Study: Cheap bike helmets offer same protection as expensive ones

Consumer Reports News: January 26, 2010 04:31 PM

When it comes to bicycle helmets, spending lots of money to get good protection is not necessary. The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute bought and tested six helmets—ranging in price from less than $10 to more than $200—and found they performed almost identically on standard impact tests. The testers bought cheap helmets from Target and Walmart that cost $9.96, $9.99 and $19.96 and were typical of helmets you would find in any big box discount store. The expensive helmets came from a bike store, an Ebay seller and an Internet retailer. The advertised prices were $149.99, $174.99 and $206.99. Three of each model were put through impacts tests.

"The surprise for us was that all six helmets performed virtually identically in all the tests," the institute reported.

What this means: Consumers don’t need to spend a lot to get a bicycle helmet that does its job. So find one that fits well so that it will be positioned correctly when you hit and then choose based on what you can afford to pay. (See our tips for “ How to get a good fit.") Oh, and these results do not translate to motorcycle helmets.
 
—Desiree Ferenczi

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