To answer simply, how much is your head worth? While a higher priced helmet is generally a better product, it isn’t as simple as buying the most expensive helmet you can find.
Nearly every helmet meets or exceeds Snell’s latest SA2010 spec, but what do you get for the money?
To get an idea, we chose a helmet from each end of the range. Our comparison products: OMP OS 70 Sport (~$249) and a Stilo ST4F N Zero 8860 (~$5500).
The helmets have an obvious difference in quality, but is it worth the 2200% difference in price?
Neither helmet falls in the trap most do these days: they both have plenty of space for your ears, with comfortable clearance for radio speakers or ear buds and mouthpieces.
The padding on the OMP employed fairly weak glue, and some prodding suggested it likely wouldn’t last an entire season.
Our last difference in subtle. Only half a pound, in fact. That may not seem like much for a helmet, but consider the impact of acceleration. Or more likely, deceleration. Hit a wall at 100mph and it will decelerate you in a tenth of a second; that half a pound applies 23 additional pounds of force on your neck. And consider the strain of holding up the extra weight for 2-4 hour stints.
Ultimately, your helmet depends on what type of events you’re racing in, how fast you’re running, how much time you’ll spend in it and what you think your life is worth. If you spend $400-500 on a helmet, you will probably be safe and comfortable. We would recommend you buy the best helmet you can afford or you could ask your significant other to buy your helmet. You might find out more that you wanted to know!
|OMP OS 70 Sport Helmet||Stilo ST4F N ZERO 8860|
|No head-and-neck restraint posts, but ready to accept||Preinstalled FIA-spec HANS posts|
|Room for mic and hydration system, no integration||Hydration and coms systems optional|
|Padding uses weak glue, loads of foam visible||Better-finished interior, not much visible foam|
|Fiberglass construction, made in China||Carbon-fiber construction. Made in Italy|
|Comes with 3 tear-offs for visor||Anti-scratch/anti-fog visor|
|Unevenly cut, closeable plastic vents||Cleanly cut vents, bright-finish mesh, non closeable|
|One-size-fits-all||2 sizes: XS-M, L-XXL
Smaller shells less bulky