Sharp helmet test, take what they say as gospel?

Sharp helmet test, take what they say as gospel?

Author
Discussion

Touring Remo

Original Poster:

3,091 posts

178 months

Friday 6th November 2009
quotequote all
As the title really how accurate are they? I'm looking at getting an arai chaser but they only score 3 stars. But everything I've read reckons they're great. Whereas I see some nitro helmets get 5 stars....
So I put the question to you guys, What's your take on it phers?
Many Thanks,
tim

odyssey2200

18,650 posts

174 months

Saturday 7th November 2009
quotequote all
I like the chaser!

I want the Cross of St George one!

TBH I would prefer an Arai, Shoei or similar to a cheaper lid.



Big_Dog

862 posts

150 months

Saturday 7th November 2009
quotequote all
Having beaten a 5 year old Arai RX7RR to within an inch of its/my life. Please buy an Arai. Despite the tests in the real world they work. Some tests dont test/rate the chinbar at all. I still have my face so worked for me.


Didnt lose consciousness once. You could have it, but the ambulance bloke cut the chin strap.

Hooli

32,278 posts

165 months

Saturday 7th November 2009
quotequote all
i buy the lid i like that fits at a price i want to pay. its going to spend a lot more of its time not hitting the floor so i want it to fill that function correctly.

Motorrad

6,811 posts

152 months

Saturday 7th November 2009
quotequote all
Fit is probably the most important given a reasonable safety score. An ill fitting helmet just isn't going to protect properly. Likewise comfort is important, if you're distracted by an uncomfortable helmet then you won't be able to concentrate on your riding.

That said I just don't get on with the Arai visor system which is flawed to say the least. Having had Arai, Shoei I ended up settling on a Shark RSR2 last time around which has been a great helmet.

Big_Dog

862 posts

150 months

Saturday 7th November 2009
quotequote all
Its an idea to take out the cheek pads etc and make sure its sits right on your head. Fidgeting with your lid is really not a good plan. Wear your jacket with it and make sure you can work the visor and vents with your gloves on before you part with your money.

black-k1

9,719 posts

194 months

Saturday 7th November 2009
quotequote all
The thing about the SHARP tests is that they are repeatable, comparable and consistent. They conduct exactly the same test in exactly the same way and score each helmet on how it performs in those tests. How close those tests are to what would happen in a ‘real world’ accident is very difficult to say. However, the SHARP team do feel that their tests reflect common examples of helmet damage in ‘real world’ accidents but, every single ‘real world’ accident will be different.

Likewise, anyone who says that ‘I had an accident wearing my whatever make of helmet and I didn’t get injured so the helmet must be better than all the rest’ is not really thinking about what they are saying. Unless they go out and have exactly the same accident wearing every other make of helmet then they have no qualification to offer comparative advice.

The SHARP scoring will be far from perfect but they are the best scientifically undertaken comparative tests that are available! As has been said, buy the helmet that fits you best. The fit of the helmet is by far the most important aspect. If you have several helmets that fit you well in your price range then buy the one with the best SHARP score.

Biker's Nemesis

37,040 posts

173 months

Saturday 7th November 2009
quotequote all
black-k1 said:
The thing about the SHARP tests is that they are repeatable, comparable and consistent. They conduct exactly the same test in exactly the same way and score each helmet on how it performs in those tests. How close those tests are to what would happen in a ‘real world’ accident is very difficult to say. However, the SHARP team do feel that their tests reflect common examples of helmet damage in ‘real world’ accidents but, every single ‘real world’ accident will be different.

Likewise, anyone who says that ‘I had an accident wearing my whatever make of helmet and I didn’t get injured so the helmet must be better than all the rest’ is not really thinking about what they are saying. Unless they go out and have exactly the same accident wearing every other make of helmet then they have no qualification to offer comparative advice.

The SHARP scoring will be far from perfect but they are the best scientifically undertaken comparative tests that are available! As has been said, buy the helmet that fits you best. The fit of the helmet is by far the most important aspect. If you have several helmets that fit you well in your price range then buy the one with the best SHARP score.
I read that SHARP tested the side of the chin bar. Certain manufacturers state that, that part of the helmet doesn't take anywhere the amount of impact that say the top or front of the helmet does in an accident due to the shoulder taking most of the impact.

