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MTB Helmet vs. MX Helmet for DH

DsDhBxracer13

Monkey
Feb 18, 2004
179
0
Burlington, Vermont
So long story short I took a spill at Diablo this weekend and knocked myself out. I didn't come to and was out for an extended period of time. This happen approximately 3 in the afternoon, I don't remember anything until the following morning despite the fact I was up and moving around after going to the hospital.

I was just curious to hear people's thoughts on what type of helmet to use for DH racing. The accident happened in a D2 which is damaged to the point where I need to get a new helmet so I'm debating what to get. So everyone knows where I'm coming from I race in the Pro class (not to brag or anything), and I would consider myself to be faster then 95% of the people on the mountain, or something right around there. I've been racing for a number of years and feel that I'm a very controlled and skilled rider. I don't fall often, and typically when I do I'm pushing it and often at a high speed. I would say because of my ability level I'm typically moving at a good clip unless the trail is super slow and techy to begin with. Because of that I'm currently leaning towards a moto helmet. I've heard they can be more dangerous at slower speeds, but I feel like I would rather have a little more pain on a slower fall and have more protection where it is really needed. What are your guys thoughts?
 

DsDhBxracer13

Monkey
Feb 18, 2004
179
0
Burlington, Vermont
I'm honestly not exactly sure. I feel like I remember reading that the moto helmets are thicker and stiffer so if you hit your head at a slow speed the helmet doesn't give much and you head tends to absorb the impact more instead of the helmet. Could be wrong, but I swear there was a debate about this years back. That is really the only thing holding me back, I've got a big head and thick neck so I don't have any problem throwing a little extra weight on my head.
 

Transcend

My Nuts Are Flat
Apr 18, 2002
18,045
0
Towing the party line.
Bicycle helmets will be more efficient at dissipating energy at low speeds as that is what they are designed for. Any helmet will crush in an impact, but bicycle helmets are meant to do so at lower speeds than a motorcycle helmet is. More impact will be transferred to your head in a harder shelled moto helmet. Different moto helmets even have different crush ratings for the foam inside of them.
 

Sghost

Turbo Monkey
Jul 13, 2008
1,045
0
NY
You should get a moto.

That's where you crash concerns lie. The high speed, catastrophic ones.

Get another D2/etc down the line if it makes you feel more comfortable on the slow tech, but they seem to be more like bobbles than all out crashes. Not that a hit still cant occur.
 

WBC

Monkey
Aug 8, 2003
578
0
PNW
I ride with a full moto (Fox V3) not because I also ride moto and it's one less helmet to buy, but because it's assurance that your helmet is rated to withstand crashes higher speed than what a DH bike can do. Unlike a knee or an arm, you can't repair a brain with surgery. If you're riding a sketchy helmet, you're needlessly risking death of everything you've worked so hard to learn in life. Why risk it?

The only downside for real DH riding I've found with choosing a moto helmet is cost (which shouldn't matter because it's your head). For advanced riders, slower speed falls are usually controlled enough that you don't smack your head all that hard. It's the high speed ones that get ya.

Suck it up and buy a baller MX helmet. They're not much heavier than an average mtb helmet, and I'm sure they're a lot safer. I like my V3, but the TLD SE series is great, and there's others, too. Plus, if you have a shop hookup, you can order the moto stuff through the bicycle shop.
 

Jason4

Monkey
Aug 27, 2008
338
0
Bellingham
I watched a guy go to the hospital after he fell over while pedalling his bike slowly across an intersection! No helmet of course and he went down on his side and smacked his head hard.

I just picked up a Moto helmet for myself but looked specifically for one that met the DOT standards but not the SNELL standards. Similar to the Moto/bicycle debate, the SNELL helmets control hard impacts better but don't mitigate lower G force impacts as well as the DOT only helmets do.

Don't forget that vehicle speed doesn't relate directly to head impact force and Moto's on trails are probably doing similar speeds and impact types as DH riding.

I chose a Moto helmet for this year and it is a little hotter, a little heavier, and a little harder to breathe in but after 3 days of riding at Whistler I'd make the same purchase again. I got a G-max 46x through a local Moto shop.
 
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dap

Chimp
Jul 25, 2006
78
0
Central, NY
Concussions are crazy in that sometimes nothing would have helped but I say your helmet did a good job and if its not usable again that means it did its job correctly and for the speed you were doing. I would say there is your evidence a D2 is a good helmet for your speed. If it didn't crack I would be worried about it and if it completely shattered I would be worried but it appears it took the impact. GET IT AGAIN! =]
 

PatBranch

Turbo Monkey
Sep 24, 2004
10,460
8
wine country
^ Yep!

