shell with a full wrap-under shell. The retail price is $100.
- 801: new to Limar in 2005, this commuter-style helmet is molded in the shell with a full two piece shell. It has rounder, smoother lines and is the shape we recommend. We praised this helmet in our 2005 review (when the same design also sold as the SixSixOne All Ride) as the best looking commuter design we had seen, and there is still nothing on the market that surpasses it. Has bug net. Pastel colors, none really visible. Ring-fit. It retails for $80.
- 747: molded in the shell with elongated vents and a cat ear effect from the two rear snag points. Retails for $80 with visor, or for $75 as the 737 without visor.
- Big One: looks like the 747 but is a little different in the back. Comes only in XXL size to fit heads from 59 to 63 cm.
- 720: molded in the shell including a lower shell. Long narrow vents in the front. Small but sharp rear snag point. Retail is $96.
- 550: fewer but very large front vents, molded in the shell with wrap under shell piece. Small rear snag point. Ring fit. This one retails for $75. With visor it is the 575, and retails for $50.
- 520: molded in the shell with angular lines and modest rear snag point. Ring fit. $45 retail. In youth size it is the 515.
- 315: Limar's least expensive adult helmet has rounded lines with a modest rear snag point, small vents, bug net and a ring fit system. Elongated shape. Retail is $30.
- 310: well-vented taped-shell model in sizes for youth and children. Has bug net in front vents. Pad fit.
- Junior Kid: vented child's helmet with a glued-on shell and a ring fit system. Retail is $30.
- Baby Kid: vented toddler helmet with a glued-on shell and a ring fit system for heads down to 45 cm. Retail is $30.
- Skate: classic skate helmet with small vents, ABS shell and a ring fit system.
- Cruiser BMX: classic BMX full face helmet with small vents, large visor bolted on and ABS shell. Very plain graphics, no bug net.
- Nutcase: another classic BMX full face helmet, with snappier graphics, small vents and a fiberglass shell. Has bug net.
- Chrono 05: Limar's aerodynamic pursuit and time trial helmet with CPSC certification. Molded in the shell with small vents in the rear and three unfortunate lumpy external strap anchors. Face shield optional. Ring fit. Limar says the short shape permits more efficient bike position and works better when the rider is out of aero position or standing. Retails for $200.
- Superchrono: Limar's CEN-only chrono with ring fit system and a taped on shell has two large front vents. Not for the US market.
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 is a Canadian designer and manufacturer with an extensive helmet line along with many other bicycle products. Some of their helmets are molded in the shell. 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 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.
- Titan Carbon: Louis Garneau's 2006 entry into the carbon fiber race was the Titan, with visible carbon-reinforced bridges to allow opening up longer vents. It also has an internal titanium ring. Molded in the shell, of course. The rear snag point is there, but considerably smaller than the Oz-zy that it replaced as top of the line. Unfortunately the strap fittings didn't hold as tightly as we would like in the sample we saw. Retail is $170.
- Exo-Nerve: a 2007 design with elongated shape, small raised ridges and pronounced rear snag points. Molded in the shell with a wrap-under shell. Retail is $129.
- Oz-zy: Former top of the Louis Garneau line, introduced in 2004. It is molded in the shell with large front vents, curlicue shaped top vents, a wrap under shell, nicely recessed strap anchors and a moderate rear snag point. It comes in visible white and the front label is reflective. A carrying bag is included. The price is reduced for 2007 to $110.
- Robota: molded in the shell with a distinctive compact shape with a high snag point in the rear. Shell wraps under to protect edges. Visor. Extra large fits up to 64 cm heads. Retail is $90. This is a step up from the helmet it replaced at this price point.
- Rev: the Rev has exposed foam without shell covering it, a Garneau feature from years back. The Rev's exposed foam is well recessed, but the shell is taped rather than molded in the shell. Its shape is a lot rounder and smoother than the upscale models, with almost no rear snag point at all. Retail is $50.
- Equinox: The value end of Louis Garneau's line is this molded in the shell 2006 design that is already beginning to look dated. It resembles the Fast/Azera (below) but without the full shell covering the foam in the rear. Plainer graphics, minimal rear snag point. Ring fit. Retail is $35. The women's version is the Diva at the same price, and there is a Pacifica version with no visor for $30. The youth version, with somewhat better graphics, is the Ruckus, with visor, for $35.
- Fast: a 2007 design, molded in the shell with a distinctive shape, nicely recessed strap anchors and a large rear snag point. Visor. Retails for $65. Without the visor it is the Azera for $5 less.
- Grunge-X: for the youth market aged 6 to 15, this one has some angular lines and a rear overhang, with a glued-on shell and a visor. Wild graphics, some very bright. Retails for $30.
- BabyBoomer-X: Toddler helmet for the 5 and under crowd, round and smooth, with a few vents and cute graphics, including the black and white Felix graphic that is styled after Louis' own Dalmatian, as well as Felix-the-fireman and several for the feminine side. The smallest model is size 6, for a 48 cm (18 7/8 inch) head. Retail is $30.
- Flow: Toddler helmet with a molded in visor extension and glued-on shell. Bug net in the front vents. Designed for kids 5 to 10. This one has a dial-fit rear stabilizer. The retail price is $30.
