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Discussion Starter #1
I've got Simpson helmet for track days that I love...bought another for karting (though I sometimes wear my track one). I had an AGV when I rode in college on the FZ.

How are bike and car helmets built differently? and I understand there are different crash ratings, etc. It seems car helmets are more expensive when I thought it would be the opposite since hitting your head on the ground seems worse than inside your car...and then when I think about it, perhaps a rollbar is far more dangerous than the ground???

My Ruckus is going to start getting built, just looking for a nice bike helmet...
 

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It was explained to me many years ago that the biggest difference is that bike helmets are designed to take one significant hit on one spot (the second impact is likely to be on a different spot) but if you are in a rolling car your head is probably moving in a fixed arc hitting the same spot each time (probably part of the roll bar) and as such they need to withstand multiple impacts to the same spot.
There are other point such as they are designed with the possibility of being in a fire (the lining is fire retardant, the vents are covered with brass mesh (which stops flames), etc).

The cost issue though is simply volume - lots less people race cars than ride bikes.
 

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I don't motorcycle helmets have Nomex inside, thus they are not fire resistant.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys for the info...guess I'm really asking, am I less safe wearing a car helmet while on the road on a bike? I'd rather get another car helmet if it is safe -
 

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Sounds like the helmet question has been answered - I'd like to hear about this Ruckus build :).
 

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Aside from the nomex lining found in auto helmets, another difference is the wider viewing angle of motorcycle helmets. They allow more peripheral vision, necessary in everyday traffic situations.

Tom
 

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Aside from the nomex lining found in auto helmets, another difference is the wider viewing angle of motorcycle helmets. They allow more peripheral vision, necessary in everyday traffic situations.

Tom
Well, they have a larger minimum viewing angle established.

Some SA rated helmets are sold with optional larger openings too. So it's not like you can't get a wide viewing angle in an SA helmet.

xtn
 

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Thanks guys for the info...guess I'm really asking, am I less safe wearing a car helmet while on the road on a bike? I'd rather get another car helmet if it is safe -
As Tom and xtn mention there is a viewing port issue of a car helmet on a bike - but the bigger issue (here in Australia anyway) is that car helmets are not certified for bike use. So despite being as good or better unless your helmet is certified for its intended use you run a legal risk but probably not a safety risk (stupid - I agree :)). Is this a big issue for you :shrug: - perhaps not - but it is best to be informed :)
 

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...when i visited the simpson factory, the particular helmet model i wanted was available with either an SA or M rating, yet it was literally the same helmet either way - they fitted me with an unstickered helmet off the factory line, then based upon which model i wanted, carried it back and affixed it with the appropriate sticker...

...now i'm sure that's not the case with every helmet - the SMF website notes that SA helmets require an additional flammability test, M helmets require a wider field of view, and SA and K helmets require an additional multi-impact test - but it's entirely possible for a single helmet to meet all three standards, with the sticker differences only being due to licensing...regardless, all SA helmets will meet K standards, some SA and K helmets will meet M standards, and some M helmets will meet K standards, but few M and K helmets will meet SA standards...
 

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It was explained to me many years ago that the biggest difference is that bike helmets are designed to take one significant hit on one spot
<...>
The cost issue though is simply volume - lots less people race cars than ride bikes.
Nope - Snell rated SA and M helmets (Special Applications, aka Car, and Motorcycle) have to meet the same series of tests consisting of sustanining repeated impacts from a flat plate, a cylinder, a sphere, and a cone (point).

The SA helmet has to withstand an additional impact test simulating a Roll Bar (which shounds like another version of the cylinder impact).

The SA helmet has to meet a minimum flamability test (fireproof).

The M helmet has to meet a requirement for a larger "viewport".

Note that a helmet can meet both standards. A M helmet can have a fireproof liner, it can meet the "Roll Bar" test. An SA helmet can have a large viewport that exceeds the requirement for a M helmet.

And you are correct, the tests are very expensive and are spread over the number of helmets that are sold. Since many more M helmets are sold, they tend to be cheaper, and testing for both standards will increase the costs, and not really sell more helmets, so they tend to be certified to only one standard, even though they can often meet both standards.

Thanks guys for the info...guess I'm really asking, am I less safe wearing a car helmet while on the road on a bike? I'd rather get another car helmet if it is safe -
It all depends on the helmet. A SA helmet is not really safer than an M helmet, and as noted before, the SA helmet COLUD have a smaller viewport limiting you view that is necessary to see when driving a bike.

Aside from the nomex lining found in auto helmets, another difference is the wider viewing angle of motorcycle helmets. They allow more peripheral vision, necessary in everyday traffic situations.
Yep. That's probably the two biggest differences (keep in mind that a M helmet could have the fireproof lining, and the SA helmet could have a big viewport. :shrug:

As Tom and xtn mention there is a viewing port issue of a car helmet on a bike - but the bigger issue (here in Australia anyway) is that car helmets are not certified for bike use. So despite being as good or better unless your helmet is certified for its intended use you run a legal risk but probably not a safety risk (stupid - I agree :)). Is this a big issue for you :shrug: - perhaps not - but it is best to be informed :)
Probably not an issue in the US - usually states only require that a helmet meet DOT standards, not Snell, and you could probably meet DOT standards with a construction site hardhat. :rolleyes:

...when i visited the simpson factory, the particular helmet model i wanted was available with either an SA or M rating, yet it was literally the same helmet either way - they fitted me with an unstickered helmet off the factory line, then based upon which model i wanted, carried it back and affixed it with the appropriate sticker...

...now i'm sure that's not the case with every helmet - the SMF website notes that SA helmets require an additional flammability test, M helmets require a wider field of view, and SA and K helmets require an additional multi-impact test - but it's entirely possible for a single helmet to meet all three standards, with the sticker differences only being due to licensing...regardless, all SA helmets will meet K standards, some SA and K helmets will meet M standards, and some M helmets will meet K standards, but few M and K helmets will meet SA standards...
Yep. But any specific helmet MAY meet any/all of the standards, but not be tested to the standards.

FAQs about Snell and Helmets

FAQs]FAQs about Snell and Helmets about Snell and Helmets

also the visor is thicker on SA and K helmets 1/8th"
Yep. The whole Snell testing proceedure is there - it describes the tests in detail. Most of the standards for the different certifications differ in only a couple of the details (like the extra "Roll Bar" test, etc.).
 

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snell said:
The SA and K standards include a rollbar multi impact test while M standard does not.
My understanding has always been than this is the biggest difference between the two; an automotive helmet being made so it can withstand all the bumps against your car/rollbar while driving, and remain intact every time your head hits something if you were to crash. A moto helmet is good for ONE impact -- this includes the idiots who place it on their handlebar or seat, and then knock it to the ground. Dead helmet. My Pyrotect auto helmet has the same visibility field as my Shoei moto helmet, though presumably it has the fire-retardant lining that moto helmets don't have.

I've had a few friends that have sworn by Scorpion helmets for moto, if you wanted a cheaper alternative to use karting (if it's allowed) or to have an extra helmet around. They run about a hundred bucks, and are supposedly fog-free.
 
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