So a manufacturer that tests through racing and takes feedback from riders worldwide should change their helmet designs to satisfy a team of White coats who conduct their tests in a laboratory?

Touring Remo

Original Poster:

3,091 posts

178 months

Saturday 7th November 2009
quotequote all
That was my point I can't believe that arai would just sell a helmet without being confident in it's capabilities. As they say, their safety tests come from race and road research. I had an agv stealth which was a good but tight fit. I tried the arai and it was a lovely fit secure but not uncomfortable. This is after trying loads and the arai chaser felt the best.

Something else I had to consider, I'm fairy sure I havn't got a big nose but it seemed most helmets the tip of my nose would touch against it. So I guess should I face plant the road, surely my nose would take a lot of the impact and break?

Cheers all,

tim.

fred flange

395 posts

186 months

Saturday 7th November 2009
quotequote all
Arai and shoei and others have all passed the tougher snell test in the USA,what with their claim culture etc!!! http://www.smf.org/testing.html

Dare2Fail

3,808 posts

173 months

Saturday 7th November 2009
quotequote all
Biker's Nemesis said:
I read that SHARP tested the side of the chin bar. Certain manufacturers state that, that part of the helmet doesn't take anywhere the amount of impact that say the top or front of the helmet does in an accident due to the shoulder taking most of the impact.

So a manufacturer that tests through racing and takes feedback from riders worldwide should change their helmet designs to satisfy a team of White coats who conduct their tests in a laboratory?
That's similar to my understanding. The SHARP testers have a different view of accident evidence than some well respected helmet makers. SHARP feels that certain points of the helmet take the initial impact (and therefore need to be stronger) than Arai and Shoei do. As a result they don't perform as well as some other helmet manufacturers. Personally I put more faith in Mr Arai and Mr Shoei than I do in SHARP.

black-k1

9,719 posts

194 months

Saturday 7th November 2009
quotequote all
Biker's Nemesis said:
black-k1 said:
The thing about the SHARP tests is that they are repeatable, comparable and consistent. They conduct exactly the same test in exactly the same way and score each helmet on how it performs in those tests. How close those tests are to what would happen in a ‘real world’ accident is very difficult to say. However, the SHARP team do feel that their tests reflect common examples of helmet damage in ‘real world’ accidents but, every single ‘real world’ accident will be different.

Likewise, anyone who says that ‘I had an accident wearing my whatever make of helmet and I didn’t get injured so the helmet must be better than all the rest’ is not really thinking about what they are saying. Unless they go out and have exactly the same accident wearing every other make of helmet then they have no qualification to offer comparative advice.

The SHARP scoring will be far from perfect but they are the best scientifically undertaken comparative tests that are available! As has been said, buy the helmet that fits you best. The fit of the helmet is by far the most important aspect. If you have several helmets that fit you well in your price range then buy the one with the best SHARP score.
I read that SHARP tested the side of the chin bar. Certain manufacturers state that, that part of the helmet doesn't take anywhere the amount of impact that say the top or front of the helmet does in an accident due to the shoulder taking most of the impact.

So a manufacturer that tests through racing and takes feedback from riders worldwide should change their helmet designs to satisfy a team of White coats who conduct their tests in a laboratory?
I think you are completely missing the point of what I said. I clearly stated that The SHARP scoring will be far from perfect . The testing that SHARP do does not, in any way, detract from the work that the manufacturers do, it adds to it. Likewise, racing and road accident situations will inevitably be different (when was the last time a racer bounced his head off the bull bars of a 4x4 that just cut cross his path?) and SHARP, being a government organisation, will have access to the best statistical data there is on road accidents, even if that data is not particularly brilliant.