- Street: A hard shell skateboard-style helmet with small vents. Has CPSC bicycle helmet certification and ASTM F 2040 snowboard certification but is not dual certified to the ASTM skateboard standard. Retails for $35, or you can have the camo version for $45.
- Rocket: A 2005 chrono design from Louis Garneau, the maker of the first chrono time trial/pursuit helmet meeting the CPSC standard in 2002. This is Garneau's second generation, and there are improvements in the form of a longer, slicker shape with a full shell covering all the impact foam, a curved buckle that fits facial contours and can be manipulated with one hand, and four small vents in the front. Retail price is $180. The windscreen is available separately for $40.
- Chrono: Very similar to the original LG chrono model, in a classic teardrop shape. Has three small vents. Retail is $90.
- Windscreen: Not a helmet, but an accessory, this is a polycarbonate lens that wraps around a helmet--almost any helmet--and is held on by hook and loop. The edges are unprotected, and you could probably slice meat with them, even if it did not shatter in a crash. We would favor something with protected edges, like a pair of glasses or goggles. Not offered in the US market. Retail is $10.
Louis Garneau still has a free replacement guarantee for the first year.
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 is an Italian manufacturer whose helmet line we have not seen, but they have a fine Web site. 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 molded in the shell, 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 Web site, 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 molded in the shell. Met's helmets are all made in Italy. You can order replacement visors and replacement pads directly from them through their Web site. 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, 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 molded in the shell.
- MX Max: a 2007 design molded in the shell with very large vents and aluminum reinforcing. The rear turns up like a spoiler, designed to increase the flow of air. There is a snag point there, of course, and others in the form of front-facing points. Retail is $100.
- MX Pro Race: molded in the shell with a medium snag point, very large vents and a ring fit system. Vents are a little smaller than the Max, but still large. Retail is $90.
- MX Comp: molded in the shell with an elongated shape, two forward facing points and rising to a distinctive squared off rear shelf snag point. Ring fit system, available in visible white. $70 retail. With visor it is the Free MX for the same price.
- MX Sport: molded in the shell with reasonable vents and a moderate rear snag point. Also known as the MX Tribal for the mountain bike market. There is a visible red option. Both retail for $35.
- MX Urban: a commuter style helmet with very large vents and rounded lines, but not as round and smooth as some. Molded in the shell with a ring-fit system. No lower shell, leaving a lot of foam exposed in the rear. Translucent gray visor. Available in visible white. Retails for $40. With a black visor and different graphics it is the Street.
- MX Adventure: youth helmet with large vents, elongated shape, rounded rear profile. Retail is $35.
- MX Bib: toddler helmet with vents, molded in the shell as few toddler helmets are, nice bright colors and graphics. The extra small size fits 48 to 52 cm heads. Retail is $25.
- MX Treme: 2007 design, a classic skate style helmet with ABS hard shell and small vents. Camo option or black. Retail is $30.
See Alpha above.
Mien Yow Industry
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 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 Web site. Netti models for this year include:
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.
- Sonic Carbon: a new design with a carbon fiber bridge for strength. Elongated shape, rear snag points. Retail is AUS$106
- Cyclone: Molded in the shell with a two piece shell. AUS$100
- Pangea: Upper and Lower glued on micro shell. AUS$50
- Qantum Pro: Nicely rounded shape, two piece glued-on shell, comes in an extra large size rated to 64 cm heads. AUS$40
- Qantum: Nicely rounded shape, AS2063 certification, comes in small and medium only.
- Climax: Full face downhill racing or BMX helmet with vents, a composite carbon fiber shell and CPSC certification. AUS$380
- Instinct: Full face BMX-style helmet with a fiberglass shell and vents. AUS$150
- AXN: Full face for Down Hill & BMX, fiberglass shell with more vents than usual for this type of helmet. CPSC Certification. Retail is AUS$200 or AUS$230 for the model with graphics.
- Invader: full face BMX helmet with ABS hardshell. Available in visible white. Retail is AUS$66.
- Kaos: classic skate helmet with small vents (four in the rear) and ABS hard shell. Comes in visible white. Retail is AUS$46
- Blade 2: Hard ABS shell, classic skate shape, but certified to the CPSC and AS2063 bicycle helmet standards, not skateboard. AUS$45 Also in graphics model for AUS$50.
- Minimax 3: Toddler model with heart-shaped vents and full shell cover. Comes in extra small. No certification listed. AUS$40
- Pilot: Child/youth model with ring fit, bright graphics and AS2063 Certification. AUS$45.
Oath has a single classic skate helmet with ABS hard shell in white and pastel colors. It is a Vigor brand.
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:
- Aereo: the top of the Oktos line with a pronounced snag point in a unique rounded shelf selling for 56 Euros.
- V17: nicely rounded profile, may be molded in the shell, retailing for 56 Euros.
- V13 Trainer: a 2004 design with nicely rounded profile, glued-on tapeless shell and bug net retailing for 32 Euros.
- V16: reasonable vents, rounded lines, ring fit system, bug net, retailing for 25 Euros.
- Quick Fly: a vented child's helmet with molded in visor and glued, tapeless shell, that comes in yellow with a Dalmatian motif like Louis Garneau's Felix. Retail is 19 Euros.
