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IRH helmet question/general helmet question

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  • IRH helmet question/general helmet question

    I was just at a tack shop looking for a replacement for my IRH Elite today, and the owner talked me into a CO JR8 instead. She cited having some safety issues with IRH in general. Has anyone heard any negative stories about the safety/durability of their helmets? I'm taking her stories with a grain of salt and didn't want to post them as hearsay, but if they're true, would definitely cause me to avoid them in the future.

    Also, was discussing helmets afterward with my husband. He is a little confused as to why riding helmets are so expensive compared to, say, hockey or football helmets, and need replacement whenever they've had a hard hit. Hockey and football helmets see repeated heavy hits in a game, yet don't seem to need replacement each time... what's the difference in the technology? Just curious as to what insights anyone might have!
    "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

    Graphite/Pastel Portraits

  • #2
    I have NOT heard that, and I have an IRH. Perhaps salesperson was trying to talk you into a more expensive helmet? LOL

    I do agree with your husband however. I watch the PBR, and those guys hit the ground HARD, and even if they land on their feet or otherwise don't hit their heads, they often take off the helmet and fling it in the air, with it landing who knows where. I don't think they make THAT much money, that they want to buy a new helmet after each and every ride!! Why are theirs more durable and uncompromised by a "hit?" (Possibly more comparable than a hockey player - i.e., flung to the ground by a 2,000 lb bull rather than a 200 lb. hockey player! LOL)


    • #3
      I've never read anything substantive re IRH not being safe enough.

      I had one a couple of years ago, fell on it and replaced it with a CO JR8 and a Tipp Sportage. IRH never fit me quite right, but CO and Tipp do.

      I'm going to guess football and hockey helmets are lined with a material that suffers elastic deformation on impact (the material resumes its original shape and volume after impact). Equestrian helmets (as well as motorsport helmets) are lined with material that suffer plastic deformation (they do not return to shape and volume after impact) so they are a one time use only.


      • #4
        I presume the tack shop owner was talking you into the CO because it was a better fit for you compared to the IRH. I am not aware of current safety comparisons between brands. However, fit differs greatly by brand.


        • Original Poster

          Well, I got a JR8, so the price was pretty comparable, but she no longer carried IRH because of the safety concerns. Either way I did like the JR8 anyway, but I am curious about any other negative reviews.

          Why the plastic versus elastic?
          "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

          Graphite/Pastel Portraits


          • #6
            Charles Owen has a great replacement program if the helmet needs to be replaced due to a fall. I think it's about a 55-65% discount within 3 years of purchase.
            Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


            • #7
              Originally posted by SarahandSam View Post
              Why the plastic versus elastic?
              I couldn't tell you why. While I am an engineer, helmet design is not my area of expertise.


              • #8
                Originally posted by SarahandSam View Post
                she no longer carried IRH because of the safety concerns.
                Honestly, I would not do business with a shop that cannot substantiate such a serious allegation.

                But that's just me.


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by caballero View Post
                  Honestly, I would not do business with a shop that cannot substantiate such a serious allegation.

                  But that's just me.
                  As I said, she did give specific examples. But I didn't want to repost what could just be a disgruntled shop owner, I wanted to know if anyone else had any similar complaints about safety issues with IRH..
                  "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                  Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                  • #10
                    They all pass the same standards in order to be certified.

                    As far as replacing helmets - bike and equestrian helmets work by having a layer of foam which compresses when the helmet takes a hit. The compression of the foam absorbs the impact of the fall, rather than your skull and brain, and also slows the motion so hopefully your brain doesn't hit inside your skull and bruise (concussion). Once that foam compresses, it is done - you can't uncompress it to use again, and if hit a second time it can no longer absorb the shock.

                    Football and hockey helmets, on the other hand, have a system of air pouches and dense padding and are designed to take multiple hits because these items can absorb the shock without being destroyed.

                    I imagine you could make a riding helmet that could be reused - but it would be big, ugly, heavy, and hot and no one would want to wear it.


                    • Original Poster

                      Furlong, thank you--the size necessities makes sense!
                      "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                      Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                      • #12
                        I had great service from IRH on a replacement when I crashed in mine a number of years ago. With the helmets being so expensive many manufacturers offer discounts if you need to replace due to a crash. It was years ago, but I think I paid $50 for an IRH replacement.


                        • #13
                          Hmmm I had an IRH for many years that did its job quite well. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another and haven't heard anything negative either.


