"$100 helmet for a $100 head" is commonly muttered in the pits. It doesn't explain why you would want an expensive helmet, does it? Let's take a look at a few aspects of helmets. Who knows, you might actually have a $100 head.
|Autor- Johnny Cichowski with a Bell vador.|
First thing.... pass tech
Every driver's worst fear, failing tech. :(
|NASA's rules can be found here|
Above is a snippet taken from the 2017 NASA CCR and it regards road racing requirements. Basically, it states that you need a minimum SA2010 or better helmet. Why do we have is with these ratings?
Above is 3 ratings one is for a motorcycle two and for auto racing. the "s" in SA and SM stands for "Snell". Snell is the foundation that sets helmet standards in America. FIA does the same but is accepted Internationally. Every 5 years snell releases new standards and a new sticker, the sa2010 should be sold out by now. FIA has two ratings FIA8859 and FIA8860.
let's start off with what no to do. Looking at SM or M rating. M stands for "motorcycle". We do not want M in a car. There are several reasons, the biggest has to do with fire protection.
in an effort to keep you cool on a ride"M" helmet padding is made with plastic. The problem with plastic is that it burns/melts @200*. Melting burning plastic is not the best thing to cover your face with. Riding bikes you do not have a large fire risk, for this use plastic is OK. In a car, however, we do have to protect ourselves from the fire. It's advisable to not use an "M" rated helmet.
SM2015- Vs- FIA8859 -Vs- FIA 8860.
Snell is an American regulation as FIA is an International regulation. With the advent of The SA2015 rating, SA and FIA 8859 ratings offer very similar protection. However, if you plan to race outside of the USA make sure you have an FIA rated helmet. There is a chance that Canada's, Mexico's or any other fine track outside of the USA won't allow a Snell.
The Daddy, the big cheese, superman's offspring. This rating was brought around after Felipe Massa's 2009 impact with a spring at 180mph.
Cliff notes 8860 is an F1 requirement, 100% carbon fiber, the helmet is the strongest on the market. They offer the best protection and are quite expensive.
Enough with ratings, let us talk lids.
Let us take a step back and look at the big picture.
What are you going to use the helmet for?
^ do you have a windshield?
Riding shotgun twice a year-
We need to think of Safety equipment working at the worst possible case. In an autocross worst case is going to be hitting a curb at 45. despite your newfound "viral fail fame", impact loads should be limited. An inexpensive or an open face helmet might not be a bad option. If you are in a road race car then the threat of fire and impact at 100+ mph becomes real. If you are in a car without a windshield then we need to be looking at the superman FIA8860 rated helmet. Without a windshield, you no longer have a defense from flying objects. moreal of the story is it's up to the Driver to think of what he/she does when buying a helmet.
Sorting by price. We'll take a look at the helmets from cheap to downright expensive. Let us explain why they cost what they do.
Helmets are like suits, they use diffrent weight Nomex and features.
Cheap Nomex is cheap Nomex. Much like Nomex suits, low dollar racing helmets can be heavy, hot, uncomfortable for extended periods of time. To keep the price down manufacturers need to use low-cost materials. This means that the quality will suffer, it might be scratchy, or it might deteriorate a faster than something up the price bracket. on a good note if you use the helmet only a few times a year then longevity is not a problem.
- If you're going to race >2 events a year. go for it!
- Great for Autocross
- Great for Autocross
- Sa2015 rated
- The inexpensive material can be scratchy
- Not last as long or fall apart faster.
- Being hot is a real possibility.
- Can look like "dale"
SA2015 has brought out hundreds of helmets in this price range. These helmets offer a "good" quality of material, slightly lower weight but almost no features. These are excellent choices for Road Racers, lemon-ers, chump-ers. Again let us look up if you're going to be racing almost 5 events a year, this is the helmet to go for.
-"Good" material is used,
- with mild use 5-10 events a year it can last until the expiration date.
- Vented for keeping cool
- No forced air,
- no bells
- style can be left desireable
$350-800 helmetsA huge gap in price. These helmets are all on a level playing field when it comes to quality. The material used is top notch will be very hardy. This is where the FIA8859 helmets live. What swings the price are the bells and whistles. Examples: improved aerodynamics, forced air, chin spoilers, removable padding, radios, carbon fiber, and cooling. If you are going to be participating in more than +5 road racing events a year this is where you should be looking. You are going to spend time this helmet it's best to be comfortable
- Fia 8859 ratings live here, race wold wide.
- Finest material (can last past expiration date)
- Some carbon fiber
- Price is creeping
- Extras cost extra
- A balaclava should be worn to stop the thing from growing legs after 10 years of use.
-Facing facts that you are a track rat.
We are beyond cost vs quality and now you are paying for more protection. at this point, it's all carbon composite and carbon fiber. Frankly, if you have an open cockpit car this is where you should be, The carbon shells are stronger then yeh traditional fiberglass. that helps prevent damage from impacts.
- This is where FIA 8860 starts
- Carbon is stronger than fiberglass, helps distribute impact load.
- Light weight reduces the impact on the neck and spinal cord during impacts.
- You're doing well for yourself or you live at a track.
- These cost some cheddar.
- They expire
If anyone has comments you can reatch me at Johnny@ogracing.com or drop a comment below. thank you for taking the time.