- W10: nicely rounded profile, lower shell, bug net, retailing for 30 Euros.
See Schwinn below.
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 Web site, and we don't read Hebrew.
(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 Web site any more.
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 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 molded in the shell. At least four are listed as CPSC certified, so may be available in the US.
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.
- Cyphon: new for 2007, a very different skate helmet looking more like a bike helmet with extended rear coverage. Molded in the shell with ABS/PE shell and very large (for a skate helmet) oval vents. Has a visor. Retail is $90. This is a radical departure for Pro-Tec.
- Classic: round and smooth, with small round vents and good coverage, the classic Pro-Tec design but updated with the higher-performance multi-impact foam it always needed and now dual certified to meet both the CPSC bicycle helmet standard and ASTM F 1492 Skateboard requirements. Comes in visible white and yellow as well as the standard dark colors. Retails for $30. In its June 2006 issue Consumer Reports says that their test labs broke about half the buckles on their Classic samples. They don't recommend the Classic for that reason. In the past their lab has broken buckles without any reports from the field that there were failures in actual use. See this report and the links on the page if you are concerned.
- B-2: another round and smooth design, but this time with oval vents, a rad departure for the skate crowd. Dual certified . Comes in visible yellow and now in graphics as well as the standard dark colors. Retails for $40.
- Ace Freestyle Signature: An updated skateboard style helmet with larger oval vents and minor reshaping of the shell lines. It still has a round and smooth shape. For bicycle riding you must get the dual certified Ace Freestyle, not the outwardly similar Ace Skate, sold for skating in skate shops rather than bicycling and is not certified to the CPSC standard. Retail is $40. Add a big bolted-on visor to the Ace Freestyle and you have the Dig for $45. Add a chinbar and you get the AceSpade, retailing for $75.
- Shovel-Head: a BMX design with a full face chinbar, fiberglass shell and vents. It has a snap-in liner that you can wash separately. Retails for $120.
Prowell is a Taiwanese company producing a line of helmets in EPU foam. Most of their models are molded in the shell, 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.
(Not to be confused with Prime 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 Evil Carbon: a full face model for BMX and downhill racing. Hard shell, minimal vents, bolted on visor. Retails for $170.
- Pryme US: a full face model for BMX and downhill racing. Hard shell, vents, bolted on visor and a cool skull medallion on the chinbar. Retails for $90.
- Pryme Al: another full face model, with net-protected vents, fiberglass shell, bolted on visor. Retail is $90.
- Pryme 8: a classic skateboard style helmet. Has small vents and an EPS liner. Meets the CPSC standard. Retails for $30, or maybe a little less, with the chrome and "high fiber" finishes more expensive.
- Pryme Mortal: skate style helmet similar in shape to the Pryme 8 but with a skull logo replacing the vents in the front and only four small ones in the top. Retail is $25.
- Pryme Vario: a snow helmet also certified to the ASTM snow sports standard and the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. It has small vents Retail is $40.
Pryme has a useful sizing chart on their Web site. Their helmets are made in China.
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.
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 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.
Rage with Solo Sound System
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, or this CPSC link.
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 Web site, and they are now marketing a new motorcycle helmet.
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 a molded in the shell "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.
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 is an Italian brand with a line of molded in the shell 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 molded in the shell and a softer liner below. There are air channels between the layers. Their Web site mentions only European standards, but says their helmets meet the standard of any country where they are sold.
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 molded in the shell. 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.
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:
- Kontact: a 2006 design with pronounced rear snag point, big vents and good cam lock strap fittings that don't seem to slip. Ring fit. $124 retail.
- Ayron +: molded in the shell with a lower shell, elongated vents and a moderate snag point, ring fit, the good cam locks and another $110 price tag. CPSC certified.
- Skura: Molded in the shell with a lower shell, moderate snag point, ring fit, good cam locks on the strap fittings and a retail price of $90.
- Kaena: molded in the shell, moderate snag point, reflective patch on the rear, $65 retail.
- CT Pro: a 2007 design, molded in the shell with a two-piece shell and chromed parts including a chromed snag point in the rear in the form of a rear strap tensioner. The only chrome snag point we have ever seen on a bike helmet.
- Skylet: modest rear snag point with moderate vents, ring fit, $50 retail.
- Bayor: Rudy Project's roundest and smoothest model. May be on its way out, since the Web site says it is available only in plain red.
- Skyanto: A skate model retailing for $40.
- Korassa: full face BMX/downhill racing model with vented chinbar with mesh in the vents and a bolted on visor. $200 retail.
- Syton Supercomp: a 2005 chrono model with more vents than most, a face shield and a split tail. There are unique pieces on the sides that extend down to about the cheekbones, called "bionic wings." Medium length tail does not get all the way down to the shoulder. Comes with plugs for the front vents. CPSC certification. $200.
- Syton Open: the Supercomp without side pieces or face shield, retailing for $160.
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.
See Armor above.
SDS / San Diego Speed
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 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 molded in the shell, and the more expensive they are, the more snag points you get on the rear. The Italian Web site 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:
- Atlas: a molded in the shell design with a moderate rear snag point, and a two-piece shell with ridges and many vents. It has a dial fit system and external strap anchors but they are faired-in reasonably well. Retail is $40.
