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I just bought a Lazer O2 helmet and am loving it, but I got it half price from my local bike shop because it's a "test helmet". This means that people who want to test ride their bikes use these helmets, but the person I talked to mentioned that this helmet was not used very often. It is white and has the words "test test test..." printed over a top portion of the helmet- it does not look like a sticker. I am wondering if anyone has had experience with these types of test helmets and if there is anything I need to be concerned about. It doesn't seem like the helmet is any different from the regular O2 helmet, other than the print on the top.

Thank you!

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    I suppose one might be concerned about head lice. Otherwise, unless there is obvious damage to the shell or liner (look for cracks in either) then I wouldn't worry about it. – Daniel R Hicks Sep 18 '15 at 18:37
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A recent study investigated the impact performance of 675 used helmets (some as old as 26 years) without signs of damage. (They collected 1500, and eliminated helmets with signs of damage). They all passed, except four. Three that failed were only made to meet the old ANSI standard, and the only newer helmet to fail was a recalled model.

Because all of the helmets were used, some of the 675 would have been incurred some slight damage (e.g., being dropped, or bumped through regular usage) without showing direct signs of damage . The fact only 4 failed, and those 4 had other issues, this suggests if you don't see visible signs of damage on a modern helmet, it is probably okay. In fact given the large sample size and consistent ability to pass the impact testing, I now have a lot more confidence in the quality of modern helmets than I did before.

For your helmet, makes sure to carefully inspect it. If you don't see visible signs of damage you are probably fine, assuming that the helmet was properly manufactured (i.e., NOT a grey market helmet), that it has passed all the modern certifications (i.e., check for the certification stickers), and that it was not a recalled model.

  • It would help if you had a link to the study. – Batman Sep 18 '15 at 20:36
  • @Batman - Opps. Link now in. For some reason I thought I had already done that. Thanks for the catch. – Rider_X Sep 18 '15 at 20:37
  • Thanks for this information. The study definitely very helpful for giving some perspective. I'm the kind of person who has a really hard time giving up $100 on a helmet that I have to replace as soon as it crashes. I actually really trust the shop I got it from, and don't think they would sell me something that they weren't sure would hold up. After all, they send people with it when they test bikes so they must have some confidence in it. It looks completely legit, just with the print on it. I compared it side by side with the other "real" helmets there. – chrysalise Sep 18 '15 at 20:44
  • @chrysalise - once you gain more reputation points you should be able to vote on answers you find useful. Once you find a suitable answer ensure you accept it. – Rider_X Sep 18 '15 at 20:53
  • Ah I was wondering why I could not vote your answer up. Anyway, it has those certification stickers on the inside of the helmet and the lazer model and serial number and all that. I'm feeling pretty confident. Thanks! – chrysalise Sep 18 '15 at 21:16
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Helmets are one of those pieces of equipment where you want to err on the side of caution, keeping your head in good condition is high up on the list of priorities.

Personally, I wouldn't be able to trust a 'test' helmet. Even if it looked okay there's a strong possibility that someone, somewhere along the line, dropped it, and it could potentially be damaged enough to not hold up as well as it should in a crash.

Whether or not you're comfortable using it depends on your own opinion on levels of acceptable risk, accepting that there's a chance it could be slightly damaged, and the trustworthiness of the person who said 'it was not used very often.'

  • Thanks for your responses! So... if I drop a helmet, I should ditch it and get a new one...? I've been biking awhile but have never heard this advice given before... – chrysalise Sep 18 '15 at 19:32
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    Yes, the general advice is you should discard a helmet after any impact, even if no damage is visible. Dropping on a hard surface could be enough. The foam is designed to absorb the energy of the impact by deforming permanently, so there is a risk that some of the foam has deformed internally and will no longer be able to take the energy of the next impact. The test helmet may be OK but you don't know if one of the users damaged it. So if you decide you need a helmet, then you should get a new one and also have it fitted properly. – Stephan Matthiesen Sep 18 '15 at 19:48
  • @StephanMatthiesen The weight of an empty helmet dropped is not enough force to deform the foam. – paparazzo Sep 18 '15 at 19:54
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    @Frisbee Fair enough, but surely it depends on the height and the surface, doesn't it? But the point is that you don't know how the test helmet was treated. – Stephan Matthiesen Sep 18 '15 at 20:06
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    If simply dropping a helmet were enough to damage it, half the helmets in the world would be no good. – Daniel R Hicks Sep 18 '15 at 22:47
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Say I had the choice between a spanking new $45 retail helmet and slightly used $90 helmet for $45 that looked to be in perfect shape. If I liked the fit of the $90 helmet I take it every time. My experience is cheap helmets just don't have a good fit. I have an expensive POC that I know the safest helmet but I still wear a lighter helmet most of the time because I like the fit and weight. I am way better off than no helmet. Even it it had been in a fall with no visible damage it is still way better than no helmet.

  • Come on down vote what is the problem? – paparazzo Sep 19 '15 at 0:42

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