When Should You Replace A Mountain Bike Helmet?
Your mountain bike helmet should be replaced if it’s been involved in a crash, is 5 or more years old, or shows signs of wear.
How long have you had that mountain bike helmet? If you can’t remember, that alone could be reason enough to consider a new one. It’s time for an inspection. These are the main indicators that it’s time for a replacement:
1. Damage from a crash: If you crashed while wearing the helmet, replace it. Even if the shell of the helmet appears to be undamaged, there could still be compression or internal cracking in the foam that is not visible from the outside. These weakened points could render the helmet less protective in the event of another impact.
2. Damage from regular usage & transport: Helmets can get pretty banged up just from normal wear and tear. They are frequently tossed in backpacks, dangled from handlebars, and deposited in garages—and this all adds up. This means that even if the helmet hasn’t been through a major crash, it will still wear out. While there is no agreed-upon guideline, organizations such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Snell Foundation recommend you replace a regularly used helmet every 5 or so years.
3. Damage from age: Are you gearing up to get back in the saddle, but your helmet has been sitting unused on a coat rack for a couple of decades? Factors such as UV exposure and varying humidity and temperature can degrade the shell and the foam, making it difficult to determine if an old helmet will still be safe. For this reason, most organizations recommend replacing even unused or lightly used helmets that are 5 years old.
But there may be even more important reasons to replace a mountain bike helmet. Noggin protection technology has improved so much over the years that a new helmet will undoubtably be more protective than your old one. The other big reason to replace an old helmet is fit—a well-fitting helmet is safer than an ill-fitting one.
Is it time to replace yours? If so, go check out our selection of mountain bike helmets.
Need Help Choosing A New Helmet?
Watch the video below before you head out.
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Q: How often should you replace your bike helmet?
A: We recommend replacing a helmet after 5 years if it is lightly used. Heavily used helmets should be replaced after 2–3 years.
Q: When should I replace my bike helmet after a crash?
A: Bike helmets should be replaced immediatley after a crash. A sequential crash in a damanged helmet can be extremely dangerous!
Q: What should I do with my damaged bike helmet?
A: Firstly, don't use it! Get a replacement before riding your bike again. If you need to dispose of your helmet, look for a local organization that recycles helmets. Helmets can be very difficult to recycle because they use so many different materials. Some recycling centers now accept helmets, and some helmet manufacturers also recycle used helmets.