Although there is no "best before date" sticker on a helmet, motorcycle helmets do have a maximum shelf life. Of course this partially depends on the use of the helmet, but that a helmet would last forever is a myth. The average lifespan of a helmet is 5 to 7 years before it needs to be replaced.
Every time a manufacturer develops a helmet it is professionally tested, just like how they test cars with a series of crash tests. The protective capabilities become clear and based on said capabilities, the helmet gets certified. Wearing an ECE 22.05 certified helmet is mandatory in Europe whereby in America, a DOT quality mark applies. Once having received their certification, the helmets leave the factory and get shipped to stores. What is not included during the testing procedure is the helmet's shock absorbing capabilities after having been used and being a few years old. Although it is not a crime to wear an older helmet, it is certainly not safe in the event of a crash or fall.
As a motorcycle helmet ages, it faces multiple external influences that affect the material of the helmet. For example, the sun has probably shined on the helmet for quite some hours and millions of raindrops have rolled off the shell. But chemicals from hair products, for example, have also been able to cling onto the inside of the helmet. Just like the sweat you produce while attacking that curvy road on a summer day. Although these factors are not visible, they do affect the helmet's protective properties. What is noticeable in practice is the difference in fit. After having just bought a helmet, it would have been significantly tighter compared to how it currently sits on your head. Everything is just a bit looser, which will ultimately have a negative effect during a fall or accident. In the event that a helmet has been dropped or has bumped against something, it should actually be replaced straight away! Whether you wear the helmet on a daily basis, only during the weekends or once every so often will also play a role in the wear and tear of the materials.
How intensively a helmet is used has an effect on the life of the helmet, but the material it's made from also plays a large role in its durability. Polycarbonate has the tendancy to harden when exposed to sunlight and eventually becoming brittle. You will mainly find this materialy in the more budget-friendly helmets. The more expensive ones are often made of carbon fiber or glass fiber. Apart from the fact that these helmets are lighter, they are also safer and age less quickly. A polycarbonate helmet can have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years with intensive use, whereas a helmet made from carbon fiber or glass fiber can last up to 7 years!
At ChromeBurner, you can be reassured that you are buying a helmet with an ECE 22.05 certification - and in some cases multi-certified helmets, because your safety is our priority. Unlike many other companies, we do not sell helmets that have been sitting on the shelf for more than 1 year, meaning your helmet will never be out dated. Do you have questions regarding the safety of your current helmet or the purchase of your new helmet? Do not hesitate send us an email to [email protected] or reach our specialists on 31 73 200 80 20, They are happy to help!