- Thrasher: small snag point in the rear and recessed strap anchors. It is not molded in the shell, but uses glue to attach the shell and boasts of "tapeless technology." Retail is $25.
- Rocket: taped on shell with faired-in strap anchors, moderate rear snag point, sells for about $25.
- Titan: another glued and "not-taped-on" design with moderate rear snag points that is included with other accessories in a package selling for about $25.
- Aeros: sharp ridges on the taped-on shell but a small snag point on the rear. Vents are small and taper down to very small by the time they get through the liner. Retail is $10.
- Intercept: a youth helmet. The Intercept was rated by Consumer Reports in their June, 2006 article as a Best Buy It was the only youth model with that distinction.
- Kids Toddler or Playschool: Taped shell with a small visor effect in the front. Also comes in a package with other accessories. Has vents and the appearance of an adult helmet. In a larger size it is the Kids Child model.
- Missing Link: a vented "multisport" design, but certified only to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. Well rounded, with some edges showing but no rear snag point. ABS hard shell. Retails for $20.
Serfas is a US-based company, known for grips, saddles and other accessories. Helmets have disappeared from their Web site in 2007.
- Formula TOUR: molded in the shell with two pronounced rear snag points, lower shell, elongated vents, recessed strap anchors and ring fit with dial. Retails for $150. With a "NOT removable" visor it becomes the MTB Formula. We don't know what "NOT removable" means, but visors should always separate easily when you snag in a fall.
- Matrix: molded in the shell with a large rear snag point, four piece full shell, angular lines with ridges, brow vent reminiscent of the Specialized Cobra models, lots of vents and a click-slide tab rear stabilizer. Comes in regular colors or team designs. Some have bug net in the vents. All have reflective spots on the rear stabilizer, a good location for those who ride in the bent-over position. Retails for $130.
- Ego: top of the line in 2005 at $169 retail, with three pronounced rear snag points, lots of vents, external strap anchors and a ring fit with dial. Said to fit rounder heads well.
- Atom: molded in the shell with a pronounced rear snag point, curvy elongated vents and four unique round vents at the brow that tunnel horizontally back through the foam. Recessed strap anchors, ring fit with dial, retailing for $150. Said to fit rounder heads well. Includes US and British flag graphics. The Atom Millennium model is made of blue foam.
- Alien: Really pronounced rear snag point, lots of vents, recessed strap anchors, click-slide tab rear stabilizer, retails for $110.
- Storm: Selev's entry level molded in the shell model, more rounded than most of the Selev line with a very modest rear snag point and very long grooves going over the top.
- Felix: a less expensive rendering of the Formula Tour design, molded in the shell with external strap anchors. Retails for $100.
- Chrono: a unique chrono with an all-carbon fiber shell that follows the external line of the Alien road model, but has a full lower cover that comes all the way down to the neck. Meets the EN1078 standard.
- Tuo: Toddler/Child helmet with vents.
- Amico: Child/youth helmet with the lines of an adult helmet, vents and a taped on shell.
- Roby: Toddler helmet with large square vents and a taped on shell.
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 (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 molded in the shell 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:
- BK51 Urban: this is Shain's round smooth commuter helmet. The external strap anchors are partly recessed, and the vents are very unusual crescent shapes. It has a light or light mount on the rear. Standard EPS foam, no inner shell, removable visor. We don't have the retail price. This one is worth a look.
- BK1000: the top of Shain's line is molded in the shell using their new multi-impact foam, with huge vents, a moderate rear snag point and nice internal strap anchors. The fit foam is layered for wicking and snaps in and out for washing. Retail price is $218.
- BK 100: formerly the top of Shain's road line, a molded in the shell model, with plenty of vents and plenty of snag points both in the rear and projecting up and forward from the front surface. We are surprised that the front projection meets the CPSC limit on surface projections. Updated in 2005 with their new foam. The shell wraps under and there is an inner shell for full coverage. The strap anchors stick up entirely above the shell, adding another potential snag point that we would not normally expect to see with a retail price as high as $157. US model.
- BK 90: another high-end molded in the shell design with a pointy rear snag point and external strap anchors. It got the new foam in 2005, and has the inner shell as well. It has metal bug screen in the vents. One version has a visor. Retail is $159. US model.
- BK 81 and BK 82: a much better-rounded helmet, this one has only one objectionable bump on top that is done for pure style. Molded in the shell in both a full inner shell version for $116 and a single shell for $55. There is also a "mountain bike" version with visor.
- BK 80: we have not seen this one, but it is listed as a US model.
- BK 71: the exterior of this one has lots of ridges and a small rear snag point. Retail is $115. It comes in a very pretty Lady version and another less expensive version selling for $80. US model.
- BK 40: rounded exterior except for a modest rear snag point and a molded in visor lip. Molded in the shell. Retails for $55. US model.
- BK500: Shain's chrono time trial model is actually an EPS foam helmet liner with an additional fairing added on the exterior and a clear face shield. There are three small front vents, five in all. It retails for $197. Certified to the CPSC standard.
- BK11: Toddler helmet with vents. Taped on shell. Retail is $34 with graphics, or $26 in solid colors. US model.