                          • #14
                            An IRH XR9 saved my life four years ago. Have never heard rumors of "safety issues."

                            But I did replace it with a Lamicell because it fit me even better. Truthfully, the Lamicell is the most comfie helmet I've ever put on my head in over 25 years of riding.
                            <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                            • Original Poster

                              I did like the CO replacement policy; apparently for the first year they replace at something like 50%, and for the next two years it's 20% off, I believe. That was what sold me on it more than the IRH alleged issues.

                              I really liked my Elite, and wouldn't mind getting another one in the future, but the CO was very comfortable and not as mushroom-y as I remembered.
                              "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                              Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                              • #16
                                I heard anecdotally from a tack store owner that in countries that have five star helmet rating systems, the CO's get five stars and the GPAs get three. Personally, it makes sense to me when the GPA's are half vent.

                                Jody Jaffe also wrote in one of her articles that she got a concussion once wearing a "CO knockoff" and switched to a real CO as a result, and we all know what the "CO knockoff" is.

                                The fact that all the helmets "pass" the same test does not mean they are equally safe. If passing is 75%, some can squeak by with a 76%, and others can get a 95%. Sure, they all met the same MINIMUM requirements, but some are still better than others.
                                The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                                Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                                The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


                                • Original Poster

                                  I've generally been of the opinion that with safety ratings, there's not really a difference between the $40 Troxel and the $600 GPA because they all pass the same tests... but the anecdote I heard was related more to issues in manufacturing and warehouse handling as opposed to design, which is where I can see possible issues arising,I suppose. I am definitely curious now to find out more about how safety rating is determined, and how much oversight helmet companies have in actual production...
                                  "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                                  Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by SarahandSam View Post
                                    I've generally been of the opinion that with safety ratings, there's not really a difference between the $40 Troxel and the $600 GPA because they all pass the same tests... but the anecdote I heard was related more to issues in manufacturing and warehouse handling as opposed to design, which is where I can see possible issues arising,I suppose. I am definitely curious now to find out more about how safety rating is determined, and how much oversight helmet companies have in actual production...
                                    Different types of helmets are designed for different purposes. The standards applied will be in the service of the use for which helmet is designed.

                                    I flew carrier aircraft in the Navy for several years. Our flight helmets were "one time use" items. I didn't fly in an ejection seat, but had many friends who did. I also knew a couple of guys who "bailed out" the old fashioned way. "Hitting the silk" (by either going "over the side" or with "rocket assist") meant a new helmet.

                                    Motorcycle helmets, bike helmets, equestrian helmets, etc. are all examples of the "one time use" class. They are designed to take BIG hits and not fracture. They are not, necessarily, designed to take big hits and not be damaged.

                                    A football helmet is a very different beast, as it is designed to take multiple, medium level hits without being compromised.

                                    Re the IRH, I got unhorsed a few years back and suffered a mild concussion. IRH replaced the helmet at cost (I called them and reported the use; they sent me a new one, a bill, and asked that I return the old one in the same box the new one came it).

                                    While any two products might meet the same standard it's fair to ask "how well do they meet that standard?" An analogy could be made to restaurant kitchen inspection reports. Around here a 70 is a passing grade; a 95 is a passing grade.
                                    We could ask, rhetorically, are you more comfortable in a place with a 70 or a 95? Now apply the same logic to the $40 helmet and the $600 dollar helmet.

                                    I don't spend extra money on helmets for giggles and grins. I ensure that it meets the proper standards and that is passes the "feel" test when I handle it. And put it on.

                                    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                                    • #19
                                      I believe it is only fair that if you are willing to state IRH by name for being deficient, you should also name the name of the TACK STORE that is making this claim.

                                      What is good for one...


                                      • #20
                                        The difference is the forces imparted on the head and the use of open or closed cell foams. Work done by CO shows the best material is the Extruded Polystyrene (EPS) for head strike energy reduction (thank you to Roy Burek, CEO of CO). EPS can only deform once and then must be replaced unlike the closed cell foams in other helmets, e.g. polyurethanes.

                                        Other helmets use a closed cell foam, e.g. neoprene, that can absorb multiple impacts but at the same time have a REDUCED ability to reduce impact energy.

                                        Studies show that football helmets take up to 50 or 60 hits PER GAME and over 1,000 hits per LIFETIME.

                                        Standards are created via industry input by independent entities.