The manufactures obviously undertake a significant amount of product testing (mostly by a team of White coats who conduct their tests in a laboratory, and not by putting helmets on to racers and hoping they work!!!) but they do not publish comparative results between their own models let alone between their helmets and other manufacturers helmets. That means that you and I have to either trust an independent organisation, who publish exactly what they do, have no axe to grind and no profit to make and can test the whole market, or we take the word of the marketing man at the manufacturers’ (who’s annual bonus may depend on the promotion of the product) that the helmet that the team racer uses is the same in design as the one that you are going to buy off the shelf.

There is nothing to say that the SHARP tests point out what will be the best helmet for any given individual in any given situation. BUT, there is nothing the manufacturers can offer the buying public that is better at showing the capabilities of their helmets on the road. As such, it appears to me that the manufacturers who stand to loose a significant amount of money if their expensive helmet is shown to be not that good, are simply resorting to belittling the tests. (Remember some car manufacturers and Euro NCAP tests?)

black-k1

9,719 posts

194 months

Saturday 7th November 2009
quotequote all
Dare2Fail said:
Biker's Nemesis said:
I read that SHARP tested the side of the chin bar. Certain manufacturers state that, that part of the helmet doesn't take anywhere the amount of impact that say the top or front of the helmet does in an accident due to the shoulder taking most of the impact.

So a manufacturer that tests through racing and takes feedback from riders worldwide should change their helmet designs to satisfy a team of White coats who conduct their tests in a laboratory?
That's similar to my understanding. The SHARP testers have a different view of accident evidence than some well respected helmet makers. SHARP feels that certain points of the helmet take the initial impact (and therefore need to be stronger) than Arai and Shoei do. As a result they don't perform as well as some other helmet manufacturers. Personally I put more faith in Mr Arai and Mr Shoei than I do in SHARP.
… and that is absolutely your choice but is it actually based on anything other than blind faith in the manufactures? SHARP are happy to publish what they do and why they do it. I haven’t seen that level of detail coming from the manufacturers. SHARP point to the statistics gathered form actual road side accidents where the manufacturers appear to simply say that ‘in their experience’ ….

Dare2Fail

3,808 posts

173 months

Saturday 7th November 2009
quotequote all
Black K1, while the SHARP tests are supposedly based on actual road accidents, there is still debate on whether they are interpreting the accident data correctly. If they assume the initial impact point is in the incorrect place then their test is pretty much redundant as they will be looking for strength in a point where it is not needed, and not looking for it in a place that it is needed.

When the SHARP tests were first launched there was quite a bit of coverage of the debate around the tests they were using, and why some of the industry experts felt that they were incorrect and potentially misleading.

While I agree that repeatable tests are important, I disagree that any testing is a good thing. If SHARP are giving a helmet 5 stars based on potentially flawed testing it could lead to someone buying the incorrect piece of safety equipment under the illusion that they are buying the safest thing on the market.

Dare2Fail

3,808 posts

173 months

Saturday 7th November 2009
quotequote all
Just one further point to add about SHARP. I'm pretty sure that due to the exact nature of the test it is pretty easy to 'cheat' the system. If you know that they are going to be hitting a very specific point of a helmet with a certain force, you can engineer that exact point to give a good result. This does not create a safer helmet as the odds of that specific point being hit in an impact must be pretty small, but it does result in a good score.

SHARP is a step in the correct direction, as it's intentions are honourable. However, in my opinion, the results are too easy to cheat, and are there are still too many questions about the methods used, for them to be taken as the be all and end all in helmet testing.

Edit to add:

For those who haven't seen it, this link explains what I am trying to say

http://www.whyarai.co.uk/sharp.php

Yes, it can be dismissed as the Arai importer trying to protect their revenue stream, but they make an interesting point about supporting the SNELL testing method as they feel it is more accurate.

Edited by Dare2Fail on Saturday 7th November 15:15

black-k1

9,719 posts

194 months

Saturday 7th November 2009
quotequote all
Dare2Fail said:
Black K1, while the SHARP tests are supposedly based on actual road accidents, there is still debate on whether they are interpreting the accident data correctly. If they assume the initial impact point is in the incorrect place then their test is pretty much redundant as they will be looking for strength in a point where it is not needed, and not looking for it in a place that it is needed.