- RK540: new for 2005, an adaptation of a ski helmet. Very round and smooth except for the external strap anchors and strange studs with elastic cord for mounting front and rear lamps. Normal EPS foam. Extended coverage, minimal vents. Might be a winter helmet. Retail is $133. Colors include a nice visible yellow and a white.
Shain will replace a damaged helmet "at a substantially reduced cost to the original owner."
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 Hezhen Bicycle Inc.
Although we have not seen their 2007 line, this Taiwanese manufacturer makes both EPS and EPU helmets. Their EPU helmets are molded in the shell, 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.
Shenzhen Qukang Industry Development
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 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.
- Hurricane Flight: a full-blown motorcycle helmet meeting the tough Snell M2000 standard. Full-face, and the Snell standard requires that the chinbar be padded for impact attenuation. There are small vents in the chinbar and the rear. The otherwise round and smooth shell has an unfortunate little tailpiece sticking up in the back for style, and we are surprised that Snell permits that kind of projection. The visor is bolted on with "oversize" bolts, making a bad feature potentially worse. The shell materials include Kevlar, carbon fiber and fiberglass. Retail is $300. The catalog contains the curious statement "EPS foam liner conforms to your shape for a perfect fit." We suspect they meant the fitting foam, not the EPS liner. EPS normally conforms to your shape only when you hit something and the hard foam crushes. For 2007 there is a highly visible orange available.
- Hurricane Flight Youth: a completely different design not related to the adult version, with DOT motorcycle standard certification rather than Snell. Round and smooth with no bumps. Bolted on visor, of course.
- Charger: a 2007 BMX full face design with polycarbonate shell and a big rear fin sticking up to spoil the profile. Has a groove that holds your goggles. Retail is $150.
- Launch: a lighter weight motorcycle-style helmet with a polycarbonate shell meeting only the DOT standard instead of Snell. It is round and smooth without bumps or fins. Available in youth size as well as adult. Retail is $120.
- Strike: A 2006 BMX model with a mostly smooth polycarbonate shell and small vents. Retails for $110.
- Full Comp: downhill model is vented, with a smooth, round polycarbonate shell and bolted on visor, retailing for $80
- Pro Bravo: downhill model is vented, with a fiberglass shell and bolted on visor, rear lump sticking up to spoil the profile, retailing for $140.
- Pro Bravo Carbon: a full-face BMX model with vents, with visible carbon fiber in the shell and a lump in the rear, retailing for $200.
- Dirt Lid: skate helmet is the classic round, smooth design with round vents and ABS hard shell, retailing for $20. It meets only the CPSC and ASTM bicycle helmet standards, not skateboard.
- Mullet: another skate model with slightly updated lines and larger vents at $30. Certified only to the CPSC and ASTM bicycle helmet standards, not to a skateboard standard.
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 molded in the shell. 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 Web site under spare parts.
- Aurora: an elongated design similar to the Decibel below but with slightly smaller vents and no carbon struts, but still has the Specialized brow vent and no external strap anchors. Ring fit. Retail is $100. The Aurora was rated by Consumer Reports in their June, 2006 article as one of only four helmets they tested with superior impact performance, so if you like Specialized, look at this one first.
- Instinct: introduced in 2006, molded in the shell with a two-piece shell. Pitched as a mountain bike helmet. Like Giro's Xen model, it has the rounder profile we recommend and appeared to us at first to have more coverage than it actually does. The shell has raised ridges, and is not as smooth as a commuter helmet. Recessed strap anchors, but the U-Turn strap adjustment pieces did not hold well on the sample we saw. Ring fit. Matte finishes with matching color visors. Retail is $100.
- Decibel Carbon: this one has carbon reinforcing struts visible, the standard pointy rear snag points and huge vents. Has the trademark Specialized brow vent. Has the straps attached directly to the interior nylon reinforcing, eliminating external strap anchors, as well as the "U Turn" strap junction piece. Ring fit. Bicycling magazine rated its cooling below that of the old Specialized S1 and the Giro Atmos in the January/February 2005 issue. Available in a nice bright yellow as well as white. Retails for $170
- Air-8: somewhat better rounded than most Specialized models with minimal rear snag points that look like little cat ears. Molded in the shell, ring fit. There is room in the rear stabilizer for your pony tail. Specialized calls this their "casual" model. Retail is $60.
- Chamonix: another road/mountain model. It has more rounded lines, with some shelf effect in the rear but a minimal snag point. Molded in the shell. Ring fit. Retails for $45.
- AirForce 3: Specialized's lowest-cost molded in the shell design retails for $35. It has a compact profile and ring fit system with two sizes, visor and eleven colors, including three for women. Also available as the Air Force Youth.
- Small Fry: a classic round, smooth toddler and child size helmet, but molded in the shell as few are, and with some vents. Ring fit, bug net in vents. Retail is $35.
- Deviant and Deviant Carbon: full-face downhill racing helmet with decent vents, chinbar vents and a visor bolted on with plastic bolts that hopefully will break when you snag it on something. There is bug net in the vents. Specialized advertises the carbon model as the lightest full-face helmet you can buy. Certified to CPSC and Snell's tougher B-95 standard. They have also now certified the Deviant and Deviant Carbon to the ASTM downhill mountain biking standard, F 1952, exceeding some parts of the CPSC standard. Look for the sticker inside to be sure. That makes this one worth a look. Retail is $130 for the fiberglass shell version and $350 for the carbon fiber shell version.
