Counterfeit helmets

HausFinch
Posts: 45
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:16 pm

Counterfeit helmets

Postby HausFinch » Mon Sep 17, 2018 5:12 pm

This was a topic on a US news website today. It gives some insight into key differences that make counterfeit helmets fail in crash impact testing. Specialized and other manufacturers have staff dedicated to shutting down Chinese factories turning out fake helmets for sale on Ebay and Alibaba, and even knowingly sold by some bicycle retailers. I'm happy to pay good money for a good helmet. It never occurred to me to seek out a cheap one from a fly-by-night supplier. Anyone else heard of fake helmets?
[url]
https://www.npr.org/2018/09/16/64737721 ... -dangerous[/url]

zebee
Posts: 439
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:37 am

Re: Counterfeit helmets

Postby zebee » Mon Sep 17, 2018 7:46 pm

I was peripherally involved in the NSW Motorcycle Council's campaign about motorcycle helmet standards.

One of the stories that came out of that was a man killed in South Oz. He had been wearing a "legal" helmet while sitting on his stationary motorcycle. A car backed into the bike, bike and man fell, lid split and man died of head injury.

The "legal" was in quotes because the helmet had been certified by a company licenced to certify helmets for the Australian market. However turns out they had no testing facilities and had no experience testing helmets. I don't know where the court case is at present but the story I was told was that basically they bought the (very lucrative) licence to certify helmets from SAI Global who bought the right to sell such licences from the Government when the Feds shut down Standards Australia. Because private companies do it better you know.

(It used to be that a random lid from every batch of motorcycle helmets brought into Oz was tested for compliance by a government lab. Not anymore)

Another person involved in the campaign had actually been to China because he sold his own line of helmets. He said that he had to inspect lots of them because they ran them through the line very quickly and did pretty well no QA until he was rejecting so many that they slowed down and produced better quality. But when he wasn't there, the quality dropped again. He also suspected that the ones he rejected were being onsold to people who were not that picky, and he had no idea under what name. Including his which was one reason he gave up on it.

3rd helmet story, this one from Germany and the sport of fencing. In order to make modern sword sport more TV friendly they were trying clear face masks: clear plastic over the face instead of metal mesh. A very well known German supplier got in serious hot water when it was discovered that they had outsourced the making of the masks to China and several of them had the plastic shatter when in use. The famous name didn't help those fencers. The company blamed their supplier but that did them no good reputation wise.

Meaning? Well... that it has a certification may not mean it is of the certified standard. The helmet you buy may be someone else'd QA reject and may be made in the same factory and have the same logos as the ones that passed. Plus it may have a fancy name on it, but that's only as good as the place that made it and you don't know where that is or who is doing the quality control.

China is a very big place and has a wide range of manufacturing capability. They can do very good work and very shoddy work. BUt always... follow the money. If there is money in it then someone will want as much money as they can get for as little work as they can get away with.

4th helmet story. The bod who used to test motorcycle helmets for the government said that there was no difference in how cheap ones he tested behaved in the test compared to expensive ones. THe same when he collected some old ones from people and tested them. Couldn't see a difference, if they passed they all looked the same. The expensive ones tended to have longer lasting padding and straps, and nicer paintwork.

My takeaway with motorcycle helmets is buy the one that fits. If a midrange fits then no need to pay the stratospheric prices some lids command. But don't buy the absolute cheapest as that's where the dodgy ones are. I do the same with bicycle helmets.

User avatar
g-boaf
Posts: 9831
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:11 pm

Re: Counterfeit helmets

Postby g-boaf » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:36 am

[url][/url]I've never seen any fake helmets. And any suspiciously cheap brand name helmets would make me question them anyway.
Last edited by g-boaf on Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

ironhanglider
Posts: 2353
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:44 pm
Location: Middle East, Melbourne

Re: Counterfeit helmets

Postby ironhanglider » Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:05 am

Living in Melbourne if I want a cheap helmet I'll get one of the $5 'Melbourne' helmets, that at least has the standards sticker. They are perfectly effective at wallet protection/fine deflection. And apparently they are more aero than the ultra-cool road helmets too. I might get one for track racing.


Cheers,

Cameron
Image

Jmuzz
Posts: 539
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:42 pm

Re: Counterfeit helmets

Postby Jmuzz » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:31 pm

Standards compliant bicycle helmets can be sold with profit margin for $5
There isn't really any reason to assume that a $20 Chinese helmet is any less safe than a Kmart helmet.

Even the helmets which crushed could probably pass world standards. Australia is a bit tougher since it has unique criteria which even big brands often can't pass and have to make an Australian specific model with thicker straps and more foam.

HausFinch
Posts: 45
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:16 pm

Re: Counterfeit helmets

Postby HausFinch » Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:43 pm

I guess a key difference according to the article is the counterfeit helmets often lack the internal framework which the foam is molded around, so on first impact they simply crack open and if your head keeps going it then hits the kerb or whatever. There's no way to know what's inside the rigid foam unless you X-ray it, or subject it to destructive testing.
I've hit pavement, flown over cars, and crashed head on into an oncoming truck's side view mirror. Without a helmet I'd probably be dead at least twice, if that's possible. The helmet didn't save my teeth, unfortunately.

ironhanglider
Posts: 2353
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:44 pm
Location: Middle East, Melbourne

Re: Counterfeit helmets

Postby ironhanglider » Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:59 pm

HausFinch wrote:I guess a key difference according to the article is the counterfeit helmets often lack the internal framework which the foam is molded around, so on first impact they simply crack open and if your head keeps going it then hits the kerb or whatever. There's no way to know what's inside the rigid foam unless you X-ray it, or subject it to destructive testing.
I've hit pavement, flown over cars, and crashed head on into an oncoming truck's side view mirror. Without a helmet I'd probably be dead at least twice, if that's possible. The helmet didn't save my teeth, unfortunately.


You know you really should stop doing that sort of thing... it's bad for your health. :wink:

Cheers,

Cameron
Image

HausFinch
Posts: 45
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:16 pm

Re: Counterfeit helmets

Postby HausFinch » Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:48 pm

Chalk it up to my youthful need for speed intersecting with drivers in a hurry. No major accidents in a few decades, since my teens and twenties are now well behind me. Unfortunately the teeth never grew back, and every few years I get a few more teeth "installed." But I'd trade teeth for cycling any day, wouldn't you?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users