When the SHARP tests were first launched there was quite a bit of coverage of the debate around the tests they were using, and why some of the industry experts felt that they were incorrect and potentially misleading.

While I agree that repeatable tests are important, I disagree that any testing is a good thing. If SHARP are giving a helmet 5 stars based on potentially flawed testing it could lead to someone buying the incorrect piece of safety equipment under the illusion that they are buying the safest thing on the market.
The key point is that there is no way to define what is ‘the safest thing on the market’. From what I have read there are no manufacturers who say that the tests that SHARP do will potentially create a more dangerous (less safe) helmet, only that a higher star rated helmet may not be better. As you point out some of the industry experts felt that they were incorrect and potentially misleading . (my bold)

All helmets for sale in the UK with the same legal standards marks have had to pass the same safety checks thus the SHARP rating is simply ‘an extra test’ on top of that. As I said before, the safest helmet is the one that fits you best. Only if, two or more helmets offer equally good fit, have passed the same legal safety tests would I then suggest that the SHARP ratings are used to help to decide which helmet to buy. The only other ‘yard stick’ buyers have is price differential and I for one would rather trust the SHARP ratings than the price difference to point me towards what may be a slightly safer helmet.


Edited by black-k1 on Saturday 7th November 15:35

black-k1

9,719 posts

194 months

Saturday 7th November 2009
quotequote all
Dare2Fail said:
Just one further point to add about SHARP. I'm pretty sure that due to the exact nature of the test it is pretty easy to 'cheat' the system. If you know that they are going to be hitting a very specific point of a helmet with a certain force, you can engineer that exact point to give a good result. This does not create a safer helmet as the odds of that specific point being hit in an impact must be pretty small, but it does result in a good score.

SHARP is a step in the correct direction, as it's intentions are honourable. However, in my opinion, the results are too easy to cheat, and are there are still too many questions about the methods used, for them to be taken as the be all and end all in helmet testing.

Edit to add:

For those who haven't seen it, this link explains what I am trying to say

http://www.whyarai.co.uk/sharp.php

Yes, it can be dismissed as the Arai importer trying to protect their revenue stream, but they make an interesting point about supporting the SNELL testing method as they feel it is more accurate.
The response on the web site says that Aria have gone for comfort over safety on that particular point of the helmet. It does not say that a helmet that passes the test will therefore be less safe, only that it might not be significantly more safe!

Manufacturers have always designed safety equipment to pass specific tests and adjusting the design of helmets to get 5 SHARP stars is something they will ALL do. As such, I would expect that the testing techniques of any independent auditing body to be constantly under review and to be constantly adjusted and updated.

Remember, the SHARP tests are in addition to the testing that the helmet has already had to go through just to be legal to sell in this country.

Graemsay

608 posts

177 months

Saturday 7th November 2009
quotequote all
As mentioned above, the Arai helmets have thinner padding (and possibly shell) at the sides of the helmet, which corresponds to the X Point. They claim that this is a perfectly good trade-off as the shoulder prevents the side of the helmet striking the ground.

The SHARP testers disagree.

That said, when Arai released the brand new RX7-GP earlier this year they redesigned the side pods for better protection improved aerodynamic performance, so it's possible that the SHARP tests are having an effect.

Biker's Nemesis

37,040 posts

173 months

Saturday 7th November 2009
quotequote all
black-k1 said:
Biker's Nemesis said:
black-k1 said:
The thing about the SHARP tests is that they are repeatable, comparable and consistent. They conduct exactly the same test in exactly the same way and score each helmet on how it performs in those tests. How close those tests are to what would happen in a ‘real world’ accident is very difficult to say. However, the SHARP team do feel that their tests reflect common examples of helmet damage in ‘real world’ accidents but, every single ‘real world’ accident will be different.

Likewise, anyone who says that ‘I had an accident wearing my whatever make of helmet and I didn’t get injured so the helmet must be better than all the rest’ is not really thinking about what they are saying. Unless they go out and have exactly the same accident wearing every other make of helmet then they have no qualification to offer comparative advice.