- Skillet: a 2006 hard shell skate-style helmet for bicycling with a hard shell and small distinctive slits for vents. CPSC certified, but not certified to the ASTM F 1492 skateboard standard. Retails for $50, the upper range for a skate-style helmet. We recommend looking for one that is dual certified instead.
- Chrono: The Specialized chrono model does not appear anywhere we can find in retail or catalog literature, except for a catalog photo of the Cofidis team wearing them. Press reports indicate that it has larger vents than other TT helmets. The tail is open underneath and the fit system is based on the Specialized Decibel road model. Rumor has it that it is available from some dealers in Europe, and that they are saying it meets the CEN standard.
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 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:
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 no longer offer helmets. We are not seeing the Sportscope helmet around any more in the US market, although their old Web site is still up, and you may find some old stock discounted somewhere.
- Nexion: molded in the shell with large front vents, a full shell on the lower portion, and pointy rear snag points. US model meeting the CPSC standard. Worn in competition by teams supplied by Spiuk, comes in team colors or world champion stripes. Retail is $140.
- Zirion: 2007 model, molded in the shell with a very large snag point on the rear. Ring fit, visor. $80 retail, including the team graphics model.
- Child helmet - Casco de niņo: a toddler helmet with vents and nice graphics. Meets only the CEN European standard, so will not be sold in the US.
- Kronos: a time trial teardrop shape with two small front vents and a rear vent through the tail. Ring fit. Meets the US CPSC bicycle helmet standard. Appears to be a fairing that was put over a normal EPS foam liner. Retail is $230.
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 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 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.
(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 Web site 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 Web site 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, 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.
- F-14: a well vented molded in the shell bicycle-style helmet with extended skate-style coverage in the back and sides. The shell is round and smooth, and the vents extend down the back. Comes with extra padding to adjust the sizing. Should appeal to those who want more coverage for bike riding. Retail price is about $80.
This photo is a prototype, and we are waiting to see the final product before saying more, but this helmet seems to have real promise. Due in February of 2007, only a year after it was originally promised to dealers, with a $10 price increase in the interim.
- B1: very similar in profile to the F-14 above, but it is a skate model with an ABS shell and smaller vents. Due on April 1st, and we hope that is not a significant coincidence. Retail will be $40.
- One: full face downhill racing model. The fiberglass shell version retails for $250 and the carbon fiber shell model is $350. Has a "dual EPS liner," but we are not sure what advantage that would have and don't have any test lab data on its performance.
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 molded in the shell. 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:
Tung Kuang / Tong Ho Hsing (THH or TKLI)
STKI also produces helmets for other uses, including military, baseball, motorcycle, equestrian, football and snow sports.
- T-91: replacing an older T-91, this 2006 model is a newer style bicycle helmet, molded in the shell with EPS foam, with a reduced rear snag point and external strap anchors. Some bright colors. Retail is $35.
- T-38: a nicely rounded design with moderate vents and visor. Bright graphics. Snell B-95 certified. Taped on shell, visor. Retail should be about $16.
- T-37: a generally rounded but somewhat elongated design with moderate vents. Dark colors and red. Snell B-95 certified. Taped on shell. Retail should be about $16.
- T-36: a nicely rounded design with smaller vents and visor. Has three vents in front, three in the top and only one in the rear. Available in a bright yellow. Taped shell, visor. Snell B-95 certified. Retail should be about $12.
- T-35: a nicely rounded design with fewer vents.
Some bright colors available. Snell B-95 certified. Taped on shell. Retail should be about $12.
- T-29 : toddler helmet with small vents, very round and smooth. Available in orange. Taped on shell. Snell B-95 certified. Should retail for about $10.
- T-22: smaller vents, updated graphics. EPU foam (heavier than EPS, has a solid feel and very uniform cell structure), visor, dial fit system. Elongated shape but without a sharp rear snag point. Molded in the shell as most EPU helmets are. Retail about $13.
- T-21: Smaller vents, EPU foam, some bright graphics, visor. Molded in the shell. Retail should be about $12.
- T-40: Downhill racing helmet with chinbar and an ABS shell. Some bright colors, including all white. Bolted on visor.
- T-39: Downhill racing helmet with chinbar. ABS shell, bolted on visor, vents. Retail is around $65.
- AP-866: motorcycle-style BMX/downhill helmet with full chinbar and polycarbonate shell. A nice visible orange is an option. No vents. Certified to the DOT motorcycle helmet standard.
- AP-87: motorcycle-style BMX/downhill helmet with full chinbar and polycarbonate shell. No vents. Snell certified.
- AP-89: motorcycle-style BMX/downhill helmet with full chinbar and carbon fiber-kevlar shell. No front vents. Snell certified.
- TA-78: classic ABS hard shell skate helmet with standard dark colors plus white, pink and flame graphics. Has a little sculpted line and two unexplained snaps in front, probably for a visor. No vents, so it looks more like a ski helmet than a skate helmet. We don't know what standards it may meet, so it may not be certified for bike riding or skateboarding. Comes in an extra small size.
