Do helmets expire?

shark helmets
Helmet shown is the Shark Race-R Pro S.Guintoli used by the editor of Bikes Republic, it is made of carbon, aramid and special resin and weighs just 1310 grams.

Some say that helmets have an expiry date. Some even say that helmets should be replaced after a year of use no matter the condition or quality.

There are also others who say that a helmet’s condition depends on how you store it i.e., in a non-humid location in dry weather.

So what are the facts really? We asked Ron Tan, distributor of Shark Helmets in Malaysia who forwarded our questions to Francois Berni, who is the Export Manager of Shark Helmets for Oceania, South Africa, South America, Asia and the Middle East.

Our questions were simple:

Is there an expiry date for helmets?
When do you recommend to change helmets?

And, some say that once you drop your helmet you should replace it though there is no visible damage, what do you have to say?

The following is Francois’s response:

For the first two questions, he said, “There is no expiry date on a helmet. The EPS and outer shell, if stocked in a convenient environment (not under direct sunlight, “normal” temperatures, etc) may not fade. But the inner padding shall fade and the visor may suffer from impacts (insects, gravels, etc).

Shark recommends to change its helmets every 5 years because even if the inner structure of the helmet is not affected, changing an inner padding and a visor or some accessories like vents is expensive. The technology and safety being in constant evolution, a new helmet will be a bit more expensive than changing all accessories, but the helmet will be new and may feature innovations VS the old model.

For the final question, his answer was straightforward, “Yes indeed. The helmet is composed of one outer shell and one EPS (“Expanded Polystyrene”) inside. A helmet being dropped may not show any sign of weakness outside, but the EPS may have suffered inside. In case of crash, the integrity of the EPS being affected due to this drop, it will not react the way it is supposed to be, and the consequences may be dramatic.”

“If unchanged, Shark recommends its distributors and partners to send the helmets back to Shark headquarters for a complete inspection. Shark after sales shall carefully inspect the helmet and confirm if valid (okay to use), or not anymore. But the cost of a shipment from Malaysia to France and France back to Malaysia is expensive. So we would definitely recommend the rider to change for a new helmet that will be 100% safe in case of crash. This is the main goal.”

So there you have it, treat your helmet with extreme care as it is the only thing protecting your knocker. Dropping a helmet is not acceptable either so be extra vigilant.

Five time World Champion Jorge Lorenzo also uses a Shark Helmet, click here to find out which one. 

And click here to find out why Lorenzo’s switch to Shark Helmets is such a big deal for everyone.

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