The SHARP scoring will be far from perfect but they are the best scientifically undertaken comparative tests that are available! As has been said, buy the helmet that fits you best. The fit of the helmet is by far the most important aspect. If you have several helmets that fit you well in your price range then buy the one with the best SHARP score.
I read that SHARP tested the side of the chin bar. Certain manufacturers state that, that part of the helmet doesn't take anywhere the amount of impact that say the top or front of the helmet does in an accident due to the shoulder taking most of the impact.

So a manufacturer that tests through racing and takes feedback from riders worldwide should change their helmet designs to satisfy a team of White coats who conduct their tests in a laboratory?
I think you are completely missing the point of what I said. I clearly stated that The SHARP scoring will be far from perfect . The testing that SHARP do does not, in any way, detract from the work that the manufacturers do, it adds to it. Likewise, racing and road accident situations will inevitably be different (when was the last time a racer bounced his head off the bull bars of a 4x4 that just cut cross his path?) and SHARP, being a government organisation, will have access to the best statistical data there is on road accidents, even if that data is not particularly brilliant.

The manufactures obviously undertake a significant amount of product testing (mostly by a team of White coats who conduct their tests in a laboratory, and not by putting helmets on to racers and hoping they work!!!) but they do not publish comparative results between their own models let alone between their helmets and other manufacturers helmets. That means that you and I have to either trust an independent organisation, who publish exactly what they do, have no axe to grind and no profit to make and can test the whole market, or we take the word of the marketing man at the manufacturers’ (who’s annual bonus may depend on the promotion of the product) that the helmet that the team racer uses is the same in design as the one that you are going to buy off the shelf.

There is nothing to say that the SHARP tests point out what will be the best helmet for any given individual in any given situation. BUT, there is nothing the manufacturers can offer the buying public that is better at showing the capabilities of their helmets on the road. As such, it appears to me that the manufacturers who stand to loose a significant amount of money if their expensive helmet is shown to be not that good, are simply resorting to belittling the tests. (Remember some car manufacturers and Euro NCAP tests?)
Manufacturers do take helmets back that have been involved in accidents, be it road racing(Isle of Man, Irish road races etc) Track (all classes you care to mention) so they have actual helmets that have been damaged and in certain case's, team telemetry and actual video evidence.

SHARP I beleive test brand new helmets in a lab using a set type of test.

Have you tried a £60 lazer that scored a 5 star on your head?

black-k1

9,719 posts

194 months

Saturday 7th November 2009
quotequote all
Biker's Nemesis said:
Manufacturers do take helmets back that have been involved in accidents, be it road racing(Isle of Man, Irish road races etc) Track (all classes you care to mention) so they have actual helmets that have been damaged and in certain case's, team telemetry and actual video evidence.

SHARP I beleive test brand new helmets in a lab using a set type of test.

Have you tried a £60 lazer that scored a 5 star on your head?
You seem to be under the impression that I’m suggesting that there are either the manufacturers tests or there are the SHARP tests. That is absolutely not the case. The SHARP tests are in addition to all other tests that are done by the manufacturers and by the standards organisation (used to be BSI but I’m not sure of the name now it’s been Euro’ized.) I’m sure that the manufacturers do a great deal of testing and that they understand a lot about how helmets prevent injuries in accidents, but they are not the only ones with views on this. The difference is that SHARP are happy to tell you EXACTLY what tests they do, what they hope it will emulate, and, most importantly, how one helmet compares to another. That is something the manufacturers will not do!

In answer to your question of have I put a 5 star £60 Lazer on my head? The answer is no …. but …. Would I put a 5 star £60 Lazer on my head with regards to crash protection? Absolutley YES

I enjoy the versatility of flip front helmets and thus have used those since the original BMW System 1 appeared about 20 years ago. I have previously had a Lazer flip front helmet and was happy with it apart from the noise level. (Not tested in SHARP tests yet but I hope it soon will be.) I have a Schuberth now which I will keep until replacement time, regardless of its’ SHARP rating. At that point I’ll buy the best fitting, quietist flip front helmet I can get, regardless of it’s SHARP rating, unless there are 2 that fit equally well, in which case I’ll but the one with the most SHARP stars!