- TA-77: classic skate helmet with standard dark colors plus some impressive gold, silver and stars-and-stripes colors rarely seen in skate style helmets. Smooth, round ABS hard shell with small vents. We don't know what standards it may meet, so it may not be certified for bike riding or skateboarding.
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 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 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 molded in the shell 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 this CPSC press release for details. Other Anthems were not recalled. For 2007 they have:
- Sonic Elite: molded in the shell design with a lower shell and a pronounced rear snag point. Ring fit system with three shell sizes. Available in visible white and two women's colors. Retail is $80 to $100.
- Interval 2: molded in the shell with a minimal rear snag point and recessed strap anchors. Available in visible white and in two women's pastel colors. Retail is $60.
- Vapor 3 Sport: molded in the shell with the roundest, smoothest profile in Trek's current lineup, leaving only a minimal rear shelf. Reflective panel and a visor. Available with labels: Police, Sheriff, EMT and Fire. Available in visible white and women's pastel colors. Also comes as a Vapor Youth. Retail is $40.
- Little Dipper 2: Infant-toddler model with a taped-on shell, vents, graphics, a soft rubber visor, an anti-pinch chin pad
Trek has a one year free replacement policy for crashed helmets.
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 Web site, 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 appears to be primarily a skate and ski helmet company. We have not seen their helmets, but their Web site 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 Web site 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 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.
- '07 D2 Carbon: a classic BMX/motorcycle model with a shell made of 60% carbon fiber, 20% aramid and 20% fiberglass. Has titanium visor screws to hold on that big visor. The carbon has exposed carbon fiber mesh in a sunken rear section they term "cosmetic," a style quirk but probably not a serious snag hazard. Four small vents. Meets the ASTM F 1952 downhill racing helmet standard and the ASTM BMX cycling standard, easily exceeding the CPSC standard. Strong and durable D-ring buckle. Retail is $375.
- '07 D2 Composite: another classic BMX/motorcycle model, this time with a shell made of 50% fiberglass, 20% aramid and 30% carbon replacing the Kevlar in previous models. Four small vents. Meets the ASTM F 1952 downhill racing helmet standard and the ASTM BMX cycling standard, easily exceeding the CPSC standard. Comes in somewhat more visible gold. Strong and durable D-ring buckle. Retail is $295.
The D2 fits heads from 53 to 62 cm (21 to 24.5 inches).
- '07 D2 Open Face: recently added to the Troy Lee line and described as a "retro-style open face" this model has no chinbar, but otherwise is the classic BMX/motorcycle style, with the ever-present big visor. The shell material is not specified, but probably fiberglass. Small vents. Meets the ASTM F 1952 downhill racing helmet standard and the ASTM BMX cycling standard (neither standard requires a chinbar), easily exceeding the CPSC standard. Comes in visible white. Retail is $225.
Troy Lee will replace helmet liners after a crash if the shell is not damaged.
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.
- Evolution Superlight: new for 2007 and advertised as available in March or April. Has the classic skate shape and few vents, but with a thin shell instead of ABS. Molded in the shell with an inward curve in the lower shell achieved with a special molding system and four piece shell. Comes in visible white as well as dark colors. Advertised as a skate/bike helmet, but meets only the CPSC bicycle standard, not the ASTM skateboard standard, so this one is for bicycling or inline skating. Retail will be $80.
- Evolution: a 2006 model with small rectangular vents and ABS hard shell, available in many colors and graphic schemes. There is a "rubber finish" model that we would avoid as a novelty that may not slide as well on pavement as the regular ABS shells do. Retail is $50 or $55 for graphic models.
- Skate/BMX: a classic ABS hard shell skate design with one less vent than the Evolution. Colors include visible white. Retail is $40. This one is available in a matched set that includes a helmet and protective pads for skate park rental programs. To deter theft, the helmet and pads are the same unusual "rental blue." The helmet has "Rental" woven into the strap and on a prominent decal in the back. The pads have "rental" on them as well, and are supplied in a "super durable/washable" material. We do not understand why this idea has not been developed by a bicycle helmet manufacturer, preferably with an easy-to-clean interior to prevent passing lice to the next wearer. It is possible that renters don't want a helmet that says "Rental" on it, or possible that some would steal it for the same reason as a cool souvenir.
- Stealth: a classic BMX/motorcycle style helmet with chinbar and a big visor. Fiberglass hard shell with vents. Certified to the Snell B-95 bicycle helmet standard, exceeding the CPSC standard. Retail price is $150.
- District: a classic BMX/motorcycle style helmet with chinbar and a big visor. ABS hard shell, no vents. Certified to the DOT motorcycle helmet standard, exceeding the CPSC standard. Retail is $200.
TSG has a free crash replacement policy.
See THH above.
Tung I Hsing
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 is best known in the US for its optical products. Their helmets are designed and mostly made in Germany, and all of them are molded in the shell 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:
- Sport Boss: introduced in 2006, a dual shell model in only two colors and one shell size. Retails for $80, or $100 for the team colors Sport Boss Race version with sunglasses included.
- Wing RS: full wrap under shell, many vents and two rear snag points. Retail is $140.