Helmets aren't meant to survive bad crashes. They are made to break, taking the hard impact, transferring less to your head.
 

Biffff

Monkey
Jan 10, 2006
913
0
I just went through this process, and decided to go with a a TLD SE-2. The D2's don't even meet the ASTM 1952 DH standard. My new Se-2 feels very light.........even though I know its a little heavier then my Remedy Carbon, it doesn't feel any different to hold it. It has great ventillation and is the most comfortable helmet I've ever had on. It feels so secure on the trail. Very rough sections that causes other helmets to move around some have no effect on the SE-2. It just stays in place. Its pricey but well worth it.
 

ChrisKring

Turbo Monkey
Jan 30, 2002
2,399
6
Grand Haven, MI
some reading:

the "blow the lid off" article: http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/gearbox/motorcycle_helmet_review/index.html

Snell's response to the soft is better argument: http://www.smf.org/articles/pdf/btlo_tech_response_2.pdf

comparison of test methods: http://www.smf.org/articles/mcomp2.html

anyway, the 150J test represents a nominal adult head at 17.3 mph. That's not that fast. That said, 300 G is probably too high for most people. But that doesn't mean that a Snell helmet actually test that high.

The Snell B95 also has a limit of 300 G but with only a 100J headform.

If anyone has a copy of ASTM F 1952, I would like to read it. At least the impact energy and the G limit.

I currently use a Snell 2005 helmet. It fits me good.
 

numerik

Monkey
Jul 22, 2005
473
8
Slovenia, Europe
I own a Fox V3. The quality is waaaaay better compared to D2, which is crap for the price they sell. Really overrated. D2 looks god but that's it! The weight of the modern MX helmets is similar to bike helmets, so it shouldn't be an issue.
 

SteezyWeezy

Turbo Monkey
Apr 4, 2006
2,436
0
portland, oregon
i decided to go moto again after toasting a couple remedies. got the 661 flight, havent ridden it yet, the open will be my first ride with it, but it isn't that much heavier than the remedy so im stoked to ride with it, i can't afford a head injury...
 

gemini2k

Turbo Monkey
Jul 31, 2005
3,526
115
San Francisco
All I know is, after you ride with a moto helmet, MTB helmets just feel like toys (yes even the bling-blong ones). If nothing else, moto helmets seem to be constructed WAYYYY better, even within the same brands. I would very rarely feel pain in when I hit my head hard with my MTB helmet, with the new moto one, I've hit it harder than I ever did with the MTB one, and I don't feel a damn thing. Of course this is completely unscientific.
 

Kanye West

220# bag of hacktastic
Aug 31, 2006
3,475
194
I've owned D2's and D2 Carbons. They hurt. A lot. At any speed. After riding the moto helmets for so long I feel like I might as well not even wear a damn helmet if I had to ride a D2.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,778
1,445
01776
I suggest looking into the ASTM 1952 standard and helmets that go along with it. I asked the same question some time ago (along with many others) and the result is always the same; some people swear by Moto, some people swear by bike. There are inherent limitations in each design, which is why I like the 1952s, which seem like a good compromise.

Bike helmets are softer, and will protect your head better in a low speed crash. They're also lighter and better ventilated, generally. They don't do a very good job at high speed, since the standards generally don't cover high speed crashes or repetitive hits.

Moto helmets are harder, and will protect you better in a high speed crash, but because of the standards associated with it, certain certifications are the same between moto and Road helmets...in reality, a rock to the head at 50mph is very different than pavement at 90mph, but many helmets have to be certified for both, and for multiple impacts, which may not occur in DH riding.

The 1952 helmets try to accomplish both...they're designed for more moderate, dh related speeds, and testing for the helmets is more relevant to DH bike riding, rather than moto.

