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helmet ratings - no question really

helmet ratings - no question really

helmet ratings - no question really

It used to be that Snell rated helmets were "the best" and got "better" with every upgrade. The DOT rating advanced/toughened up periodically too, so that at one point the "new" DOT might not be too far off an older Snell rating.

A few years back I read that some European agencies felt Snell's max g rating might be a little too high.
Now there's a whole new standard ECE R22-05.

This discussion and the links it contains seem to support the low g conversation, and that the newest Snell may be somewhat gentler.

To compete in some of the various events I'm interested in I will be required to have a Snell helmet.
"Drivers and passengers must wear an M or SA Snell approved safety helmet at all times while on the course. At least
M2005 or SA2005 approval is required. "

SCCA allows a bunch of Snell helmets, and SFI (?) and some British rated ones

NHRA only allows Snell and SFI.

AMA allows some DOT ratings

RE: helmet ratings - no question really

If you're in a car, what you want is a full-face SA2010 helmet, probably with a large eyeport if you're not accustomed to wearing a helmet. SA is rated for multiple impact plus a modicum of fire resistance.

M helmets are not fire resistant (actually they burn quite nicely, this being best watched from the outside) and are tested for one impact (on a bike, your head won't be a pinball in a forest of pillars and roll cage tubes). They'll pass muster at most autocrosses but not at a many "big track" events.

I recently upgraded from an open face M for autocross to a SA2010 Simpson for a track outing at NJMP earlier this year.


RE: helmet ratings - no question really

I started looking when a young friend was (finally) able to talk his girl friend into giving him permission to buy a helmet and participate in trail riding dirt bikes with us.

90% of the time I prefer my Polaris/ktp DOT and Snell (curously, the rating year is not clearly specified) frp off road helmet to my Shoei Snell full coverage street helmet when riding my street bike due to much better ventilation, better peripheral vision, and a visor quite useful again riding into the sun.

I'm thinking he and his '76 Corvette will want to attend some track days by the local BMW and Corvette clubs, so it would be best if his helmet purchase would serve there too.

In the New York Times article ref'd in the silodrome link there is a comment about multiple impacts. "James A. Newman, a former director of the Snell Memorial Foundation, considers the Snell tests obsolete. “If you want to create a realistic helmet standard, you don’t go bashing helmets onto hemispherical steel balls. And you certainly don’t do it twice,” he said."
Mr Newman's comments probably date back to 2006 or before.

There's a lot for me to learn about the details and meanings of the various tests reported, but I'm guessing the sacrificial foam liner can only be 100% effective in one direction for one big hit. But in my mind multiple impacts to test basic helmet shell integrity makes sense. But the type of shell damage that exists after the first hit needs to be defined. If the egg shell breaks there is no protection anywhere for hit #2. I seem to recall that brittle, splitting failure was mentioned (perhaps info leaked by the FRP helmet manufacturers?) a few decades ago as a "problem" with polycarbonate helmets, especially if painted with the wrong stuff. At that time it was true no polycarb helmets were Snell approved, but I have no info why. Even if the shell damage is localized crushing at a point of contact it would seem like another direct hit would have little difficulty advancing deep into the styro liner.

RE: helmet ratings - no question really

The various sanctioning bodies for motorsports have differing requirements as far as helmet certification. The only sure thing is that if you want to run in one of their events, your helmet must have the appropriate required Snell, SFI or whatever sticker on it. This is regardless of if your helmet actually performs better than one of the approved ones. The DOT approval is pretty minimal and I would not trust my head in any of those.

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