- Supersonic RS: a more rounded design with much larger vents. Retails for $100. Bicycling magazine picked it as the best value of the three helmets they reported on in their January/February 2005 issue. In 2006 Uvex added the Supersonic GT, with a special matte finish for $10 more. Molded in the shell, has bug net in the front vents.
- XP 100: (formerly the Bladenight GT) large vents and squared-off rear treatment with a blunt snag point, but skate-style coverage. Molded in the shell. Visor. Retail is $90.
- Magnum: new for 2007, reasonably rounded compact profile model with extra coverage in the back and on the sides. Molded in the shell with large vents and a visor. Retail is $70.
- Hawk: introduced in 2006, the Hawk model is a $30 taped on shell helmet with a nicely rounded profile. It has reasonable vents, a visor, bug net, and all of the best Uvex features except the lower shell. It meets the CPSC standard in addition to the European and German standards.
- Touring: (formerly the Cobra RS) reasonably well rounded, with a single shell that does not wrap under, selling for $50.
- Helix: a child helmet with a reasonably rounded profile, no snag point, visor and one bright color combination. Molded in the shell. Small pony tail port. Fits sizes 52 to 57 cm. Retail is $60.
- Uvision: a 2007 child helmet with fairly large vents that Uvex says do not let any direct sunlight through to the head. If that is true, there would be a market for an adult version for bald riders. Fits 53 to 57 cm heads.
- Cartoon: a toddler helmet, and one of the few that is molded in the shell. Large vents. Reflective sticker. Fits 49 to 55 cm. heads and retails for $40.
- Downhill: molded in the shell, with chinbar and flame graphics, $150 retail. European model.
- Factory Pilot 2: a time trail chrono model that meets only European standards. It hums when it is off-center to alert the rider to less-than-ideal aero performance. Uvex reps say it would retail for $500 but is not available through retail channels. Look for it on the T-Mobile team.
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 Web site 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 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 molded in the shell. 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 woodgrain finish.
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 molded in the shell 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 THE B-1 as well. Vigor made many changes in their line last year, but fewer for 2007.
- Quicksilver: a 2006 design with modest rear snag points, molded in the shell with a lower shell piece and Vigor's locking strap fittings that actually lock. Ring fit. Retail is $70, high for the Vigor line.
- Atomic: a 2006 model, molded in the shell with a second lower shell piece and a pronounced rear snag point. Retail is $50.
- Fast Traxx: another 2006 model, molded in the shell with nicely recessed strap anchors and a modest rear snag point. Ring fit, visor. Visible white option. Retails for $40.
- X3: a very interesting EPU design, with skate helmet-style coverage. Has a rounded shape with some ripples but no rear snag point and elongated vents retailing for $25. No visor.
- NOX: once Vigor's top of the line, made of EPU foam and molded in the shell. Has an upper and lower shell and a minimal protruding rear shelf. The ribs are reasonably rounded. Has external strap anchors, but they are tucked in among the ribs. Retails for $30.
- Jr. Nox / Avenger has four fewer vents than the NOX and an elongated front visor molded in, but the same rear treatment for $25. The Jr. comes in XXS, but with its elongated rear it would not be suitable for a child in a trailer or high-backed child seat unless you put a thick pad behind the child's back to prevent the helmet tail from pushing the child's head forward and down.
- Sequel: introduced in 2001, this is another EPU model, also molded in the shell, with upper and lower shell. It resembles the NOX, but has fewer vents. It has in a very bright yellow option and retails for $25. No visor. This one comes in size XXL to fit heads up to 64 cm.
- L'il Tyke: a toddler helmet with a very nicely rounded profile, vents, a pinch proof buckle tab, 3M reflective tape and an adjustable sizing ring. Comes only in xxs for 50 to 52 cm heads and retails for $20.
- The One: a 2007 downhill racing/BMX model with carbon shell for $350 or in fiberglass for $250. Has soft rubberized paint that we would steer clear of for sliding resistance questions.
- Vamoose II: A downhill racing design with a shell made with "Kevlar, Spectra and F.R.P." It has small vents and a Troy Lee-style lump in the center rear, spoiling the rounded profile. Retail is $120.
- V-10: full face BMX model with ABS shell and bolted-on visor. Retails for $80.
- X5: a downhill/BMX model with a fiberglass shell with vents and a bolted on visor. Certified to the Snell N-94 multipurpose standard. Retail is $120.
- Ten-Eighty (1080): A skate helmet design with the classic smooth, round exterior, round vents, polyethylene shell and an EPS liner. It is listed as a bike, snow or skate helmet, but certified only to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard. Has a nice bright yellow option and a white option. The strap adjustors are simple buckles that do not lock and move readily, so they will not hold adjustment well. It retails for $25 to $32 depending on the graphics.
- Royal: Skate-style helmet with oval vents and cheap buckle strap adjustors that slip easily, retailing for $25 to $30. Has a visible white option and a chrome model. Comes in X-Large fitting really big heads.
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 dessicant 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 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."
See Kent International.
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 Web site 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 helmets appear in the US under the Michelin brand.
See Golex above.
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 molded in the shell, 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).
See Star Helmets above.
Zhuhai Star Safety
This article is frequently updated during the model year.
Index to Manufacturers
This page was last revised on: November 23, 2009.