The bottom line is; do your own research, and decide what's right for you. I would never touch a pure bike helmet; they just aren't designed for DH. As for the 1952 vs. moto debate, you kind of need to make your own decision. I've wrecked at reasonably slow speeds in my old moto helmet and felt fine (Answer M6), and I'm sure at higher speeds it would protect well as well. In the end, I needed a lighter and better ventilated helmet, and the remedy is cheap enough to replace every time you suffer a crash, which is way more important than the lightest or coolest looking helmet.

http://www.littermag.com/2009/which-helmet-is-best-for-downhill-and-freeride/
http://www.helmets.org/
 
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blackspire

Monkey
Jul 19, 2007
115
0
I've had both motohelmets and regular fullfaces (not with the ASTM1952 DH standard). My last helmet was a One Industries Kombat and it protected me well but so has my other helmets. I just replaced my motohelmet with a The Industries full face, it doesn't feel nearly as protective as my old moto helmet did, but on the other hand I still think it will be sufficient. If I were to buy another helmet it would probably be a One Industries Trooper helmet or a TLD Air helmet.
 

DsDhBxracer13

Monkey
Feb 18, 2004
179
0
Burlington, Vermont
Guys thanks for all the great input. Based on my riding style and the fact that typically when I fall, I fall fast and hard I decided to order a moto helmet. Pleasantly surprised to see how much cheaper moto helmets can be found. Picked up an 08 Fox V3 Carmichael for $150.

On another note I didn't mean that I had to get a new helmet because my D2 was structurally damaged. It has some deep scrapes and scuffs on it but seems fine, but I felt that after taking a hit like that it was time for a new helmet.
 

TomBo

Monkey
Jan 13, 2004
301
0
Calgary,Alberta
Moto for me, as I also dirt bike. Picked up a Fox V2, this being my third lid. Rather happy with it. After a 661 full face DH lid, then a $100 HJC re branded cheap'o. Both where "tested". I would never go back to a DH lid again. They scare me. Just look for the best fit and feel, of any major DOT lid and call it good. Lots of good buys around $200, if you shop around a bit.
 

SteezyWeezy

Turbo Monkey
Apr 4, 2006
2,436
0
portland, oregon
On another note I didn't mean that I had to get a new helmet because my D2 was structurally damaged. It has some deep scrapes and scuffs on it but seems fine, but I felt that after taking a hit like that it was time for a new helmet.
a bicycle helmet is supposed to be replaced after any good hit, especially a knockout, so it was struturally damaged, you just can't see it
 

DsDhBxracer13

Monkey
Feb 18, 2004
179
0
Burlington, Vermont
Just a note. I guess I hit hard after look at my bike. I have a Funn direct mount stem and I managed to offset my bars in the fall by ripping the bolts through the slots on the stem. It was set in the 50mm position and one of the bolts is now partially sitting in the 45mm position. Can't say I've ever seen that happen.
 

DsDhBxracer13

Monkey
Feb 18, 2004
179
0
Burlington, Vermont
Certainly agree with you, but I would say that if two people are going down a trail one traveling faster then the other and they both (for the sake of the argument) fall in the exact same manner, the person riding faster is going to take the harder impact. This would go right along with the whole debate of the thread, moto helmet is designed for a harder impact, i.e. higher speeds, so the question is am I typically riding at a high enough rate of speed to warrant the use of the moto helmet. So I would say the level of rider one is, and the speed they are traveling definitely should affect the helmet choice.
 

Jason4

Monkey
Aug 27, 2008
338
0
Bellingham
Think about this for a minute: the force of the impact greatly has to do with the direction of the impact. Someone who falls off a sport bike at 120 mph hits the flat ground with the same force as someone who falls off their kickstand (assuming he doesn't highside). Things start to change when the guy that's going 120 starts tumbling but as long as he stays sliding he'll be ok. The other difference will be when he slides/tumbles into something and then the vector of force of the impact changes. With this in mind the person on the mountain bike that is going faster will be hurt more when he wraps himself around a tree or rock at a higher rate than the slow guy but if they both were to wash out/fall over in a turn they will both hit the ground with the same force, the faster guy will just have a larger horizontal vector which doesn't always translate into more force on the head.

There's a lot of info out there about motorcycle accidents and related helmet design from the Hurt report and also a lot of debate on any motorcycle forum.

While I usually spend money on fancy sport bike helmets I don't think they are inherently safer in an accident. I do think they are more comfortable and safer in the sense that they will be less fatiguing.

I think the most important thing about a helmet is how well it fits you and if you are comfortable in it. I don't think I will ever get a TLD D2 as they are too oval for my head and are loose on my forehead and tight on the side.

The big decision is whether the weight and ventilation advantage of a DH helmet are more important than the ability to attenuate force that you get with a MX helmet. As I said about the sport bike helmets, the lighter, quieter, better ventilated helmets are less fatiguing for me and leave me fresher and more focused after 100 miles on the track or on the street.
 
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