Tony Hawk Silver Signature Series Helmet Fails CR Safety Test

Consumer Reports rates this helmet a Don't Buy: Safety Risk. It was a replacement for the Dimensions Bluetooth Speaker multipurpose helmet, which was recalled.

Consumer Reports is rating Sakar International’s Tony Hawk Silver Signature Series helmet a Don’t Buy: Safety Risk after it failed one of our tests during evaluations designed to assess how well a bike helmet would remain in place to protect a rider during a crash. The helmet was offered to consumers as a replacement for the Dimensions Bluetooth Speaker multipurpose helmet, which was recalled in March

More on Bike Helmets

That recall came eight months after CR rated the Dimensions helmet a Don’t Buy: Safety Risk when the chin strap buckle on that helmet came undone during one of our routine tests. CR requested a replacement for our recalled helmet from the manufacturer, Sakar International, just as a consumer would. We also purchased additional samples of the replacement helmet—the Tony Hawk Silver Signature Series helmet—and put them through our standard tests used to evaluate the bike helmets that appear in our ratings.

“It is expected that replacement products in the case of a recall provide consumers with a critical margin of safety, which is why CR’s policy is to test them,” says John Galeotafiore, who oversees bike helmet testing at Consumer Reports. “In this case, the product offered to consumers failed our tests, so we encourage them to seek an alternative helmet when they can.”

Why the Tony Hawk Helmet Is a Don't Buy

During a test of the Tony Hawk helmet’s retention system—the straps and buckles that keep a helmet in place on your head—the chin strap buckle on the helmet broke on two separate helmets. While the first helmet we tested passed the test, CR’s chin-strap evaluation requires two helmets to pass, and the subsequent two helmets failed in the same way.

Tony Hawk bike helmet with broken chin strap
The chin strap buckle on the Tony Hawk Silver Signature Series helmet broke on two separate units.

Photo: John Walsh/Consumer Reports Photo: John Walsh/Consumer Reports

The Importance of a Secure Chin Strap

Wearing a helmet can help cyclists protect themselves from head injuries—especially potentially fatal ones. But a helmet can provide suitable protection only if it works as designed.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has a standard to evaluate the strength and holding power of a bike helmet’s chin strap. Consumer Reports’ helmet tests are modeled after—but not identical to—the CPSC’s standard. Our tests are performed to provide comparative evaluations for consumers, not for the purposes of compliance or certification.

In our labs, we drop a weight to tug at the retention system. (See the video above.) That simulates what might happen in the event of an accident, such as falling off a bike and hitting the road. Of the roughly 20 helmets we evaluated this year, this was the only one that failed.

What Consumers Should Do

Wearing a helmet is essential whenever you ride a bike. If your child already has a Tony Hawk Silver Signature Series helmet, our advice is to replace it as soon as possible. Use this helmet only if your child does not yet have access to another helmet and needs to ride their bike. Note that many states and municipalities have laws requiring that children wear a helmet when riding. 

CR’s product safety experts say that using this helmet in spite of its failure in our retention system test is better than riding without a helmet. “Any helmet is better than no helmet,” says CR’s Galeotafiore. 

In our most recent bicycle helmet ratings, we recommend four helmets for kids. The two that got the highest scores are the Bontrager Tyro, $55, and the Garneau Nino, $45. Our updated ratings were just published last week


LAUREN FRIEDMAN

Lauren F. Friedman

I'm a science journalist and storyteller, always regarding fads with skepticism and analyzing studies with care. Decisions about our health are some of the most difficult and critical we all make, so I favor evidence over anecdote and aim to find clarity amidst the confusion. When I'm not reading, writing, and editing, I enjoy hiking, bike touring, and trying new foods in Queens, where I live. Follow me on Twitter (@fedira).