The 5 star Lazer LZ6 (under $100), and the 2 star Arai Condor ($500+)
It’s time to buy a new helmet…but I’m holding off a bit and waiting, and waiting, and waiting… How come you ask? Because I want to see how some other helmets fare in the new SHARP ratings system.
It’s already been a couple of months, but if you haven’t heard of it yet it’s probably because it’s a UK thing, and there aren’t very many helmets represented, and some of the helmets that are represented aren’t available in the US or go by different names in the UK. The idea behind the new ratings system is not just to test for minimum levels of protection the way the DOT, SNELL, and previous ECE ratings have, but to rate more precisely the level of protection offered so that consumers can choose based on a helmet’s effectiveness rather than on its PR campaign. Anyway you can read more about it here, and it’s also under the “Tools” section of the link on the right (toward the bottom) —->
What the tests confirm is that a more expensive helmet does not necessarily guarantee more protection (but you knew that already). In the 1 to 5 star rating none of the Shoei helmets rated 5 stars, but (not surprisingly to me) the HJC AC-12 Carbon Helmet did… There’s even a Bell helmet with a five star rating (although it’s a model I’ve never seen before). Yam Yam Biker pointed this out a while back in one of the comments.
Unfortunately there are still not enough helmet models tested for the ratings system to be helpful to most of us… Chances are if there’s a helmet you’re thinking of buying, it has not been rated yet by SHARP. So it might be worth it to hold off on new helmet purchases for a little while (if you can)…that’s what I’m doing. Either that or buy one of the 4 or 5 star models that are already on the list: there are even a few for under $100 US, if you can find a US distributor.
So if I had to buy from the list, and I wasn’t going to go bargain basement UK style, then I think I’d narrow it down to these two:
Of the 5-star winners, the one that wasn’t a surprise to me was the HJC AC-12 carbon (the HQ-1 in the UK). The combination of large shell size (kind of has a space helmet look because it’s so large), and light weight made it an obvious choice for safety.
I also like the AGV S-4, although AGV helmets often seem a little pricey to me compared to the apparent build quality – but they usually look nice enough and this one surprisingly beat out higher priced models…
Anyway, let me know what you think. Cheers!